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Warriors roundtable attempts to rank top 5 backcourt, fails miserably

So we turn to GSOM polls as a proxy

NBA: Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors
this picture makes me feel things
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

So, Paul Pierce is now an announcer, and he uttered the complete nonsense that the Washington Wizards have the best backcourt in the NBA. Of course my initial response is “who cares what Paul Pierce thinks” but the second reaction (at least for me) was to honestly start to put them all in order...because for me, the Wizards backcourt isn’t even second best.

The idea was to have a GSOM roundtable discussion, but instead we just argued about the Rockets and Chris Paul. Perhaps the poll at the end of this article will provide some answers but I thought even though we failed miserably in our ranking project, the discussion was interesting.

Greg Thomas really started this idea when he wrote in our authors chat:

“Debated and deconstructed - The top 5 backcourts in the NBA” - Ranked by our NBA GSoM panelists

As we do, we all went off. Expounding on our rationale and evidence for various rankings. One truth that is readily apparent from our internal discussion is that Harden is the clear #2 (unless you listen to Charlie)- but it then becomes a question of ranking that partner. But a problem quickly emerged. It wasn’t just lack of consensus, there was a basic lack of agreement on definitions and ranking. These aren’t settled questions, but that never stops any of us from having robust opinions on the subject. Here are some select portions of our rambling “Roundtable.”

Ivan - I kinda think Harden is good enough that they might be second, regardless of whether CP3 meshes well with him. Maybe that’s going too far, I dunno.

[A]n exercise: where would you rank them as separated pairs, with their mate being average-ish? Like… CP3 + Gary Harris, Harden + Elfrid Payton? (I’m probably dramatically mis-characterizing those other guys as “average-ish”). Like I might have Wall and Beal over either of those pairs, but I kinda think Harden + Payton is just better, because Harden has so much going on.

Brady - So much depends on fit, I think. I had Houston and LAC as in the 3-5 range for backcourts last year, but Beverley and Redick were ridiculously good fits alongside those two. So I guess.....I think Harden with a guard who can shoot and defend would be the best non-GSW backcourt in the league.

goldbloodedking - so basically not cp3?

brady - CP3 can shoot and defend brilliantly, so I'd say he's a perfect fit IF he's willing to up his tempo but I think where they will struggle is with Harden playing off ball. He's so good, but he is not a good off-ball player.

nate - He just needs to be willing to have the ball in his hands less...and give it up quicker when he does have it. Chews up way too much shot clock just pounding the ball into the floor

greg - I think the key to a successful back-court is the on court chemistry, how they play off each other and how they individually thrive when the other is off the court. We've never regarded CP3 to be part of "best back-court" arguement while he was with New Orleans or Clippers even though he's been in the top 10 players for most of that tenure.

goldbloodedking - would you say harden and bev were 2nd best last year?

duby - no way

goldbloodedking - as bev def defends and can shoot 3s pretty well

duby - I'd definitely take Portland or the Wizards over the Rockets last year. If we are talking full backcourt and not just most power.

The problem with Bev is that his number one job on offense is just to stay the hell out of Harden's way. I don't know how to rank these tandems as a pair, or singularly, but just looking at talent , it can't be Bev.

Now for this year? Gotta be Harden and CP3.

Harden mostly carries his backcourt to the #2 rank by himself. Even if CP isn't an ideal fit, it's just soooooo much damn talent

bradyk2 - @goldbloodedking I think very debatably. Definitely should have been in the conversation. Harden last year was waaaaaaaay better than Wall/Lillard/Lowry, so even though Beverly was worse than Beal/CJ I think the overall value and impact was similar or probably better.

It's worth noting regarding Harden/Beverly: Houston was probably a top-4 team last year. Way better than Washington or Portland. But that team was essentially nothing other than Harden (okay, slight exaggeration, but you get the point). Harden's annoying style translated to wins better than Wall/Beal or Dame/CJ, which, ultimately, is what it's all about.

thomas -For the sake of argument... Lowry/DeRozan?

charlie - love the discussion. still got wall/beal

bradyk2 - I have such a hard time ranking Toronto. I am ridiculously high on Lowry and ridiculously low on DeRozan, and the fit is just so bizarre. So I'd put them behind Washington and Portland.

Duby - I think DeRozan is a legit threat though. Yeah, he could be more efficient, but he's still one of the most dynamic 2's in the league

greg - But then, do you consider a great backcourt if the dominant player A is so valuable and elite that it hides the flaws and standalone value of player B in that tandem? Then why were CP3 and Reddick never in that debate before?

goldbloodedking - @greg or russ and trash can

duby - @greg that was my question too (but about Harden and Bev). I'm not sure how much to weight overall talent, vs. player A and then Player B

goldbloodedking - Why does no one mention Michael Jordan and BJ Armstrong as the greatest backcourt of all time?

thomas - FUN WITH NUMBERS-- according to Basketball Reference last season, the best backcourt combo in terms of net points (which seems like the best-ish way of evaluating offense and defense) that did not play in Oakland, California was CP3 and JJ Reddick.

goldbloodedking -Any system that has Chris Paul and JJ Redick as number 2 is clearly flawed unless it's in a fan disappointment ranking.


What is the best backcourt in the NBA?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    (45 votes)
  • 4%
    (23 votes)
  • 3%
    (17 votes)
  • 82%
    So wrong. All wrong. (answer in comments)
    (406 votes)
491 votes total Vote Now



This poll is closed

  • 26%
    (108 votes)
  • 48%
    (200 votes)
  • 16%
    (68 votes)
  • 8%
    (36 votes)
412 votes total Vote Now


Third-best backcourt in the NBA?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    (70 votes)
  • 34%
    (120 votes)
  • 13%
    (46 votes)
  • 32%
    (113 votes)
349 votes total Vote Now


fourth-best backcourt?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    (89 votes)
  • 25%
    (83 votes)
  • 40%
    (130 votes)
  • 6%
    (20 votes)
322 votes total Vote Now


and fifth best backcourt in the NBA?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    (41 votes)
  • 44%
    (136 votes)
  • 19%
    (61 votes)
  • 22%
    (68 votes)
306 votes total Vote Now

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