Suddenly a position of great depth

Updated: March 21, 2005, 1:21 PM ET
By Chad Ford | ESPN Insider
The small forward position is the junk drawer of the NBA. If you're taller than 6-foot-6 and scouts don't have a clue where you'll play in the pros, they throw you into the small forward drawer, along with all of the other odds and ends, and call it good.

Swingman. Three. Point forward. Small forward. Does it matter? There is no one definition for the three spot these days.

Some guys can shoot the rock. Others run the offense from the point, because they've got a great handle. Some are rangy defenders called upon to stop an opponent's top offensive player. Others are power forwards masquerading as threes, because teams are too embarrassed to admit they have a 6-7 four. Others are two-guards in a three's clothing who have refused to leave the shooting to the two.

Nowadays, many of them speak with an accent. International players have made the biggest inroads at center and small forward. They have improved at center because NBA folks will take big guys wherever they can get them. They have impact at small forward because international big men have the ball-handling skills and shooting touch to play anywhere on the floor.

They are the Swiss Army knives of the NBA.

The presence of a number of strong, experienced college players in this year's draft makes the small forward position one of the strongest in recent memory.

Here's our first look at what appears to be a pretty solid small forward class.

Chad Ford

ESPN Senior Writer