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 Justin Ford/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /

81. . . . Toronto Raptors. 18. team

18. Raptors — Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, Scottie Barnes

Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet are two of the league’s most under-appreciated stars. Siakam’s ability to leverage speed and momentum attacking downhill is a treat to watch, while his improved pull-up shooting and passing awareness is what puts him in perennial All-Star territory. VanVleet defies his own physical limitations to impact the game on both sides of the ball every night. Scottie Barnes, fresh off winning Rookie of the Year, is one of the most exciting young players in the sport. He can score with bully ball inside, he can space out to the 3-point, he can run point guard at 6-foot-8, or he can play small-ball center. On defense, he guards all five positions. Toronto’s unique defensive flexibility starts with its core players.

team. 24. . . . Chicago Bulls. 17

17. Bulls — DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic

The Bulls have more than enough offensive firepower to compete in the East. The question is, can they make enough stops? DeMar DeRozan, Zach Lavine, and Nikola Vucevic are all below-average defenders for their position. The offense flowed beautifully last season, DeRozan had a career year, and Vucevic settled in nicely to his third-man role. But with Lonzo Ball not fully healthy and no major additions to the roster, the Bulls’ defensive limitations will hold them back. Plus, there’s a good chance DeRozan regresses in his age-33 season.

team. 211. . . . Memphis Grizzlies. 16

16. Grizzlies — Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., Desmond Bane

Memphis’ superpower is its depth. That being said, it’s hard to knock such a well-fitted core trio. Ja Morant is the most vicious downhill slasher in the game, constantly knifing his way to the rim no matter how hard the defense tries to stop him. Jaren Jackson Jr. is a 3-point bomber and premier rim protector, while Desmond Bane peppers the perimeter with made 3s and defends multiple positions on the wing. Morant’s slashing and perfectly balanced with the perimeter shooting volume of Jackson and Bane, neither of whom need to dominate the ball to exert star-level influence over a game’s outcome.