Detroit Pistons: Eastern Conference backcourt rankings
#4: Philadelphia 76ers
Was losing All-Star Ben Simmons a blessing? Because Tyrese Maxey suddenly became a better than average point guard, and there were barely any growing pains. Maxey is an above average defender, although he is yet to surpass Simmons in that department. Unlike Simmons, he is a deadeye shooter who connects on 42.7 percent of his threes, the third best in the league.
Speaking of great shooters, the Sixers added James Harden. James Harden is my single most hated player ever, but even I can’t deny that he is a really, really good player. Past his prime, sure, but he could easily average 25 points next year. He’s not a stellar defender by any means, but Maxey can back him up. If you like free throws, this is the team for you, as the first and fifth leaders in free throw attempts are on this team.
Adding All-Defensive shooting guard Matisse Thybulle off the bench makes up for Maxey or Harden’s defensive struggles, and makes them one of the more well-rounded backcourts in the league.
#3: Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks are the only team in the East with two All-Star backcourt players. Dejounte Murray is one of the best defenders in the league, and recently became an offensive weapon with the San Antonio Spurs. Trae Young is the best scorer in the league, and has been touted as the second coming of Steph Curry. Based solely on potential, they could be the best backcourt in the entire league.
The Hawks woefully lacked defense in years past, but now Murray can guard the best player on the other team. Not only can Trae Young score from anywhere, but he has three lob threats in John Collins, Clint Capella, and Murray. Whatever the Hawks cobble together next year, it’ll be exciting and should get them back in the playoff picture.
#2: Boston Celtics
Jaylen Brown is a big time scorer, defender, and shooter. Aside from handling the ball, he can do everything well. He is a fringe All-Star every year, and while he has only made one game, I expect him to finish with several throughout his career.
His partner in crime is not the offensive weapon that he is, but defending Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart might be the best pure defending PG since Jason Kidd or Gary Payton.
Either way, this is a team that bounced back from a sub-500 record to make the NBA Finals and push the Warriors dynasty to six games.
Smart and Brown were first and third on the team in scoring that series, and second and sixth overall. It’s no fault of their own they lost. The Warriors are just the better team. A Finals appearance helps their position, although the Celtics backcourt is really that good.