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Top 10 Back Courts in NBA History: Which Backcourt was the greatest?

The Top 10 Backcourts in NBA history!
Publish Date:02/21/2024
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa

Active players are not eligible on this list, but the Warrior’s backcourt of Curry and Thompson will be at least in the top 3 when it’s all said and done.


Winning championships helps, and this list is filled with championship-winning backcourts. To get high on the list it helps to have some longevity and consistency and all of these guard combos has that in spades.

10) Maurice Cheeks and Andrew Toney, Philadelphia 76ers

Toney was one of the most underrated players of the 1980s; a lot of the reason for that was his career being hampered and eventually shortened because of injuries. On the other hand, Cheeks were insanely quick and averaged two steals per game over a decade. They helped lead the 76ers to the 1983 NBA title.

Toney was at his best in the Boston Garden, where he destroyed the Celtics; Cheeks was a smooth playmaker who was also a good defender. A lot of people forget how good Toney was as his career ended too soon due to injuries.



9) Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher

Kobe was a ball-dominant player, and Fisher was a spot-up shooter, and together, the two complimented each other game on leading the Lakers to 5 NBA Titles. Fisher was a tremendous clutch shooter as was Kobe and with the game on the line either one could burn you and win the game.

Kobe was an all-time great player and proved it in every game he played. This duo brought back the glory days of Showtime.

Video: Kobe & Fisher Through the Years

Kobe & Fisher Through the Years

8) Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli, San Antonio Spurs

Parker was not a great shooter, but he was a slasher whose mid-range shot was spot-on. Ginobli could hit from anywhere on the court, and these guys combined were a driving force behind some great Spurs teams.

Parker was a more consistent player, but the Spurs were almost unbeatable when Ginobili went off. That happened a lot as these two combined with Tim Duncan made one of the greatest teams of all-time.

Video: Tony Parker & Manu Ginobili run the fastbreak clinic!

Tony Parker & Manu Ginobili run the fastbreak clinic!

7) Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe, New York Knicks

Over an illustrious 10-year career in New York, Frazier collected seven All-Star nods, six All-NBA awards, seven All-Defensive teams, and won two championships. Monroe was flashy and effective as these combined to make up one of the most explosive backcourts in the history of the NBA! Frazier was also considered one of the greatest ball handlers in NBA history!

These two lead the greatest Knicks team of all time to an NBA championship and Monroe was a little past his prime when he arrived in New York. If these two would have teamed up in their prime the Knicks would have won many more Titles.

Video: NBA Greatest Duos: Earl

NBA Greatest Duos: Earl “The Pearl” Monroe + Walt Frazier

6) KC Jones and Sam Jones, Boston Celtics

How about this for a stat? With these guys in the same backcourt, the Celtics won 8 straight NBA Titles. They had the same last name but were unrelated; they played like twins and always seemed to cooperate in perfect cohesion.

Yes, Bill Russell played a big part in this team’s greatness, but he would not have won those eight straight without the help of this all-time great backcourt.

Video: 75 Stories | Sam Jones

75 Stories | Sam Jones

5) Magic Johnson and Michael Cooper, Los Angeles Lakers

Sure Cooper didn’t start many games, but he damn sure finished them. Coop was a great shooter and lockdown defender, and Magic and Coop made Showtime hit on all cylinders. Magic was the greatest point guard to step foot on a basketball court.

Coop was a tremendous defender and these two had a great feel for each other and always seemed in tune with each other.

Video: Magic Johnson to Michael Cooper fastbreak Alley-oop

Magic Johnson to Michael Cooper fastbreak Alley-oop

4) Bob Cousy and Bill Sharman, Boston Celtics

21 All-Star nods, 14 All-NBA First Team honours, and ten NBA Championships between the two players. Cousy was the first great point guard in NBA history, and while Sharman has primarily been forgotten, he was a great player and let’s face it, it’s hard to ignore ten championships.

Yes, they played a long time ago, but what they did in their era was unprecedented. Sure they could not play nowadays, but in the 50s and early 60s they were legends. Cousy is considered one of the greatest white American players in NBA history!

Video: 75 Stories | Bill Sharman

75 Stories | Bill Sharman

3) Michael Jordan and Ron Harper, Chicago Bulls

This was one of the best defensive backcourts in history. Jordan’s other backcourt mates, such as B.J. Armstrong, John Paxson, and Steve Kerr, were mainly spot-up shooters. Harper came to the Bulls as a 20-point-per-game scorer who transformed his game into a lockdown defender, and with this duo in the backcourt, the Bulls won a league record of 73 games.

Harper is one of the most underrated players in NBA history, he was a tremendous scorer and defender.

Video: NBA Legends Explain Why Ron Harper Was Like Jordan

NBA Legends Explain Why Ron Harper Was Like Jordan

2) Jerry West and Gail Goodrich, Los Angeles Lakers

One of the 50 greatest players in NBA history, Jerry West is a 14-time NBA All-Star and one of the best pure scorers ever to play the game. He had a lightning-quick release and deep range, making him virtually unstoppable in one-on-one situations. Goodrich was no slouch, either.

The UCLA great was a double-digit scorer every year after his rookie season, and he was excellent as both a facilitator and foul shooter. The duo finally got over the hump in 1972, beating out the New York Knicks in the NBA Finals, with both players averaging 25 points per game throughout the season.

Video: Lakers Nation Best Of: Top 5 Gail Goodrich Moments In Lakers History

Lakers Nation Best Of: Top 5 Gail Goodrich Moments In Lakers History

1) Joe Dumars and Isaiah Thomas, Detroit Pistons

Until Thomas and Dumars led the Pistons to World Championships in 89 and 90, it was assumed that a low post presence was needed to win it all. That changed with Detroit’s bad boys; Thomas and Dumars could do it all. Thomas was one of the most significant point guards in NBA history, and Dumars was a defensive stud who was no slouch on the offensive end of the court either.

Dumars much, like Michael Cooper and Andrew Toney, was vastly underrated, but he has made it into the Hall of Fame. That Pistons team was dominant for some time, even beating Michael Jordan, until age crept in on them. Thomas also made the list of the greatest guards in big ten history!

Video: Joe Dumars and Isiah Thomas Take Turns Crossing Over Trio of Lakers

Joe Dumars and Isiah Thomas Take Turns Crossing Over Trio of Lakers

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