Milwaukee Bucks: Ranking their star-studded trio among the NBA’s best

Jul 11, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 11, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jun 25, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 25, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports /

Ranking the Milwaukee Bucks amongst NBA’s best trios: Team’s 10-7

#10. Boston Celtics: Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart

Did the Boston Celtics have a very disappointing season in 2020-21? Absolutely. I think most people would have had the Celtics projected higher than the play-in tournament and the 7th seed before the season.

I still have a ton of faith in this trio, however, specifically, their two young, star wings in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. You need two-way wings to succeed in the NBA, and the Celtics have arguably the two best under 25. We saw a big leap from Brown offensively last season, resulting in his first All-Star appearance. Tatum could very well end up as an MVP candidate one day as he’s already one of the best scorers in the whole league.

Not to take away from Marcus Smart, who is regarded as one of the best defenders at any position who will take on a bigger offensive role without Kemba Walker. The Celtics should be better than last season, and these three will be the reasons why.

#9. Atlanta Hawks: Trae Young, Clint Capela, John Collins

This may be a recency bias, but it would be wrong of me to leave the Atlanta Hawks’ trio out of the top ten. The Hawks are more than just these three, as they got contributions from players like Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kevin Heurter, and Lou Williams in their playoff run, while DeAndre Hunter had a breakout but injury-plagued season.

Still, these three are what makes the Hawks go. Offensively, you won’t find many better guards than Trae Young. His passing might be his most dangerous skill, and that’s saying something. The Hawks were also able to hide him defensively very well in the playoffs and not allowing teams to take advantage of him. John Collins has turned himself into a consistent 40 percent 3-point shooter the last two seasons while maintaining his ability to finish around the basket. Clint Capela was the Hawks’ second-best player all season as he transformed their identity defensively.

#8. Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris

We’ll see how much longer this trio lasts together, but for now, they’re firmly in the top ten. They could be higher, but it’s hard to ignore the severe lack of playoff success. Joel Embiid is arguably the best pure center in the NBA (fans of Jokic will disagree), and when he’s on, his game is an absolute force of nature. He had his best season last year and could be an MVP finalist once again this year.

For all the flack that Ben Simmons takes, he’s still an incredible defender and passer. He has elite traits that many players wish they had, but the lack of scoring — or even willingness to do so — is a big weakness. Tobias Harris turned in his best season last year and is a very good three-level scorer, but he remains a bit inconsistent and a below-average defender.

#7. Miami Heat: Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, Bam Adebayo

This trio could absolutely move up after their first season together, and I have confidence that they will, but I need to see it first. For all the jokes about how Jimmy Butler was outscored by Bryn Forbes in the Bucks’ first round sweep of the Heat, he’s still one of the best wing defenders in the entire league and a very good scorer when he’s not being guarded by Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Kyle Lowry is an immediate fit with this group and should pick up right where he left off after a franchise-changing run with the Toronto Raptors. He’s 35-years-old, but that won’t slow him down whatsoever. Bam Adebayo’s one major weakness is his willingness to look for his own shot. We saw it against the Bucks with Brook Lopez essentially not guarding him, which proved effective. Otherwise, he’s a future Defensive Player of the Year winner who can handle the ball, pass, and rim run. The pick and roll with him and Lowry will be a lot of fun to watch.