The NBA season is in full gear and even though there’ve only been a handful of games played, we have a decent idea of how good each team is and what their capabilities are. Some things have changed (the Lakers are pretty good and super fun to watch now) and some things remain the same (the Sixers are still tanking, but this time on accident! Maybe!), but nothing is set in stone.
Some teams doing well right now could implode later on and some teams that are full on dumpster fires could get better (probably not the Wizards). The NBA is a fickle mistress and you never know which way things are gonna go. However, the one thing we can for sure analyze is talent. There’s currently a surge of very talented, very promising young players in the Association and they’re making their presences felt. Karl-Anthony Towns is establishing himself as an All-NBA level player, D’Angelo Russell is excelling in the absence of Kobe Bryant, and Giannis Antetokounmpo seems determined to run the league or die trying.
On that note, this list will be ranking the best “Big Threes” in the NBA right now, based mostly on talent, but also on general team cohesion, because a trio of lesser name players can sometimes work together better than three All-Stars.
30. Orlando Magic – Elfrid Payton, Nikola Vucevic, Serge Ibaka
Thanks to shoddy player development and managerial incompetence, the Orlando Magic have several promising young players not getting the playing time they need (FREE MARIO HEZONJA!) and their chances of winning are suffering because of it. Their Big Three is Nikola Vucevic, Serge Ibaka, and Elfrid Payton. Vucevic is a powerhouse scorer and rebounder, but he’s a lackluster defender and the team’s front court logjam is mitigating his playing time. Ibaka is one of the league’s better stretch fours, but he’s inconsistent behind the arc and his defense has fallen off a cliff. Payton is a okay defender and facilitator, but he can’t shoot and he’s wretched from the free throw line. Until the Magic start properly developing their young talent, they’re going to forever be NBA bottom feeders.
29. Brooklyn Nets – Brook Lopez, Jeremy Lin, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
The infamous trade the Brooklyn Nets made to acquire Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett continues to rear its ugly head, as the team suffers a severe lack of young talent and they don’t own the rights to their own first round pick until 2019. Their Big Three is Brook Lopez, Jeremy Lin, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Brook Lopez is a monster on offense, but he’s a subpar defender and an extreme injury liability. Jeremy Lin is a proven scorer and he may start doing dope stuff with his hair again, but he’s inconsistent. Hollis-Jefferson is a future lockdown defender, but his offensive game, particularly his three point stroke, is still developing. To their credit, the Nets have done well at building a team with their limited resources, but they can only really hope to be entertaining as they wait to crawl out of the abyss.
28. Philadelphia 76ers – Gerald Henderson, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid
You’d think that after three years of the Motown Philly Tankapalooza, the Philadelphia 76ers would have more to show for their suffering. However, due to injuries, particularly to Ben Simmons, and a general lack of talent, they’re still dancing at the bottom of the league. Their Big Three, at the moment, is Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, and Gerald Henderson. Embiid is surprisingly brilliant on offense and he’s excellent on defense, but he’s on a minutes restriction and he has a concerning injury history. Okafor is an offensive savant and a solid rebounder, but his minutes conflict with Embiid’s. Henderson is an explosive athlete and an offensive sparkplug, but he has iffy shot selection. The Sixers have too much talent not to start winning eventually, but for now, they’re tanking on accident, which feels like beautiful karma.
27. Milwaukee Bucks – Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greg Monroe, Jabari Parker
A few seasons ago, the Milwaukee Bucks were a defensive juggernaut. They challenged the Chicago Bulls in the playoffs and they seemed destined for great things. However, their defense tanked and they’re now struggling to return to form, but a lack of qualified personnel and an injury to Khris Middleton are hindering any progress. Their Big Three, at the moment, is Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, and Greg Monroe. Giannis is an otherworldly athlete and a ferocious defender, but he’s dreadful behind the arc. Monroe is a talented scorer and rebounder, but he’s kind of maybe the reason their defense fell apart. Parker is a versatile player and he’s a skilled scorer, but he’s very developing slowly. If the Bucks can get back to their defensive identity, they’ll be a threat, but that identity seems to be moving farther and farther away.
26. Sacramento Kings – Ben McLemore, DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay
The Sacramento Kings may be the most dysfunctional franchise in professional sports. Front office discord has prevented them from succeeding for years, despite a string of high lottery picks and the best center in the league. Their Big Three is DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, and Ben McLemore. Boogie is maybe the most physically dominant center since Shaq and an underrated defender, but he’s a highly volatile personality. Gay is a versatile player and a good scorer, but he’s inconsistent. McLemore is a good scorer, but he struggles with inconsistency and turnovers. With a situation as bleak as the Kings’, it’s not surprising that every player seems to be on the trading block. What are the Vegas odds that Boogie fights the entire front office before they inevitably trade him?
25. New Orleans Pelicans – Anthony Davis, E’Twaun Moore, Jrue Holiday
Another team plagued with early season injuries, particularly to Tyreke Evans, the Pelicans have been dreadful so far this season, making it nearly impossible for Anthony Davis to win games, despite Herculean efforts all over the place from The Brow. Their Big Three, at the moment, is Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, and E’Twaun Moore. Davis is constantly evolving on offense and his defense is nothing short of superb, but he’s comically prone to injury. Holiday is a great facilitator and defender, and a solid scorer, but he has an alarming injury record. Moore is a three point sniper, but he’s a sieve on defense and can’t do much else but score. Hopefully the Pellies can pull themselves together before they waste a year of Davis’ awe inspiring career.
24. Denver Nuggets – Danilo Gallinari, Emmanuel Mudiay, Nikola Jokic
Few teams have as much upside as the Denver Nuggets. The team is stacked with many promising young players and some of the most James Bond villain-y names in the NBA today (Looking at you, Jusuf Nurkic). However, before the team can climb the power rankings, they need to sort out their roster and find out who goes where. Their Big Three is Danilo Gallinari, Nikola Jokic, and Emmanuel Mudiay. Gallinari is a great scorer, but he’s a subpar defender and he has a brutal injury history. Jokic is a jack-of-all-trades on offense and his defense is sublime, but he’s still adapting to the NBA game and his minutes conflict with fellow big man Jusuf Nurkic. Mudiay is a fantastic athlete and he’s versatile as hell for a point guard, but he struggles with turnovers and he can’t shoot even a little bit. If the Nuggets ever hope to cash in on all their potential, the team needs to keep developing their young guys and cement their positions in the lineup.
23. Dallas Mavericks – Dirk Nowitzki, Harrison Barnes, Wesley Matthews
The Dallas Mavericks should be entering the home stretch of Dirk Nowitzki’s legendary career as playoff threats. However, thanks to the Mark Cuban’s love for high-end free agents and hatred of the NBA Draft, the team barely has any infrastructure in place for the future, let alone the next few years. Their Big Three is Dirk Nowitzki, Harrison Barnes, and Wesley Matthews. Dirk is still a deadly scorer, but he’s getting older and his usual lackluster defense has fallen even farther. Barnes is thriving as the team’s number one scorer, but he’s nearly useless as a passer and his defense is just plain bad. Matthews is one of the league’s best 3 and D wings, but he’s still struggling to return to form after tearing his Achilles two seasons ago. The Mavs will find order in the chaos, thanks to the genius of head coach Rick Carlisle, but if they want real success in the future, they need to take the draft seriously and start building ASAP.
22. Houston Rockets – Clint Capela, James Harden, Ryan Anderson
The good news is, Mike D’Antoni may have successfully turned James Harden into a better version of Steve Nash (With the same horrible defense!). The bad news, however, is that the rest of the team doesn’t have the same transcendent skill as Harden, making the Houston Rockets very much a one man show. Their Big Three is James Harden, Ryan Anderson, and Clint Capela. Harden is playing out of his mind on offense (28 points and 12 assists!!!), but his defense is still the basketball equivalent of a sad shrug. Anderson may be the best stretch four in the league, but he can’t really do anything other than score. Capela is an efficient scorer and he’s a good defender, but he’s a nightmare from the free throw line. The new “Seven Seconds or Less” Rockets are highly entertaining and James Harden has become even more of a box score juggernaut, but they’re going to need to add more talent if they want to get near the NBA Championship.
21. Washington Wizards – Bradley Beal, John Wall, Marcin Gortat
Has any team been more disappointing than the Washington Wizards this season? Armed with a new, offense minded head coach and one of the deadliest back courts in the NBA, the Wizards were supposed to be great. Instead, they’re floundering on both ends and their record is painful to look at. Their Big Three is John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Marcin Gortat. Wall has the best balance of scoring and facilitating of any point guard in the NBA and he’s a terrific defender, but he’s so-so behind the arc. Beal is a three point sniper and a good defender, but his right leg is made of glass and he’s on a permanent minutes restriction. Gortat is a decent scorer and a great rebounder, but he’s a defensive sieve. The Wizards play in a weak division (And a weak conference), so they could bounce back, but nothing seems to be working right now.
20. Detroit Pistons – Andre Drummond, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Reggie Jackson
The Detroit Pistons more or less seem to be trapped in a reoccurring cycle of normalcy. They’re nowhere near bad enough to be mentioned in the same breath as the Sixers or the Magic, but they’re also nowhere near good enough to be considered title threats. They’re just… ehh. Their Big Three is Andre Drummond, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Reggie Jackson. Drummond is a ridiculously efficient scorer and a monster rebounder, but he’s epically bad from the charity stripe. Caldwell-Pope is improving as three point shooter and he’s a good defender, but he’s forever inconsistent. Jackson is a dynamic scorer and a good facilitator, but he’s bad on defense and often engages in unnecessary hero ball. The Pistons need to make a big move or hope one of their high level prospects pans out, or else they’re bound for more mediocrity.
19. Phoenix Suns – Devin Booker, Eric Bledsoe, TJ Warren
In seemingly just a few games, the Phoenix Suns’ future has gone from painfully ugly to surprisingly optimistic. Many of their young centerpieces are panning out and they have a number of high level prospects developing in the meantime. Their Big Three is Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, and TJ Warren. Bledsoe has stellar versatility for a 6’1″ point guard, but his three point percentage has fallen to sub-atomic levels this season. Booker is a dynamic offensive talent with a great three point stroke, but he’s a wreck on defense, and he’s incredibly young and still needs a lot of polishing. Warren has broken out as an offensive star, but he’s prone to defensive breakdowns and he’s not much of a passer. If the Suns keep developing their Big Three, as well as guys like Dragan Bender, Alex Len, and Marquese Chriss, they could be a very tough team in the foreseeable future.
18. Miami Heat – Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside, Justise Winslow
Oh boy, the Miami Heat are painfully bad this season. They’re “Pull your hair out, make your skin crawl, slap your mother across the face” bad. As it turns out, losing two bona fide legends of the sport can have a negative effect on you. Unfortunately, the Heat didn’t have nearly as strong of a fallback plan as they thought. They’re Big Three is Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic, and Justise Winslow. Whiteside is improving as a scorer and he’s one of the best shot blockers in the NBA, but he struggles from the free throw line. Dragic is a great attacking point guard and he’s uncannily accurate for a guard, but he’s a so-so defender and he can’t seem to return to his 2013-2014 highs. Winslow is an incredible perimeter defender, but his shooting numbers have all plummeted with increased usage. The Heat will probably be alright in the long term, with Whiteside locked up long term and Pat Riley’s normal magic at work, but at the moment, they’re a Titanic level disaster.
17. Utah Jazz – Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, Rudy Gobert
Despite not having a superstar, or even an All-Star, for that matter, the Utah Jazz work together as well as any unit in the league. They’ve put together one of the stingiest defenses in the NBA and the basketball world is simply waiting for them to enter the playoff party. Their Big Three is Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Rudy Gobert. Hayward is a jack of all trades, master of none on offense and a surprisingly good rebounder, but he’s zero sum on defense. Favors is offensively versatile for a big man and he’s an excellent defender, but his minutes have been mitigated by the surplus of talent bigs on the team. Gobert is one of the best defenders in the NBA, bar none, but he’s a limited, albeit efficient, scorer. The Jazz have been knocking on the door of excellence for years, hopefully they make good on it before too long.
16. Los Angeles Lakers – D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle
Holy Toledo, Batman, the Los Angeles Lakers are really damn fun this season! Finally free of basketball tyrant and constant killjoy Byron Scott, and no longer funneling every shot into the hands of Kobe Bryant, the young team has emerged as one of the biggest surprises of the early season. Their Big Three is D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, and Jordan Clarkson. Randle is one of the best big man passers in the league and he’s broken out as a defender, but he’s somewhat limited on offense. Russell is a deadly three point shooter and a good facilitator, but he’s an ugly defender. Clarkson is a talented, efficient scorer, but he’s not much of a passer and he’s in the same boat as D-Lo on defense. With head coach Luke Walton leading the charge and a team overflowing with young talent, the post-Kobe Lakers are suddenly not such a bad place to be.
15. Charlotte Hornets – Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Nicolas Batum
Much the like the Jazz, the Charlotte Hornets have excelled as a basketball team, despite not having a superstar. They’ve built a ferocious unit by focusing on a stifling defense, shooting a steady stream of three pointers, and drinking from an infinite supply of Michael’s Secret Stuff (Space Jam references! We got ’em!). Their Big Three is Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Walker is an excellent scorer with a great three point stroke and he’s remarkably versatile for a point guard, but his defense is lackluster. Batum is a constant triple-double threat and one of the best 3 and D wings in the league, but he’s not a much of a scorer. Kidd-Gilchrist is one of the best all-around defenders in the league, but he’s comically bad on offense. In the past few seasons, the Hornets have gone from being the biggest joke in the NBA to one of its most complete, unselfish teams.
14. Oklahoma City Thunder – Russell Westbrook, Steven Adams, Victor Oladipo
The Oklahoma City Thunder were supposed to be among the NBA’s worst teams this season (Losing Kevin friggin’ Durant will do that), but through the sheer power of teamwork and (Mostly) Russell Westbrook, they’ve managed to keep themselves afloat. Whether they make the playoffs is yet to be seen, but they’re nowhere near as pitiful as some though. Their Big Three is Russell Westbrook, Steven Adams, and Victor Oladipo. Russy is a triple-double factory and an extremely underrated defender, but he’s the king of unnecessary hero ball and is a downright bad three point shooter. Adams is a great defender and maybe the best goon in the league, but he’s so-so on offense. Oladipo is a dynamic scorer with an improved three point stroke and he’s fairly versatile, but he’s a minus on defense and can be inconsistent. As long as the Thunder have Super Saiyan 13 Russll Westbrook, they’ll win games, but they’re gonna need more firepower if they hope to return to their past highs.
13. New York Knicks – Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, Kristaps Porzingis
Although not the super team Derrick Rose claimed them to be, the New York Knicks are actually a functional NBA team with many NBA level players on their payroll (It’s the rarest occurrence on planet Earth) and that alone should be enough to excite the Knicks’ long tortured fan base. Their Big Three is Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, and Derrick Rose. Anthony is still one of the NBA’s best scorers and an underrated defender, but he’s also still one of the league’s worst practitioners of unnecessary hero ball. Prozingis can shoot from anywhere on the court and his defense keeps getting better, but the team often forgets or flat out ignores him on offense. Rose is still a great attacking point guard and he’s better than usual behind the arc this season, but he’s useless on defense and he’s a massive injury liability. The Knicks will be up and down all season, with the specter of Phil Jackson muttering something pointless about the Triangle, but if they can cement their game plan and come together, they’ll be able to put up a fight every night.
12. Indiana Pacers – Jeff Teague, Myles Turner, Paul George
The Indiana Pacers are a strange beast. Team President Larry Bird has stated he wants the squad to play fast, but he hired Nate McMillan, a coach who’s never had a fast team in his career, to stalk the sidelines. Despite this conflict of interests, and the team’s early season struggles, the Pacers are still a very talented, young team. Their Big Three is Paul George, Myles Turner, and Jeff Teague. Paul George has excellent versatility and he’s on fire behind the arc this season, but his defense has fallen off a bit. Turner has improved leaps and bounds on offense and his defense is great, but his three point stroke is still a work in progress. Teague is one of the best attacking point guards in the league, but his field goal percentage has plummeted and he’s a bad defender. The Pacers may overcome their early season struggles, the Eastern conference makes that easy, and they’ll definitely score a lot of points, but they’re gonna need some return to their defensive roots to be great.
11. Boston Celtics – Al Horford, Avery Bradley, Isaiah Thomas
More so than maybe any team on the rise, the Boston Celtics are standing on the precipice of contention. They have have one of the best head coaches in the NBA, a duo of All-Stars, and a fleet of talented players (Plus, roughly six million young guards) ready to bring one of the association’s most revered franchises back to glory. Their Big Three is Al Horford, Isaiah Thomas, and Avery Bradley. Horford is one of the most balanced big men in the league, but he’s struggled with injuries so far this season. Thomas is a killer scorer and an underrated passer, but he’s a defensive black hole. Bradley is one of the best perimeter defenders in the league and his three point stroke has fully blossomed, but he’s a subpar passer. The Celtics have gone all out to build a competitive, balanced team, now they need to execute and go for broke.
10. Portland Trail Blazers – C.J. McCollum, Damian Lillard, Mason Plumlee
The Portland Trail Blazers are the NBA’s favorite underdogs. Summer of 2015, they lost four of their five starters and the team was left with a very determined Damian Lillard, and a roster of role players and cast-offs. Despite that mass exodus, the Blazers have refused to be bad, fighting tooth and nail every single game. Their Big Three is Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, and Mason Plumlee. Lillard is one of the NBA’s best scorers, but he doesn’t care at all about defense and he’s fallen as a passer. McCollum is also an incredible, and efficient scorer, but he’s in the same boat as Dame on defense. Plumlee is a high energy guy and a good rim protector, but he plays a minuscule role on offense. What the Blazers have managed to do on the fly with limited resources is impressive and they may be one great big man away from being true contenders.
9. Chicago Bulls – Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler, Rajon Rondo
The Chicago Bulls weren’t supposed to be as good as they’ve been. With three non-shooting guards leading the team, and a lack of established talent on the rest of the roster, their offense was supposed to collapse under itself. Instead, they’ve been one of the Eastern Conference’s best teams. Their Big Three is Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade, and Rajon Rondo. Butler is scoring like a maniac, his three point stroke has never been better, and his defense is still great. Wade has, inexplicitly, become a good three point shooter and he’s playing solid defense, but his well documented injury history looms over the team. Rondo is still a good passer and defender, but his assist numbers have fallen and his shooting numbers are dismal across the board. Although their success may be early season luck or the product of a light schedule, the Bulls has thus far been much better than anyone gave them a chance to be and they deserve credit for that.
8. Memphis Grizzlies – Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, Zach Randolph
Speaking of teams that refuse to go gently into that good night (Poetry! Words!), the Memphis Grizzlies heard the trash everyone was speaking about them and they’re very mad. Everyone’s favorite practitioners of Grit ‘n’ Grind, the Griz have managed to somewhat evolve their archaic offense while keeping their stifling defense, making them big time dangerous. Their Big Three is Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, and Zach Randolph. Gasol has vastly improved his three point stroke and he’s still a tremendous defender, but he’s also still not much of a rebounder. Conley, the $150 Million Dollar Man, has been scoring at a higher clip than ever and he’s on fire behind the arc, but he’s a lackluster facilitator. Randolph has been an excellent sparkplug as the sixth man, but he’s clearly on the down slope of his career. The Grizzlies have finally adapted, but they’ve also proved that their way of winning isn’t completely obsolete, and with any luck, they’ll be major players again this season.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves – Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Zach LaVine
The creme of the crop in terms of potential, the Minnesota Timberwolves have amassed a startling amount of incredible young talent over the past few years. They may have the best group of young players since the Thunder had Durant, Westbrook, and Harden all at once (That’s high praise). And best of all, they’ve hired coaching maestro Tom Thibodeau to lead them. Their Big Three is Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and Zach LaVine. Towns is versatile and efficient on offense, his three point stroke has improved, and his defense is great. Wiggins has exploded as a scorer this season and his shooting numbers are all improving, but he’s still not much of a passer. LaVine has also burst forth as a realistic scoring option and he’s out of this world athletic, but scoring is about all he can do right now. The T-Wolves’ prospects haven’t been as bright as they are right now since the days of prime Kevin Garnett and if they keep going, they’ll be knocking on the door of contention in no time.
6. Atlanta Hawks – Dennis Schroder, Dwight Howard, Paul Millsap
Even though the nickname “The Spurs of the East” is a little cringe worthy, as the Spurs are the benchmark of a how franchise should be run, there’s no denying that the Atlanta Hawks have excelled playing the same selfless team ball the Spurs have mastered. Their Big Three is Paul Milsap, Dwight Howard, and Dennis Schroder. Milsap is as versatile as any forward in the league and his defense is superb, but he’s not meant to be the primary scorer on a team. Howard is rebounding like an absolute beast and his defense is back to its Orlando highs, but he’s not scoring much and his free throw woes continue. Schroder is doing well as a third scoring option and facilitator in an extended role, but he’s super inconsistent and his defense is merely okay. The Hawks managed to lose Al Horford and continue to be as good, if not better, than they were last season, so it’s safe to say that Hawks’ brain trust knows exactly what it takes to win games and be great.
5. San Antonio Spurs – Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol
The San Antonio Spurs have entered uncharted territory. For the first time in nineteen years, they don’t have the steady brilliance of Tim Duncan leading them on the court. Fortunately, despite losing an all time great, the Spurs machine seems to be chugging along just fine. Their Big Three is Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Adridge, and Pau Gasol. Leonard is one of the most efficient shooters in the league, he’s scoring more than ever, and he’s still the best defender on the planet. Aldridge is a great scorer and his three point stroke is getting better, but he’s a zero sum defender and his rebounding has fallen off. Gasol is shooting well and his rim protection is great, but he’s not scoring much and his pick and roll defense is ugly. The Spurs will still win fifty plus games, they’ll probably still make a deep run into the postseason, and they’ll keep being the best run franchise in professional sports, even without the Big Fundamental at the helm.
4. Toronto Raptors – DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas
The Toronto Raptors have been languishing around the top of the Eastern Conference for the past few seasons, but they haven’t been able to turn their regular season wins into playoff success, despite having one of the most talented back courts in the league. Their Big Three is DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, and Jonas Valanciunas. DeRozan has been the best scorer in the NBA so far and he’s been (mostly) accurate, but his three point stroke is still dismal and his defense isn’t very good. Lowry is defending well and facilitating better than ever, but his shooting numbers are just awful. Valanciunas isn’t wasting any shots and he’s rebounding like a monster, but he’s not scoring very much and his rim protection is just okay. The Raptors may be in for a fight this season, as the top of the Eastern Conference has improved, but they have all the tools necessary to reclaim their runner-up spot.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers – Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James
“What!?” You yell angrily at your computer. “The reigning NBA champions are only third one this stupid list!? What kind of treachery is this!?” Yes, the Cleveland Cavaliers are the reigning champs, and as good as their team is, it’s not perfect, and its flaws are being hidden with copious amounts of King James. Their Big Three is LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love. LeBron is still scoring at will, his defense is still excellent, and he’s facilitating better than ever before. Irving is posting the best scoring numbers of his career and his shooting numbers are all up, but he’s still not a great passer and his defense is wretched. Love seems to be back to his old self as a scorer and rebounder, but his shooting numbers are cringe worthy and his pick and roll defense is comically bad. The Cavs aren’t budging from the top of the Eastern Conference and whatever cracks their team has, King James is the best contingency plan in the sport.
2. Los Angeles Clippers – Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan
Holy crap, the Los Angeles Clippers are taking no prisoners this season. On paper, they have one of the most diverse, talented teams in the NBA, and they’re no strangers to regular season glory, but it feels like this could finally (Finally!) be the year they translate that success into something substantial in the playoffs. Their Big Three is Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, and DeAndre Jordan. Griffin is dominating on offense and his defense has been phenomenal, but his three point percentage has hit rock bottom. Paul is shooting well, he’s scoring in bunches, and his defense is incredible. Jordan is stupidly accurate as a scorer and his rim protection is excellent, but he’s dreadful from the free throw line. The Clippers have long been the laughingstock of the NBA and if they want to get rid of that moniker, they have to utilize the stunning amount of talent they have and finally capture the NBA Championship.
1. Golden State Warriors – Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry
Did you really expect anyone else to be at the top of this list? Regardless of your feelings on Kevin Durant’s defection from Oklahoma City, the new look Warriors are one of the most potent, world destroying units to ever step foot on an NBA court. Their Big Three is Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson. Curry is hands down the best shooter in the NBA (And all time) and he’s an underrated defender, but his passing numbers have gone down despite decreased usage. Durant is one of the most efficient, productive scorers in NBA history, he’s versatile as hell, and his defense is solid. Thompson is a deadly third option on offense and he’s a great perimeter defender, but he’s been uncharacteristically bad behind the arc. The Warriors may have come out of the gate slow, but they’re heating up and with all the talent they have, they’ll be neigh-impossible to stop come playoff time.
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