The Portland Trail Blazers addressed one of their biggest needs with the signing of free agent point guard Andre Miller. At the same time, the signing now gives the Blazers one of the most formidable backcourts in the league, with Miller joining All-Star shooting guard Brandon Roy.
But where does that backcourt rank among the league? That is the question I’m going to attempt to answer here today. I’ll first spotlight a few of the backcourts in the league that I believe are the best, I’ll then rank them at the end of the post.
Rajon Rondo/Ray Allen – This is what I believe to be the premiere backcourt in the Eastern Conference. When this pairing first got together it was Allen who was the established star and Rondo the inexperienced second year player. Lately though the pendulum has been swinging slightly in the other direction, as Rondo has proven he really is one of the best young point guards in the league. I suspect this upcoming season that Rondo will take on an even bigger role for the Celtics. Ray Allen provides scoring and his performance in the clutch vs. the Bulls this postseason really seperates this backcourt from the pack.
Jameer Nelson/Vince Carter – The Magic traded away Courtney Lee this off season and in return brought back Vince Carter. This gave the Magic one of the, if not best backcourt in the NBA. Nelson was an All-Star last year and is a dynamic playmaker. Vince, who arguably should have been an All-Star last year, brings a lot to the table as a playmaker/shooter.
Mike Bibby/Joe Johnson – Both of these guards can stretch defenses with their shooting, but the pairing is really carried by Johnson and his multi-faceted game.
Mario Chalmers/Dwayne Wade – Much like the Hawks backcourt, Wade carries this duo for obvious reasons. Chalmers, though, put together a fairly modest rookie season averaging 10 points per game and just under 5 assists per game. Pretty much whatever Chalmers can bring to the table is just icing on this already delicious cake.
Gilbert Arenas/Randy Foye – This pair has yet to play a game together and its not guaranteed that they will start together. If they do, however, it will be a tough backcourt to defend. Both Arenas and Foye are ‘tweeners’ which will give teams trouble. Both are big for opposing point guards to defend, but small and elusive enough to make the job hard on opposing shooting guards.
Rodney Stuckey/Rip Hamilton – Ben Gordon is going to factor heavily into this rotation, but we’ll stick with who I believe will be the starting guards for the Pistons. Both have different games and are effective in their own ways, yet the group loses points because neither Stuckey or Hamilton are natural playmakers. Still a formidable pair though.
Tony Parker/Manu Ginobili – Though this pair often doesn’t start the game together, it is usually the two that finish the game. Parker has established himself as an elite player and somone who can carry the offensive burden if need be. Ginobili will have to answer big questions about his health this season and if he can return to the level play the league has been accustomed to from him. Two years ago you could have said this was the best backcourt in the league, I don’t think they’ve dropped off that much.
Derek Fisher/Kobe Bryant – Obviously Kobe Bryant paired with anyone is going to be an elite backcourt. Derek Fisher has done if nothing else though provided a competent compliment to Kobe in the backcourt. This season Fish’s role may be even smaller as I believe Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown will factor more into the point guard position, Fish still gets it done with his leadership, defense and intensity.
Andre Miller/Brandon Roy – The aforementiond backcourt of Miller and Roy. Roy has slowly been creeping into the upper echelon of NBA stars while Miller has been solid everywhere he’s went. It’s going to be up to Miller to take away some of the playmaking duties that have been Roy’s job since Day 1.
Steve Nash/Jason Richardson – Having played less than a season together and with a coaching change this pair has yet to really establish a chemistry together but both can put the ball in the basket. Nash’s creativity is going to mix well with Richardson’s perimeter game.
Deron Williams/Ronnie Brewer – I am a big fan of this tandem. They both compliment each other well. Williams is the do it all point guard and has the ball in his hands often, so he needs to be paired with a shooting guard who can do other things (defend, rebound) and create opportunities for himself without the ball (steals, loose balls, offensive rebounds) and thats the type of game Brewer has.
Jason Kidd/Jason Terry – Again like the Parker/Ginobili pair, they may not start the game together but they usually end it. Terry has become a crunchtime scorer and Kidd plugs in everywhere else.
The Top 10
Here’s how I think the top 10 backcourts in the NBA shakes out:
Tags: Derek Fisher Deron Williams Derrick Rose Dwayne Wade Gilbert Arenas Jameer Nelson John Salmons Kobe Bryant Mario Chalmers Rajon Rondo Randy Foye Ray Allen Richard Hamilton Rodney Stuckey Ronnie Brewer Tony Parker Vince Carter