Ranking NBA Teams by All-Time Best Teammate Trios

Jordan Cohn
July 28, 2020 - 9:54 am

The current NBA seems to be dominated by superstar pairs. The West is run by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, with the duos of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, Russell Westbrook and James Harden, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, and Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis hot on their tail. The East is largely the same: there's Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton in Milwaukee, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid in Philadelphia, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant awaiting their opportunity in Brooklyn, and some other more balanced rosters.

But at one point, even recently, trios largely dominated the top of the NBA. So, we've decided to look back through history and rank every NBA team by their best trio that ever stepped out on the floor. The only requirement for each team's trio is that the three players were together for at least three seasons.

This list is a good blend of objectivity and subjectivity.

It's objective because I used a certain stat to help me come up with many of the trios. Win shares was especially useful here, as a high count of win shares from multiple players on the same team likely indicates that the team had a successful season, and that those players were the driving forces behind it. Thus, the all-time greatest trios for each team were born from this statistic, which isn't perfect, but which certainly is a useful tool to use. I also looked at team success during the span of a certain trio's time together to determine the rankings. In addition, trios that stayed together for longer were rewarded for that consistency.

But then, there's a degree of subjectivity. For as you'll see, it doesn't just go in order of total win shares, or win shares per season played together. That would be no fun. The trios also weren't determined solely by the statistics, as I felt that a star presence that played with a team for a shorter time may be more worthy of another good player who just wasn't as much of a fan favorite. I felt that a trio's cultural impact played a large role, though sometimes the stats overruled my gut feeling in that capacity. Take the trio I chose for the Bulls, for example, as compared to the trio that literally everyone else would probably consider their most recognizable Big 3.

You'll probably find that you disagree with some of the trios I selected for a given team, especially with great teams like the Celtics and Lakers providing so many viable options. But that's the fun of it!

Let me us know your thoughts on Twitter, @RDCSports!

All stats retrieved from Basketball Reference and Stathead.

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