The NBA has been trending towards a dynamic backcourt for years now. The idea that a big man is necessary to win games is long gone. High-scoring, three-point shooting guards have taken their place as the league's most coveted asset. The five-year Golden State Warriors run showed the league that a backcourt can run the show and blow away teams with spacing and shooting.
Chris Paul and Devin Booker are perplexing the league with their sophisticated pick-and-roll attack. The NBA realized that two guards who can get their own shot is lethal in every offensive situation. It is no coincidence that the NBA's highest scorers have been guards lately.
Top 5 backcourts in the NBA right now
Almost every major team has a great backcourt now. Utah Jazz's Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley are leading their team to new heights. Meanwhile, even young and building teams like the Sacramento Kings have De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield. The Cleveland Cavaliers have Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. Without further ado, let's have a look at the top five backcourt duos in the league right now.
#5 Stephen Curry - Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
Although we haven't seen Klay Thompson play in the league for a while now, what the Golden State Warriors backcourt accomplished cannot be ignored. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson reshaped the NBA's offense and changed how the game is played today. They simply make this list on legacy points. Curry and Klay Thompson went to five straight NBA finals together and won three of them. They blew away numerous teams in the NBA playoffs en route to the NBA Finals and their offensive skill set is not even up for debate.
Almost every analyst and fan agrees on the fact that the 'Splash Brothers' are the most lethal backcourt in the NBA when healthy. The only reason they are ranked fifth is because of injuries. Their individual talent and collective accolades far exceed any other backcourt you will see on this list.
#4 Russell Westbrook - Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
Paired up just this season, Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal took the Washington Wizards to new heights. Westbrook's playmaking skills and hustle combined with Beal's scoring ability make them a perfect pair. They ended the Wizards' playoff drought this season and took them to the playoffs despite being 13 games below .500 at one point.
They beat several great teams this season even without a great supporting cast and often took the responsibility of wins on their shoulders. They combine for nearly 50 points per game as a duo and we can be certain that the future in Washington is quite bright.
#3 Kyrie Irving - James Harden (Brooklyn Nets)
James Harden and Kyrie Irving may well be the most prolific scoring backcourts in the league when healthy. The reality is that we haven't seen the duo play many games together so assessing their cohesive partnership is tough. They are arguably two of the most lethal isolation scorers in the game. They can exchange positions with ease, making them dangerous in any given offensive situation.
However, they also play with arguably the greatest scorer in today's NBA, Kevin Durant, so we probably won't see just the star backcourt by themselves. Irving and Harden are also both extremely high IQ players and can create shots with ease. Harden's superior playmaking skills combined with Irving's prolific scoring ability make them one of the best backcourts we have seen, albeit for only 27 games.
#2 Damian Lillard - CJ McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers)
One of the highest-scoring backcourts in the NBA, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers often combine for 60 points a game with ease. They have been compared to the Curry-Klay backcourt in Golden State several times. However, McCollum and Lillard share chemistry like very few other backcourts in the NBA. They share several records and complement each other quite well. Lillard and McCollum have played together for years and have made the NBA playoffs every season.
The Portland Trail Blazers' coaching and supporting cast has always been called into question. But there is little doubt that if the backcourt is healthy, they can't get it done by themselves. Lillard is a marksman-like shooter and an excellent playmaker and his skills are a perfect match for a pure scorer like CJ McCollum.
#1 Chris Paul - Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns)
Ranked first on this list is the backcourt that has taken the 2021 NBA playoffs by storm. Chris Paul and Devin Booker are the first sets of Phoenix Suns teammates to make the All-Star game since Steve Nash and Amar'e Stoudemire. They also took the franchise to their first Western Conference Finals since 2010. Paul and Booker run the NBA's most sophisticated and complex pick-and-roll, perplexing defenders. ESPN Analyst Zach Lowe breaks down the entire offensive action in his report and explains why the Phoenix Suns are flummoxing everyone in the NBA.
They recently swept reigning MVP Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets in the conference semifinals. That came after eliminating LeBron James and the reigning champions LA Lakers in the first round. Paul and Booker are both excellent passers, mid-range scorers and love running the pick-and-roll. They complement each other like very few backcourts in the ongoing NBA playoffs and many speculate they will reach the NBA Finals.