Doolittle: Lillard, Matthews And Williams Are The 10th Best Backcourt
ESPN.com's Bradford Doolittle
, whose work I find interesting if not necessarily convincing (not listing LaMarcus Aldridge as a Top 10 power forward
being the main driver of my skepticism), has ranked the best three-man backcourt combinations in the NBA
using their projected WARP (which Doolittle describes as "primarily a function of the quality and quantity of a player's production").
Based on those projections, Doolittle ranks the trio of Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews and Mo Williams as the 10th best backcourt going into the 2013-14 season with a combined WARP of 14.3:
Don't forget about rookie C.J. McCollum, who helps give Portland's backcourt group a whole lot of upside. Lillard is forecast to regress just a little, if only because he'd be hard-pressed to lead the league in minutes once again, especially given the depth around him in the backcourt. The one concern about this group's fit is whether the proven combo guard skills of Williams are redundant to the potential combo guard skills of McCollum, thus limiting the first-year playing time of the latter.
What a difference an offseason makes. The Trail Blazers went from having almost no depth at the guard positions to having four players fighting for minutes at point guard and shooting guard. That's a much better problem to have.
As for teams ranked above Portland, only a few stand out as debatable. Minnesota's Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin and Jose Barea are ranked 9th, though their projected WARP is also 14.3, so that's really a push any. The only other point of contention is Denver's trio of Ty Lawson, Nate Robinson and Evan Fournier being ranked 7th with a WARP of 15.4. I've got a lot of respect for Lawson's skills, but I still wouldn't trade Lillard, Matthews and Williams for the Nuggets' backcourt, even on a one-year basis.