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 Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

149. . . . Oklahoma City Thunder. 15. team

15. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander & Josh Giddey , Thunder

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is quietly one of the most talented individual scorers in basketball. His ability to evade defenders and find creases in the opposition’s coverage is singular. He wins with intelligence and craft, rather than sheer athleticism, and it’s a joy to watch. Next to him is the 6-foot-8 Josh Giddey, who set rookie triple-double records last season. Giddey already makes the game easier on everyone around him, and if his scoring efficiency improves, he could quickly ascend to star status. OKC has a lot of growth potential.

118. . . . Utah Jazz. 14. team

14. Mike Conley & Donovan Mitchell, Jazz

Will Donovan Mitchell start the season in Utah? There’s a good chance the answer is no, which could subsequently alter the placement of a certain New York-based franchise. For now, however, Utah still has a backcourt that has earned respect. Mitchell’s stardom is well documented, but Mike Conley — despite his recent bouts with old age — is still an efficient, bankable lead guard.

. Milwaukee Bucks. 13. team. 89. .

13. Jrue Holiday & Grayson Allen, Bucks

Jrue Holiday still doesn’t get the respect he deserves. The guy’s still a one-time All-Star! What’s up with that? The Bucks are tentative title favorites in my opinion, and Holiday is a significant reason for that. He’s arguably the best guard defender on the planet, and he’s one of the best facilitators in the league to boot. Grayson Allen is considerably less exciting (and a lot more irritating), but he’s a knockdown shooter and gritty defender who plays his role well.