LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the 10 Best Big Threes in the NBA

Ethan Norof@ethan_norofCorrespondent IJanuary 20, 2011

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the 10 Best Big Threes in the NBA

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    It's no secret that every team in the NBA would like to have a Big Three that is like the one recently assembled in South Beach.

    With rumors of Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, and Amar'e Stoudemire planning to concoct their own "big three" in 2012 with the Knicks, and the Boston Celtics already having won a championship with their blueprint, it appears that this could be the new strategy for success in the changing NBA.

    While there may not be enough talent in the league for every team to have their own trio of superstars, these 10 combinations are the most potent in the league right now. 

10. Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Eric Gordon: Los Angeles Clippers

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    The Clippers and their fans haven't had much of a reason to get very excited about anything in recent history.

    This year, things have completely changed.

    Blake Griffin has transformed the other team in Los Angeles, and has effectively made the Clipshow the most entertaining team in the league to watch on a nightly basis. His highlight reel dunks are worth the price of League Pass alone, and the emergence of DeAndre Jordan has really begun to push incumbent Chris Kaman out of town.

    Pair those two young bucks with a deadly scorer like Eric Gordon? 

    This team could be really good for a really long time, and it could happen really soon. 

9. Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis and David Lee: Golden State Warriors

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    Despite the Warriors current standing at just 18-23 at the midway point of the season, this team is loaded with young, exciting talent.

    Although the team took massive criticism for selecting Stephen Curry and sticking with Monta Ellis, the Warriors clearly knew what they were doing as the two are among the most talented young guards in the league.

    David Lee might be overpaid, but let's not be so quick as to forget just how talented of a player he is. With an ability to score, rebound and one of the best passing big men in the league, the Warriors could have a better future ahead of them than most would seem to think. 

8. Chris Paul, Emeka Okafor and David West: New Orleans Hornets

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    Nobody should be surprised by the fact that the Hornets are a playoff team.

    With a heavily motivated first year coach in Monty Williams and a solid supporting cast, it was only a matter of time before CP3 and his crew had this team back to being a perennial postseason contender.

    Perhaps one of the most underrated cast of characters in the NBA, Paul, Okafor and West combine for serious production every time they take the hard wood. Although there's nothing sexy about either Okafor or West's games, there is one major similarity between the two: they both get the job done.

    With those two down in the post and the best point guard in the league (that's right) running the show, it's easy to see why this big three makes the list at number eight. 

7. Joe Johnson, Al Horford and Josh Smith: Atlanta Hawks

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    The Hawks might have gotten off to a rough start this season, but there's nothing wrong with them now.

    With a healthy Joe Johnson back in the fold, the Hawks sit at fourth in the Eastern Conference midway through the season and actually a half game ahead of the Orlando Magic.

    While Johnson is anything but deserving of a max contract, he along with Horford and Smith make up an extremely potent threesome capable of doing just about anything.

    Horford is one of the most promising young big men in the game, and J-Smoov is an athletic beast who can do anything with a basketball in his hands.

6. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green: Oklahoma City Thunder

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    After an MVP-caliber season last year, it's Kevin Durant's teammate that is going for it all as we enter 2011.

    Russell Westbrook has really elevated his game to the next level this season, and he's really helping to pick up the slack on Durant's end. Although KD is still playing elite basketball, he's nowhere near matching the production from last season.

    Jeff Green has been mired in a season-long slump, but he's too talented not to break out of it sooner or later.

    When all cylinders are firing for this Thunder squad, they can be a very dangerous opponent for just about anyone.

    Just ask the Los Angeles Lakers.  

5. Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer: Chicago Bulls

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    The Bulls swung and missed on both Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James.

    But who cares?

    The team has formed their own legitimate version of the big three, and it's about to be the next set of triplets that takes the league by storm.

    Although the three superstars haven't spent much time together just yet due to various injuries to Boozer and Noah, the Bulls are going to be an awfully difficult opponent to play when all three are out there together.

    With Rose quickly ascending through the point guard ranks, Boozer an established all-star, and Noah looking like a perennial contender for the league's rebounding title, there could be very bright days ahead in Chitown. 

4. Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili: San Antonio Spurs

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    The list wouldn't be complete without these three.

    Although they're typically more fun to root against than to root for (unless you're a Spurs fan), this group of guys defines the term production.

    Timmy D is as solid and consistent as they come, Manu Ginobili is an Argentine, left-handed version of Kobe Bryant, and Tony Parker has played more like a point guard this season than in any one in recent memory.

    It's no surprise that the Spurs have the best record in the league at 36-6.

    Not when you have a big three that has as much experience as they do. 

3. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen: Boston Celtics

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    No disrespect meant to any of the original big three, but this Celtics team is clearly belonging more and more to Rajon Rondo these days.

    Despite Rondo's emergence as the best player on the Boston squad, Pierce, Garnett and Allen are the big three that inspired the rest of the big three's around the league.

    With a capable scorer like Pierce who can create his own shot, an excellent pick and roll player in Kevin Garnett, and the best spot-up three point shooter in history in Ray Allen, it's no wonder the Celtics had immediate success with this blue print.

    Now that the rest of the league is beginning to mock their design, they may have trouble as their stars begin to age.

    But based on their success thus far? There's no evidence to support any sign of a fall off. 

2. Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum: Los Angeles Lakers

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    While some might argue that this big three is slightly less intimidating than Boston's, there's one critical thing that this LA crew possesses that their East Coast enemies don't.


    Bryant is arguably still the best player in the NBA, and the team's second and third best players are over seven feet tall. With Gasol still looking like the best power forward in the Western Conference and a healthy Bynum showing just how dominant he can be down low, the Lakers are poised for yet another deep postseason run.

    It's going to be critical that Los Angeles outworks their opponents down low, because it's become frighteningly obvious that their pair of veteran point guards can't keep up with anybody. 

1. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh: Miami Heat

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    This could go down as the greatest big three in NBA history when it's all said and done.

    Although Bosh got off to a bit of a slow start, and the team has lost four straight games since LeBron's infamous "Karma tweet" after his old team was blown out by the Lakers, there's no doubt in anyone's mind just how good these three are together.

    Simply put, these three guys together have more talent than most NBA teams do in their entire starting lineup, and it wouldn't be surprising in the least to see this team collect multiple rings before the tenure of their lucrative mega-deals run out.

    Although the Heat may always by D-Wade's team, it's easy to see that LeBron is the point man in Miami.