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Ranking the Best Big 3s in the NBA Over the Last 20 Years

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Ranking the Best Big 3s in the NBA Over the Last 20 Years
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“I'm feeling good now! We're in the Finals, so who cares? No one is going to remember I missed 20 games during the regular season."

Manu Ginobili, before Game 1 of the 2013 NBA Finals.

Um, yeah. So, about that. We remembered.

The Spurs are tied in an NBA Finals battle with the Heatles, no thanks to their Argentinean godsend. Since Game 1, the perennial Sixth Man candidate has hoisted up more bricks than buckets, showing us his age on the big stage. (To be fair, his growing launch pad up top is proof enough).

Either way, Manu’s shooting woes (less than 20 percent from three-point range in the Finals!) got my mental sprockets churning on the concept of the “Big Three.” In short, who are the greatest “Big Threes” over the past 20 years? And could Manu’s stink fest in the 2013 NBA Finals recalibrate the rank for him, Timmy Duncan and Tony Parker?

The rubric for “Big Three” measurement was predicated on three factors: longevity, marketability, and hardware.

Longevity helps to give perspective on the durability and sustainability of a talented trio. Look at this category in the same way you would two great boy bands: Would you rather have New Edition for five years or Boys II Men for 20?

Marketability is all about style points. The Derrick Rose–Luol Deng–Joakim Noah triumvirate might grind out a few more W’s, but wouldn’t you rather watch Jason Kidd throw alley-oops to Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter?

Hardware is pretty straightforward: either put up or shut up. The Gary Payton–Detlef Schrempf–Shawn Kemp trio gets serious burn on the NBA Live ‘96 sticks but is smoked by the Kobe Bryant–Pau Gasol–Lamar Odom Lakers crew in stats and awards. Simple as that.

Let’s get to it.

Stats compiled using Basketball-Reference.com and NBA.com/stats.

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