Ranking where Warriors' Big Three stands before 2021-22 NBA season

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Where Steph, Klay and Dray rank among top NBA Big Threes originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

With the NBA offseason all but wrapped up, we have entered the dead period as we wait for training camp to begin.

So, the natural step to fill the content void is to create debate and discussion that will only anger the majority of us who spend far too much time online.

With Big Threes being responsible for the majority of the NBA titles in the past 11 years, teams are doing everything they can to build a roster around three star players in order to give their franchise the best chance to win a title.

Some teams have a true collection worthy of being called a Big Three. Others have a superstar, a 1B and a solid role player in the third slot. While others still are searching for a way to get their superstar a running mate who can put pressure on defenses and make life easier for the face of the franchise.

Ranking the top Big Threes in the league was easy at the top, but became tougher as it went on. Injuries to Kawhi Leonard and Jamal Murray forced me to move the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets out of the top 10 at the moment, and the Dallas Mavericks' inability to get Luka Doncic a legitimate 1B star also has the Mavericks on the outside looking in.

With that caveat, here are the top-10 trios at the moment, with everything from on-court fit to age and injury history taken into account.

RELATED: Warriors have open road to top-four seed in West

10. Portland Trail Blazers

Big Three: Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic

The Blazers' standing in the top-10 really is based on how great Lillard is. Yes, the Lillard-McCollum-Nurkic trio posted a plus-9.7 net rating in 678 minutes last season. But the Lillard-McCollum backcourt still has massive defensive deficiencies, and Nurkic's inability to stay on the floor due to injuries puts them just barely inside the top 10.

Can Neil Olshey find a way to get Lillard the significant upgrade the star has been clamoring for?

9. Atlanta Hawks

Big Three: Trae Young, John Collins and Bogdan Bogdanovic

Young became a superstar in the postseason, leading the Hawks to the Eastern Conference finals. Collins played well enough to earn a massive payday and secure his future in Atlanta. As for the third member of this "Big Three," Clint Capela has an argument but I'll go with Bogdanovic who gives the Hawks a secondary playmaker and shot creator alongside Young.

In 401 minutes last season, the Young-Collins-Bogdanovic trio had a plus-10 net rating. As long as the trio can stay healthy, Atlanta has a triumvirate that can grow together for the foreseeable future.

8. Utah Jazz

Big Three: Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley

The Jazz have arguably the most complete top-six or top-seven in the NBA. That depth and the trio of Mitchell, Gobert and Conley buoyed them to the best record in the NBA. Mitchell continues to be one of the most dynamic scorers in the league and Gobert's defensive accolades are well-documented. While Conley isn't the top-level point guard he was during his prime, he still is one of the best defensive guards in the NBA and shot 41.2 percent from 3-point range.

The Jazz's Big Three ran into issues in the playoffs as the Los Angeles Clippers' small-ball lineup negated Gobert's rim protection and made the Defensive Player of the Year a liability. Utah's trio is built for regular-season success but will have to level up to jump into the top half of these rankings.

7. Philadelphia 76ers

Big Three: Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris

Ben Simmons is, for now, still a member of the 76ers. But it's unclear how long that will last after Simmons' agent, Rich Paul, reportedly requested a trade from Philadelphia. For the purpose of this exercise, we'll include Simmons with the caveat that this group has an expiration date.

Last season, the Embiid-Simmons-Harris trio logged a plus-14.5 net rating, which was the fourth-highest among three-man lineups with at least 800 minutes.

Embiid is a dominant superstar, Simmons is one of the best defenders on the planet and a nightmare offensively in transition, and Harris, while overpaid, can score at all three levels. It's a well-rounded group, but Simmons' murky future and offensive limitations in the postseason have them on the outside of the top five.

6. Miami Heat

Big Three: Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry

Can we put Heat Culture as the third member? No? OK, then we will roll with the new point guard in South Beach.

This very well could be the best defensive triad on the list. Butler and Adebayo are versatile defenders and Lowry is known for his relentlessness on that end of the floor. While all three are capable of creating their own shots, only Lowry is a consistent shooter from 3-point range, which could give the Heat some spacing issues.

Still, Lowry personifies Heat Culture, and it will be fun to watch him, Butler and Adebayo terrorize opposing offenses next season.

5. Warriors

Big Three: Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green

If you were one of the people who thought Curry was set to slide into irrelevancy after Kevin Durant's exit, man, don't you look stupid.

Curry's legendary run last season proved he still is one of the best players in the NBA, and is the best pure scorer in the NBA this side of Durant.

Any championship-caliber Big Three has to start with an elite player, and the Warriors can check that box. Green remains a game-wrecking defender, but his offensive slippage does leave room for concern.

As for Thompson, his recovery from a torn ACL and torn Achilles has been the talk of the offseason. If he can return close to the player last saw in the 2019 NBA Finals, then the Warriors should rise back to legitimate title contention.

But until Thompson retakes the floor and shows he can regain that old form, the Warriors can't rise higher than five. But they do have room to rise up the rankings if Green's offense ticks back up and Thompson returns to full strength.

4. Phoenix Suns

Big Three: Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton

With Paul now 36 and Ayton lacking consistency, this might be too high for the reigning Western Conference champions.

But I'm willing to take the L if they fall off next season after being two wins away from an NBA title -- a run that admittedly had a number of lucky breaks.

Booker is one of the best scorers in the NBA and is just about to enter his prime. The Point God is coming off a season in which he averaged 16.4 points and 8.9 assists while shooting 49.5 percent from the field, 39.5 from three and 93.4 from the free throw line.

Even if Paul's game does slide a touch this season, I'm banking on a leap from both Booker and Ayton to keep the Suns in the thick of the title hunt.

3. Milwaukee Bucks

Big Three: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holliday

The champs check in at No. 3 with a triumvirate that fits together perfectly, and the banner that will be raised at Fiserv Forum is proof of that.

Antetokounmpo closed out the NBA Finals with a 50-point, 14-rebound performance that will go down as one of the best Finals games in NBA history, and has many giving him the title of best player on the planet. Middleton is the Bucks' closer, a lethal shooter and a great perimeter defender, while Holiday fills in the blanks as an elite defender, secondary playmaker and capable 3-point shooter.

The trio brought Milwaukee a title, but was a Durant toe away from being eliminated in the conference semifinals. Those are the breaks you need to win it all. But can they do it again?

2. Los Angeles Lakers

Big Three: LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook

One thing is certain after Westbrook's arrival in LA: The Lakers will be a load in transition.

After finishing last season ranked 24th in offensive efficiency, the Lakers added Westbrook to give them another playmaker and shot creator alongside James, and to add some NOS to their fast-break game.

James and Westbrook will terrorize teams in the open court, and Davis can be both a rim-runner and a trailing shooter.

But, how will the spacing work when the game slows down? Will both James and Davis commit to logging more minutes at power forward and center, respectively, in order to put more shooters on the floor? How will adding Westbrook impact the league's best defense?

James is a basketball genius, so the money is on him, Davis and Westbrook figuring it out. There will certainly be bumps along the way, but the Lakers' new Big Three has the talent to compete with the top triad on this list.

1. Brooklyn Nets

Big Three: Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving

This one doesn't need a lot of explaining. When the Nets' Big Three was on the court together, they were damn near impossible to stop.

When Durant, Harden and Irving played together, the Nets posted an absurd 119.6 points per game with the trio averaging 78.4 points, 22.5 assists and 7.9 3-pointers per contest.

There's not much else to say. No team has the firepower to outscore the Nets four times in seven games.

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