Who takes the cake as the NBA's top trio?
16. Wizards – Wall – Arenas – Blatche
This group is still an unknown because of rookie John Wall. Everyone knows he has the eye-popping athleticism to stick in this league. But does he have the mental makeup to be a top-flight point guard? Also, can Gilbert Arenas recover from a mid-career crisis?
15. Kings – Evans – Landry – Cousins
Tyreke Evans is unstoppable at taking the rock to the basket. He is very crafty and finds ways to finish around the rim. If he can develop a consistent perimeter jumper, he will be a complete superstar. Rookie Demarcus Cousins offers intrigue. He’s massive and multi-talented, but is he mature enough to make an impact at this level?
14. Knicks – Felton – Gallinari – Stoudemire
It’s time to see if Amare Stoudemire is a great player or a bona fide superstar. He doesn’t always bring his “A” game. He did for the second half of last year when he realized he was playing for a monster contract. After signing a contract that could support a small country, it will be interesting to see if he brings a similar attitude this year. Danilo Gallinari is a poor man’s Dirk. He’s going to light up the stat sheet this year.
13. Warriors – Curry – Ellis – Lee
I have yet to read a negative comment about second-year guard Steph Curry. Everyone loves this kid and for good reason. He’s a class act and plays the game with Larry Bird-like efficiency (46 percent FG, 44 percent 3FG, 88 percent FT). Monta Ellis is not as efficient and it would be wise for Golden State to have Curry steal some of Ellis’s attempts. David Lee’s arrival makes the Warriors even more fun to watch, even if they won’t win many games. Defense wins in this league and the Warriors seem to think defense is spelled with an “O”.
12. Grizzlies – Mayo – Gay – Randolph
Rudy Gay got PAID. I would say the money will get to his head, but I think his experience on Team USA this summer is going to set him straight. He has the pure talent to be a special player in this league. I want to see him bring it on the defensive end. We know he can score.
11. Bucks – Jennings – Salmons – Bogut
The Bucks trio is like a perfect puzzle. Brandon Jennings is a flash on the court and uses his quickness to create open shots for himself and others. Salmons is a scorer and smart defender, while big man Andrew Bogut is a steady, balanced center who can score inside with either hand. The three look to advance Milwaukee past the first round next year.
10. Blazers – Roy – Aldridge – Oden
If only Greg Oden were healthy. It’s a phrase that will be intertwined with Oden’s career. He’s just one of those guys. If Oden stays healthy, the Blazers become one of the most feared teams in the West. Seems like a pretty big if to me.
9. Spurs – Parker – Ginobli – Duncan
What was once the NBA’s premiere threesome has taken a backseat due to age. The marriage might come to an end this season as Tony Parker has a good shot at getting traded with the younger George Hill waiting in the wings.
8. Jazz – Williams – Kirilenko – Jefferson
It will be interesting to see how the addition of Al Jefferson will alter Utah’s style of play. He can be a dominant force in the post. Andrei Kirilenko is a huge underachiever. With his skill set, he should have made a greater impact thus far.
7. Hawks – Johnson – Smith – Horford
Joe Johnson has become one of the richest men in the NBA. Nobody thinks he deserved that contract. Will that light a fire under the sharpshooting veteran? Al Horford and Josh Smith are still both on their way up.
6. Magic – Nelson – Lewis – Howard
The Orlando Magic will not win a title with the current makeup of this team. They need to unload Jameer Nelson and the expiring contract of Vince Carter for a legitimate star point guard. Dwight Howard needs a creator on the perimeter.
5. Thunder – Westbrook – Durant – Green
Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant make one of the best tandems in the NBA. They haven’t even approached their peaks yet. That’s a scary thought.
4. Bulls – Rose – Boozer – Noah
Derrick Rose is going to be a top 10 player in the immediate future. His wide array of skills in his freakishly athletic body is just a lethal combination. Carlos Boozer will add a much-needed post presence down low and Joakim Noah is the perfect compliment at center. The Bulls are back and ready to contend, and it starts with this core.
3. Celtics – Rondo – Pierce – Garnett
Who is the best trio among Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen? It’s a tough call but I chose to omit Allen because of his inconsistencies. Garnett has become brittle over the last few years and has officially been appointed as Grandpa Celtic. This squad still has a couple more years of title-chasing left in that old gas tank.
2. Lakers – Bryant – Artest – Gasol
A younger Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest would make this trio one of the best of all time. Still, even now, this Lakers triumvirate is dangerous on both ends of the court. Gasol is one of the best big men in the league, while Kobe is obviously among the best perimeter players. Artest adds a toughness unmatched by anyone in the game.
1. Heat – Wade – James – Bosh
Trinasty. Make A Ring Foundation. Miami Threat. Whatever you want to call them, they are the best trio in the game today, and could go down as the best ever. They have a very unique opportunity with three superstars in their prime. I think everyone is ready, and has been for months, to see this squad go to work.