The engine and brains of an NBA starting lineup rest with the point guard â€” the orchestrator â€” and the complementary role often belongs to the shooting guard. When the two talents fit, an NBA backcourt is a bad place to get caught up against on either end of the floor.
With the season right around the corner, and after dropping knowledge on the 15 best frontcourts in the NBA, let’s take a look at a few backcourts that will rank at the top of the league.
[RELATED: The 15 Best Frontcourts In The NBA]
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15. DAMIAN LILLARD and WESLEY MATTHEWS
Last yearâ€™s Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard took the NBA by storm with his explosiveness and promise. He brought it all to a Portland team desperate for a star. His partner in the backcourt, Wesley Matthews, combined with Lillard to average an overall 34 points per game together.
Like other young duos heading into their second year together, there is virtually nowhere to go but up with improved chemistry and both players getting better. In his first year, Lillard had already poured in 1,300-plus points, and Matthews finished a close second behind Lillard in three-pointers made. Look for these two to light up the perimeter again this year. If defenses want to take the three balls away, both are highly capable of getting to the rim, and Lillard has the potential to be one of the most explosive guards this year. The next step the two should be looking to take this year is making the playoffs. This will solidify both as a legitimate backcourt at this early stage in their careers.
14. JOHN WALL and BRADLEY BEAL
A backcourt whose potential has been overwhelmed by injury is John Wall and Bradley Beal. Many believe the two can form one of the best combos in the league as early as this year. Last year, Beal and Wall combined for only 25 games together, and during that action, the team finished 16-9. This year, Wall will be starting the season healthy, as will Beal, which leads one to think the Wizards have a very good thing going.
There will be added pressure on the two to produce a majority of the offensive output for Washington. Beal has to come into the season looking to be aggressive and create his own offense to take pressure of Wall. For Wall, an improved jump shot heading into this season will open up a new dimension to his game, mostly based on his speed and finishing ability. Last year, Wall shot an underwhelming 42 percent from the field and rarely looked to fire away from three.
This year is a new season for Beal, Wall and the Wizards as they have a right to be optimistic after rounding out the home stretch of last season with a 26-27 record. Health is the obvious concern for the two, but their talent goes unquestioned, and the NBA shouldnâ€™t overlook the two as a rising tandem.
13. KOBE BRYANT and STEVE NASH
Regardless of the way the Los Angeles Lakers ended their season, Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash are two future Hall of Famers and the cloud of drama Dwight Howard carried with him over L.A. has cleared up. This could be the last shot Nash and Bryant have at a championship.
Finals or not, the Lakers will still be fun to watch because of Kobe Bryant, and Nash can still get up and down the court with the young legs the Lakers use. Last year, Nash averaged almost 13 points and seven assists, which shows he is still capable at this late stage in his career. Bryant will score at will as he always has.
Now heading into their second year, chemistry will be improved between Nash and Kobe, and the savy of the two vets should cancel out the age/injury factor. Throw in the competitiveness of Bryant, which will act as his motivational engine all season, and look for both to school all the younger players and make everyone wonder how they still get it done. If it wasn’t for Bryant’s return (as well as his eventual effectiveness) being up in the air, they’d be much higher.