It has been over three weeks since the NBA chaos has unraveled. The biggest development of free agency has been the arrival of top notch All-Stars teaming up. Since Kevin Durant made the decision to join the Brooklyn Nets, the so-called “Era of the Super Team” is over, but the rise of the dynamic duo is here. So, here are the top 10 duos in the NBA.
10. Tie, Trae Young, John Collins & Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis
These four players are young and promising talents that will lead both of their respective organizations to the playoffs within the next couple of years. To start off with Trae Young and John Collins, the two young stars flourished together in the 2018-2019 season. Young and Collins complement each other in many facets of the game. Young’s ability to stretch the floor gives Collins the space he needs to work in the post or stretch out as well. Collins has developed a three-point jumper within his 2 years in the league, which makes the two potentially a deadly force in the pick-and-roll. Running that motion offense will open up the floor for their other teammates which is a plus as well.
Now, to the Rookie of the Year Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Luka and Kristaps have yet to play together, but the potential is there for the duo to be great for many years. Luka is a do-everything type of player on the offensive side of the ball and Porzingis is a 7’3 sniper from three who can also take his defender down to the post and go to work. Once Luka and Kristaps grace the floor together and create chemistry, the two will open up the floor, create shots for one another, and allow their teammates to get good looks at the basket as well. The two will be hard to deal with next year regardless, because their skill sets are so unique.
9. Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum
The backcourt for the Portland Trailblazers comes in at the nine spot. Damian Lillard is one of the top point guards in the game coming off another superb season. Along with CJ McCollum, who also had another great year, the two guards averaged 51.6 points a game as a pair in the 2018-2019 season. Lillard and McCollum led the Blazers back to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in 19 years. That was a big accomplishment to both players. So, with that being said, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum now have their sights on a NBA Championship and with that dynamic duo, the sky is the limit. They are snipers from beyond the arc and can create their own shots. Both are walking buckets that can erupt at any point of any game. Don’t count these two out because they still have the biggest chips on their shoulders.
8. Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons
The Philadelphia 76ers are in good hands for years to come with All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. The two suffered a heart-breaking loss in game 7 in the second round to the eventual NBA Champions Toronto Raptors. However, by having arguably the best big man in the league and one of the best bright young stars in the NBA, the Sixers will be right back in the thick of things in the East. Embiid and Simmons are two special talents that have shown flashes of brilliance, but in addition to their talents comes some flaws. For Embiid, his health is the big issue. His game on the floor is great and explosive and even unstoppable at points, but the big question every year is whether or not he will be healthy for the season. On the other hand, Ben Simmons will need to develop a jumper. It is that simple. The team needs those two to work on those areas or the Sixers will never make a trip to the NBA Finals.
7. Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray
The young duo grew tremendously last season by taking the Nuggets nearly to the Western Conference Finals. Nikola Jokic emerged as one of the best big men in the NBA . He put up 20.1 PPG, 10.8 RPG, and dished out 7.3 APG last season. Jamal Murray, who just recently got a contract extension worth $170 million, averaged 18.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG, and 4.8 APG last season. His contract is much deserved, due to the way he showed out in the NBA playoffs. In his first round in the playoffs, Murray averaged 21.1 PPG and dropped 4.8 APG. So, with the growth of both Jokic and Murray, the Nuggets will be a force in the West. Also, the pick and roll magic between Jokic and Murray is something special to watch. The two are so dynamic out of that action. They execute it, and open up so many options on the court.
6. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton
The MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton came up short in the Eastern Conference Finals last season, but make no mistake that the duo will come back stronger and ready to make a run for the title. Giannis is coming off an MVP season who dominated the competition in the regular season. Middleton, who re-signed with the Bucks for 5 years and $178 million, will need to step his game up to live up to the lucrative deal he received. The two will need to work on different parts of their games to get over the hump. For Giannis, he will need to incorporate a consistent jumper and become a better facilitator. The Raptors exposed those weaknesses in Giannis’ game by building a wall of defenders to stop prevent him from getting to the rim. For Middleton, he just needs to improve his playmaking ability that will go hand-in-hand with Giannis.
5. James Harden, Russell Westbrook
Harden and Russ are back together after 7 long years and it’s all due to general manager Daryl Morey’s magic. This move makes the Houston Rockets one of the favorites heading into the 2019 season. Harden and Russ are both ball-dominate, but Russ is going to have shooters around him. This is going to make him a better player and will be able to draw defenders to him while he kicks it out to a shooter. For Harden, this man cannot be stopped and by adding Westbrook, it will only make Harden better and more efficient. The dynamic between James Harden and Russell Westbrook was ecstatic back in 2012, now I can only imagine how the dynamic will be come next season.
4. Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving
Brooklyn made one of the biggest splashes in recent history. The signings of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving has given the Nets a high possibility of reaching the NBA Finals, but with Kevin Durant’s injury that opportunity will be on hold until the 2020 season. So when the two super stars do play together, it will be special to divulge in. In many ways, the Durant and Irving pairing is something similar to the Curry and Durant pairing. Curry just happens to be the greatest shooter of all time and Durant left that for a guard who loves to play isolation basketball. The star power between KD and Kyrie is going to be a force not to mess with in the East come 2020.
3. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson
The Splash Bros are coming off a gut-wrenching NBA Finals. Steph Curry once again did not come up clutch in the moment where it counted. However, Steph and Klay are considered the best shooting back court ever, which I find to be very true. Steph and Klay have been to the Finals 5 straight years and won 3 championships. Kevin Durant’s departure this offseason lead many people to believe that the Warriors do not have a chance to get back to the Finals. Klay will be out until March at least with his ACL tear, but once he comes back I expect him to look like a fresh Klay Thompson. Steph and Klay will be back together and that will not be a good thing for anyone out in the West.
2. Kawhi Leonard, Paul George
There is no doubt that this pairing caught the whole league by surprise. Kawhi Leonard is coming off a historic run in the playoffs averaging 30 PPG. He led the Toronto Raptors to their first title in franchise history. After his short stint in Toronto, he decided to leave and take his talents to the L.A. Clippers, but he wouldn’t do it without another star player. So, in addition to Leonard, the Clippers added OKC forward Paul George. Generally speaking, this move catapults the Clippers to being the favorites to come out of the west. Defensively speaking, Leonard and George are two of the top defenders in the league. So the Clippers will be look to be a defensive juggernaut. With both players being able to defend multiple positions, expect the Clippers to be a top defensive team in the NBA.
1. LeBron James, Anthony Davis
The Los Angeles Lakers are back! This upcoming NBA season, showtime will be back in motion. Even though the Lakers traded almost their whole roster for Anthony Davis, it was a risk that had to be taken. Now the duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis will take the league by storm. They both are dynamic and unique in their own ways in which their games on the floor will co-exist beautifully. LeBron averaged 27.6 PPG last season and Davis averaged 28.9 PPG. When you have two transcendent talents on the same team, it’s hard not to list them as the number one duo in the NBA.