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) /
7 of 10
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

. . . Brooklyn Nets. 12. team. 147

12. Kyrie Irving & Seth Curry, Nets

For now, Kyrie Irving is still the Nets’ starting point guard. For all the off-court issues and personality concerns, Irving’s talent on the court is undeniable. He’s the most gifted guard finisher maybe ever, with handles reminiscent of Allen Iverson and elite efficiency at all three levels. He can create from scratch better than just about anyone 6-foot-3 or shorter. Next to him is Seth Curry, possibly the best spot-up shooter in the game next to his brother. It’s a deadly combo offensively.

team. 24. . . . Chicago Bulls. 11

11. Lonzo Ball & Zach LaVine, Bulls

An injury cut Lonzo Ball’s first season in Chicago short, but the brief samples were extremely promising. He anchored the Bulls’ defense from the perimeter, using his length to muck up passing lanes and terrorize opposing playmakers. On offense, he’s really the perfect “point guard” for Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan. He doesn’t need to dominate the ball. He’s an elite spot-up shooter, a razor-sharp decision-maker, and the kind of passer who keeps the ball zipping from person to person, rather than dribbling the air out of the ball before making his read. LaVine, in turn, continues to elevate his star status every year. He’s a perennial All-Star at this point.

. . Portland Trail Blazers. 10. team. 34.

10. Damian Lillard & Anfernee Simons, Blazers

Damian Lillard claims to feel better than ever after spending last season rehabbing his abdomen injury. If he can return to 100 percent, then Portland will be right back in the postseason mix. Anfernee Simons made a considerable leap in Lillard’s absence last season, and while there are definite defensive concerns with this duo, the offense should make up for it. Both Lillard and Simons can break down the defense practically at will. Both have game-breaking range from deep, and both are quite adept at penetrating the lane and finishing inside. Both will have to embrace spending more time off the ball, but the potential for this duo is extremely high.