Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen Tops Among NBA Backcourts

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Rondo and Allen are the class of the league's backcourts.

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.

Eastern Conference

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.

Western Conference

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:

1. Rondo/Allen
2. Nelson/Carter
3. Parker/Ginobili
4. Fisher/Bryant
5. Billups/Smith
6. Nash/Richardson
7. Williams/Brewer
8. Miller/Roy
9. Bibby/Johnson
T10. Kidd/Terry
T10. Chalmers/Wade

Topics: 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

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  • http://pacmanjonesin.com Drew

    What…no love for Chris Paul? I think CP3 and a rotting corpse could crack the top top ten.

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  • Ryan

    Miller/Roy should be higher.

  • brand

    What no Russel/ Harden love ….. i think they will be sick with Livingston and thabo backing them up….
    Miller/Roy should be top five ….

  • http://davissportsdeli.com/wordpress/ Patrick

    No love for the Jason Kidd/Josh Howard experiment?

    (On second thought, that’s probably a good call.)

  • 2fresh

    Billups/Smith??

  • http://www.couriernewculture.blogspot.com travis

    Wow, that list is insane. Manu is washed up. Brewer is a good defender but shouldn’t be up high on that list. Miller/Roy and Chalmers/Wade need to be in the top five.

    Weak, weak, weak.

  • http://www.twitter.com/justindefeo Justin DeFeo

    I don’t think Miller/Roy could go any higher without having even played a game yet. Let them play together at least once before we crown them.

    I was going to make a list for up and coming backcourts which Westbrook/Harden would be a part of, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable including Harden a rookie in the top 10 without even playing a minute of NBA ball yet.

    Manu may be washed up, but he also may not be. I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt at this point.

    I disagree about Brewer/Williams and I think Wade/Chalmers is appropriate at 10.

    I’ll give some weight to CP3 and whoever. But who do they bump off this list? Is CP3 and lets say Antonio Daniels. Is that better than Wade/Chalmers? CP3 and Mo Pete better? I think thats a close call, and thats on NOR mgmt. not on Paul.

    Billups/Smith is a great call and I may have to re-evaluate the list some tomorrow. But Billups/Smith would make the top 10 and was a miss by me.

  • ayrab

    wut about westbrook/durant; calderon/turk

  • Shoe Puppet

    i like this list. i believe Kobe/Fish should be ahead of Parker/Manu, but that’s just my opinion.

    Westbrook is going to be a good player, but Durant is a forward. that is where he will play for the most part this year. a forward is not a backcourt player, only guards. same goes for Calderon/Turk. Turk is a forward.

    Salmons will most likely get the start at the 2 spot this year for the bulls, would you consider Rose/Salmons a good backcourt combo?

  • http://lifeondumars.com/ toasterhands

    Brewer as a guard? I know he’s listed as a guard and all, but usually Korver or Miles was out there alongside Deron. You’re correct though, Brewer did play shooting guard somewhat often when the Jazz went to the AK47, Boozer, Okur lineup.

    But overall he’s classified more as a small forward.

    Good thorough list nonetheless.

    Although no Billups/Smith is puzzling.

  • dillonleviwest

    Heres a little something to chew on. The combo of Chauncey Billips/J.R. Smith will crack that list, if were an official backcourt. But come this all star break, it’ll be pretty nice seeing those two.

  • http://www.couriernewculture.blogspot.com travis

    Okay, Brewer deserves more love than I gave him, but I maintain that the Blazers and Heat tandems should be a bit higher, and Manu doesn’t put any fear into anyone right now. We’ll soon see what he’s got left in the tank.

  • http://pacmanjonesin.com Drew

    Clearly, there are a lot of good backcourts in the league. Shoe Puppet makes several valid points. Rose/Salmons will likely be in the top five if you revisit this list in January.

    Glad that CP3 will be getting some love. Considering the fact that Jason Kidd gets torched by Paul every time the Mavs/Hornets play, I’d put Paul/X at least at #8.

    BTW, nobody has said this yet but there is no way Carter & Nelson are #2. 1) They have never played together before and 2) If they play a combined 150 games this season I’ll buy you a steak dinner at Mortons

  • http://www.twitter.com/justindefeo Justin DeFeo

    Revision including Billups/Smith.

    I believe my reason for overlooking them is cause I was immediately looking at starting backcourts, so when I ran my eyes over Denver I must have thought Billups/Dahntay Jones.

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  • Dustin

    Drew – I agree with you about Nelson/Carter never playing together before, but they aren’t that injury prone, which everyone seems to believe. Boston’s big three have missed more games last season than Carter in the last 4 seasons, if I got my numbers right. Though that ranking does depend on if Nelson comes back in all-star form, which isn’t a for sure thing.

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  • http://pacmanjonesin.com Drew

    Dustin,

    I’ll have to go back and check the numbers, but Nelson always seems to be battling some kind of nagging injury. He was phenomenal during the first half of the season last year though.

    To his credit, Carter has played through his injuries a lot more during the past couple of years. We’ll see if that continues in Orlando.

    BTW, I really like what Orlando has done this off-season, but they need a reliable backup for Jameer. CJ Watson would be an ideal final piece to the puzzle.

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  • jeffrey

    No Rose/ Hinrich, that would be just a better defensive backcourt then everyone on that list. What happened to the Defensive consideration!!!

  • http://www.twitter.com/justindefeo Justin DeFeo

    Jeffrey thanks for the input, but I don’t think Rose is quite there yet as a defender.

    Just using the Celtics series as an example, but Rose simply couldn’t stay with Rondo. Even giving Rondo three or four feet on certain situations and going under screens and still couldn’t manage.

    Rose and Chris Paul are similiar in that, whoever they are paired up with instantly becomes a great backcourt, but right now I just don’t think Rose/Hinrich makes the cut, even considering defense.

  • jeffrey

    Rondo is not a jump shooter though and that’s about how everyone plays him, cut off the lane, stop the penetration. I don’t know a guard who doesn’t play under the screen role on rondo, you want him to shoot. As well speed for speed and athleticism for athleticism, rose can stay with rondo if the coach tells him to. I sight the one on one situation when Rose Blocked rondo for the game winning shot, it was an iso possession and rose did what most don’t recognize him for, put the Clamps on people, Im not trying to play what your saying, Not a fan of the player just a fan of the game if you catch me… Though now i believe i was wrong about the back court thing, not cause of the D but i forgot that Deng will be coming back and that sure to move the Salmons to the two and Hinrich to the sixth spot out of the starting position, so i’m wrong about then being in the top ten in starting. But not about roses D. He plays it at a 10 ten for position level.