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Houston Rockets: Re-ranking the top 10 NBA backcourts after 50 games

Houston Rockets Russell Westbrook James Harden (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Russell Westbrook James Harden (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Houston Rockets
Luka Doncic Tim Hardaway Jr (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

4. Dallas Mavericks – Luka Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr.

Combined average: 42.8 PPG, 10.4 APG, 12.4 RPG
Previously unranked

What’s interesting about the Dallas Mavericks being so high on this list is how much one half of the backcourt carries the load. Tim Hardaway Jr, while still a solid player, is averaging 14 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. These are decent numbers for a good NBA player, but not exactly at a superstar level. Pair that with the numbers of sophomore phenom Luka Doncic, however, and suddenly you have one of the best backcourts in the league.

In his second season with the Mavs, Doncic is tallying 28.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 8.7 assists per game. He’s currently leading the team in points, assists, rebounds, free throws and 3-pointers. After being named Rookie of the Year last season, the 6-7 guard earned his first All-Star nod this season, which will likely be one of many.

Related Story. 5 Reasons the Luka/Harden comparisons need to stop

As a result of Luka’s exceptional play, the Mavericks have posted an impressive 30-19 record that includes 16 road wins out of 23. Considering the expectations for Dallas going into the season, the fact that they are in the mix for top-four seed is a testament to the dominance of their Slovenian superstar.

Houston Rockets
Fred VanVleet Kyle Lowry (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

3. Toronto Raptors – Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet

Combined average: 37.5 PPG, 14.2 APG, 8.5 RPG
Previously unranked

In a dream 2018-19 season where the Toronto Raptors essentially rented Kawhi Leonard for a year, their move paid off in the best way possible, leading to Toronto’s first NBA title. After Leonard and Danny Green both headed southwest to the warmer confines of Los Angeles in the offseason, many expected the franchise to return back to NBA mediocrity.

Now riding an 11-game winning streak, which ties a franchise-high, the Raptors are far from mediocre after 50 games. Toronto is now 36-14, which is the third-best record in the league behind Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s Bucks and LeBron’s Lakers. While Pascal Siakam is leading the charge for the defending champions, their productive backcourt is serving as the engine that makes the team run.

Kyle Lowry, recently selected to his sixth consecutive All-Star game, is averaging 19.6 points, 7.3 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game. The 33-year-old is also providing veteran leadership to the squad after the loss of Leonard, using his 13-plus years of experience in the league to mentor younger guards like Norman Powell and Fred VanVleet.

The mentorship from Lowry seems to be working wonders for VanVleet, as he’s averaging career-high numbers for a season in points, rebounds, assists and steals this season. Fred’s 17.9 points per game, along with his 6.9 assists and 3.9 rebounds, have played a crucial role in Toronto’s surprising season so far.

Since Toronto’s duo is more of a one-two punch and the team has a better record, they have a slight edge over Dallas in these rankings.

Next: Number 2

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