We have witnessed the way NBA teams are built over the last three decades.
In the 80’s, teams with three, sometimes four hall-of-famers dominated the league. Magic Johnson’s “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers, Larry Bird’s Boston Celtics, and Joe Dumars and the “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons.
Then, in the 90’s, teams often showcased superstar duos. During this time, the Chicago Bulls featured Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. The Rockets had Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon, and the Jazz had Karl Malone and John Stockton.
Now, in this era of basketball, superstar duos are no longer enough to win a championship. NBA franchises are now building their teams around star triumvirates to be considered elite.
Now, Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups are headed to New York to form a big three with Amare Stoudemire.
Who are the best big threes in the NBA?
Let’s take a look.
The Knicks are on this list based more on potential.
But the Knicks are now back, relevant again with the recent acquisition of Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups.
Anthony is the most talented scorer in the league. He can do it all, score in the post, shoot the three and mid-range jumper and get to the free-throw line.
Stoudemire’s athleticism has always given the opposition headaches.
Chauncey Billups has experience winning on the big stage and he has a chance to be a leader on a Knicks team that doesn’t have any experience winning.
This core has the brightest future in the league.
Westbrook has now taken steps forward to becoming a top five point guard in the league. Kevin Durant will be an MVP candidate for the rest of this decade. And Jeff Green is one of the most versatile big-men in the NBA.
The best years are all right in front of these young three players.
Very quietly, the Chicago have formed their own big three and they have the Bulls in contention for a top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Derrick Rose is the face of the franchise, who combines strength and cleverness around the rim. Carlos Boozer is the smooth low-post scorer that the Bulls have coveted for years. Joakim Noah is the man who does all the dirty work from setting crushing screens and playing excellent low-post defense.
This is a core that possesses the potential to represent the Eastern Conference for years to come.
This is interesting because you never know which players will step-up from night to night.
One game it could be Arenas, Howard, Nelson or a combination of any of the other core players. The Magic possess five players that can light up the opposition at any time.
However, they have also been one of the more inconsistent teams in the league.
Again, this rank is based more on potential, rather than production. The Heat have done what most people expected them to—which is win plenty of games.
Combine the scoring prowess of Wade, the versatility of James and the clever scoring of Bosh and you get tons of head coaches that will lose some sleep come the postseason.
It remains to be seen just how good the Heat will be in the future. Obviously the best indicator will be the amount of championships won.
But talent wise, this is the best superstar triumvirate that the league has ever seen.
Paul Pierce is the captain, Ray Allen has a sweet jump shot and Garnett is the emotional backbone of this team.
This team appears poised to return to the NBA Finals, but there is a huge question on whether they can remain healthy.
This core has been in the title hunt for the last three seasons. But, they fall short to the other two teams on this list because they have only won one title so far.
Bryant is the best player in the NBA, Gasol is arguably the most skilled big-man in the game and Odom causes tons of match-up problems.
One can make the case that the Lakers have the best big three in basketball. But, to me the deal-breaker is Odom. He is a player who is a little too inconsistent from game to game.
The Spurs get the nod here. Not only has this core been together longer than any in the NBA, but they have the most championship experience.
This core is healthy for the first time in three seasons, just when it appeared that they no longer had the ability to contend in the Western Conference.
They combine the speed of Parker, the herky-jerky play of Ginobili and the quiet effectiveness of Duncan.
They have won three titles together and look poised to win another this year.