The NBA is all about an attempt to duplicate the Warriors’ dynasty by building super teams. We have not yet seen that take hold thus far during the 2019-20 NBA season.
However, we are in an era around the Association that includes most contending teams having two top-end stars to pair up with one another. Both Los Angeles teams did just this by adding elite talent during the summer.
There’s also a number of young teams that have gone in the Warriors’ direction of building up star duos through the draft.
Here, we check in on the 10 best duos in the NBA right now.
1- Los Angeles Clippers: Kawhi Leonard, Paul George
Lakers fans will argue that these two have not yet played together. That’s equally absurd and hilarious. Leonard is the reigning NBA Finals MVP for a reason. He’s the best two-way player in the game. George? All he did last season in Oklahoma City was average 28.0 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.2 steals en route to earning All-NBA and All-NBA Defensive Team honors.
Outside of what we saw from Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant over the past three seasons in Oakland, this is about the most-dynamic duo the NBA has seen in well over a decade. Get accustomed to the accolades in Clipperland.
2- Los Angeles Lakers: LeBron James, Anthony Davis
Any question about this generation’s best player being able to coexist with one of the most-dominating bigs in the game can now be thrown out the window. Los Angeles boasts a 9-2 record after Wednesday’s blowout win over the hapless Golden State Warriors. It had LeBron James with all the energy after the game.
The King and AD are averaging a combined 50.2 points, 18.4 rebounds, 14.4 assists, 3.5 blocks and 2.4 steals per game. They’re also shooting a combined 48% from the field. Watching these two go at it against Leonard and George in the NBA Playoffs (it’s happening) is going to be an absolute blast. Showtime, indeed.
3- Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid
Ben Simmons can’t shoot. Joel Embiid is a hot head. This duo has not made it out of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in two seasons playing with one another. The narrative from haters won’t stop until magic happens in Philly. We’re somehow expecting Moses Malone and Julius Erving to walk through that door.
Guess what? A repeat of the early 80s Sixers could be on the horizon. Simmons and Embiid are averaging a combined 36.9 points, 18.1 rebounds, 9.7 assists, 3.6 steals and 2.3 blocks per game. They complement one another better than any other duo in the Eastern Conference. Neither player has even reached his prime. Sit back and enjoy.
4- Houston Rockets: James Harden, Russell Westbrook
We’re not too sure if this is going to last long-term. But for now, the MVP pairing Houston just reunited with one another is working out swimmingly. Fresh off a solid home win over the Clippers, Harden and Westbrook have led Houston to five consecutive victories. The team is averaging well over 110 points during that span.
What we like most about these two teaming up with one another once again is that their games have changed. Harden has played more off the ball. Westbrook is no longer going hero ball, which defined what ended up being a disappointing tenure in OKC. If this keeps up, watch the heck out.
5- Dallas Mavericks: Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis
If Kristaps was the King of New York, one can now easily conclude that Doncic is the Tsar of Big D. The still young 20-year old is dominating at a level we have not seen from a player at his age since Mr. LeBron James himself. Already one of the top players in the game, Doncic is averaging 29.3 points, 10.7 rebounds and 9.4 assists per outing.
While Porzingis might not have found his footing in Dallas after an offseason trade from New York, the stench of his former Knicks team is slowly wearing off on the Latvian. This duo is going to be about as dominant as they come.
6- Milwaukee Bucks: Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo
The “Greek Freak” will have to shoulder more of the burden with Khris Middleton out up to the next month. That’s no big thing for Giannis, who is clearly in the running for his second consecutive NBA MVP award. Giannis is averaging 29.7 points, 14.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists while shooting 59% from the field this season. That’s big boy stuff.
Once Middleton returns from injury, this duo is going to continue running antler first into Eastern Conference competition. After all, Middleton was averaging 18.5 points and shooting 39% from distance prior to going down.
7- Denver Nuggets: Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic
“The Joker” might be having a down season. In no way does that mean Jokic isn’t the most dynamic natural center in the NBA. Here’s a dude that averaged 20.7 points, 10.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists during the 2018-19 campaign. That included 14 triple-doubles. Did we mention he’s a center?
Recently extended, Murray has the looks of one of the better young points in the league. He’s averaging a career-best 18.7 points for a Nuggets team that might have some say in who comes out of the Western Conference. Yeah, these two will dominate for years to come.
8- Utah Jazz: Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert
Mitchell entered the Association back in 2017-18 seen as an athletic freak with a lot of work to do before being considered NBA-ready. All he did that season was prove skeptics wrong by averaging north of 20 points per game. On the rise since, “Spider” is putting up north of 25 points per outing and shooting a resounding 48% from the field this season.
He’s joined by a player in Gobert who simply does not get the credit he deserves. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year acts as the inside punch to Mitchell’s stupendous perimeter game. This, too, has Utah as under-the-radar contenders out west.
9- Minnesota Timberwolves: Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns
We all might want to season that crow with some salt. After receiving flack at nearly every turn over the past two seasons, Wiggins has suddenly morphed into one of the best individual scorers in the game. It’s absolutely bonkers how much he’s improved under Ryan Saunders. The former No. 1 pick is averaging 25.9 points on 48% shooting from the field. That’s an increase of 7.8 points from a season ago with much better efficiency.
Now that Wiggins has started to live up to his hype, an angry Mr. Towns has the running partner he desperately needs. KAT has done everything asked of him, including averaging a double-double at 25.8 points and 12.0 rebounds this season.
10- Atlanta Hawks: Trae Young, John Collins
As much crap as the Hawks got for practically trading Luka Doncic to the Mavericks for Young on draft day last year, this is looking like win-win for both sides. Yes, there doesn’t have to be a loser in every trade. As a sophomore, Young is already proving himself to be the most-dynamic shooter in the Association since Stephen Curry entered the league. No hyperbole here. Dude is averaging 28.0 points on 40% shooting from distance while dishing out nearly nine assists per.
As under-the-radar as they come, Collins is also a young cornerstone for this rising Hawks squad. He averaged 19.5 points and 9.8 rebounds as a sophomore last season. For comaprison’s sake, Anthony Davis’ sophomore campaign included him averaging 20.8 points and 10.0 rebounds. Think about that for a second.