As the game changes, the NBA’s back court is becoming more important. We do not have the dominant big men like Shaq or David Robinson anymore. Some might say Tim Duncan but he is at the end of his years in the NBA.
Perhaps it’s the fact that they’re generally the two smallest players in the lineup and so they share a special kind of chemistry, or perhaps it’s just that their lack of size often means they’re more skilled and are therefore more exciting to watch in action, but there’s something about watching a good guard combo execute that other positional pairs just can’t match.
With that in mind, we’re ranking the top five best backcourt combos in the NBA today. Feel free to leave a comment if you disagree with our list, or think we might have left someone off, or even if you think it’s perfect – comment away. Let’s get started:
5) Washington Wizards – John Wall and Bradley Beal
To be fair, if Wes Matthews hadn’t suffered a season-ending injury a couple weeks back, this spot would probably belong to him and Damian Lillard. But he did. So it doesn’t.
John Wall just continues to get better and better every season, to the point where his per-game numbers (17.4 pts/4.6 rbs/10.0 asts/1.8 stls) look remarkably similar those of the consensus best point guard in the league, Chris Paul (18.6/4.6/10.0/1.9). Almost identical, actually.
Meanwhile, sweet-stroking SG Bradley Beal is quietly putting together another solid all-around year, shooting over 40% from deep for the second straight season and averaging career highs in rebounds, assists and steals.
Between Wall and him, they account for 32.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 13.2 assists, and 3 steals per game for the Wizards, sporting a combined PER of 34.35. If these guys can stay healthy, they might be a few spots higher up this list come this time next season.
4) Toronto Raptors – Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan
Definitely the most underrated backcourt in the league, the boys north of the border quietly continue to produce night in and night out, leading their Raptors to a 41-27 record despite the fact that there’s not much else on the roster to work with. DeRozan has developed into one of the highest-scoring two guards in the game, and outside of Russ Westbrook or LeBron James, Kyle Lowry is probably the biggest threat in the NBA to put up a triple-double at any given time.
Added together, the pair is pouring in 37.1 points per game for the Raptors, accounting for over 35% of their team’s total points. They also dish out 10.1 dimes, grab 8.9 boards and corral 2.9 steals each game, giving them a combined PER of 35.76.
Their numbers may not be quite as sparkly as some of the other duos on this list, but they rank here because of how much they mean to their team’s success. Seriously, without looking it up – can you name three other Raptors players besides them? Didn’t think so.
3) Miami Heat – Goran Dragic and Dwayne Wade
Granted, this backcourt duo hasn’t been together very long, so they haven’t yet had a chance to display as much of the chemistry that the previous two pairs have already shown us. But that being said, Wade has seemingly put his injury woes in the rearview for now – he’s averaging 21.8/3.7/5.2 this year, reminding us why the name Dwayne Wade carries so much weight in the first place – and Dragic is by far the best point guard that Wade has ever played alongside.
This is a deadly and multi-talented combo. Since joining the Heat, Dragic has been putting up a more-than-serviceable line of 17.0/3.3/5.8 with 1.7 steals. Combine that with Wade’s gaudy production, and you’ve got 38.8 points, 7.0 boards, 11.0 assists and 3 steals per game from your guards if you’re the Miami Heat. The combined PER for the new Miami tandem is 40.50. If they’d been together a little longer, there’s a good chance they might’ve jumped up to number two on this list.
2) Los Angeles Clippers – Chris Paul and JJ Redick
This ranking has a lot more to do with Chris Paul than it does JJ Redick, as I’m sure most of you are already well aware. However, JJ’s production since joining the Clippers last season has been nothing to sniff at, and he’s enjoying by far his best season as a pro in his ninth year. Not only is he launching a career-high 5.8 threes per game this season, but he’s also knocking them down at a career-high 42.6% from back there, which means his efficiency somehow continuing to increase even as his usage rate does.
Those two things usually don’t go hand-in-hand. When they do, you’re definitely doing something right. Add all that to the guy who is widely considered to be the best point guard in basketball, CP3, and what you’ve got is the fourth-best backcourt duo in the league.
Between them, they’re chipping in 34.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 11.8 assists for the Clips, and their combined PER is a robust 40.21. Contrary to popular belief, the Clippers backcourt is far from a one-man show.
1) Golden State Warriors – Steph Curry and Klay Thompson
If you’ve watched even ten minutes of Warriors basketball this year, then you could probably see this one coming. They lead the league in backcourt scoring. They’ve led their team to the best overall record in basketball. They’re the only backcourt in the NBA to sport their own collaborative nickname. How could we give the number one slot to anybody else?
The Splash Brothers have been nothing short of incendiary this season, heating up to the tune of 45.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, 10.8 assists and 3.2 steals per game between them.
Their combined PER is a ridiculous 48.25, marking them as by far the most efficient guard duo in the league. Nobody is claiming this spot from them any time soon – it’s not even close. All hail The Splash Brothers. This is what the perfect backcourt looks like.