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 Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

93. . . . Philadelphia 76ers. 6. team

6. Sixers — Joel Embiid, James Harden, Tyrese Maxey

Mixing old-school physical dominance with new-school skill, Joel Embiid has completely changed the way people view the center position. He’s a perennial MVP candidate and one of the NBA’s most dominant rim protectors. He alone keeps Philly in the contenders circle each season. Now, at long last, the roster is not undergoing massive overhaul and the depth chart is suitably filled out. James Harden struggled relative to expectations last season, but a full summer of rest and training should do him well. He’s still the greatest offensive manipulator in the game. Defenses simply cannot fully lock Harden out of the game, even when his legendary step-backs aren’t falling. Tyrese Maxey could make the All-Star game sooner than later. He’s a crazy hard worker who has the rare combination of blinding speed and elite shooting touch.

. Denver Nuggets. 5. team. 73. .

5. Nuggets — Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr.

Nikola Jokic might just be the greatest offensive player of his generation. He has posted two absolutely historic offensive seasons in a row, both culminating with much-deserved MVP trophies (much to the chagrin of Philly fans who have witnessed Embiid’s own historical dominance). Jokic’s ability to elevate teammates while also taking over games with his diverse (and at this point extremely underrated) scoring repertoire is singular. There are valid concerns about Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. coming off major injuries, but last time we saw him, Murray was making the jump to proper stardom. He plays both sides of the ball and has formed excellent offensive synergy with Jokic. Porter is a 6-foot-10 sharpshooter with serious self-creation upside due to his ability to simply shoot over the nearest defender.

. . Los Angeles Clippers. 4. team. 77.

4. Clippers — Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Norman Powell

There are a lot of unanswered questions with regard to this Clippers team. Who starts at point guard, and what version of John Wall is joining the team? Who starts on the wing next to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George? There are several options. Conventional wisdom and many projections have Norman Powell coming off the bench right now, but he’s still LA’s third-best player and he should see more than enough minutes to justify his inclusion in these rankings. Age and injuries are a concern, but Kawhi Leonard can take over a game like nobody else when he’s right. Paul George is the best No. 2 option in the NBA right now. Powell, frankly, is the perfect complement to both of them. The Clippers are going to be really, really dangerous if they can stay healthy.