Dwight Howard to Lakers Trade: Ranking NBA's Big Threes After Blockbuster Trade
The NBA has become a league driven by combining stars. Ever since the Boston Celtics assembled their big three of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett and won the NBA Finals that year, teams have been looking to help stars join forces.
We all know about the Miami Heat's big three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, which just brought the city of Miami another championship, and even the Oklahoma City Thunder needed a big three of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden just to get to the Finals against the Heat.
The question now is how good are the Lakers' big three? How do they compare to the rest of the league? Let's find out.
5. Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics might not have their original big three since Ray Allen left to join the Miami Heat, but with the replacement of Rajon Rondo—who is really the team's best player—helps keep their big three elite.
With Rondo running things from the point and doing it all for his C's, Boston has enjoyed much success over the past few years. Paul Pierce has been the centerpiece of Boston's team for years, while Kevin Garnett remains an elite big man as he nears retirement.
It always helps to have a good point guard as part of your big three, and Rondo's double-double of 11.9 points and 11.7 assists per game with 4.8 boards show why he runs this offense.
Throwing him in a system with two great players in Pierce and the Big Ticket gives Boston a good big three that is among the NBA's best.
4. San Antonio Spurs
The oldest big three on this list, the San Antonio Spurs have relied on Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan for years.
It's been working too. Just last season the Spurs finished atop the Western Conference at 50-16. Thanks to their fundamental player from this big three the team was tough to beat, and went up 2-0 on the Oklahoma City Thunder in the conference finals before being ousted.
While they probably won't top their conference next season, the Spurs still have one of the best big threes in the league, thanks to Hall of Famer Tim Duncan and their old but effective backcourt.
Tony Parker may be the most important piece with his 18.3 points and 7.7 assists per game. He runs the offense and has led the team to considerable success.
Just because this team is aging is no reason to count them out, and they proved that last season.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder
Kevin Durant is the NBA's best scorer. Russel Westbrook finished in the top five in points per game. James Harden is instant offense.
Durant is just 23 years old and already has three scoring titles. Westbrook may not be the team's leading scorer, but when Durant is being keyed in on he can burn opponents nicely. Harden is easy to forget off the bench sometimes, but he lit up opponents for 16.8 points per game last season.
If I had to pick a big three solely on points this one would win, but there's more to just scoring than the NBA, and we saw that when the Oklahoma City Thunder lost in the NBA Finals this year.
These three are all very young, with none being older than 23, and one day they will become the best trio in the league if they stick together. However, even though all three are on the U.S. Olympic basketball team, they are only the third best after the Dwight Howard deal.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers have been busy this offseason, bringing in both Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. Throw those two into a mix that already included Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol and it's hard to even pick three players to call the team's big three.
I would call it Nash, Bryant and Howard, and all three could be Hall of Famers one day.
Nash is turning back the clock and proving that age really is just a number. At 38 years old he averaged 12.5 points and 10.7 assists per game last season, not to mention 3.0 rebounds. He was a leader for the Phoenix Suns, but now that he's in Hollywood and has more weapons we could see him put up even better numbers.
Kobe has been the key for L.A. for years. He averaged an incredible 27.9 points per game in a role that didn't suit him well last year. Now that he can focus on being a true shooting guard instead of having to help play point he will be able to be a true stud and show the best of his former self.
Lastly we have the big man, Dwight Howard. The best center in the game today by a mile, he makes the Lakers' big three among the best in the NBA. He is going to be a huge addition for the team, and alongside Pau Gasol they will be dominant inside.
Look for the Lakers to be back on top in the west thanks to this deal.
1. Miami Heat
Unfortunately the Dwight Howard trade didn't push the Lakers to the No. 1 spot on this list, as that's pretty much locked down by the Miami Heat.
When LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh joined forces two years ago they immediately became one of the best combinations in history, and a few more championships could solidify that position (although they still have a lot to prove).
These three guys are simply too good to surpass. LeBron James is a three-time league MVP, could soon be a two-time Olympic gold medalist and is clearly the best all-around player in the game today.
Throw in All-Stars in Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and give them a year to mesh and we saw that that was a winning formula.
Now that they have their feet under them this big three could win quite a few more championships, and they have to be considered the best in the league. Period.