With the Anthony Davis-DeMarcus Cousins experiment looking shaky so far in New Orleans (0-2 record, shot distribution, 20% 3PT), where do we rank this front court with the other talented frontcourts in the NBA?
Honorable Mention: Los Angeles Clippers (Luc Mbah a Moute, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan)
Check top 5 best frontcourts in the league.
5. Utah Jazz (Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert)
The Jazz have taken a significant leap this season, likely to host a playoff series in the first round at the #4 seed. A first round series with a fully healthy Clippers squad could be exciting. This rise to the thick of the playoff race has been due to the step-up from Gordon Hayward. Recognized as an All-Star, Hayward is averaging 22 a game and has emerged as that 2-way presence who can change games (Durant, James, Leonard, George, Butler).
Derrick Favors has always been promising and has proven to be a legit starter in the league. Plus, Rudy Gobert is performing like a DPOY candidate, averaging double digits in points and rebounds, while averaging 2.5 blocks a contest.
4. New Orleans Pelicans (Dante Cunningham, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins)
The talent alone on this lineup is clearly the best in the league. Anytime you partner Cousins with Davis, both averaging 25+ points and 10+ rebounds, you can pair them with me and that front court will be elite. Cunningham can shoot the ball, at 38.7% this year, but he needs to be able to take that shot with more frequency and volume with twin towers in the paint. The reason this trio is at #4, however, is the lack of coherence.
This front court still needs to gel and we have to see if the paint will be too clogged for the twin towers. As for getting to the 8 seed, throwing the ball to either of those 2 and letting them work should be enough to make up a couple of games barring a win streak from Portland or Denver.
3. San Antonio Spurs (Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol)
I’m putting the Spurs frontcourt here based on reputation alone. Kawhi Leonard is an MVP candidate yet again, capable of dropping 30 and shutting down your best player at the 1-4. Pau Gasol has been injured and if he can unlock any of his last Bulls season,(16.5 pts, 11 reb), I wouldn’t be surprised to see this group battling any of the 2 teams above. His 3 point shooting has also been elite (50%), allowing all players in this starting lineup to let it fly from deep.
A few games with LaMarcus Aldridge and the rest of the starting 5 could gear this team up for a finals run, given Aldridge is able to feast on his undersized matchups in the playoffs (Draymond Green, Ryan Anderson, Domantas Sabonis).
2. Golden State Warriors (Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, JaVale McGee)
Although JaVale doesn’t start, this frontcourt and team is entirely too much when he does play in place of Zaza Pachulia. When he’s on the floor with the starters, they have the best net rating in the NBA (32.1). They’ve outscored opponents by 96 points in 126 minutes. That’s about 37 points in a 48-minute game for you math nerds.
Oh yeah, and the other 2 starters are All-Stars, arguably top 2 in their respective positions. Durant gives you probably the best pure scorer in the game, Draymond is the ultimate jack-of-all-trades and the likely DPOY, and JaVale opens up the game vertically with his lobs and shot blocking ability.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers (LeBron James, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson)
The defending champions clearly boast the most well-rounded frontcourt in the NBA and, in my opinion, the best. They have the best player in the world in LeBron James, a bona fide All-Star in Kevin Love, and one of the most durable and best offensive rebounders in the league in Tristan Thompson.
On a quest for a repeat and clicking at an elite level with LeBron James’ new ultra playmaking style, this frontcourt is the most likely to be the driving force to overcome the Celtics, Raptors, Wizards, and whoever comes out the West.