Ever since the creation of the “Boston Three Party” in 2007, pitting three superstars together with the hopes of winning the NBA championship has become somewhat of a norm around the NBA.
Over the span of the last six years, teams such as the Miami Heat (LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade), New York Knicks (Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler) and Brooklyn Nets (Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez) have all done their best to emulate the success of the Boston Celtics in 2008.
Granted, the concept of three superstars playing together on one team has been around this league ever since the NBA formed. Teams such as the Los Angles Lakers of the 70’s (Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor), Boston Celtics of the 80’s (Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish) and Chicago Bulls of the 90’s (Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman), just to name a few, all had three superstars on their teams and all accomplished great things.
However, most of the superstars on these teams were not acquired through free agency and trades, rather they were drafted by their respective teams and developed their talents while sticking with the same teams throughout the majority of their careers.
Recently, as players have become more accustomed to switching teams on a regular basis, “Big Threes” have formed in more unconventional ways, as more and more superstars are not staying loyal to the teams that drafted them and are leaving the cities that they have spent their young careers in for more greener pastures.
The recent phenomenon of combining three superstars on one team got me thinking about what different combinations of players throughout NBA history would have been the most fun to watch together.
I have come up with what I feel would be the ten best mixtures of “Big Threes” using any players that have ever stepped foot on an NBA court.
I made sure that none of the players who I teamed up with one another have ever played together on an NBA team and I used each player no more then once throughout the entire slideshow.
John Stockton, Bill Laimbeer and Bruce Bowen: Shoving, elbowing and even kneeing: these three players were masters when it came to using these tactics as a part of the game of basketball. They knew exactly how far they could push their limits while avoiding the consequences of their actions, most of the time at least. I’d feel bad for any opponent who’d be stuck playing against this trio.
Ray Allen, Reggie Miller and Stephen Curry: Miller and Allen are widely regarded as the two best three-point shooters in the history of the league, proven by the fact that they are the two all-time leaders in three-point field goals made. Curry, although only four seasons into his NBA career, is on pace to break Allen’s record for most three-point field goals made in a career and currently holds the second highest three-point field goal percentage for a career.
As a threesome, they’d be able to spread out the floor and fire away from downtown as much as they’d like. Chances are, they’d be very successful by doing just that.
Sam Cassell, Tyrone Hill and Popeye Jones: Cassell had a very successful and long career as a starter, even making an All-Star game appearance in 2004. Hill and Jones were both very solid role players throughout their careers; however, I think we can all agree that these three players, as teammates, would not made the best eye candy for the fans at attendance.
Calvin Murphy, Jason Caffey and Shawn Kemp: Murphy and Kemp both had solid careers as NBA players and Caffey was a solid role player for a few seasons, but why would they make sense as a trio of teammates?
Well, because they’d sell out more games than any other threesome on this list.
How is that possible you ask?
All they’d have to do is ask all their children to come and support them. Murphy has fathered 14 kids by nine different women in his lifetime, Caffey has fathered 10 kids by eight different women and Kemp has fathered seven kids by six different women, although the number is probably as high as 11 kids by nine different women.
That’s almost enough for three full NBA rosters!
Kevin Johnson, Tim Hardaway and Mookie Blaylock: Being a huge fan of point guards, and considering the fact that these three are my favorite point guards from the 90’s, this was an easy selection for this list, at least for me that is.
How awesome would these three players be as teammates?
It would be like watching basketball and Animal Planet at the same time. On any given day, we'd have the potential to witness cameramen being kicked, coaches being choked, brawls in the stands, headbutts, two-by-fours, tattoos, piercings, wild haircuts, dresses, and shirtless men, for anyone who enjoys the potential for eye candy.
Perhaps as a threesome, they'd all change their names to Moe, Larry and Curly!
Maybe they'd combine their salaries together and have just enough money to help out poor Sprewell feed his family!
One thing would be for sure though: This threesome would help their team win more games than they'd lose. After all, Rodman and Artest were two of the greatest defenders in the league during their prime years and Sprewell was a very prolific scorer capable of exploding for a high number of points at any given time.
Intense is the best way to describe these three players as a trio.
The look on Bryant’s face when he enters “Black Mamba mode” is arguably the most intimidating face most players have seen throughout their careers.
In addition, he’s never been shy about calling out his teammates, even the ones who are seven feet tall and weigh over 300 pounds. Throw in his legendary work ethic and you have a player who is as intense as you’ll ever see.
Arguably the biggest and best trash talker in NBA history, Garnett is not afraid to say whatever comes to his mind, which includes getting down on all our knees and barking at his opposition if the situation calls for it.
In addition, his heart cannot be questioned by anyone, as he truly leaves every ounce of energy he has on the court.
Similarly, Barkley always made sure to leave every bit of energy he had on the court. However, unlike Garnett, he not only trashed his opponents with words, he also was not afraid to start a fight if the situation called for it.
Sure, there are a few combinations of teammates on this list that would be more entertaining than this trio of players, but it’d be hard to find a threesome that would score the amount of points that these three players would.
Abdul-Jabbar is the all-time header in career points scored, while Gervin and Durant are arguably two of the best pure scores of their generations.
It’s pretty simple to see what I based my opinion off of about this trio.
The versatility of each one of these men is best explained by the numbers each one of them put up throughout their careers and during some of the best seasons they had as individual players.
For his career, Robertson averaged 25.7 points per game, including six seasons with over 30 points per game. He also averaged 7.5 rebounds and 9.5 assists per game, with at least 10 rebounds per game three times and 10 assists per game five times. He also holds a very respectable .485 field goal percentage throughout his career.
What he is most remembered for, however, is the triple double he averaged during the 1961-62 season (30.8 points per game, 12.5 rebounds per game and 11.4 assists per game). That fact is almost as impressive as the fact that he also averaged a triple double over his first five seasons combined.
Baylor, throughout his career, averaged 27.4 points per game, 13.5 rebounds per game (standing only 6’5” tall) and 4.3 assists per game. During his most impressive season (1960-61), he averaged 34.8 points per game, 19.8 rebounds per game and 5.1 assists per game.
I wonder how much more impressive that stat line would look had steals and blocks been recorded throughout his career.
Finally, although Olajuwon’s career numbers of 21.8 points per game, 11.1 rebounds per game and 2.5 assists per game may look fairly average for a perennial All-Star, his 1.7 steals per game and 3.1 blocks per game definitely stand out.
Olajuwon is the only player in NBA history with at least 2,000 career steals and 2,000 career blocks.
His most impressive stat lines came during the 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons, during which he played in all 82 games both times. He averaged 24.8 points per game, 13.5 rebounds per game, 1.8 assists per game, 2.6 steals per game and 3.4 blocks per game in the 1988-89 season, and 24.3 points per game, 14 rebounds per game, 2.9 assists per game, 2.1 steals per game and 4.6 blocks per game in 1989-90.
Clearly, if these three men were teammates, they would dominate the league with their athletic abilities and ungodly numbers they would be sure to put up.
These three men are definitely not regarded as the best athletes to ever step foot on an NBA court. Quite frankly, they didn’t need athleticism.
Each one of these men possessed flawless fundamentals and had such a natural feel for the game, that they'd beat you with their brains and not their athletic ability.
Could you imagine how smoothly a game would run if these three men were on the court at the same time?
Sure, it’s highly doubtful that this threesome would put on as entertaining of a show as some of the other threesomes on this list; however, I can guarantee that maybe only one would play as smooth of a game as these three former champions.
Never mind the fact that scoring against this trio of behemoths would be more difficult than trying to lift one of them up, could you imagine trying to stop this trio with the ball in their hands.
Granted, their ball handling skills would be worse than a majority of their opponents, as none of them were renowned for their guard skills. However, imagine the three of them in the post together and the ball in their hands.
Given the small chance that one of them would not overpower his opponent and stuff the ball straight down his throat, he’d have a teammate standing by either side of him who would do just that.
After all, the amount of power and strength each one of these giants possessed or possesses has been unmatched by any other players who has stepped foot on an NBA court.
Carter, Irving and Wilkins were all mainly known for one thing and one thing only: their dunking abilities.
All three of them revolutionized the concept of dunking with their creativity in mid-air.
Had they been able to team together, I’m sure they’d try anything and everything to one up one another with their in-game dunks, and that would be something special for the fans to watch.
The combination of athleticism, speed and creativity would be unparalleled by any other threesome on this list.
Drexler, widely known for his athleticism and scoring ability would put on a clinic with his variety of moves and his dunking ability.
Known for his speed and his crossover, Iverson would entertain the crowd by blowing through his opponents and finishing strong at the basket.
Finally, Maravich would leave the crowd breathless with his creativity and willingness to find the open man.
With the three of them together, it’d be hard to find a more entertaining show then this one.
It’s probably because I’m a huge fan of defense that this trio is ranked so high, but one cannot deny how successful this trio would be together.
Widely regarded as the best post defender, perimeter defender and defensive point guard respectively, it would be extremely hard for any combination of players to score on these three tenacious defenders.
The fact that all three of these players were no slouches on offense either would definitely help their cause in any game they played.
So would Payton’s trash talking!
Showtime is back, and better then ever!
Just picture the greatest show in basketball being ran by the same point guard, except this time around, he’s got two of the most athletic and talents players to ever touch a basketball on each side.
It’s hard to picture this without drooling over the possibilities of the entertainment that would be made available to us.
It would take a miracle for this trio to lose even just one game!