By Josh Cohen
October 7, 2010

ORLANDO -- The axiom, “The Big 3,” has seemingly become the unofficial maxim of the NBA.

Ever since the Boston Celtics united Paul Pierce with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in 2007, the renowned aphorism surfaces everywhere.

It’s come to a point now, largely because of the integration of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, where NBA observers analyze matchups in threes rather than starting fives, entire rosters or individual clashes.

In the old days, hoops analysts and spectators measured a team’s potential off the team as a whole. NBA viewers back in 1970, for instance, matched up New York’s Walt Frazier, Dick Barnett, Dave DeBusschere, Bill Bradley and Willis Reed vs. Los Angeles’ Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Happy Hairston, Mel Counts and Wilt Chamberlain to determine who the better team was.

In the 1990’s, conversely, predictions were heavily based on which individual star would flourish the most. During the 1993 NBA Finals, for example, the general analysis was who between Chicago’s Michael Jordan and Phoenix’s Charles Barkley would catapult their team to the NBA championship. In 1994, similarly, the argument was Patrick Ewing vs. Hakeem Olajuwon and in 1997 and 98 it was Jordan vs. Karl Malone.

But now, the debate about which team is the best largely is conferred through who has the most premier “Big 3.”

This is not necessarily a constructive way of determining who the “best” team is, however. In fact, no matter how you slice it, team chemistry and cohesion remains a very important factor in what ultimately happens on the court.

Nonetheless, I thought it would be intriguing to match up some of the best current “Big 3s” in the NBA and have you, the fans, determine which is the most intimidating.

Vote on each “Big 3” matchup. The winners will advance to the next round.


Round 2
Round 2

Round 2
Round 2