Here's another optimists perspective:
One thing that is still true is that our team has one of the top four or five top 3 player combinations in the league. Granted, it's risky when two of those guys are in their mid to late 30s, but still it would be hard for anyone to make a compelling argument that if we stay healthy that Rondo, Pierce, and Garnett aren't one of the most talent top threes in the league.
Wow, I completely missed. Interesting turn.
Okay, Boston's Big Three: Rondo, Garnett and Pierce. Rondo is arguably the best PG in the league today and is most definitely a top five PG. Kevin Garnett is for my money the second best center in the league and definitely a top five center. Paul Pierce is the fourth or fifth best SF in the game. So Boston's three top players are all top players at their respective positions.
How many other teams can make a similar claim?
= absolutely not. A pair of top ten big men in Josh Smith and Al Horford. Nobody else comes to being an above average starter.Brooklyn
= a top five PG and top five SG. A borderline top ten center in B.Lopez and Gerald Wallace who is also probably a borderline top ten SF. More of a big four than a big three. I am willing to accept them as legitimate competition to Boston but I take Boston's big three over the Nets because the foundation is more solid in terms of offense, defense and rebounding. The Nets have great individual talent but lack collective balance from their stars down to the bottom of their roster. Charlotte
= D-Rose, J.Noah and L.Deng. A top five PG. The 6th best SF in the game. A top ten center in Noah. Not as strong a core as Boston's.Cleveland
= Kyrie, Varejao and whoever. They're not in the running either. Dallas
= Only one elite talent in Dirk Nowitzki. A top two PF (K-Love). Marion is the only other above average starter on the team. Denver
= Iggy, Ty Lawson and Gallo. A top ten SF and SG and a top 15 PG. Nope. Detroit
= no chance!Golden State
= S.Curry, Bogut and D.Lee. Nope. Indiana
= More a big four with P.George, D.Granger, D.West and R.Hibbert. Not as strong a core as Boston. LA Clippers
= C.Paul and Blake Griffin are immense. They lack a third star (D.Jordan?) so I'll stick with Boston's trio over theirs. LA Lakers
= Nash, Kobe and Dwight (and Pau Gasol). They have incredible talent at the top of their roster. Dwight Howard is the best big man in the game once he gets healthy. Kobe is either the best or second best SG in the league. Nash is still a top 6/7 PG talent wise. Pau Gasol is a top three PF or C. Their stars do not complement one another well though so their collective talent is a lot less than their individual talent ... but even with that they are still one of the most imposing cores in the league. Memphis
= Gay, Z-Bo and M.Gasol. Conley as fourth wheel. Very strong group. Gasol is a borderline top five center. Z-Bo is a top five PF. Gay is a top five SF. Conley a top 15 PG. Good balance collective between offense, defense and rebounding to build the rest of their team around. Miami
= Bron, Bosh and Wade. Accepted. Minnesota
= K-Love, Rubio and ughh ... Kirilenko? Pekovic? A big four let's call it instead of a Big Three. Still, not on Boston's level. Milwaukee
= don't be ridiculousNew Orleans
= nopeNew York
= Melo, Tyson and Amare. Nope. Amare is too big a question mark as an individual due to recent health concerns and weakened performance levels. Chemistry between their stars is also a major question mark. Oklahoma
= Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka. K-Mart II as fourth wheel. Accepted. Orlando
= no hopePhilly
= A.Bynum, J.Holiday and E.Turner. Nah, they're not there (yet?). Very interesting core in terms of young talent and balance (offense, defense and rebounding + perimeter play, interior play). Phoenix
= Nope. Gortat and Dragic are their best players. Portland
= Aldridge, Lillard and Batum. Nope. Sacramento
= Tyreke and Cousins. Nope. San Antonio
= T.Parker, T.Duncan and M.Ginobili. No. They're not as strong as Boston. Parker is a 6th/7th best PG in the league. Duncan is top 7/8 center. Manu Ginobili has been marginalized this season by Popovich. San Antonio's core is a weakened bunch. Kawhi Leonard may be valuable enough now to call this a big four rather than a big three. Toronto
So, I would rate Miami's Big Three as the best core in the league. Probably the Thunder and Lakers in second and third place respectively and then the Celtics and Grizzlies in fourth and fifth.
A top five core sounds about right to me.