caseyholdahl

Sep 17

Doolittle: Lillard, Matthews And Williams Are The 10th Best Backcourt

By caseyholdahl

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.

7 Comments

  1. Hate to sound like a homer, but Portland's backcourt should be listed ahead of Dallas, Denver, Minnesota, and possibly even the Lakers (depending on Kobe's health and Nash's production). Also, Clips at 4 is really low.

    by DHawes22 on 9/17/2013 9:27 AM
  2. Wes's heart and pure love of the game, and Damian's ability, they should be either 6th or 7th in the LEague.

    by BlazerManiac on 9/17/2013 10:16 AM
  3. I have a lot of issues with this list. Clips at #4 despite having the best PG in the game, yet Houston is #1 (Lin was pretty awful last year). Golden State and Brooklyn missing the top 10??? (Name a better young backcourt than Curry and Thompson). I know it's going by WARP - but sometimes stats don't paint the whole picture. The fact that Dallas is top-10 but Golden State isn't just shows the problems with it.

    by Brett Fish on 9/17/2013 10:56 AM
  4. I have a lot of issues with this list. Clips at #4 despite having the best PG in the game, yet Houston is #1 (Lin was pretty awful last year). Golden State and Brooklyn missing the top 10??? (Name a better young backcourt than Curry and Thompson). I know it's going by WARP - but sometimes stats don't paint the whole picture. The fact that Dallas is top-10 but Golden State isn't just shows the problems with it.

    by Brett Fish on 9/17/2013 10:56 AM
  5. Brett: I think the issue with Golden State is the considerable dropoff after Curry and Thompson, though Brooklyn seems like a real weird omission.

    by caseyholdahl on 9/17/2013 11:15 AM
  6. What happens if Blazers go big and play Batum at 2 for stretches. He can defend the 2 and his all around game has elevated. Lill, Nic backed by Mo and Wes. Where is the drop off ? Wild card CJ. Problems there for the opposition.

    by Divotking on 9/17/2013 2:48 PM
  7. casey HELP - don't know what happened

    by Divotking on 9/17/2013 4:14 PM
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