5 Worst "Big Threes" in the NBA Today
Today's NBA is littered with so-called "Big Threes."
Some of them are good, like those in Oklahoma City, Miami and San Antonio. There are "Big Threes" that have been around for years and are on the verge of breaking up, like the group in Boston. There are "Big Threes" that are still really just "Big Twos" like in Memphis.
Some of them are bad. We're going to take a look at the bad and what features these terrible trios possess that earn them their titles among the NBA's bad "Big Threes."
5: Chicago Bulls
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Yes, the Chicago Bulls finished with the best record in the NBA for the second straight season.
Yes, the Bulls have an MVP, one of the league's top young centers and one of the top three defenses under an NBA Coach of the Year-winning head coach.
Yet, they're on this list.
Derrick Rose does too much. Luol Deng is not a secondary option. Carlos Boozer is too old and is a terrible defender. Joakim Noah is the Bulls second piece of their "Big Three," but his offensive game is severely limited.
The Bulls' "Big Three" as currently composed fundamentally flawed, with not enough consistent, all-league offense to break down and defeat the best teams in the league. Looking back at the big results of the last two Bulls' seasons, the vast majority have been obtained by stifling defense and just enough offensive output to steal victory.
This offensive malaise is what cost the Bulls a shot at NBA championship glory in the 2010-11 season when the newly-formed "Big Three" from Miami overwhelmed the Bulls defense and their offense couldn't score enough to keep pace as the Bulls went down in five games.
For Chicago to improve, they need to sacrifice just a little of their all-NBA defensive prowess to sign an offensive machine who can give them a legitimate shot at the biggest prize in basketball.
4: New York Knicks
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The New York Knicks are another team that surprisingly makes this list.
However, maybe their inclusion is slightly more justifiable given the well-documented issues surrounding the NBA's newest "Big Three."
The Knicks boast an amazing trio, made up of forward small Carmelo Anthony, power forward Amar'e Stoudemire and center Tyson Chandler.
The reason for making this list? The Knicks have yet to get the group working efficiently together on the court.
Anthony demands the ball. Stoudemire demands the ball. Chandler and Stoudemire both play at their best in the same in-the-paint area. Anthony eliminates the need for a point guard because he handles the ball so much, yet he is not great at getting his teammates involved in plays.
Anthony's offense is mostly one-on-one isolation plays that see his four teammates standing waiting for him to hoist up a well-defended shot.
For Stoudemire and Chandler, they both struggle with their partnership as Stoudemire must play further from the basket due to Chandler living in the paint and bringing a big defender with him.
The Knicks have most of their salary committed to this trio over the next three years, and we have yet to see any concrete and consistent evidence that the group can co-exist effectively.
3: Atlanta Hawks
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The Altanta Hawks? After the first two entries, you cannot still be surprised by my choices.
Josh Smith wants out, and Joe Johnson has possibly the worst contract in today's NBA, so bad that not even an amnesty would be helpful to the Hawks at the present moment. What's even worse for the Hawks is that Johnson showed signs of decline this season as he was far from the All-Star level player of the past few seasons and certainly not deserving of his gargantuan contract.
Smith handed in a trade request last year and has re-iterated that request to the Hawks' management. Atlanta, all of a sudden, is looking at the breakup of a core that has been together for a number of years with decent success and a handful of good playoff runs in the rear-view mirror.
Whether Smith stays around really determines the future of the Hawks franchise as that would leave them without one of their biggest offensive and defensive weapons.
2: Portland Trail Blazers
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Not so "current," the Portland Trail Blazers have to make the list for one of the most ill-fated and infamous "Big Threes" of recent times.
The team earned the right to pick first in the 2007 NBA draft and took center Greg Oden, a player most considered the obvious No. 1 pick (Kevin Durant went second).
Oden played well and showed signs of becoming one of the most dominant centers in the NBA before several knee injuries forced him into what feels like an early retirement though he has never ruled out a return. Over the past three years, Oden has played in just 82 games for Portland.
Their second piece to the puzzle, Brandon Roy, was an exciting small forward whose legs happened to be made of a mixture of glass and cotton candy. Successive and re-occurring knee injuries forced him to call it a day during the 2011 NBA lockout.
The final piece, LaMarcus Aldridge, has at least had a good career and been a productive player. He will remain with the team as the aim to rebuild (again) via the draft after missing the playoffs this season.
1: Charlotte Bobcats
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This season, the Charlotte Bobcats have topped a lot of "Worst X in the NBA" lists.
This is another one.
The Bobcats don't exactly shout about their "Big Three," which appears to be Bismack Biyombo, Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson.
And they shouldn't be either.
Ending the season on a 23-game losing streak to finish with an all-time NBA worst record of 7-59 is nothing to boast about.
Biyombo is a unique defensive talent but is so incredibly raw that it will be a good few years before he develops into a true NBA player on both sides of the ball. Kemba Walker is showing signs of breaking through as he was named to the Rookie team at the 2012 NBA All-Star festivities back in February.
Henderson has been a consistent talent but at a level that has seen the Bobcats become a humiliated franchise this past NBA season.
And when Charlotte lost out on the top overall pick in the 2012 draft and probably lost out on Kentucky big man Anthony Davis, Bobcat fans took another body-blow as they struggle to keep watching their terrible team.