Part two of my week long look at the "Greatest NBA Trios of All-time." If you missed yesterday's piece, you can checkout it out here. With the NBA being founded in 1946 - previously known as the "BAA" or Basketball Association of America - there's been plenty of trios that left a legacy in this league. But, which of those trios were truly great and deserve a spot on this list? We continue today looking at teams #7-5.
7. Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant (Chicago Bulls)
Spoiler Alert! This won’t be the last time Jordan and Pippen appear on this list. But for the time being, the focus will on the original big three in Chicago. From 1987 – 93, the Bulls accumulated a 337-155 regular season record and managed to reach the Conference Semifinals each season. Chicago would go onto win three consecutive NBA Finals from 1991-93. With Jordan on the rise as one of the premiere scorers in the NBA, the Bulls focused on providing talent around him. Following the 1986-87 season, Grant and Pippen both entered the NBA. Grant, the tenth overall pick out of Clemson, added plenty of defense and also averaged 11.2 ppg and added 8.1 rpg in those six season. Pippen, was drafted fifth overall by the Super Sonics and was later traded to the Bulls for Olden Polynice and future draft pick options. Pippen, who was regarded as one of the greatest defenders of all-time, also became the Bulls second leading scorer. Jordan would average (30.1 ppg) or more each of those six seasons with Grant and Pippen before retiring following the 1992-93 season.
6. Bill Russell, John Havlicek, Sam Jones (Boston Celtics)
The Celtics were a dominate force for years in the 50s and 60s, so it shouldn’t surprise readers that this won’t be the last time they appear on this list. But the combination of these three Boston Celtics from 1961-1969 was pure magic. In their seven seasons together, the Celtics won six NBA Finals and went 315-170 in the regular season. It's tough comparing teams from different eras, especially ones that competed when there was only between 9-14 teams in the NBA in the 60s. But, between Havlicek joining the Celtics as a rookie in 1961 and making an impact right away and Russell winning seven more finals after already winning four, showed how these players were able to complement each others strengths and weaknesses to form a team that was a force. Not to mention, Jones was an absolute scoring machine, averaging 22.8 ppg in playoff games during those seven seasons. After winning their seventh title as a big three in 1969, both Russell and Jones retired. Without the trio the following year, the Celtics would suffer their first losing record since 1947.
5. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs)
This San Antonio trio isn’t only the best current big three, but also number five on this list. Since forming in 2002, these three have won (4) titles, appearing in five NBA Finals and have gone a mind blowing 688-280. Their worst regular season record came in 2009-10 when they went 50-32. To put that in perspective, the Brooklyn/NJ Nets have won 50 plus games only ONCE since 1976 (2001-02). Although these statics alone are impressive, the fact they their first and most recent title spans 15 years goes to show how dominate as a force they’ve truly been. With Duncan being 38-years old and Ginobili being 36, who knows how much gas is left in the tank. But regardless, their legacy as a big three has been etched in NBA history forever.
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