NBA Power Rankings: The Top 10 Backcourts in the NBA
As we move on into the second half of the NBA season, plenty of things have become clear to the regular NBA fan. For one, we know that the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat may just be clashing for the crown come playoff time. On another hand, we know that the Charlotte Bobcats are one of the worst NBA teams ever assembled (come on MJ!).
But there some things that aren't as clear. Obviously, the MVP is up for grabs and either Kevin Durant or LeBron could be hoisting the trophy at the end of the season. Most of the lower seeds in the Western Conference are up for grabs among a plethora of decent teams (Timberwolves, Jazz, Rockets, Grizzlies, Nuggets, to name a few).
There are also plenty of things that remain up for a debate and one of those things could be which team boasts the top backcourt in the NBA. There are plenty of candidates. I have narrowed it down to the top 10, which obviously still remains up for debate. So, without further adieu, let's examine...
10. Sacramento Kings
Coming in at No. 10, we have the young, upstart Sacramento Kings. Currently, Sacramento fans are overjoyed that there team will be remaining in Sacramento for the longrun, after many feared they would be relocated to Seattle or some other random abode. Breathe easy Sacramento fans, your team is here to stay.
While Sacramento remains one of the bottom-feeders of the Western Conference, it does still have one of the more talented backcourts in the entire league. The Kings are young and dangerous, but the team doesn't seem to mesh too well. The talent is there, but something just seems off. Regardless, Sacramento is led by young guard Tyreke Evans who currently likes to switch between the 1 and the 2. To me, it seems like he is more of a natural 2, but with the emergence of Isaiah Thomas, it doesn't look like he'll have to worry about that anymore. Marcus Thornton, as well, is shooting lights out for this team when he is healthy.
They also have a couple of young studs in Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette. While Jimmer has been struggled finding his game this year, Thomas has exploded onto the scene since the All-Star break. But don't count Jimmer out just yet. I mean, not everyone gets a song written about them.
Either way you look at it, you can't deny the talent this team has with Tyreke, Thornton, Thomas, and Jimmer in the backcourt.
9. Houston Rockets
Some people don't even realize that the Houston Rockets have the sixth best record in the NBA. Kyle Lowry is playing amazing ball and has been contributing on both ends of the floor, yet we never hear about him. He is one of the Most Improved Players in the entire league and is the premier player in a dominant Houston Rockets' backcourt.
Kevin Martin is the other half of the Rockets' killer one-two punch. He's throwing up about 18 points a game and is one of the most underrated players in the league.
Everywhere else on the court, this team seems pretty terrible...but it has been turning it around as of late.
8. New York Knicks
OK...so I may get a lot of uproar for my choosing the Knicks to be in the top town, but their recent gameplay speaks for itself. There are some who would call Jeremy Lin overrated...really? The guy has only been shut down by one team (Miami) and continues to improve. Not many players in the NBA have had to deal with the amount of overexposure and pressure that this guy has had to deal with in such a short amount of time. The guy is good and he is only a highlight of an ever-improving backcourt.
Landry Fields has been playing a lot better since the inclusion of Lin in the rotation, but with the recent signing of JR Smith, he may start to lose some minutes. Either way, as a Jazz fan, I would love to have either of these guys on my team. Baron Davis has finally returned from injury and should provide valuable back-up to Super Lintendo.
And with the chemistry and friendship Fields and Lin have already developed...the sky is the limit for these young bucks...or should I say knicks?
These guys may or may not do a lot of damage once the playoffs roll around. The fans are happy, the team is meshing, and the world is watching...
7. Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers would be higher if they didn't have that recent injury to Chauncey Billups. But even without him, they still find a spot in the top 10.
Of course the biggest boost comes from their All-Star PG Chris Paul, who has been having an MVP season playing alongside Blake Griffin. He's throwing up 19.6 ppg and almost nine assists. Behind him on the bench, the team still retains the service of Mo Williams who has been an All-Star himself in the past.
With the loss of Chauncey Billups, the team continues to play lights-out at the guard position with the likes of Paul, Mo and even Randy Foye. Look out for these guys come playoff time.
6. Miami Heat
Fellow Bleacher-report writer Josh Toyofuku made a good point when writing about this same topic a few months ago. He basically refers to Mario Chalmers as another Derek Fisher. He is a mediocre point guard on a championship-caliber NBA team. But at the same time, I tend to disagree with Josh. Yes, Chalmers is lucky to have ended up on this team, but he is not a bad NBA player, and I wouldn't put him in the same conversation as Derek Fisher.
While he may be inconsistent, he has quietly been putting together a very solid season, especially since he's playing behind the likes of Wade and James. The guy has to be ready to make that kick-out 3-pointer when James or Wade are double-teamed. And he's been knocking them down, as we can see by his almost 46 percent 3-point percentage this season.
I don't even need to mention Wade. He's easily one of the best guards in the game today, and he plays alongside the best player in the world: LeBron James. And with James, who can play pretty much any position, this team has one of the best backcourts in the NBA.
5. Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls have fast become one of the elite teams in the Eastern Conference and the entire NBA. As of now, they are probably the only team that would be able to win a 7-game series against the Miami Heat. They also carry one of the better backcourts in the NBA. And for me, they are No. 5.
Derrick Rose is an elite NBA point guard who hasn't even hit his prime yet. The guy is only younger than me by two months. He's not even 25 yet. He's been injured a lot this year, but he's still putting up elite numbers and has guided his team to a 29-8 record. It only has one more loss than the Miami Heat.
The Bulls also brought in Rip Hamilton during free agency to play a position they really needed help at. He's been injured a lot this year as well, but when he returns, this will be one of the top backcourts in the NBA. Even without him, they have Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, CJ Watson and John Lucas III. Every single one of them have logged quality minutes and put forth quality play. Luol Deng as well can play the 2 when needed.
4. Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors have confused me for a long time. Where I live, I get more Warriors games on TV than I do Jazz games. This is strange because I live a lot closer to Salt Lake than I do to San Francisco. But the point is, I get to see them play a lot. I'm actually watching them play as I write this. But they still confuse me. This team is a lot like the Sacramento Kings in my mind. They have loads of talent, but still remain a worse team then they should be.
Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry. They should be the best backcourt in the NBA. But they aren't, simply because of their record. Mark Jackson came in hoping to instill a new culture in the Bay Area, but it hasn't seemed to have clicked yet. The guy is a preacher! If he can't turn it around, I don't know who can.
But even with their record, they are a top-10 backcourt when healthy. Steph Curry is a dynamite scorer and can kill you when left open (or when guarded as well). Monta Ellis may be cocky, but he's one of the best guards in this game. The guy finishes with the best of them in the league.
But they are 14-18...I just don't get it.
3. Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics have stumbled out of the gate this season and are currently seeking trades for pretty much anyone on their roster. They are getting old fast and fading away as contenders just as fast.
Even on that account, they have the third best backcourt in the NBA. Rajon Rondo has improved his game this year and still has room to grow. The guy is only 25 years old. He's shooting better than last year and is up to almost 15 ppg. He also throws almost 10 assists a game and pulls down about five rebounds. Across the board, he is an elite point guard. The only downside that I continue to hear about is his attitude. Attitude or not, the guy can play. And he can't be as bad as DeMarcus Cousins in that department.
Ray Allen is still the best shooter in the NBA, but he has lost a step. Either way, these guys have won a championship together and shouldn't be counted out of the conversation.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder are playing some of the best basketball I've ever seen this season. You could easily talk about them having a big three in Westbrook, Durant and Harden. And two of those guys are part of their backcourt. The third best player on their team comes off the bench!
Russell Westbrook is a high-flyer and seems to have dialed back on his selfishness this year. He and Durant may have finally found that harmony and have that "Championship or bust" attitude this year. James Harden is vastly underrated and comes off the bench and gives them 20 points on most nights. Defensively, they start Thabo Sefolosha who is one of the better defenders in the game.
Off the bench, they also boast Daquan Cook and Eric Maynor (who they lost for the season). Reggie Jackson contributes when given the time.
The record says it all.
1. San Antonio Spurs
Tony Parker is playing MVP-caliber ball this year.
They are the second best team in the league.
They have won three championships together.
I base this ranking on the team with both of them healthy. The Clippers dropped in my rankings because Billups is out for the season. But Ginobili could return any day now and make this team healthy
When they are healthy, they are unstoppable. But even without Manu, they have a great trio of young guns in the backcourt like Danny Green (who?), Gary Neal, and veteran TJ Ford. The Spurs are good and may end up with another championship before all is said and done.
So that wraps it up here. Sound off and let me know what you think! What did I get wrong? Who should have been included! Let's debate this out! Are the Spurs No. 1 in your opinion? Should the Celtics be higher? Maybe I should have included Philly and Indiana on the list? Sound off!