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The NBA’s Top 5 Up-And-Coming Backcourts

By 12.23.11
John Wall

John Wall (photo. Rob Hammer)

3. Washington Wizards
The Wizards, or the Wiz-Kids as I like to call them, have one of the most promising backcourts in the league. This summer we picked John Wall as our next breakout star for 2012. On top of that, Nick Young has developed a very well-rounded offensive game. Last season, he lead the team in scoring at 17.4 ppg, while Wall followed up with 16.4. The Wizards only gave Young a one-year deal so look for him to become a 20-point scorer this season in an effort to earn that big contract.

What was crucial for the Wizards backcourt was the acquisition of Jordan Crawford and the addition of backup point guard Shelvin Mack. Everyone knows Crawford can fill it up, (he put up 39 in a game against Miami in late February of last season). His potential is through the roof. What Shelvin Mack brings to D.C is his ability to keep up the tempo when Wall comes out the game. Mack has a quick trigger and loves to look for his own shot, which is great to have off the bench. Between him and Crawford, bench scoring will be a non-issue for the Washington Wizards. Expect to see the Wizards backcourt outrun and outscore their opponents this season.

2. Oklahoma City Thunder
The only reason this team isn’t No. 1 is because of the fact that Westbrook has to iron out a few issues. First and foremost, he is the team’s second-best player, however he often tries to play like he’s the first option out there. When a play breaks down, Russ goes into force mode as opposed to getting the ball to Durant and clearing out. What Russ has to get better at is not taking away from the success of his team. He has to get better at playing his role. Sure he’s an All-Star point guard and the team needs him to pick up a significant bulk of the scoring load, but at the end of the day he’s a point guard first. Once he realizes that, the Thunder are a mismatch for any opposing backcourt.

Also, I believe that they are the best defensive backcourt in the NBA. Westbrook has grown into a beast on the defensive end. Scott Brooks will most likely go with Thabo Sefolosha at the starting two spot again, mainly because of his defensive ability. The starting backcourt for the Thunder is very stout defensively and very well-balanced. Thabo plays his role as a defensive stopper well and leaves the scoring to his backup. Harden is my favorite for 6th Man of the Year next season. I believe he can average at least 15 points a game off the bench. Many believe that he deserves to be the starter, however that’s not where he can help the Thunder most.

With Durant and Westbrook out there, scoring at the two spot is not what the Thunder need to start off games. They need defense, and that’s exactly what Sefolosha provides. Harden’s impact off the bench is where the Thunder have a significant advantage over opponents. Also, Westbrook’s backup Eric Maynor proved in the playoffs last season that he is the perfect backup for the team. He’s safe with the basketball, he can score, and defend as well. With Maynor and Harden backing up Westbrook and Sefolosha, the Thunder have the potential to be the best up-and-coming backcourt in the NBA next season. But before I can crown them, Russ has to remember that he’s a point guard.

1. Golden State Warriors
It’s no secret that the Warriors have the best backcourt in the NBA. Being that they don’t get to play on national television much (when they do, half of the East Coast is usually in bed by halftime) they fly well under the radar. But Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry are the highest-scoring backcourt in the NBA. The key to having an elite backcourt is having your starting point guard & shooting guard combine for an average of at least 30 points. Well last season, Curry & Ellis put together a combined 42.7 ppg, which is way above average. Many didn’t believe these two could co-exist. It’s safe to say they spoke too soon.

These two have an amazing feel for each other out there, they both know when it’s time to step up and when it’s time to defer. They are lights out from three and are lightning fast. The main problem with the two is that they aren’t the best defensive tandem in the league, however their ability to score balances that out. The addition of Klay Thompson was exactly what the Warriors needed. Curry, Ellis and Thompson can all play both guard positions, so the Warriors couldn’t have found a better fit for their team. Thomson is a sharp-shooting guard with a solid handle and a nose for the basket. If this tandem stays together for the entire season, expect to see them reign as the supreme up-and-coming backcourt of the NBA.

Which backcourt will be the best over the next few years?

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