I am writing this blogpost because I know first-hand how this works. Although I played every position on the floor during my career, I was a natural Small Forward (3 man). Think of me as a shorter (6’8” tall) and VERY (once again VERY) poor mans version of Kevin Durant. Did I mention VERY POOR MANS VERSION of KD? I would like this blogpost to be somewhoat of a warning for those of you out there that are 3’s to possibly spare you some of the uncertainty that I sometimes felt as teams started signing players.
One position that often gets overlooked in overseas basketball is the small forward position. Guards and big men usually command the most money and are the first players added to teams, while small forwards are usually the last players added.
The small forward position is one of the most versatile positions on the basketball court. On the men’s side, small forwards usually stand somewhere between 6’5″ and 6’9″ in height, extremely athletic, and usually better drivers than shooters. They are often able to play multiple positions, but they are not masterful in any. This versatility is both a strength and a weakness for small forwards in overseas basketball. Jack of all trades, master of none.
In the modern game of basketball, the three-point shot has become a crucial weapon. The importance of spacing the floor with 3-point shooters has made shooters (shooting guards or 2’s) a premium for jobs overseas in this modern era. Positions in general have become more fluid with players being able to play multiple positions which means that typical small forwards have also developed their 3-point shooting skills. However, not all small forwards are great 3-point shooters, which limits their opportunities.
One reason why small forwards are usually the last players added to teams overseas is that they are not as essential as guards and big men. Foreigner guards are still highly sought after. Guards are typically the playmakers of the team and are responsible for handling the ball and making plays. Big men, on the other hand, are responsible for rebounding and defending the basket. Small forwards, while versatile, do not have a specific role on most teams.
When teams start to look at their roster for next season, 3’s are usually last on their list of priorities. What does that mean for you Small Forwards out there? It means that you will usually see many people being signed before you do, which can make the summer months frustrating. And that also means that the money you will be offered is dependent on how the negotiations went with the Guards or Centers. If those positions were filled by going over the planned budget, it means you will be offered less.
This is an unfortunate but unsurprising reality in overseas basketball. This does not mean you are not worth what you think you are worth. It just means that the team had other priorities. It is now your job to prove during the season that you are in fact worth more if they would like you to re-sign with them.
In conclusion, be patient. Your time will come. Do not think you are less of a player if negotiations or offers do not come pouring in through your agent. That is how the market is and no agent can influence what a team is looking for at a certatin time. Small forwards may be the last positions added to teams, but they likely play a crucial role in the team’s success. Because of their versatility, Small Forwards are the glue that holds the team together.