Sixers: Ranking James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and every NBA backcourt

James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

. Washington Wizards. 18. team. 142. .

18. Monte Morris & Bradley Beal, Wizards

Bradley Beal is carrying a lot of the weight here. Even after a down season, it’s hard not to respect Beal’s overwhelming talent on the offensive end. The Wizards are consistently above average on offense, in large part due to Beal’s presence as one of the NBA’s best individual scorers. He can also double as a point guard. Meanwhile, Monte Morris is a huge upgrade at point guard. He’s an efficient shooter who doesn’t turn the ball over. He elevates teammates, he can get hot from 3, and he doesn’t get completely annihilated on defense. Sometimes, that’s all you need.

17. team. 156. . . . Cleveland Cavaliers

17. Darius Garland & Caris LeVert, Cavaliers

Darius Garland made what should be the first of many All-Star appearances last season. He is the engine driving Cleveland’s ascent, and at 22 years old, he is still growing. Caris LeVert was exposed as a mediocre defender and sometimes erratic scorer last season, but there’s still value in a player who can create his own shots so adeptly. LeVert is a great bail-out shooter, while Garland expertly balances the duties of lead playmaker and No. 1 scorer.

81. . . . Toronto Raptors. 16. team

16. Fred VanVleet & Gary Trent Jr., Raptors

It didn’t take long for Fred VanVleet to make the star leap following Kyle Lowry’s departure from Toronto. Injuries hampered him late in the season, but VanVleet’s dynamic pull-up shooting and unshakable confidence make him one of the best lead guards in the Eastern Conference. He’s also a much better defender than any 6-foot guard has a right to be. Gary Trent Jr. also made huge strides last season, transforming from an inefficient volume scorer to a totally bankable 3-and-D wing.