After James Harden found his groove with the LA Clippers, opposing teams began to gameplan completely differently. Not only did his playmaking open up the book for Head Coach Tyronn Lue, but Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are receiving looks they have never seen before.
What makes this trio even more effective is how superior Harden can be off the dribble. Many tend to forget that he was a scoring champion in three consecutive seasons and won MVP while averaging over 30 points. He may not be the scoring threat he once was, but he can still make opponents pay for leaving him one-on-one in isolation.
Moreover, the trio of Harden, George, and Leonard have quickly emerged as the best in the league. They complement each other on both ends of the floor, making them impossible to guard. Additionally, their dominance has been the biggest reason why the Clippers are in the mix for a top seed in the Western Conference.
Compared to other top trios, the Clippers have the best, and it's easy to see why.
On both sides of the court, the Clippers’ trio is seemingly unstoppable. Defensively, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have proven to the world how elite they can be. However, James Harden, who is not a reputable defender, has shown the ability to move his feet and force a turnover. This will be huge for LA if he keeps this up throughout the season.
Furthermore, advanced statistics back up why the Clippers have the best trio in the world. As of January 10th, 2024, the 3-man lineup of Harden, George, and Leonard has posted an offensive rating of 121.1, a defensive rating of 111.3, and a player impact estimate of 55.5.
Now, to put these numbers into perspective, the Milwaukee Bucks have a phenomenal trio of Giannis Antotokounmpo, Damian Lillard, and Brook Lopez. Their 3-man lineup has posted an offensive rating of 120.2, a defensive rating of 111.3, and a player impact estimate of 54.7.
Though these numbers are very similar, it is clear how great LA's 'Big 3' has been compared to one of the top teams in the league. In addition to the two-way play, their player impact estimate shows their heavy contributions towards the team's success. This is exactly what fans hoped for when the front office made the trade for the former MVP.
That said, the statistics and eye tests prove why the Clippers have the best trio in the NBA. If they keep this up, LA will be in great shape to win the Western Conference and reach the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.