The Importance of the Backcourt — Who Has the Best in the League?
The NBA has undoubtedly become a backcourt-oriented league. In today’s game, a point guard or shooting guard can either make or break your team. With such a recent influx of quality talent in NBA backcourts one has to wonder, which one is the best. Obviously choosing one pair over another always has two sides to the story, so instead of simply putting out who the “best” is, let’s take a look who’s the best at certain areas of the game. Keep in mind one player alone doesn’t make up for a weak second link, which is the case with Chris Paul (JJ Reddick), Tony Parker (Danny Green) and Russell Westbrook (Jeremy Lamb).
Best Shooting Backcourt: Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
This one really isn’t that hard. They’re nicknamed the “Splash Brothers” for a reason, they simply shoot the ball better collectively than any other duo in the league. Curry is on his way to being one of the best shooters if all time. The star point guard has led the league in three’s made each of the past two seasons and is on track to break the all time three pointers made record if he can stay healthy. His backcourt partner Thompson is not to be overlooked however, coming in second to his teammate last year to 3 pointers made and third place the year before. Thompson and Curry both recently signed extensions with the Warriors so expect to see these two raining in three’s for the foreseeable future.
Best Defensive Backcourt: Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls)
These two can be so much trouble for the opposing offense. When both are healthy which with Rose is always an uncertainty, they can win a game for the Bulls simply off of that end of the floor. Butler is one of the top wing defenders in the league and usually takes the opponents best player on defense. The 6”4 Rose is no push over either, averaging at least two steals in each season since 2009. It doesn’t help that the two are coached by arguably the best defensive coach in the league Tom Thibodeau. Butler and Rose may not always be the best on offense, but you can always expect a tough, physical game for the opposing team with these two above average defenders.
Best Scoring Backcourt: Kyle Lowry and Demar Derozen (Toronto Raptors)
This was naturally the hardest one to pick but it came down to consistency. With respect to Curry and Thompson (who could easily fit into this category) and CP3 and Reddick, the backcourt from Toronto simply puts up the numbers. Last season Derozen broke out into an All-Star en route to a scoring average of 23 PPG while Lowry enjoyed a coming out season as well while averaging a shade under 19 points. That’s roughly 45 points a night these two combine for and they have shown the same trends so far in this young season. They might not do much more, but the two know how to score and have the numbers to prove it.
Best Young Backcourt: John Wall and Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
These two are a combined 45 years old (Wall is 24 while Beal is 21), which is only 5 years older than Steve Nash himself. Wall, the former 2010 number one pick, finally had his breakout season last year and asserted himself not only as an All-Star, but as a legitimate top point guard in the league. Beal meanwhile, in only his third season this year, is already regarded as one of the best at his position and looks poised to be making all-star teams in the near future. The two are so fun to watch with their style. Wall is a drive the lane, quick feet guard, while Beal is a sweet shooting off guard that can create his own shot in a half-court offense. These two will be making a lot of noise sooner rather than later.
Best Dynamic Backcourt: Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe (Phoenix Suns)
What backcourt list is complete without these two? The experiment is continuing to work for the Suns who, despite the size disadvantage, find success with this backcourt. Dragic, at 6’3 and Bledsoe (6’1) typically trade off ball handling duties which allows the other to look for their own shot at times. They both have scoring mentalities which makes it so great to see the two run and gun their way to 40 points combined a game. The two also contribute in so many ways. Need a rebound? Bledsoe can get you almost 5 a game. A steal? Dragic has some of the quickest hands in the game? Assists? The two combined last year for 14 APG. They just have so many layers to their style which compliments one another so great.
So next time you see a game listing and one of these backcourts are playing, you’re going to want to watch. Want defense? Rose and Butler have you covered. Shooting? Curry and Thompson will have you in awe. What about the up and comers? Watch the young studs in D.C. Indeed, the NBA and its backcourts are in good hands.