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Are The Splash Brothers The Greatest Backcourt of All-Time?

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After a disappointing ending to the Golden State Warriors’s record breaking 73-9 season, despite not taking home the Larry O’Brien Trophy, the Warriors still achieved a lot throughout these past couple of years to solidify their rank with some of the all-time greats. Before getting Kevin Durant this offseason, the regime of the Warriors was their amazingly talented backcourt that consisted of 2x MVP Stephen Curry and 2x All-NBA 3rd team member Klay Thompson. As a team, they’ve managed to accomplish 2 Western Conference Championships, 4 straight playoff appearances, an NBA championship and a record of 140-24 combined in the last two seasons; that’s impressively one less loss in two years than the 2016 NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers had in their championship season alone. With all of the notable accolades their team has, as well as their extraordinary 3-point shooting backcourt, do the “Splash Brothers” now officially have the resume to back up the title of being called the “Greatest Backcourt of All-Time?”

In order for Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to behold this title, all of the other great backcourts in NBA history need to have their resumes compared to justify if they’re already the greatest of all-time, or if they’re just the greatest of this generation [for now]. Since the NBA has been around for 6 whole decades, there have been so many teams and dynasties with great backcourts, that in order for this argument not to turn into a 20-page essay, we must acknowledge the greatest backcourts the NBA has ever seen and sum it up to the top 5, then finally compare their greatness along with their accolades to see who truly is the “Greatest Backcourt of All-Time.”

Notable Great Backcourts:

  • Stephen Curry & Klay Thompson*
  • Derek Fisher & Kobe Bryant
  • Terry Porter & Clyde Drexler
  • Chauncey Billups & Richard Hamilton*
  • John Stockton & Jeff Hornacek
  • Magic Johnson & Byron Scott
  • Isiah Thomas & Joe Dumars*
  • Walt Frazier & Earl Monroe
  • Jerry West & Gail Goodrich
  • Bob Cousy & Sam Jones*
  • Ron Harper & Michael Jordan
  • Rajon Rondo & Ray Allen
  • Tony Parker & Manu Ginobili*
  • Mark Jackson & Reggie Miller
  • Steve Nash & Michael Finley
  • Pete Maravich & Lou Hudson
  • Penny Hardaway & Nick Anderson

*= Top 5 Backcourt of All-Time

 

Isiah Thomas & Joe Dumars

Photo From Detroit News

Photo From Detroit News

This great NBA backcourt played together for 9 total seasons and accomplished a lot while doing so. Their Detroit Pistons being titled as the “Jordan stoppers,” giving Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls 3 playoff exits in a row is one thing they’ll always be remembered for in NBA history. In all 3 of those seasons, the Pistons went to the finals winning 2/3 of their appearances. The “Bad Boys” went to 7 straight playoffs since Dumars and Thomas were teammates, only missing 2 playoff appearances while these two were together. They clearly have a tough resume for the Splash Brothers and all the other greatest backcourt contenders to compete with.


PPG – APG – RPG – FG% – SPG – Win% – Seasons – All-Star App. – Titles


35.5 – 13.5 –  5.6  –  .461  –  2.6   –  .585    –      9           –         18                –     2


These two hall of famers are widely respected in the NBA for their big accolades and amazing defensive ability. Isiah Thomas, the 5x All-NBA team member, is always discussed in the greatest point guard of all-time conversation and deserves more recognition from the explosive point guards in the modern day NBA. Joe Dumars, the 5x All-Defensive NBA team member, doesn’t get enough acknowledgement for his performances in his 14-year NBA career, Dumars also has 3 All-NBA team honors that is brushed off because of having great backcourt teammate Isiah Thomas on his team for a majority of his career. Both Dumars and Thomas have an NBA Finals MVP award, something not many teammates can say, in other eras the Bad Boy Pistons could’ve had a lot more than the 2 championships they have, but nonetheless, the things that this fantastic duo has accomplished is still remarkable today.

Tony Parker & Manu Ginobili

Photo From NY Daily News

Photo From NY Daily News

Not many players have the privilege of winning a title in any decade, this historic backcourt has won a total of 4 titles in two different decades. This duo has never missed the playoffs a single year in their career. Tony Parker has been in and out of the top 5 point guards of the year discussion, year after year. Manu Ginobili hasn’t always been atop of the league’s best in the regular season, but has always been effective in the playoffs averaging at least 19 PPG in 3 playoff appearances compared to only having one regular season averaging that much. This backcourt has only had one single season with over 28 losses and has made it out of the first round of the playoffs 11/14 seasons together. Grabbing four titles, with the help of recent retired legend, Tim Duncan and “The Admiral” David Robinson, these guys have some of the best championship resumes in the modern NBA.


PPG – APG – RPG – FG% – SPG – Win% – Seasons – All-Star App. – Titles


31.1 – 10.0 –  6.2   – .478  –  2.3   –  .696   –       14        –           8                –     4


Two of the biggest names in international basketball are these guys, with them being on the same team has made them all the more recognizable. The Frenchmen, Tony Parker has a big 4 All-NBA team honors to go with his Finals MVP award back in 2007 to give this backcourt an even more imposing 14 year resume. The 39 year old from Argentina, Manu Ginobili has given himself a big name with his 2 All-NBA third team honors and his 2008 sixth man of the year award. These two may not be the first names that come up in the all-time great discussions of point guards and shooting guards, but they are among the NBA’s best and have the accolades to back it up. Having great longevity and coach Greg Popovich on their sideline, they could possibly see a 5th title before they decide to hang it all up, but one thing is forsure, when their legacies come up. this backcourt force will always be remembered as Champions.

Bob Cousy & Sam Jones

Photo From Trending Top Lists

Photo From Trending Top Lists

When you talk about backcourts that are pure champions, Bob Cousy and Sam Jones are amongst the highest with those honors. Only playing 6 total seasons together, these guys won 5 championships at the beginning of the Boston Celtics reign as the greatest NBA franchise of all-time. Cousy and Jones never played a single season together where they didn’t play in the NBA Finals, in those 6 seasons they also only had one season with a winning percentage under 72%. These two both held a huge scoring haul for the Champion Boston Celtics, they may not have all of the individual stats to be ranked over an Oscar Robertson or Michael Jordan, but their team chemistry and team awards more than make up for their lack of selfishness on the court.


PPG – APG – RPG – FG% – SPG – Win% – Seasons – All-Star App. – Titles


31.2 – 10.1  –  9.4  – .412 –  N/A  –  .731   –      6          –          18                 –     5


The statistics for this backcourt aren’t as flashy and superior as the others on this list, but Cousy and Jones’s All-Star appearances are just as much as anyone on this list and their titles are greater than almost any other great backcourt in NBA history. 12x All-NBA team member and 1957 NBA MVP, Bob Cousy has an amazing NBA resume that is overlooked because he played in the 1950’s; Cousy always held his own averaging at least 18 PPG in 10 of his seasons with the Boston Celtics to help him become a hall of famer and an all-time great. 3x All-NBA team member, Sam Jones may not have an MVP or all of the accolades to give him support as one of the best guards of all-time, but his 10 NBA championships will help you reconsider. Cousy and Jones aren’t always given enough credit for the championship pedigree they brought to the NBA, if you want to talk about guys with handles like Allen Iverson or Pete Maravich, then you might want to leave this backcourt out of the conversation; if you want to talk about the heart of a champion and a group of guys who know how to get the job done when it’s all on the line, then this backcourt has all the tools and more to bring you to the promise land.

 

Chauncey Billups & Richard Hamilton

Photo From The Comeback

Photo From The Comeback

One of the most underrated, but still highly regarded backcourts was Chauncey Billups and Richard “Rip” Hamilton of the 2000’s Detroit Pistons. The Pistons had a very well put together roster with 4 All-Stars in their starting lineup along with 3 highly respected coaches, Larry Brown, Rick Carlisle and the late, great Flip Saunders, in Billups and Hamilton’s 6 seasons (7th season Billups was traded after 2 games) together. After the Pistons made a run to the Eastern Conference Semi-finals in 2002, they made huge moves in the offseason by signing Billups in free agency and acquiring Hamilton in a trade with the Washington Wizards. After that, it was nothing but huge success for the Detroit Pistons franchise. This All-Star backcourt led the Pistons to 6 straight Eastern Conference Finals appearances that included a loss to the Jason Kidd led Nets, a loss to the powerhouse San Antonio Spurs in the finals, a loss to the 2006 Champion Miami Heat, the LeBron led Cavaliers in his eventual first finals appearance, a loss to the 2008 Champion Big 3 in Boston and a huge championship run to knockoff the superteam LA Lakers that had Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Karl Malone and Gary Payton! They faced a lot of legends in their day and have the resume to back up all of the prolific achievements they got in their 6 year run together.


PPG – APG – RPG – FG% – SPG – Win% – Seasons – All-Star App. – Titles


38.9 – 11.2 –   7.4 –  .444 –   2.2   – .679   –        6          –            9                 –     1


As time progresses this backcourt should get a lot more credit than they have gotten in history so far, they only managed to win one NBA title in 6 years, but competed against some of the biggest legends of this era and never went down easy. 3x All-NBA team member, Chauncey Billups made a big name for himself in the NBA becoming a Finals MVP and a 2x All-Defensive team member, his chemistry and playmaking ability with Richard Hamilton should be looked upon by a lot of backcourt teammates on how to run a very efficient offense. In Rip Hamilton’s  9 years in Detroit he only had one season where he averaged under 17 PPG, Hamilton never needed awards to show how much of a true asset he was to the Pistons. Rip was guaranteed, night and night out, to show everyone that he was going to play hard on both sides of the floor and do whatever it takes to win. If this backcourt didn’t have to face so many legends in their 6 years together, they could be looking at a lot more championships than just one. The awards don’t tell their whole story, but numbers never lie and the stats from this exciting duo give them enough credibility to be ranked with the best backcourts in NBA history.

Stephen Curry & Klay Thompson

Photo From NBA

Photo From NBA

Now onto the first 73-9 backcourt in NBA history, since drafting Thompson back in 2011, the Warriors have only missed a single season in the NBA playoffs and have made it to two straight NBA Finals. Stephen Curry has received a ton of attention and earned 2 MVPs, while Klay Thompson has silently been just as effective for the Golden State Warriors over the years. Curry has beaten his own 3-pointers made in a season record countless times and his Splash Brother, Klay Thompson made his way to third most 3-pointers made in a season (276) this year behind Steph’s current and previous record. Thompson also has made a huge impact on some of the most important games in the Warriors attempt at a championship this year, having 6 total 30+ point games in the postseason, including an enormous 41 point outburst in game 6 of the Western Conference Finals. With both Splash Brothers putting on a clinic from the 3-point line and averaging over 21 PPG for the past two consecutive seasons, they’ve already been given enough reason to fall under the same legendary stature that these other Hall of Fame backcourts are on at the end of their respective careers.


PPG – APG – RPG – FG% – SPG – Win% – Seasons – All-Star App. – Titles

42.8 –  9.6   –  7.7  – .465  –  2.7  –  .662     –     5            –        5                    –      1


The Splash Brothers numbers thus far in their careers are scary, the only thing scarier is now with Kevin Durant apart of their team, their numbers will only get even more efficient. Their field goal percentage will rise and their win percentage will also most likely have another boost, as if it isn’t high enough already. 3x All-NBA team member, Stephen Curry is scarily only 28 years old, he has a lot of his career ahead of him and with 2 MVP awards, it’s unpredictable how well he can improve the Splash Brothers reputation in the All-Time discussion. 2x All-NBA team member, Klay Thompson wasn’t expected to be as great of a player that he’s already become, Thompson is known as one of the NBA’s best defenders and a top 3 shooting guard in the league today. Thompson could be the best player on over 20 teams in the NBA right now, but is very unselfish and chooses his loyalty and the foreseen future of the potential of the Golden State Warriors, over being the best player on another team.

In conclusion, from all of the greatness these backcourts have displayed in their eras, which one of these 5 backcourts have the most iconic and promising resume? Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars have the best looking individual stats to go with their 2 rings, while Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have very balanced statistics along with their 4 championships; Bob Cousy and Sam Jones have the most rings and highest winning percentage in the smallest amount of time, the Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton led Pistons have some of the most eye opening stats that almost brought them to the finals every single year in the modern NBA, and then there’s the Splash Brothers, who clearly are the best scoring backcourt and haven’t even finished their story just yet. Is it really still a question at this point who takes the title for “Greatest Backcourt of All-Time?”

Photo From USA Today

Photo From USA Today

The Splash Brothers are a remarkable duo, they have the most balanced resume that still has time to grow. Their points per game average is higher than any other backcourt on the list and their rebound and assist average is just about up to par with everyone else’s, their field goal percentage is only under Parker and Ginobili’s, but c’mon now that’s some of the most efficient guys we’ll ever see play this game. Their winning percentage is extremely impressive and that’s being in comparison with a team that never missed an NBA Finals in the Celtics. With all the time in the world, the Splash Brothers will continue to have more All-Star appearances, they’re both under 29 years old and haven’t shown any signs of slowing down one bit. We’ve never seen a force like this ever before, and it’s shown by their unbelievable 73-9 regular season record. The best backcourt of All-Time is onto their 6th NBA season together, they’ve now added Kevin Durant to their team and will be more hungry than ever with a lot to prove. If the Warriors have another 70+ win season, we’ll be beyond calling the Splash Brothers the greatest backcourt ever, we’ll be calling their team one of the best dynasties ever (if they don’t blow a 3-1 lead in the finals) and the NBA will be looking back at their performance every decade wondering when, or if we’ll ever see another herculean backcourt like this ever again.

All stats are according to basketball-reference.com

About Juwan M. Davis

Editor/Writer for NBALEAD. Born and raised in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Living in Los Angeles. Minnesota Timberwolves fan.
Twitter: @JuwanMalikDavis

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