Ranking every NBA team’s Big 3

Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, James Harden, Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, James Harden, Sixers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

3. team. 66. . . . Phoenix Suns

3. Suns — Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton

The Suns have been a regular season buzzsaw for two years running. Their most recent playoffs exit was quite the letdown — and it led to some long-term questions about the locker room — but with the same core returning, it would be foolish to count Phoenix out. Devin Booker finished top five in MVP voting last season, while Chris Paul continues to push the boundaries of productivity in his advanced age. The biggest risk factor for Phoenix’s is Paul’s age. He won’t be able to maintain Point God status forever, but for now, there’s every reason to believe he can still exert his will on the game next season. Deandre Ayton returns to the Suns on a four-year extension at the very beginning of his prime, well positioned to succeed because of his fit next to the star backcourt. The Suns will win a lot of games again.

team. 147. . . . Brooklyn Nets. 2

2. Nets — Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons

Kevin Durant, when healthy and fully engaged, can still be the best player on the floor any given night. He’s the most potent individual scorer since MJ, and his sustained growth as a playmaker and defender has only elevated his status with Brooklyn. Kyrie Irving is a very flawed individual — on and off the court — but there isn’t a more skilled ball-handler/iso scorer/finisher in the game. He can make his own offense as well as anybody not named Kevin Durant. Then there’s Ben Simmons. What can we expect from the former No. 1 pick? That is the question that could determine the extent of Brooklyn’s competitiveness in 2023. If he returns to DPOY form and buys into a complementary role with the halfcourt offense, we could see the best basketball of Simmons’ career. He’s in a good spot. There are larger questions about Brooklyn’s roster construction — mainly on defense — but this trio is as talented as any trio in the league.

89. . . . Milwaukee Bucks. 1. team

1. Bucks — Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday

The Bucks have the best player in the NBA. Giannis Antetokounmpo has taken his crown and run away with it. No player has been so singularly dominant on the postseason stage in recent years. Were it not for key injuries, the Bucks probably would’ve won the East again. Giannis’ ability to exert his will on both sides of the ball immediately places Milwaukee at or near the top of the NBA power rankings. Then, there is Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday — two of the most underrated stars the game has to offer. Middleton is better than a fair amount of No. 1 stars on this list, while Holiday is perhaps the best defensive answer to star creators in the league right now.

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