After major off-season trades, Phoenix, Boston, and Golden State now boast backcourts that are even better than they were last season. Jrue Holiday is in Boston, Bradley Beal is in Phoenix, and Chris Paul is with the Warriors. Will any of those acquisitions be enough to get these teams back to the NBA Finals? Only time will tell, but for now, take a look at the top backcourts in the NBA below!
NBA Backcourt Rankings 2023-24
Phoenix, Golden State, and Dallas lead the way in Week 1 of our Top Backcourts in the NBA, but like our NBA Power Rankings, these will fluctuate throughout the season based on performance, changes, and injuries.
1. Phoenix Suns
Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, Eric Gordon, Grayson Allen
Help whichever team has to play against a backcourt featuring Devin Booker, the best shooting guard in the NBA, and Bradley Beal, a player who has averaged more than 30 points per game in a season two separate times. As if that’s not enough, Eric Gordon and Grayson Allen, two talented snipers capable of shooting 40% or better from deep in any given season, will come off the bench for Phoenix and give the Suns’ two superstars the occasional rest. We should see great things from this unit.
2. Golden State Warriors
Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Chris Paul, Moses Moody
If it were even just a few years ago, this unit would have ranked first, and it would not have been all that close; however, Chris Paul is nearly 38 years old, and Steph Curry and Klay Thompson aren’t much younger. Regardless, Curry finished his last season averaging just shy of 30 points per game, as well as six assists and six rebounds. Shooting is the last thing to go for aging NBA players, so perhaps he still has several All-NBA-caliber seasons left in the tank. The same could be said about Klay Thompson, who posted close to 22 points per game on 41% shooting from deep. Even though they are an older unit, they will have some great moments and represent one of the best backcourt units in the league.
3. Dallas Mavericks
Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, Jaden Hardy, Tim Hardaway Jr.
Even though their limited time together last season didn’t result in many wins (5-11 record in 2022-23), there is no denying the incredible talent that Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving possess individually. If Doncic and Irving can create chemistry with one another, the Mavericks will be an elite offensive squad. Jaden Hardy’s continued offensive development on and off the ball and Tim Hardaway Jr.’s veteran play add depth to an already deep backcourt. This offensive-centric backcourt can out-shoot anyone on any given night.
4. Memphis Grizzlies
Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Marcus Smart, Derrick Rose, Luke Kennard
Ja Morant will miss the first 25 games of the 2023-24 regular season due to suspension, but when he returns, this backcourt will be elite. Marcus Smart adds another layer of versatility to the Grizzlies on both sides of the ball, as he can switch 1-4 defensively and play on or off the ball offensively, which is perfect next to Morant and Bane. Luke Kennard, a three-point shooting savant (first in 3P% last season) and veteran Derrick Rose, will provide valuable minutes off the bench, too.
5. Boston Celtics
Jrue Holiday, Jaylen Brown, Derrick White, Payton Pritchard
Boston may have lost Malcolm Brogdon and Marcus Smart, but it brought in two-way lead guard Jrue Holiday to join All-NBA combo guard Jaylen Brown and do-it-all “Swiss Army Knife” Derrick White. This trio of guards will be elite defensively this season, as they can defend several different positions 1-3, giving them the flexibility to switch ball screens. Brown, Holiday, and White all defend the point-of-attack extremely well, while Holiday is widely considered one of the two or three best perimeter defenders in the NBA.
6. Cleveland Cavaliers
Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Caris LeVert
We saw many times last season when it seemed like Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell were the only ones able to keep the Cleveland Cavaliers’ offense afloat. Hopefully, Max Strus’ arrival alleviates some of that stress, especially as a movement shooter in the half-court and in transition; however, even if his presence isn’t as impactful as the Cavs are hoping, this tandem is elite and gives them a little bit of everything. The only major area that this starting backcourt struggles with is size, as both Garland and Mitchell are undersized relative to their positions. Still, their two seven-footers in the frontcourt (Mobley, Allen) should continue to make up for that.
7. Philadelphia 76ers
Tyrese Maxey, De’Anthony Melton, Patrick Beverley
The Philadelphia 76ers still have many unanswered questions regarding the team they will put on the floor. Will James Harden return and be the same player he always has been, or is the relationship between Harden and the Sixers so broken that nothing can fix it? It is hard to tell, but in the meantime, Tyrese Maxey and De’Anthony Melton are an uber-talented duo capable of scoring in bunches. Further, Melton is a terrific 3-and-D perimeter player, with the ability to force opponents into challenging shots in isolation.
8. Oklahoma City Thunder
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, Lu Dort, Cason Wallace, Isaiah Joe
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey lead a long, tall, and talented backcourt that has switchability defensively and elite playmaking and scoring upside offensively. SGA is a dark horse MVP candidate, while a strong year from Giddey could elevate him to borderline All-Star status. It will be interesting to see how Cason Wallace and Vasilije Micic mesh with this unit throughout the season. An improvement in backcourt depth can make this unit even stronger and give OKC a legitimate playoff-caliber team.
9. New Orleans Pelicans
C.J. McCollum, Brandon Ingram, Dyson Daniels, Jose Alvarado
Injuries have killed the New Orleans Pelicans over the past few years, but if they can keep this core healthy (McCollum, Ingram, Daniels, and Alvarado) for most of the 2023-24 season, then they could easily be a top-five or six unit in the league. Ingram and McCollum can drop 25 points on any given night, while Daniels and Alvarado are bordering on elite defenders. Health is going to be the difference maker for this unit.
10. Los Angeles Clippers
Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Terance Mann, Norman Powell
The Clippers have a former MVP in Russell Westbrook, a perennial All-Star in Paul George, an up-and-coming star in Terance Mann, and a Sixth Man of the Year candidate in Norman Powell for their backcourt unit. Not too shabby at all. Westbrook’s fit with the Clippers this season will be interesting; they had some success in the small sample size last year, but nothing is guaranteed. This could be a unit that shoots into the Top 5 rather quickly. We will sit back and wait.
11. Sacramento Kings
De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Kevin Huerter, Davion Mitchell
De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, and Kevin Huerter were three vital components to what was the league’s most efficient offense ever. Sacramento boasted the highest offensive rating in a single season but came up short of its championship aspirations. This unit has a bit of everything, including Davion Mitchell’s defense, which can often hide an otherwise poor team defense. Additionally, Fox is one of the most clutch players in the league, Monk has proven to be one of the great isolation scorers, and Huerter can shoot the ball at an elite level.
12. Indiana Pacers
Tyrese Haliburton, Bruce Brown, Benn Mathurin, Buddy Hield, Andrew Nembhard
Andrew Nembhard and Benn Mathurin had an impressive rookie season for the Pacers and should continue taking strides. Their contributions to this Pacers team will continue to grow. Tyrese Haliburton has solidified himself as one of the best point guards in the NBA, while Buddy Hield is an elite three-point shooter. There is a lot to like about this unit that almost has too many cooks in the kitchen.
13. Denver Nuggets
Jamal Murray, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Christian Braun, Reggie Jackson
The reigning NBA champions get a slightly unfavorable ranking from us, but that is largely because the duo of Christian Braun and Reggie Jackson off the bench is undoubtedly one of the weakest in the league. Denver’s bench continues to be a bit of a liability, but if Jamal Murray and KCP show up every game, it may not matter.
14. Minnesota Timberwolves
Anthony Edwards, Mike Conley Jr., Jordan McLaughlin, Nickeil Alexander-Walker
The duo of rising superstar Anthony Edwards and experienced veteran Mike Conley Jr. could prove to be just what Minnesota needs to complement its frontcourt. Edwards could be one of the best players in the NBA for the foreseeable future, while Conley’s ability to protect the ball, make the right reads, and knock down the occasional shot on solid efficiency should result in a lot of success. The Timberwolves’ backcourt bench unit is a bit weak and could sometimes struggle against deeper teams, though.
15. New York Knicks
Jalen Brunson, Immanuel Quickley, Donte DiVincenzo, Quentin Grimes, Josh Hart
Jalen Brunson had an impressive playoff run last season, leading the Knicks to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals before eventually falling to the Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat. Brunson, combined with Sixth Man of the Year frontrunner Immanuel Quickley, “Swiss Army Knife” Josh Hart, and 3-and-D specialist Quentin Grimes should be one of the better backcourts this season. The addition of Donte DiVincenzo will only bolster an already strong unit.
16. Atlanta Hawks
Trae Young, Dejounte Murray, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Patty Mills
Year One of the Trae Young-Dejounte Murray duo was not quite as solid as the Atlanta Hawks hoped; however, they are still two talented guards who can complement each other quite well, especially under new head coach Quin Snyder. Meanwhile, Bogdan Bogdanovic is a legitimate Sixth Man of the Year candidate who can explode for 20 or more points on any given night, while Patty Mills brings intensity, shooting, and veteran leadership.
17. Milwaukee Bucks
Damian Lillard, Malik Beasley, Pat Connaughton
There is no doubting the impact that All-Star and all-time great Damian Lillard is going to have on this Milwaukee Bucks team; however, they lack much playmaking outside of Lillard and are reliant on Pat Connaughton and Malik Beasley to knock down three-pointers, as they don’t do a whole lot else offensively. Additionally, this unit is not the cream of the crop on the defensive end of the floor, so it could sometimes struggle.
18. Los Angeles Lakers
Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell, Gabe Vincent
With the emergence of Austin Reaves as a starting guard in the NBA, Los Angeles is in a much better position than it has been in the recent past. Reaves joins D’Angelo Russell in the backcourt, giving the Lakers size, shooting, and playmaking. Russell and Reaves also have committed to playing better defense, which should help this unit quite a bit. Gabe Vincent is another talented guard off the bench who will apply pressure to Russell; his job as a starter is far from guaranteed.
19. Brooklyn Nets
Spencer Dinwiddie, Ben Simmons, Mikal Bridges
With Ben Simmons set to move to point guard, the Brooklyn Nets have an intriguing backcourt that has size (Simmons), defense (Simmons and Bridges), shooting (Bridges and Dinwiddie), and scoring (Bridges.) It is hard to say exactly what the upside of this unit is, but Bridges averaged close to 27 points in his limited time for the Brooklyn Nets last year, while Simmons has looked much improved in the preseason.
20. Chicago Bulls
Alex Caruso, Zach LaVine, Coby White, Jevon Carter
LaVine has been a 25-26 point-per-game scorer over the past four seasons, and that will continue this season. Where this Bulls backcourt unit is much-improved is defensive: Alex Caruso and Jevon Carter are exceptional perimeter defenders. Coby White is also a talented, young combo guard who can be a solid piece off the bench for Chicago.
21. Portland Trail Blazers
Scoot Henderson, Shaedon Sharpe, Anfernee Simons, Malcolm Brogdon
This is an unexpected unit: no one thought that the Blazers would, through a roundabout way, bring in reigning Sixth Man of the Year Malcolm Brogdon to come off the bench for the trio of rookie Scoot Henderson, Shaedon Sharpe, and Anfernee Simons. Sharpe, Simons, and Henderson make up one of the most athletic backcourts in the NBA, but it might be a bit of time for them to mesh together.
22. Toronto Raptors
Dennis Schroder, O.G. Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr.
Toronto lost Fred VanVleet in free agency but brought in Dennis Schroder, who can apply pressure defensively and knock down some shots. However, this Raptors backcourt is not going to be world-beaters, especially since this is a unit that has not proven it can consistently score in the half-court.
23. Miami Heat
Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro, Caleb Martin, Josh Richardson
The losses of Gabe Vincent and Max Strus would have sunk most teams, but Tyler Herro is back and healthy. Further, Caleb Martin could have a Sixth Man of the Year kind of season off the bench; he would start for a few teams, especially given his fantastic playoff run last season. However, Kyle Lowry getting substantial minutes at this point in his career could prove to be a huge liability. The point guard position keeps Miami from being ranked higher here.
24. Charlotte Hornets
LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Cody Martin
Few backcourt units are as poor defensively as the Charlotte Hornets, but LaMelo Ball is a special talent at the point guard position; he should be an All-Star for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, Terry Rozier is a microwave scorer who can get hot on any night and complements Ball’s pass-first mentality quite well. The Hornets don’t have tremendous depth at the guard position either, but Cody Martin is serviceable off the bench.
25. Houston Rockets
Fred VanVleet, Jalen Green, Amen Thompson
Houston’s backcourt features two players who love to shoot and have the ball in their hands, which could cause some friction throughout the year. Jalen Green is a budding star, but shooting efficiency is a major concern. The other starting guard, Fred VanVleet, is a proven veteran, but is undersized and consistently shoots below 40% from the field. Both players will command a certain amount of usage that might not result in cohesion. Amen Thompson should fit seamlessly into whatever offense head coach Ime Udoka rolls out, though.
26. Detroit Pistons
Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Ausar Thompson
With Cade Cunningham healthy and back in the lineup and Ausar Thompson now on the roster, Detroit should have a solid combination of scoring, playmaking, size, and defense. However, the Pistons don’t have much of a veteran presence, with all of their core backcourt players being in their early 20s. Still, Cunningham has looked like he is back at 100% and could easily shoot this unit up a few spots by the end of the season.
27. Orlando Magic
Jalen Suggs, Markelle Fultz, Gary Harris, Anthony Black
Orlando has a lot of youth on its team and has struggled to keep everyone healthy at once. The Magic seem to be rolling with Jalen Suggs and Markelle Fultz starting together in the backcourt this season, so it will be interesting to see if Suggs’ efficiency improves and Fultz builds off of a really strong year. If Gary Harris stays healthy, which has been a struggle for him in recent years, and Anthony Black has a decent rookie campaign, look for the Magic to be a dark horse team in the east.
28. Utah Jazz
Jordan Clarkson, Collin Sexton, Talen Horton-Tucker, Ochai Agbaji
In the 48 games that Collin Sexton played last season, he actually had a really solid shooting split alongside microwave scorer Jordan Clarkson; however, Sexton lacks the playmaking of a traditional point guard, which limits the layers of this Utah backcourt. Size is also an issue, as Sexton is 6-foot-1, and Clarkson is listed at 6-foot-3 on NBA.com. Additionally, THT and Agbaji still have not consistently proven that they can be trusted as reliable bench options.
29. Washington Wizards
Tyus Jones, Jordan Poole, Delon Wright
Depth, efficiency, size, and defense are the biggest issues for this Wizards team, as they will certainly have some solid nights with Tyus Jones’ passing and Jordan Poole’s scoring. This is an undersized starting backcourt that does not possess much defensive ability, and Delon Wright is not a premier backup guard by any stretch of the imagination.
30. San Antonio Spurs
Tre Jones, Devin Vassell, Jeremy Sochan
What does it say that the Spurs are trying to roll out Jeremy Sochan as a guard? Probably not great things. Sochan is a solid connecting passer with terrific defensive versatility and switchability, but playing him as a guard seems desperate to give this team the depth they don’t have. Even so, Vassell could be in for an MIP-caliber season after taking a huge step forward last year.