As the dust finally begins to settle on what was a crazy period of player movement in the NBA offseason, the Western Conference appears to be loaded once again heading into 2019-20.
Warriors guards Steph Curry and Klay Thompson have occupied the top spot among the backcourts of the West for several years, but the Splash Brothers have some competition after Russell Westbrook was dealt to the Houston Rockets to team up with James Harden.
The top five backcourts in the Western Conference were a talking point on ESPN's "Jalen and Jacoby" last week, and guest host Ryan Hollins had some
aggressively wrong unique selections.
Houston's starting guards occupied the top spot on Hollins and David Jacoby's lists, as Westbrook and Harden have combined to win two of the last three NBA MVP awards and four of the last five NBA scoring titles. But since both players have been at their best as ball-dominant point guards, it's debatable whether they can replicate that success as teammates, especially when there are three other Rockets on the court who will also be looking to just occasionally touch the ball.
Hollins then listed the Portland Trail Blazers' backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum as the No. 2 duo on his board, while Jacoby placed Curry and Thompson in the second spot. Hollins had the Splash Brothers next at No. 3.
The former Clipper tried to justify his ranking of Curry and Thompson with the qualifier that Thompson being injured drops the Warriors’ duo down the list. But it’s hard to imagine Steph and Klay-on-crutches walking onto a basketball court together and beating, say, Utah Jazz guards Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley.
The placement of Curry and Thompson may not have been the most bizarre choice for Hollins, who also closed out his list with LeBron James and Danny Green as his fifth-best backcourt duo. While Green was an instrumental part of the Raptors’ run to the title last season, he’s also 32 years old and averages just nine points a game for his career. James reportedly has been preparing to play point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers this season, but he’s also well past his 30th birthday and missed 27 games in 2018-19.
ESPN appears to be sticking with the theme of allowing former players from the NFL and NBA to join the network as "talent," only to have them simply spew hot takes and generate headlines for the worldwide leader.
However, Warriors fans can take comfort in the fact that this just adds to the seemingly endless stream of bulletin-board material coming out of NBA Twitter this summer.