Houston Rockets: ESPN Ranks James Harden, Jeremy Lin, and Patrick Beverley As NBA’s Best Backcourt

By Michael Ma

April 12, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin (7) talks to shooting guard James Harden (13) against the Memphis Grizzlies in the fourth quarter at the Toyota Center. The Grizzlies defeated the Rockets 82-78. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone’s entitled to their own opinions, so the prediction of one person may not mean anything at all. With that said, ESPN Insider Bradford Doolittle recently ranked the top 10 backcourts in the NBA for the 2013-2014 season, and picked the Houston Rockets no. 1.

While the starting backcourt will consist of Jeremy Lin and James Harden, Doolittle does bring in the aspect of advanced statistics, which showed how effective the tandem of Harden and Patrick Beverley were during the playoffs when Lin was injured.

“So it is with the Rockets, who landed a big man as the jewel of the current offseason yet still project to have the league’s most valuable backcourt. The rating is of course driven by MVP candidate Harden, now entering his age-24 season, and it’s somewhat speculative given the optimism about Beverley despite his short track record.

One of Houston’s key questions entering the season is whether Beverley or Lin fits better as Harden’s primary partner. In the playoffs this past spring, Lin and Harden played together for 70.2 minutes, per Basketball-Reference.com, during which Houston was outscored by 28.7 points per 100 possessions. However, Harden teamed with Beverley for 172.4 minutes and the Rockets outscored opposing Oklahoma City by seven points per 100 possessions. We’ll see whether those results hold up in preseason play and affect Kevin McHale’s formulation of his new rotation.”

These rankings were based on the WARP system(Wins Above Replacement Player), which is primarily a function of the quality and quantity of a player’s production. The trio of Harden, Lin, and Beverley projects to have a combined WARP of 22.6, and it’ll be interesting to see how coach Kevin McHale will manage the backcourt rotation in training camp and pre-season.