James Harden is officially- and finally- a Brooklyn Net. The Harden saga in Houston ended on Wednesday, as the Nets and Rockets were finally able to come to an agreement in a huge blockbuster trade that left Brooklyn’s bench depleted. Regardless of that, the Nets have their eyes on set on an NBA title run.
The new Big 3 in Brooklyn with James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant is insanely talented. However, questions remain about how Nets GM Sean Marks will fill out the rest of the roster and make this team into a legitimate championship contender for this season and beyond.
The Harden-Irving-Durant trio is a tough Big 3, but where do they rank all-time in NBA history?
5. James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets)
The tough part of ranking them higher is that so many questions swirl around this trio. For example, who plays defense?
Harden has not played quality defense for a long time. Irving and Durant aren’t the defenders they once were. While their offensive game is perhaps the best of any Big 3 in history, their ability to play defense- or lack thereof- is a huge concern going forward.
Harden, Irving, and Durant- and what Charles Barkley nicknamed the “Dribble Brothers”- is going to be a tough task going forward. The talent is there, but pressing questions remain about their defensive ability.
The Nets’ new Big 3 can certainly bring an NBA title to Brooklyn, and even one title for a franchise and fanbase so desperate for a Larry O’Brien trophy would make this gamble worth it.
4. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant (Golden State Warriors)
While the Warriors were arguably the greatest team ever assembled, it might be a surprise to see them at number four on this list. However, the next three will make you realize that this ranking is much deserved.
While the Curry-Thompson “Splash Brothers” were dangerous enough, adding a top-5 talent in Durant made this offense unstoppable. What helped them more than that was also Klay and Steph’s ability to play quality defense, and Durant by no means was a pushover on that end of the floor.
Durant has now been a part of two of the best big three’s in the history of the NBA, and who can forget the Westbrook-Harden-Durant trio in Oklahoma City?
In retrospect, the 2016-2019 Warriors squad was really a Big Four, with Draymond Green a do-it-all player that any coach would die to have on their squad.
3. Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, and Derek Fisher (Los Angeles Lakers)
While the Kobe and Shaq era was the most exciting thing to happen in Lakerland, Derek Fisher was a huge part of their NBA title runs year in and year out.
This Los Angeles Big 3 has a lot of competition- with Worthy, Kareem, and Magic also an unstoppable force- but Kobe and Shaq alone were impossible to contain.
Kobe will go down in history as one of the best players to ever play the game, and Shaq is arguably cemented in the top 10 players of all-time debate.
This trio owned the NBA at the turn of the century and won three straight titles as the Lakers started their streak of five in ten years. Fisher has always been touted as one of the more clutch players in the league, and he seems to get overlooked when discussing Lakers legends.
After all, who could forget Derek Fisher’s literal walk-off buzzer-beater with 0.4 left against San Antonio?
2. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs)
This trio had the most longevity of any of the Big 3’s mentioned, and who can blame them?
The Spurs won four of their five Finals trips with this group, and while Parker and Ginobili aren’t the bonafide superstars like the other names on this list, their chemistry and connection with Duncan made this group unbeatable at times.
Of course, having Gregg Popovich as the head coach is definitely helpful, but this bunch played as well as any Big 3 ever.
All three played excellent defense, Ginobili torched opposing bench units as he repeatedly competed for the Sixth Man of the Year. Parker’s patience and ability to read the floor and the defense allowed for many easy Spurs buckets.
The Spurs made the NBA playoffs in each of the 13 years that these three were together, and that’s nearly impossible to do in any era. San Antonio shuffled new faces in and out, but the Duncan-Parker-Manu trio never faltered.
Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili recorded the most wins by any threesome in NBA history with 575 regular-season victories. They also posed 126 postseason wins together before they decided to hang up their jerseys and played together for 730 total games.
The continuity and success of this particular big 3 was second-t0-none, and something we probably will never see again in the history of the NBA.
1. Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman (Chicago Bulls)
Is this really a surprise?
This core went 3 for 3 in their NBA Finals Appearances, and Michael Jordan is still the greatest player ever in the NBA.
Chicago was already a contender and a championship team before adding Dennis Rodman, so he just made them that much better.
Pippen will go down as one of the best defenders ever to play the game, and Rodman’s toughness and tenacity were just what the Bulls wanted. Jordan won three Finals MVP’s and two of his five regular-season MVP’s with Rodman by his side.
Chicago won 72 games in 1996 and 69 in 1997, and only played a Game 7 one time with these three together.
While it’s hard to argue with the greatness of the Spurs, Lakers, and Warriors, the Bulls are by far the best big three in the history of the NBA.
Back to the Nets
While the Nets at 5th might be a bit of a question mark, they can certainly jump some teams. With that being said, they could disappoint and be far off the top 10 list.
Kyrie, Durant, and Harden might be the best offensive group of all-time, but the defense is severely lacking and could prevent them from winning any championship for Brooklyn.
While the group has yet to play a game, the excitement around the Barclays Center and the NBA, in general, is buzzing.