The International Blogtable: Who's Your Best Backcourt?


Every week, the International Blogtable brings together some of the best basketball minds from around the world, posing a burning question to writers and editors from the NBA's fleet of international web destinations. It's a BIG world, after all.


Mark Jackson said that Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson could be the best-shooting pair of guards in NBA history. Who, to you, made the best backcourt in the history of the game?
Pawel Weszka
Editor, NBA Africa

I loved watching John Stockton and Jeff Hornacek back in the 1990s. As key players on that Utah Jazz team that tried to take it from MJ in the 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals, they were always posing a threat to the Bulls' defense. John Stockton and Karl Malone created an original pick-and-roll duo while Jeff Hornacek was one of the best players moving without a basketball. I met Jeff briefly a couple of years ago and could not have helped myself and had to ask about those two finals the Jazz lost to the Bulls at the end of the last century. He thought the Jazz were a better team in their second straight NBA Finals appearance back in 1998, but the Bulls had someone else on their team… Michael Jordan. Nevertheless, both Stockton and Hornacek are in my books as some of the best backcourt players in NBA history. They didn't need much space to make a shot, only a basketball...
Adriano Albuquerque
Blogger, NBA Brasil

Now that is a VERY tough question! I'll refrain from naming any pre-80's backcourt and keep myself to what I saw from late-80's to today, and my response would be... Well, I'm suspect for claiming that, but it would be Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars, starting backcourt for the two-time champions Detroit Pistons. Isiah was just an assassin, the best pure point guard in the world not named Magic Johnson, and Dumars was a beast defensively, a very good shooter and the one touch of class in the Bad Boys. Both were named Finals MVP, Thomas in 1989 and Dumars in 1990. Look it up -- of all the past 30 champions, that's the only team where the guards were the two main scoring options. The 80's Lakers had Magic and Byron Scott, but Kareem and James Worthy were more important than Scott. The only other team that had two guards as their main leaders was -- guess who? -- the '04 Pistons, with Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton!
Hanson Guan
Editor, NBA China

I would vote Magic Johnson and Byron Scott for the best backcourt combo. The golden rules measuring the greatness of a backcourt pair include what they do on both sides of the floor, and what they’ve won together.

Magic partnered with Scott for eight seasons, from 1983-84 to 1990-91, during which Lakers were crowned champs three times out of six Finals. Magic earned a spot on the All-Star team in all eight seasons, with a tally of 20.4 points, 12.4 assists and 6.7 rebounds per game. Scott contributes 16.3 points per game and his average shot percentage topped 51 percent in three seasons. They formed part of Lakers’ intoxicating ‘Showtime’ in 1980s, a spectacular chapter in NBA history which others can hardly replicate.
Philipp Dornhegge

Curry and Thompson might indeed get there as far as shooting is concerned, but overall they have a long way to go. In my eyes the best backcourt ever was the Pistons’ Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars. One was an elite ball-handler, distributor and shot-creator, the other an excellent shooter and complementary player to Thomas. And both were mentally super-tough as well as fierce defenders. Remember: Dumars was so good on D that Michael Jordan of all people once stated that nobody played him better than Dumars. What makes both even greater is the fact that both Thomas and Dumars played their entire careers with the Pistons, sharing the court and developing a unique understanding of each other’s tendencies for nine years (1985-1994).
Stefanos Triantafyllos
Editor, NBA Greece

A real tough one! There is no question that Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen held the best back-court duo in the history of the game, right (if you consider Scottie a perimeter player, too)? They have won 12 rings combined, so it's a no-brainer. So, the mind says "Bulls"...but the heart sticks with the "Bad Boys" -- Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars, two hard-nosed guards, two excellent teammates and two born winners who both played above their talent to win two championships in a row. So could we call it a draw?
Karan Madhok
Blogger, NBA India

Mark Jackson’s comment about Curry and Thompson sounds too bold to be true at first glance, until you see the little qualifier in the middle: ‘shooting’. In that regard, he may be right. With a True Shooting Percentage of 58.9 percent and 53.3 percent respectively for Curry and Thompson, there has rarely been a better sharpshooting backcourt in NBA history. But shooting – as valuable as it is – isn’t everything that makes players great. With respect to the all-around value of the players, talking about the Best Backcourts of All Time evoke names of duos like Magic Johnson and Byron Scott, Jerry West and Gail Goodrich, and Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe. But in my opinion, the greatest point guard/shooting guard duo in the history of the game played in Detroit from for nine seasons from 1985-1994, reached the Finals three times, won two championships, and shared between them two Finals MVP awards, 13 All Star appearances, seven All NBA teams appearances, and three All Defensive Team honors in that stretch. That duo is Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars, who meshed together with hard-nosed, defensive mentality and a legendary resolve to win as they enjoyed a long stretch of success together.
Davide Chinellato
Editor, NBA Italia

I’ll go with Magic Johnson and Byron Scott, the guys who ran the Lakers' Showtime. They played together from 1983 to 1991… Unforgettable.
Aldo Avinante

I'd choose the Bad Boys combination of Isaiah Thomas and Joe Dumars of the Detroit Pistons. They complement each other well and led the Pistons to two championships in the midst of the Lakers-Celtics legendary rivalry that bridged the Bulls' dynasty. Thomas brought swagger, toughness and offense to the table while Dumars gave them confidence, leadership and defense.