By trading for James Harden and signing Jeremy Lin in the offseason, the Houston Rockets have one of the most interesting backcourts in the NBA. But they just miss being a top-five duo.
5. Denver Nuggets » Point guard Ty Lawson just got a new contract and a new running mate with Andre Iguodala. Lawson had a breakout year in 2011-12 (16.4?points and 6.6 assists), while All-Star Iguodala is an above-average passer and one of the best perimeter defenders in the league.
4. Los Angeles Lakers » Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash may have a combined three MVP trophies, but they also have a combined 32? years in the league. Health is an obvious concern, as is how Nash fits into the Lakers' offense.
3. Brooklyn Nets » Joe Johnson may not be a superstar, but he doesn't have to be in a backcourt with Deron Williams. Johnson is an unquestionable scorer, having averaged more than 16 points a game for nine straight seasons. Williams averaged 21.0 points and 8.7 assists in his first full season with the Nets last year.
2. Los Angeles Clippers »
The best point guard in the league, Chris Paul, now has an explosive scorer in his backcourt. Jamal Crawford has slowed a bit over the last couple seasons, but the former sixth man of the year had 29 points in his Clippers debut.
1. San Antonio Spurs »
The others in the top five have a new addition, but the Spurs' tandem of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are proven winners. The three-time NBA champions have played in a combined 288 playoff games.
- Jeffrey Tomik