The NBA has become a league of big 3s. In today’s modern game, it takes a trio of highly talented players to led teams to success. Even though there were big 3s in the past – Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish, for example – their importance has become far greater in the 21st century. Now, teams are building around three vital players and sign up big-name stars to carry the load more than ever.
The Chicago Bulls dynasty of the 1990s maybe the last truly great non-big 3 champion. Michael Jordan was the key but he was surrounded by the likes of Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, Steve Kerr, B.J. Armstrong, Bill Cartwright, Dennis Rodman, and others during their dynastic run. For NBA fans that want to back their favorite team into winning, you can sign up here for the best betting deals and offers.
Now with the league’s teams devoted to big 3s, which have been the best of the 21st century?
- LeBron James – Kyrie Irving – Kevin Love
LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love would theoretically be dominating the Eastern Conference if they were still together. They were the heartbeat of the Cleveland Cavaliers despite the drama that engulfed the team at times. The trio led the Cavs to the NBA Finals in each season it was together and defeated the Golden State Warriors to lift the championship in 2016.
- Kevin Garnett – Paul Pierce – Ray Allen
When the Boston Celtics’ aimless general manager Danny Ainge finally gave guard Paul Pierce some help on the floor, they became one of the best NBA teams of the early part of century. The trio’s run was short-lived do to their respective ages, however. Which is why they only rank as third. Regardless, Garnett, Pierce, and Allen found success together defeating the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals and going to seven games in the finals two years later.
- Kevin Durant – Stephen Curry – Klay Thompson
Golden State’s fantastic trio of Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson will most likely end soon. But it won’t end before the Warriors have the chance to add another title. Although the Warriors won the NBA Finals in 2015, the trio didn’t come together until the next season when Durant arrived from the Oklahoma City Thunder. His addition took the Warriors to an all-new level. Three more appearances in the finals have followed with two title wins. By the end of the 2018-19 season, the trio could be the best big 3 of the 21st century.
- LeBron James – Dwayne Wade – Chris Bosh
James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh made the Miami Heat the team to watch in the NBA during the early part of the decade. The trio led Miami to four NBA Finals, winning two. The Heat could have done more together, but James’ decision to opt-out of his contract and return to Cleveland brought it to a premature end. It was the Heat’s reliance on the big 3 that really gave rise to the recent trend of teams seeking out three major players and surrounding them with role players.
- Tim Duncan – Tony Parker – Manu Ginobili
Some say Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili were boring. Others just say they were the posterchildren for what professional basketball stars should be. The trio did their job without aggravation and drama. The San Antonio Spurs became the NBA’s example of a well-run franchise during their time together. The Spurs claimed five NBA titles in six attempts. Their five titles qualify them as the best big 3 of the 21st century.