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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(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

38. . . . Orlando Magic. 27. team

27. Magic — Paolo Banchero, Wendell Carter Jr., Franz Wagner

Orlando is still too young to compete, but the pieces of a future contender are in place. Paolo Banchero should immediately step into a productive NBA role. Wendell Carter Jr. is quietly one of the most skilled, versatile centers in the game. Franz Wagner, meanwhile, showed all the early signs of stardom as a rookie. He’s smart, selfless, and he plays both sides of the ball. The Magic’s greatest strength right now is the roster’s length and two-way nature. There are a lot of young players who don’t simply chuck shots. They defend, pass, and play within a system. There’s a lot to like about this team — and this trio — long term.

team. 64. . . . Detroit Pistons. 26

26. Pistons — Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey, Jaden Ivey

Cade Cunningham alone will probably elevate Detroit a few spots higher (if not more) by season’s end. He’s a special player and ideally the face of Detroit basketball for the next decade. His size, intelligence, and shot-making — combined with a massive usage rate — should put Cunningham on the All-Star radar in his second season. Saddiq Bey, meanwhile, checks a lot of boxes as a 3-and-D wing. Jaden Ivey’s arrival should only help Bey, who struggles the most when asked to create his own offense on a regular basis. Ivey can help shoulder the creation burden with Cunningham, and while there’s never a guarantee with rookie production, there’s every reason to believe Ivey can thrive immediately.

. Charlotte Hornets. 25. team. 170. .

25. Hornets — LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier

The Hornets are caught between a rock and a hard place with Miles Bridges’ current legal trouble. That being said, he will not be included for the time being. That leaves Charlotte in a tricky spot — not good enough to compete, but with a great young player who makes it impossible to fully tank. LaMelo Ball is an electric talent who elevates those around him. Gordon Hayward is still an effective across-the-board contributor, but he’s never healthy. Terry Rozier can shoot the crap out of the ball, but he’s a liability on defense whose offensive contributions seldom extend beyond his own scoring.