NBA / Nov 18, 2010 / 10:45 am

The NBA’s Top 10 Backcourts

While you were scrutinizing the Heat, fawning over the Lakers, begrudgingly respecting the Celtics and jumping on the Hornets bandwagon, the Spurs snuck into the “Best Team in the NBA” conversation like the hooded dude from Assassin’s Creed.

Last night’s come-from-behind win over the Bulls on national TV, their eight W in a row, improved the Spurs’ record to 9-1. It was also the fourth time in the last six games where Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili scored at least 20 points apiece as a starting backcourt.

While Tim Duncan is still the Spurs’ coach on the floor and still a go-to guy in crunch time, Parker (18.6 ppg, 7.6 apg) and Ginobili (21.2 ppg, 4.4 apg) have been the team’s co-MVP’s this season. Previously written off as aging and disintegrating following an unprecedented first-round playoff exit in 2009 and a surprising four-game sweep at the hands of the Phoenix Suns in the 2010 conference semis, Parker and Ginobili look better than ever, and are the best backcourt in the NBA right now. The Top 10…

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1. TONY PARKER & MANU GINOBILI, Spurs — They’ve won three NBA championships together, and this year are carrying the offensive load for the best-executing offense in the League while Duncan has his minutes managed. They’re both proven crunch-time performers, and individually, TP and Manu are among the best players in the NBA at getting to the rim and finishing.

2. RAJON RONDO & RAY ALLEN, Celtics — Rondo has put himself in the MVP discussion by putting is teammates in easy positions to score (14.9 apg, 10.9 ppg, 2.6 spg). Ray is still a laser show beyond the arc, hitting 45 percent of his threes while averaging 18.1 points per game.

3. ANDRE MILLER & BRANDON ROY, Trail Blazers
— You really have to watch the Blazers to realize how good they are. Roy (18.1 ppg) has been trying to hold it together despite knee problems, while Miller (13.7 ppg, 7.8 apg) has become a subtle fourth-quarter killer by making plays all over the court in crunch time.

4. STEPHEN CURRY & MONTA ELLIS, Warriors — Contrast to Portland’s backcourt: You simply have to look at the numbers here. Although Monta (26.5 ppg, 4.8 apg, 2.5 spg) will challenge for the NBA’s scoring title, he’s been unfairly pegged as a one-note scorer when he actually fills the stat sheet. Along with Curry (19.4 ppg, 6.1 apg, 2.3 spg), he is part of a backcourt who is so explosive offensively that they can cover their size/strength deficiencies on the defensive end.

5. DEREK FISHER & KOBE BRYANT, Lakers — Say what you want about Fisher’s on-ball defense (which is bad) and tendency to jack shots at curious times (which is aggravating), but the man does have five championship rings, and as a clutch shooter has played a major role in filling his hand with diamonds. Fisher is scoring 8.3 points per game this season and hitting 60 percent of his threes. Oh, and Kobe is aiight (26.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 5.0 apg).

6. STEVE NASH & JASON RICHARDSON, Suns — The slightly slowed-down, veteran version of Monta and Curry, Nash and J-Rich’s offensive abilities far outweigh their defense. Richardson is leading the Suns in scoring (20.3 ppg) and leading the NBA in made three-pointers (31), while Nash (19.3 ppg, 8.9 apg) is adapting to handling more of a scorer’s role.

7. RUSSELL WESTBROOK & THABO SEFOLOSHA, Thunder — Westbrook’s offense (23.3 ppg, 8.1 apg, 2.0 spg) complements Thabo’s defense. Or vice versa. They’d rank higher is Thabo didn’t seem afraid to shoot the ball half the time.

8. CHRIS PAUL & MARCO BELINELLI, Hornets — Maybe you could plug any two-guard next to CP3 (17.8 ppg, 10.2 apg, 2.5 spg) right now and he’d look like a star. Or maybe Belinelli (12 ppg, 44% 3PA) was just under-used in his previous NBA stops. Either way, Belinelli is playing with a ton of confidence and Paul is playing like Isiah Thomas.

9. JAMEER NELSON & VINCE CARTER, Magic — Jameer (14.5 ppg, 5.6 apg) gets lost in the shuffle of elite point guards who have more talent, but few are tougher and more tenacious than Orlando’s floor leader. Vince (15.2 ppg, 45% 3PA) obviously isn’t the player he used to be, but he gets too much criticism considering he’s still very good.

10. MIKE BIBBY & JOE JOHNSON, Hawks — Once Johnson (19.2 ppg, 5.1 apg) gets his three-point stroke corrected (26% 3PA), he’ll hit his usual 20-ppg mark. Bibby was supposed to lose his job to second-year PG Jeff Teague this year, but he’s knocked down enough shots (10.3 ppg) and run the offense well enough to keep the kid at bay.

Honorable mentionCarlos Arroyo/Dwyane Wade (Heat), Brandon Jennings/John Salmons (Bucks), Aaron Brooks/Kevin Martin (Rockets), John Wall/Gilbert Arenas (Wizards), Jason Kidd/Caron Butler (Mavericks).

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  • nizzio

    Monta and Stephen should be no 2.

  • superfreak

    brooks/martin and wall/areans should be in the top 10, would probably beat out the 7-10 spots, but I guess if you’re basing it on team success, the list looks aiight.

  • alex

    tony parker and ginobili are seriously the best backcourt in the league?

  • Michorizo

    Derek Fisher and Kobe Bryant have won many championships as a starting back court…so this can’t be based on winning

  • Ian

    austin good list but i think the warriors backcourt should be 3

  • control

    Monta/Curry should be #2, easily.

  • Ian

    control
    wow no manu hate??? wtf??? you ok???

  • control

    Ian

    I skipped the manu AND rondo hate today…and manu is actually tearing it up so far, I’d just look like an idiot hating on him. The guy IS injury prone though, so he’ll probably be on the bench soon, then I can get my hate game back in full effect. At least no one is saying that manu is the second best (or even best) SG in the league, which is just reckless talk, but happens evertime manu is brought up.

  • nbafan

    Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry should be at least #2. #1 in my book. They virtually cannot be guarded. Monta ellis is still being underrated. Call me crazy, but I think he is the second best player in the league. He is blazing fast, finishes at the rim like no one else, and has a nice mid range game. He is also extremely clutch. He makes big shots and shows up every game and produces big numbers every game. The Warriors have a nice young core with Ellis, Curry, and David Lee. I look for them to finish around 5-6 in the west.

    Also I really like the Blazers backcourt of Roy and Miller but with Roy’s knee problems I am not sure whether they deserve to be number 3.

    My top 10:
    1. Monta Ellis & Stephen Curry
    2. Rajon Rondo & Ray Allen
    3. Kobe Bryant & Derek Fisher
    4. Steve Nash & Jason Richardson
    5. Tony Parker & Manu Ginobli
    6. Brandon Roy & Andre Miller
    7. Chris Paul & Marco Belinelli
    8. Aaron Brooks & Kevin Martin
    9. Russell Westbrook & Thabo Sefolosha
    10. Jameer Nelson & Vince Carter

  • rainman

    personal opinion would be:

    Nash and J-Rich should be higher up, definetely in the top 5 at LEAST.

    and Rondo and Ray Allen should be a bit lower, as great as Rondo has been, Ray Allens performence has continued to dip.

  • rainman

    @ Control: when HEALTHY, PER MINUTE Manu at a time WAS the 2nd best in the LEague behind Kobe. He jsut put the team ahead of himself to play on the bench, and when that wasnt the case, he jsut wasnt healthy for a full season.

    there was a reason Kobe called him his favourite player to watch a while ago

  • datdood

    warriors backcourt should be higher. and belinelli is a beast. i was upset when the warriors traded him. he is a tricky player on offense and can wet threes.

  • MSL

    @Rainman

    Statistic be damned (and you now their not perfect and miss stuff). Manu Ginobli was never better than Dwayne Wade ever!

    Nuff Said!!

    Speaking about Wade; see how an awful back courtmen keeps you off this list (i.e.) Carlos Arroyo. Lol.

    Nice first paragraph Austin. Well written. Interesting list.

  • control

    rainman

    Junk Yard Dog Jerome Williams was one of my favorite players to watch…that didn’t make him the 2nd best at anything though.

    I don’t really even want to get into this discussion though, yeah manu is aight and has been aight…but he wasn’t no 2nd best in the league behind Kobe at any point. Putting team first or not, you ain’t second best in the league at your position if you are throwing down 15/4/4, and other guys are dropping 20/5/5 or 32/6.5/5.5, while being the primary focus of every other team’s defense. I’m the first to say numbers don’t tell the whole story, but in this case, what they represent does tell a good story.

  • Ian

    msl
    if you say statistic be damned then how is wade better?? im not sayin manu is but on what are you basing your wade argument if all wade has is stats. dude couldnt get in the playoffs in the east where the last 3 spots can be had by anyone. didnt manu put up wade stats when he started after the allstar break and his team got ws.

    manu is a top 3 sg man.

  • Ian

    control
    we arent going to get into this today right?

  • Ian

    hell kobe is on the list with a scrub as his pg why didnt wade make it if hes clearly the 2nd best sg?? and no one has complained about wade being left off the list just like no one has complained about manu being in the number 1 backcourt.

  • JBaller

    @17 I think calling Fisher, with his 5 rings, a scrub is just asinine. He’s no star, but he is effective. Now Carlos Arroyo is a scrub, a back up PG on any other team at best.

    If you’re making a list of the best 2 guards that are stuck with lousy PGs then Wade should top that list, but Miami’s back court is far from elite. I’m glad they didn’t make this list and in fact I’m surprised that they even got an honorable mention.

  • Ian

    Jballer
    Comon because he has 5 rings he isn’t a scrub now???? This isn’t 02 when he was ok. That’s like sayin that if dr j played today he isn’t a scrub because he has a ring.

  • allen

    perfect list

  • MSL

    @Ian

    Both statistically and practically (last season and in his career) Dwayne Wade is better than Ginobli. Look em up!

    I said “statistics be damned” because you can always find one or some that makes someone look better; somewhere. Lol. And this is not so much to knock Ginobli, but to more praise Wade.

    As a matter of fact, their are people who still argue that Wade is better than Kobe or Lebron (and is the TRUE best player in the NBA). You’ll never hear anyone say that about Ginobli,except maybe San Antonio fans.

    Now you’re really going to compare a stacked Spurs team through the years, compared to a skeleton Heat team geared for free agent/cap space acquisitions and not to win?

    You must be a Spurs fan.

    The reason why Wade is not on this list, is cause Carlos Arroyo is a non-entity. He more than sucks anything and everything!!!! He’s barely a legitimate NBA player in my opinion.

    Derick Fisher is not a great player. He’s a marginal NBA player, that can afford to sit back and let his more illustrious team mates do the work, then he’ll hit the big shot when every one has backed off of him and double team the others. Name me one thing that Fisher actually does very well on the court? And don’t say cause he’s 36, cause so is Nash and Kidd is older and they both get much more done than fisher every day (with a larger work load to boot). He hits the big shot. But that’s about it!

  • MSL

    Oh.

    Saying all what I did about Fischer, he’s still miles better than Carlos Arroyo, and that’s why he and Kobe made the list and not Wade and Arroyo.

  • Manu14

    Good article!!
    Nice to see TP and Manu finaly receive some respect…
    There is’t in the league an other backdourt that has won more that those too!
    The only “IF” concern their health… If they are ok coming the PO, they’ll make some damages!!!

  • Manu14

    Good article!!
    Nice to see TP and Manu finaly receive some respect…
    There is’t in the league an other backcourt that has won more that those too!
    The only “IF” concern their health… If they are ok coming into the PO, they’ll make some damages!!!

  • Ian

    “Derick Fisher is not a great player. He’s a marginal NBA player, that can afford to sit back and let his more illustrious team mates do the work, then he’ll hit the big shot when every one has backed off of him and double team the others. Name me one thing that Fisher actually does very well on the court? And don’t say cause he’s 36, cause so is Nash and Kidd is older and they both get much more done than fisher every day (with a larger work load to boot). He hits the big shot. But that’s about it!”

    wait i dont get that part im the one bashing fisher you said he wasnt a scrub now with this post you are sayin he is a scrub. exactly my point hes a marginal nba player like arroyo.

    practically better than manu? again why? you didnt answer my question really. i rank manu 3rd behind wade and kobe and the only reason hes not in the argument is because hes not on a bad team like the heat where he can put up wade like stats. like i said i never mentioned manu was better i was just asking you. there are many things manu can do better than wade, as clutch as wade is manu is even better because of his range.

    spurs fan me?? nahhh

  • IDOT

    These teams might not make the playoffs and they have the smallest backcourts in the league but the Clips with Eric Gordon and Eric Bledsoe aka E-Force are killing it and the Warriors with Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry are also killing it.

  • MSL

    @Ian

    I’m confused. But I’m not going to argue. Lol.

    I don’t think I was the one praising Derek Fisher.

    I’m not or never been a big D.Fish fan. He’s okay.

    But I do believe Wade is better than Manu, but I wasn’t saying Manu was bad or not very good. Not at all.

    It’s very difficult to find two very good to great guards on the same team with out caveats. Manu and Parker are two of them that come close to that idea (along with some of the others that are mentioned here). I don’t need to go through the various choices and why this list can be argued? Do I? Lol.

    I also think that Wall and Arena’s should of been higher and Wade (as said above by someone) and Arroyo shouldn’t of even got mentioned. But the reason why they did (obviously) was because of the greatness of Wade. Arroyo’s an unmitigated scrub!!

  • Ian

    hehe ok fair post man

  • Gabis

    “Derick Fisher is not a great player. He’s a marginal NBA player, that can afford to sit back and let his more illustrious team mates do the work, then he’ll hit the big shot when every one has backed off of him and double team the others. Name me one thing that Fisher actually does very well on the court? And don’t say cause he’s 36, cause so is Nash and Kidd is older and they both get much more done than fisher every day (with a larger work load to boot). He hits the big shot. But that’s about it!”

    Ok, I’m not going to argue that Fish is a top 5 PG or anything… but to say he does nothing but hit big shots means you obviously watch about 3 Laker games a year.

    Though things like spacing, help defense, ball movement and leadership seem to elude you; they are incredibly important on the court. The first three being even more vital considering how reliant the TPTO(triple-post triangle offense) is on them being ever present. Look on Youtube for videos detailing the TPTO from actual game footage and you will see how vital Fish is on the floor.

    How about being 6th ALL-TIME in total 3pt shots made during the post-season? Of the 5 names ahead of him, Ray Allen is the only one with a higher % of made 3′s at 40.16% to Fishers 40.14%. He is also second ALL-TIME in made 3′s during the NBA Finals. Kobe is first, Jordan is third.

    Again, I’m not saying he’s amazing. But I think he catches a lot of flak from people who don’t watch enough Lakeshow to know what’s up.

    One record I’m sure he is NOT proud of? Most minutes played in one game without recording a single point, rebound, assist, steal, or block. I believe it was 32 or so, but I can’t recall off the top of my head.

  • nizzio

    @no 23-24
    Dude, Kobe and Fisher won more than Manu and TP. that’s an easy one, dumbass

  • nimble

    Nice post,though Dwade should have been included and KB should have been no 3.