Garnett, Pierce and Allen NOT the Best "Big Three"

What is the “Big Three”?
The term “Big Three” has been thrown around a lot this year–both in the NBA preseason and now during the regular season–to describe the Boston Celtics tandem of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. The term “Big Three” originally stems from Boston’s high-powered trio of the 80’s: Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish.

Best Fantasy “Big Three”
Not entirely reflective of their on-court performance, I decided today to embark on a mission to determine,
FANTASY-WISE, what the best big three’s in the NBA were today, by team.

Here are the top 5 (for ranking methodology see below):

  1. Phoenix [28]: Marion (2), Stoudemire (12), Nash (14)
  2. Denver [65]: Camby (7), Iverson (9), Anthony (49)
  3. Dallas [71]: Nowitzki (8), Terry (19), J. Howard (44)
  4. Orlando [72]: Lewis (17), Turkoglu (24), D. Howard (31)
  5. Utah [75]: Boozer (15), Williams (20), Kirilenko (40)

What immediately jumps out is the fact that the Boston Celtics’ “Big Three” are not even amongst the Top 5 “Big Three’s” in the NBA. Almost at the NBA season’s midpoint, the Phoenix Suns are overwhelming winners of The Trading Block’s Best Fantasy “Big Three” Award, with three players in the top-15 of all fantasy players. When I say that Nash, Stoudemire and Marion are in the top-15 of all fantasy players, I am referring to their “rank”, or their season ranks. It shouldn’t be surprising that the Suns came out on top in this analysis because of their style of play (READ: no defense whatsoever) and their propensity to score well over 100 points/game (they score around 110 points/game).

Second in line, Camby and Iverson have been fantasy beasts this season, propelling the Denver Nuggets to the runner-up spot, and Dirk & company have a slight advantage over Orlando and Utah in the #3 position.

Here are 6-10:

  1. Boston [77]: Garnett (4), Pierce (18), Allen (55)
  2. Detroit [87]: Billups (10), Wallace (23), Hamilton (54)
  3. LA Lakers [94]: Bryant (3), Bynum (28), Fisher (63)
  4. Memphis [105]: Gay (25), Miller (35), Gasol (45)
  5. New Orleans [107]: Paul (1), West (39), Chandler (67)

Boston actually comes in at #6, with Ray Allen’s ranking bringing down that threesome. The veteran tandem in Detroit (Billups, Wallace and Hamilton) is the 7th best “Big Three” in the NBA, followed by the Lakers (who will drop with the loss of Bynum for 8 weeks), Memphis (balanced star numbers) and New Orleans (anchored by Chris Paul).


  1. I understand that fantasy statistics alone are not a complete indicator of a player’s value. A true “Big Three” doesn’t just consist of fantasy point accumulators, but should be able to coexist reasonably, work together and, most importantly, win basketball games, none of which is captured by fantasy rankings.
  2. I also understand that a player’s “rank” may be affected by injuries, suspensions, etc. Nonetheless, an analysis such as this is interesting to perform for its novelty, and should not be taken as a 100% indicator of the best “Big Three” in the NBA. I encourage others in the fantasy basketball blogging world to tackle this from different perspectives.

To conduct such an analysis, I:

  1. Collected the top 100 Yahoo Fantasy Basketball players by “rank” (explanation on the difference between rank and o-rank can be found here)
  2. Sorted this list of players by team
  3. Summed up the total rank’s for each team’s top three fantasy players
  4. Sorted these summations from least to greatest, giving the best ‘big three’ fantasy combinations first

What are some of the other drawbacks in performing an analysis such as this? Let me know in the comments below.

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To hoops,

5 thoughts on “Garnett, Pierce and Allen NOT the Best "Big Three"

  1. yahoo rankings usually do not value players who are the best in a few categories to their actual value and instead will value a player who does everything pretty well. going along with your post about winning only a few categories (winning 6-3 or 5-4 every week), these players who do everything pretty well are much less valuable.


  2. the phoenix “big three” produce more numbers across all yahoo stat categories (reb, ast, stl, blk, etc.) than boston’s “big three.” so i agree that they have more fantasy value…but in the real-life game, the celtics will dominate the suns.


  3. I agree with steve o about the Suns’ 3, they are more consistent with their stats as well having played together consecutive seasons. Same may be said for the Nuggets’ 3 who have enjoyed at least a half season together.


  4. Valid arguments by all. Like I alluded to in my post, the data that I collected only represents a player’s YAHOO fantasy basketball prowess.I think it would be very intriguing if there were some type of competitive 3-on-3 tournament where some of these trios could compete against one another. Imagine Duncan, Ginobli and Parker going up against Garnett, Pierce and Allen. I’d pay money to see that.


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