We keep hearing that basketball is a guard-oriented game. At no point in the league’s history has it ever been more important to have an outstanding backcourt than right now, and fortunately for fans, the list of outstanding 1-2 guard punches is deep.
But which are the best? We ranked the 10-best backcourts in the league, from the obvious choice at No. 1 to this choice at No. 10…
10. Rockets — Patrick Beverley and James Harden
It’s amazing how well Beverley and Harden compliment one another. Harden, of course, is the craftiest scorer in the league. When he has the ball in his hands, he is capable of making the amazing happen. Sure, he is hardly the best defender in the world, but that’s where Beverley steps in. He is a tenacious defender, and while he is not known for his ability on the offensive end of the floor, Beverley is a solid shooter – he has hit 37.3 percent of his attempts from three during his career – and his per-36 rebounding, assist, and steal numbers are all solid.
But the thing that makes these two so good is that they understand the psychological aspect of basketball so well. Few people are better at slowly demoralizing a defender over the course of the game than Harden, and Beverley is outstanding at getting into an opponent’s head on defense. The Rockets will have to adjust for a few weeks while Beverley recovers from arthroscopic surgery on his knee, and his replacement (Eric Gordon) is no slouch, but Houston is at its best when its starting backcourt is healthy and pestering opponents.