NBA / Jan 21, 2010 / 1:00 pm

The 5 Best Backcourts In The NBA

Rajon Rondo (photo. Christian Kozowyk)

The best one-two punches on a team aren’t always a big man paired with a small guard. Sure Stockton and Malone and Magic and Kareem, were two of the greatest combos in league history. But the league has had some pretty damn good backcourts over the years, from Isiah and Joe Dumars to Chauncey and Rip.

Today, there are several teams that have some stacked backcourts. I decided to rank the five best point guard and shooting guard combos in the league. The criteria is based on everything from combined stats to talent. Two guys who can carry your team for the whole 48 minutes and are dangerous at the end of games. It’s not necessarily the starting backcourts for teams, but rather, the two best guards on the team that usually finish games together.

1. Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen (Celtics): Allen and Rondo have worked well together for the past three seasons. Rondo (14 ppg, 9.6 apg, 2.51 spg) is the young, fast guard who can blow past defenders and either get his own shot or kick it out to a shooter. He is having an All-Star season and because of his versatility on both sides of the ball, he can dominate a game without scoring much. Allen (16.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.8 apg) is a veteran with a silky smooth shooting stroke and is cold as ice in crunch time. His experience and knowledge of the game gives him an advantage on his opponents. Together, they provide nightmares for the opposition and will be extremely dangerous come playoff time.

2. Jamal Crawford and Joe Johnson (Hawks): When you face the Atlanta Hawks, you better be ready to get buckets dropped on you all night. These multi-skilled offensive weapons can each break you down off the dribble, hit jump shots from anywhere on the court and can score in transition. Together they combine for 38.3 ppg. Johnson (21.2 ppg, 4.9 apg, 4.9 rpg) is a strong guard, who can not only score but get his teammates involved. Crawford (17.1 ppg and 2.8 apg), who was just acquired in the summer, was been one of the NBA’s best sixth men and has sparked the Hawks with his clutch shooting.

3. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili (Spurs): Even though a lot of people might argue that Parker and Ginobili’s play have declined a little bit, they are still two players I would hate to face at the end of games. Parker (16.8 ppg, 5.5 apg) can shoot and get in the lane and score, whether it’s a floater over a big man or a crafty reverse layup. Ginobili (12.7 ppg, 4.5 apg, 3.4 rpg) is a unique offensive talent. He’s got all the dribble moves to get to the hole, and can also kill you with fade-aways and long range threes. He’s not scared to take big shots and even has some point guard skills.

4. Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher (Lakers): This is kind of a lopsided combo. Kobe is one of the best players in the NBA right now and Fisher is an aging point guard. But come playoff time, they will be the same dangerous backcourt that we’ve seen win four NBA chips together – assuming Kobe’s healthy. Bryant (28.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.5 apg) has been dominating the league all year and has closed out several games this season. Fisher’s (7.1 ppg, 2.7 apg) numbers have dipped, but he’s still somebody who’s got experience and like Robert Horry, is capable of knocking down big shots in the playoffs.

5. Steve Nash and Jason Richardson (Suns): The Suns have been losing as of late, but Nash and Richardson are still one of the best backcourts in the league. Nash (18.6 ppg, 11.2 apg) is the distributing point guard who can create shots both inside and out. Richardson (15.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg) is an athletic guard, who can slash and hit a three. When they are both on their games, they can put up points in bunches and in a hurry.

Honorable Mention: Eric Gordon and Baron Davis (Clippers), Jason Kidd and Jason Terry (Mavs), Tyreke Evans and Kevin Martin (Kings), Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich (Bulls).

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  • control

    So, you think a guard who you can use “Hack-a-Shaq” strategy on is 50% of the best back court in the league? Rondo is the worst shooter in the NBA, how can he be part of the best back court in the NBA? And you say he can “get his own shot” like he can actually shoot from outside the paint. Come on man, this article is just pure irresponsible recklessness.

  • BiG ShoT BoB

    Stephon Curry and Monta Ellis

  • dagwaller

    Hard to leave your 3/4/5 picks up here when I think you could just as easily have put any of your honorable mentions in.

  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla

    Curry and Ellis should be top 5.

    Kobe and Fisher?!?!?!?!?!?! WTF!
    If that’s the case then give me DWade and Chalmers anyday over those two.

    What about
    Vince and Jameer, J-Dub
    Derrick, Kirk, John Salmons

  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla

    also, Brandon Roy/ Andre Miller/Steve Blake

  • AdvancedMind

    Yea really?
    Dark Elf and Ray “I cant shoot off the dribble” Allen are better then Crawford and Johnson?
    Rondo may be the most overratted player next to Andrew Bynum alltime in basketball history. Those arent even coming close to Parker and Manu, Nash and JayRich.
    By the way any back court with D fish on it, shouldnt ever be mention as top 5. Id actually respect it more if you just put Kobe by hisself on that list, that would be the best back court.
    Kobe and who ever else

  • AdvancedMind

    By the way Rondo’s flowers shirt clears up alot of what i thought about his sexuality.

  • Name (required)

    Chauncy an JR in Denver?

  • Randomized

    Why do writers on this site seem to LOVE Rondo so much? I have watched him play a lot and I dont understand what is so good about him. He seems like a primadonna as well as being so horrible at shooting that its almost an asset because teams dont care about guarding him and he gets free regin.

    How does that make him (from what this article infers) the best point guard in the leauge? Can some explain it?

  • BiG ShoT BoB

    @Randomized: Easy Check out his numbers compared to the best guards in the league. Check out Boston’s record despite Rondo being the only healthy guy on the team all year.

  • K Dizzle

    @ Dagwaller – good point. On any given day, the bottom 3 can easily be replaced.

    How about Top 5 “Shoulda Been Better Backcourts”?

    1) Aaron Brooks and TMac
    2)Vince and Jameer
    3)Chauncey and JR
    4)Gil and Caron…..oh wait
    5)DWill and Ronnie Brewer

  • BiG ShoT BoB

    Not to mention the point guard being the most important position in baskletball. Unlike any other sport except maybe the quaterback in football the success of the team depends on the success of your point guard.

  • http://dimemag.com Dime Magazine


    “get his own shot” doesn’t mean shooting outside jumpers (though he has improved his midrange game). He can get to the basket and get his points through layups and short jumpers. He shoots 52 percent. Yeah he can’t shoot FTs, but him and Allen have solid playoff experience and are a tough combo together.

    You have a point about Kobe, but Fish is clutch and has proven he can come up big every playoffs. Chalmers hasn’t proven he can do that. We’ll see how Skip does. If he’s anything like he was in Orlando, they could maybe be in the Top 5

    never said he was the best point guard in the NBA and no I’m not in love with Rondo. But he is getting better and better every year. Ray Allen and him are opposites, but because of what they each bring to the table, I think they are the best one-two backcourt combos in the L

  • Brown

    Denver should definitely be on this list. Houston too. Give them a couple more years and OKC will be on this list too.

  • Randomized


    His numbers are not really that impressive when you watch the game. I also read a few posts the other day about different positions and how they relate to success, I think it was ballin’s post, and the Lakers succuess last year without a good point guard seem to mean that just because you have a good record, you dont have a good point guard.

    What does he do that any other point guard put in his position couldnt do? I think Boston would still be sucessful with almost any point guard who passes first and is somewhat quick

  • colincb

    The article doesn’t imply that Rondo’s the best PG in the NBA.

  • control

    Dime Magazine (I’m assuming Gerald)

    All valid points. Rondo’s midrange game can ONLY improve because it was so bad that it couldn’t have got any worse.

    Even with all of those points, is he essentially good enough that you can HONESTLY say he’s 50% of the BEST back court in the league? Rayray has fallen quite a bit, so it’s not like he’s carrying Rondo (like Kobe is obviously carrying Fisher in this discussion).

    Steve Nash is probably the best point guard in the league right now, and Jason Richardson isn’t exactly a scrub by any means (cept when he plays LeBron). There has to be some hidden metric that I don’t understand that is causing you to say Rondo/Rayray is better than Nash/Jason…

  • Blaze

    whatever backcourt that has chris paul in it…

  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla


    yeah i’m not sure i’m understanding the logic either. Rondo and Ray are borderline all-stars, while Nash is a MVP candidate and Jay-rich is good for 16pts and some spotty defense. BRoy and Dre Miller have to be considered better than Rondo and Allen. I’m sure if Danny Ainge was offered Brandon Roy and Dre, for Rondo and Ray ray, no way he turns that down. No effin way.

  • Nautic

    I agree with #1, Rondo cannot “create his own shot” his jumper is not reliable enough. He can drive and occassionaly hit a floater or a jump shot but his points come off drives and freethrows more than jumpshots. and for Kobe and Fisher, as a combined backcourt, they are too lopsided. You could even argue a Wade and Alston/Chalmers backcourt is just as good as Kobe/Fisher based on the lopsided logic…With that being Said Ginobli/Parker, Nash/Richardson, Crawford/Johnson, Evans/Martin, Curry/Ellis, Davis/Godron, Rose/Hinrich or Rose/Salmons are tougher to face than other teams. You could also put up Westbrook/Durant or Harden/Durant since Harden plays pg sometimes and Durant plays sg sometimes too…

  • AdvancedMind

    Well allow me to name the best Defensive back court
    Westbrook and Sefalosha.

  • Detroit Dave

    Nick Van Exel and Eddie Jones vs Tim Hardaway and Sprewell

  • Detroit Dave

    Nick Van Exel and Eddie Jones vs Tim Hardaway and Sprewell

  • srb

    Since when does “shot” mean long range? He gets to the rim for his shots, and has a high percentage. And yes, he creates them. Opposing players have to give him space outside the paint so he doesn’t blow by them, and he’s hitting the mid range shot more frequently this season to make it harder and harder for teams to give him that space.

    control you can’t talk about “irresponsible recklessness” when you ignore every part of Rondo’s game that makes him effective. Stop acting like everyone is saying he’s better than Kobe and pay attention.

  • control


    Read my post 17. Do you think him and Rayray are better than Stevie and Jason? If so, what causes you to think that? Defenders are giving him that space because he’s absolutely useless outside of 10-12ft. His FG%s are high because he scores where a center scores, but he also shoots free throws as bad as the worst centers in the league.

    Basically all I’m saying is that Rondo can be replaced by almost any point guard in the NBA and Boston will be just fine. Other than his exceptional speed (and he’s still slower than TP/DRose/Arron Brooks IMO), he doesn’t really bring that much to the table. If you think he DOES bring shit to the table, then by all means share it with the world, cause I sure as hell don’t see it.

  • srb

    He brings 14 points, almost 10 assists, great rebounding from a point guard. He forces teams to worry about penetration and how to stop him, when there are potentially four all-stars on the court they’re already worried about stopping. He brings defensive awareness that punishes teams who aren’t paying attention to their ball movement. He brings exceptional fast-break offense.

    These are all things I’ve mentioned many times. If you watch the games it’s pretty clear that he’s a weapon.

    We get it, he choked on the free throw line when it cost his team the game. He’s not a shooter, either. And he has an ego that can be annoying.

    Stop saying he’s nothing, or that he’s useless, or that he offers nothing to a team. It’s blatantly not true.

  • mules

    I’m sorry but Rondo’s FT% alone knocks the celts backcourt out of the top 5. You should not be worried about opponents sending your PG to the line at the end of close games.

  • @

    I HATE Rondo. I think he’s a punk. But that said, I can’t argue with effectiveness. He does do things that other PGs can’t. He’s fast, efficient, and gets a ton of steals. Even with his terrible shooting he can carry the scoring load once in awhile.

    I can’t argue much about Fish being up there either. He’s old, slow and can’t play D, but he is clutch and has the experience that gives him an edge in important games/playoffs.

    Curry and Ellis is pretty much like Evans and KMart. Each pair may add up to a ton of talent between them, but they are not feared because they haven’t shown that they can work together yet. We’ll see.

  • @

    @ mules… so would you also say that Shaq’s free throw shooting (or Dwight’s) immediately puts him out of the running for best frontcourt of all time? Or even best center of all time for that matter?

  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla


    Your saying Rondo is a top flight Pg and Control is pointing out why he’s not a top flight Pg. Your arguments only support Rondo’s potiential and not his actual game. He can’t shoot, doesn’t matter if it’s getting better or not, bottom line is he can’t shoot. Rondo’s probably the worst shooting starting Pg(or SG for that matter) in the NBA. He rebounds because everyone clears out for him to get the board, not because he boxes out and gets clutch rebounds. He doesn’t get “traffic” rebounds. He does play good defense, but so does Russell Westbrook. Rondo doesn’t do anything special, and I think that’s the point control is trying to make. Nothing special = not a top 5 back court.

    Nash = special
    CP3= Special
    DRose= special
    DWill= special

    Rondo= potientially special if he could shoot. but so is Corey and Ronnie Brewer.

  • control


    Why do you think he gets rebounds so easily? Maybe because other teams don’t bother boxing him out at all because they don’t play close enough to him to box him out? He gets a high assist count because as you said, he’s playing with 4 guys who have been to all star games beside himself. Teams aren’t drawing up their defensive plans thinking “we gotta stop Rondo”, they already know how to stop Rondo, let him fucking shoot the open shot.

    It’s not that he offers nothing to the team, it’s the fact that he is so easily replaceable that it’s a joke. Also, with his shooting outside of 10ft being so bad that most high school kids could beat him playing HORSE…I just don’t think he should be considered a legit ‘top tier’ point guard until he can master the most basic fundamental of basketball: shooting.

    It also pisses me off that people compare him to Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Deron Williams, etc. He’s NOT on their level (though his ego says he’s better) and if you traded any of those players with Rondo, Boston would rape the fuck out of any team out there and probably snag a few more chips.

  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla


    Yes Shaq is up there because he does other things. He is a good passer, he can score, blk shots, rebound (in traffic), and stop the other team from getting lay-ups.

  • control


    Talking about a PG vs a C is apples and oranges. Not many centers are going to be bringing the ball up in clutch situations in which they will easily get fouled. I believe Shaq and Dwight both shoot free throws better as well. Not to mention they have both throughout there careers been completely crucified for being 50-65% at the FT line…why would Rondo get a free pass in that regard?

  • http://heckler@aol.com Heckler

    devin harris and courtney lee….errr….do win totals count?!!?


  • control

    Jeez, fucked up grammar good on my 33 post…

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    Again, consider that Rondo’s best work has been done mostly WITHOUT Garnett. And you could say ‘Sheed is an “All-Star,” but we all know dude is running on fumes. Ray hasn’t been great this year, either. Just saying, Rondo deserves more credit than he gets. Everybody either automatically writes Rondo off because of his shooting or because he plays with superstar teammates. Focus more on what he can do than what he can’t; I don’t see anybody saying J-Kidd sucks because he can’t shoot.

  • mules

    @ @says, I wouldn’t say FT% is as important a stat for big men…how often is anyone inbounding the ball to Shaq or Dwight at the end of a tight game? You generally want to get the ball to your primary ball handler (or at least someone with enough handles/speed to break a press).

  • mules

    @ Austin
    Kidd is shooting 40.5% from 3 and just under 77.8% from the line…..compared to Rondo’s 18.4% and 58.7% he’s Mark Price

  • jditty

    Curry Ellis should definitely be in there. Aren’t they the highest scoring back court in the league this year?? Also, Crawford doesn’t start, so shouldn’t be considered.

  • mules

    ^Crawford may not start but he definitely finishes…he’s gotta be considered.

  • http://dimemag.com Dime Magazine

    This is Gerald


    In my criteria, they didn’t necessarily have to start. They just had to be a combo that played the majority of the game together and finished games. Monta and Ellis are nice but Curry hasn’t proved anything yet. In time maybe, but not now

  • srb

    Austin I’ll one up you, and tell people to consider that his work has mostly been done WITH scalabrine and tony allen logging heavy minutes.

    I never said Rondo was a great rebounder, he’s great for a point guard. He does the same thing Jason Kidd made a killing off his entire career so far, which is starting the fast break with his rebounds.

  • @

    But for you to say that because of his FT% alone, he instantly cannot be considered for the number 1 spot, is ignorant.

  • Sacto_J

    Back to the point of best back court – I have to throw my 2 cents towards Kevin Martin and Tyreke Evans. It’s still pretty raw, but I think it has the potential to beat the crap out of the others listed by some and has been pretty good over the last few games….

  • BiG ShoT BoB

    Say what you want. Bring all the Rondo hate out until you turn blue in the face. Bottom line is he’s making the allstar team this year and that speaks for itself.

  • http://www.petsocietyhelp.com Pet Society Help

    Randy Brown and Jud Bucheler.

  • Scoty

    Monta and Curry should of at least got a mention

  • Ian

    the suns backcourt is better than the celtics.
    wade and chalmers should be better together than kobe and fisher i mean if those backcourts played a 2 on 2 thats a lot for kobe to make up fisher would be destroyed.
    rondo?? im not on the hate side but you guys are really overrating him.

    jamal crawford and joe johnson number 2?? nah.

  • fred a stair

    whoa what about dwill/brewer and curry/ellis???

  • RC

    Rodney Stuckey a.k.a fiddy cent jr.
    Ben Gordon a.k.a Vern Troyer of the NBA

    Theyre not top 5 but they aight.

  • ab_40

    raymond felton and stephen jackson

    gilbert arenas and nick young… oh wait

    Tracy Mcgrady and Aaron Brooks… too bad

    Dwayne Wade and Rafer Alston

  • AdvancedMind

    @ 45

    Iverson is making the all-star game and T-mac.
    So what does it really say?

  • Jesus Christ

    Where the **** are Felton/Jax? aka best defensive backcourt in the league?

  • BiG ShoT BoB

    Rondos being voted in by the coaches what does that say?