We Three Kings: 10 Trios That May Mesh Better Than LeBron & Miami Thrice
When LeBron James announced his decision to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, the basketball world descended into chaos.
Since that day, fans and followers alike have had to listen to the "expert" opinions of various sources predict the Heat's success for next season.
Despite all of the nonsense that is currently circulating the media hotlines, it cannot be denied that the talent of Miami's newly-formed trio is off the charts.
We have not seen two of the game's top three players join forces, and also have an All-Star caliber forward to work with in the post.
However, regardless of how talented these players are, the matter of on-the-court chemistry is still a major question mark.
There are some who believe "Miami Thrice" will have no issues playing together, while others, including LeBron's former teammate Wally Szczerbiak, believe there is no way they will be a compatible fit on the floor.
I personally find it hard to believe that three players with as much combined experience, knowledge, and ability will not be able to make it work come game time.
It is more likely that it simply takes them at least a season to fully gel and get on the same page.
This article highlights 10 NBA Trios who I believe could mesh more effectively than the Heat's Big Three next season.
Honorable Mention: Trios That Just Missed the Cut
15. Los Angeles Clippers—Baron Davis, Chris Kaman, and Blake Griffin
While many are talking about John Wall as the hottest rookie prospect, what about Clippers' forward Blake Griffin?
After missing his entire rookie season, he will debut in November 2010. With Chris Kaman emerging as one of the league's premiere centers, and Baron Davis being, well, Baron Davis, this Clippers trio could be a dark horse to watch next season.
14. Portland Trail Blazers—Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, and "Player X"
With so many injuries among Portland players last season, the Trail Blazers had a lot of quality players join the team. The biggest question keeping the Trail Blazers from a top 10 spot is who is the third man?
Is it Andre Miller or Marcus Camby? What about Greg Oden? Injuries have derailed Oden's career to this point, and next season will be a telling sign as to who will round out Portland's real trio of stars.
13. Memphis Grizzlies—Zach Randolph, O.J. Mayo, and Rudy Gay
The Grizzlies put together a relatively successful season, winning 42 games in 2009-10. This was largely due to their own "Big Three" who combined to average 57.9 points per contest.
This Memphis triplet has immense talent, and can be expected to continue making strides this season. The further development of impressive center Marc Gasol could soon make this into a "Big Four."
12. Dallas Mavericks—Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, and Jason Terry
Many will question why this Dallas trio is ranked so low, let alone not in the top 10. The reasoning is that I'm not sure whether they classify as a trio. Dirk is more like the "Big One" for this team, with other players like Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Caron Butler, and Shawn Marion also making significant contributions.
With so many key role players behind Dirk, the real question is whether this team actually has a "Big Three" or just a "Big One" with a lot of support.
11. Milwaukee Bucks—Andrew Bogut, Brandon Jennings, and John Salmons
I really wanted to put Milwaukee in the top 10. Last season was a tremendous success, as Jennings had a sensational rookie season, and Aussie center Bogut was named to the All-NBA Third team.
Midseason acquisition Salmons pushed the team over the top, helping them finish 2009-10 with 46 wins and a playoff seed. Look for them to make a lot of noise in the East next season.
10. Houston Rockets—Yao Ming, Aaron Brooks, and Kevin Martin
Some would question me ranking the Rockets trio this high, especially considering Yao Ming missed the entire 2009-10 season.
My counter-argument is that this trio has greater potential than most on this list.
Last season, Aaron Brooks displayed an explosive offensive game en route to being named the 2010 Most Improved Player. Crafty scorer Kevin Martin was acquired from Sacramento, and joined Brooks in the backcourt.
Yao's return in 2010-11 should only amplify the offensive ability of the two guards, giving them more open looks and scoring opportunities.
Opponents should be wary when doubling Yao in the post, as Brooks and Martin are two of the premiere all-around shooters in the league.
The bottom line is whether Yao is healthy, and if he is, how effective he will be. If he is able to play anywhere near high-level, this trio will soar.
Unlike the "super" trio from South Beach, Brooks and Martin are rising stars who fly under the radar. Teaming with Yao may finally get each player the recognition he deserves.
9. Utah Jazz—Deron Williams, Al Jefferson, and Mehmet Okur
Before I start, pretend that the man in the middle of that photo is Al Jefferson. Unfortunately it was impossible to find a photo of him with his two new Utah teammates.
The newly-formed trio of Deron Williams, Al Jefferson, and Mehmet Okur could definitely mesh better than "Miami Thrice" in 2010-11.
There will be less egos clashing, as Williams is clearly the leader of the team. But this will not hinder the effectiveness of his frontcourt sidekicks.
Jefferson should pick up where Carlos Boozer left off as an effective and versatile offensive weapon. Hold on though, aren't we talking about trios?
Correct. Add in Okur's ability to space the floor, and you have one of the more effective trios in the league. While Okur has regressed in recent years, he is still capable of filling it up if the defense does not respect his shooting.
The only reason this trio doesn't rank higher is because we haven't actually seen Jefferson play with the other two. Barring some bizarre circumstance, they should be a threat on the West Coast come 2010-11.
8. Denver Nuggets—Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, and Nene
There is no question that the Denver Nuggets trio of Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, and Nene fits well together.
Past seasons have already shown they have the ability to play together, and it seems like fans are simply waiting for the Nuggets to prove that they are a contender.
Unique to this trio is Billups, a seasoned veteran who carries the attitude of a winner and a tireless competitor. He is the type of leader who ensures there will never be an implosion from the locker room.
Similarly to the Bulls and Jazz, the Nuggets' trio knows what their roles are.
Billups is the floor general and leader, 'Melo the explosive scorer, and Nene the athletic interior beast.
Fresh off a 53-win season, this Denver triple-threat will have another opportunity to prove they are contenders.
7. Chicago Bulls—Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, and Joakim Noah
The Chicago Bulls are one of the rising teams in the Eastern Conference.
Derrick Rose has started his ascent to stardom, and Noah has proved to be a worthy partner in crime.
As a duo, Rose is the dynamic offensive scorer and playmaker, while Noah does all the dirty work on both ends of the floor. Adding Boozer simply adds another dimension, making them an extremely threatening trio.
Unlike the Heat's stars, Rose and Noah are already familiar with each other and Boozer has a high basketball IQ and should be able to aptly slot in.
Rose and Boozer could form the best point guard-power forward tandem in the Eastern Conference, while Boozer and Noah could become one of the best rebounding duos in the league.
Any way you want to put it, these three each have specific roles and will likely be a very effective triple-combination for the playoff-hungry Bulls.
6. Atlanta Hawks—Joe Johnson, Al Horford, and Josh Smith
How do you know when you're getting down to the better trios of the NBA?
When two of the players were All-Stars last season, and the third was snubbed by the selection panel.
While Joe Johnson and Al Horford played in the midseason classic, it was arguably Josh Smith who contributed the most across the board.
This triplet has been together since 2007, and continues to make strides as Horford and Smith continue their development as rising stars.
Whether it's Johnson hitting threes, Smith completing gravity-defying plays, or Horford cleaning the glass, this trio carries the entire weight of Atlanta's success.
Its ability to move up this list depends on whether it can go from a solid playoff team, to an actual contender in the East.
5. San Antonio—Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili
Rewind to as recent as 2007, and you'd find this San Antonio triplet ranked as high as first on the list.
Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili have combined to win three championships together, a feat that is extremely impressive.
Chemistry has never been an issue as all three stars are incredibly humble, especially the legendary Duncan.
For example, as Duncan aged he had no qualms in allowing Parker to take on a more prominent role in the Spurs' offense.
However, to repeat an old saying, all good things come to an end.
Age has well and truly hit this Spurs trio, which is still effective but not nearly as dominant as it used to be. It's position on this list is a tribute to its past success, but don't count it out as a playoff threat next season.
If "Miami Thrice" want to become true winners, it would be in their best interest to follow the example laid down by the Spurs' trio.
4. Oklahoma City—Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Jeff Green
The potential-laden trio from Oklahoma City may also be the most exciting group on the West Coast.
Ask me any day of the week, and I'll tell you that Kevin Durant is the future of the NBA. Add in do-it-all forward Jeff Green and explosive floor-general Russell Westbrook, and you have an incredibly talented core.
While some would bring up the playoff loss against Los Angeles, I believe the Thunder's young trio showcased a glimpse of the future in that series.
It all starts with Durant, who just signed a major extension with the franchise. His maturity, loyalty and dedication to winning in Oklahoma sets the tone for his young partners in crime.
Last year's 50-win season was only the start, as the Thunder have three players who will bring them postseason success for at least the next decade.
While Westbrook and Green may not be considered the caliber of LeBron and Bosh, the young trio from Oklahoma may have greater long-term potential than "Miami Thrice."
3. Orlando Magic—Dwight Howard, Vince Carter, and Jameer Nelson
The most difficult aspect of selecting Orlando was choosing who would qualify in its trio. Ultimately Rashard Lewis missed the cut because he is probably the most one-dimensional player of the Magic's four best players.
Conversely, Jameer Nelson and Vince Carter find themselves playing together, and both also play a two-man game with behemoth Dwight Howard.
Despite this, I definitely think the Magic trio would be ranked higher with Hedo Turkoglu instead of Carter. A failed year with Carter raises the question of how long this trio will remain together.
In addition, Nelson is more of a scorer than playmaker, an aspect which seems to sometimes limit the involvement of Howard in the offense.
Despite this, the on-court chemistry seems to be there, as the Magic posted a 59-win season in 2009-10. It will be interesting to see which Florida team ends up fielding a more effective and successful trio come 2011.
2. Boston Celtics—Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen
The Boston "Big Three" was essentially the initial example which has now been copied by the superstar triplet in Miami.
For years Paul Pierce lacked the teammates needed to be a contender, but help arrived in 2007. Kevin Garnett and sharp-shooter Ray Allen joined Pierce in Boston, creating a championship-caliber core.
Their success speaks for itself, as they have reached the Finals in two out of three years, and won a championship in 2008.
The major contrast between the Heat trio and Boston's stars is that Pierce and Allen have perimeter-orientated games that complement each other. Unlike LeBron and Wade, they do not both need the ball to be effective.
Their ability to mesh was due to the fact that none had been able to win on their own, and each was humbled by years of trying times.
So why aren't they number one?
A season or two ago they would have been, but I wonder how many years they have left. The window for success was only a few seasons, and I fear they have used the majority of them up.
Unfortunately, such is life when all three stars are on the back end of their careers.
1. Los Angeles Lakers—Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Ron Artest
While most of the trios in this article "may" mesh better than Miami's Big Three, I am certain that the Lakers' trio will actually achieve this.
The 2009-10 NBA Champions boast a core of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Ron Artest. While Kobe and Gasol were once a two-man act, Artest has joined the fray and his willingness to defer to his teammates has resulted in the highest level of success.
Unlike the stars of "Miami Thrice," each Lakers star brings something unique, yet equally important to the table.
Artest is the rugged defensive stopper, providing toughness on both ends of the floor. Gasol literally does everything in the post—from scoring, to playmaking, to rebounding, and shot blocking.
Bryant is obviously the go-to guy, a player with the all-around offensive ability that is unmatched by anyone else in the league. Right now, Bryant is the best all-around player on the planet.
From the get-go it's this Lakers trio, not the Heat trio, that fans should be watching.
The city of Miami may have three stars, but this Lakers trio is just one championship away from bringing Los Angeles a three-peat.