The league today is loaded with high-caliber duos. In the age of “super teams”, it makes it nearly impossible to win if you don’t have a strong duo surrounded by pieces that fit around them. Every team that has won the NBA championship in the past decade has had at least a duo if not a trio of All-Star level players.
It is very difficult to make it to the NBA finals, let alone win it, without having a duo. The last team to do that was the Dallas Mavericks led by Dirk in 2011.
With that being said, nearly every team in the league has a pairing of some sort that the team is focused on building around. Many of those duos happen to be under the age of 25 which puts the league in good hands for years to come.
5. Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr
Ja Morant Career Stats: 18.4 PPG 7.3 APG 3.9 RPG
Jaren Jackson Jr Career Stats: 15.4 PPG 4.7 RPG 1.6 BPG
This duo has the chance to be something special. It has yet to be seen how well these two will mesh because they haven’t played many games together. We only saw a sneak peek of their capabilities in Ja’s rookie season when Jaren Jackson Jr played in 57 games. But then he tore his meniscus and returned for only 11 games this past season. So this upcoming season will be our first chance to see these guys play a full season together.
Ja Morant’s lightning speed and playmaking skills combined with a 7 footer who can spread the floor and handle the rock create a dangerous combination. Jaren Jackson Jr being a threat from the 3 point line will help Ja’s game tremendously because once the lane is open for Ja he’s got one idea in mind: obliterate the rim. And if there’s no one protecting the rim, easy-peasy. If there is… well, just ask Aron Baynes how that turns out. Considering the skillsets we’ve already seen from both of these players, there’s not much holding them back from becoming great.
The Grizzlies have done well in pairing a blend of talents that have already become the faces of their franchise at only 22 years old. The future is bright in Memphis.
4. Trae Young and John Collins
Trae Young Career Stats: 24.1 PPG 8.9 APG 3.9 RPG
John Collins Career Stats: 16.6 PPG 8.4 RPG 1.5 APG
This is one of the more exciting duos on the list. The two have had some flashy moments together, particularly in the ECF this past season when Trae lobbed it off the backboard to Collins for the slam. Trae Youngs’ vision along with John’s athleticism creates the perfect recipe for a successful point guard/big man duo.
This duo has some serious potential for seasons to come since Collins and the Hawks finally came to an agreement on a $125 million dollar contract extension over the next 5 years. If John Collins can become a better play-maker and develop his mid-post game, these two will be a force to be reckoned with.
3. Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton
Devin Booker Career Stats: 23.0 PPG 4.6 APG 3.7 RPG
Deandre Ayton Career Stats: 16.0 PPG 10.6 RPG 1.7 APG
The modern-day Kobe and Shaq. This may be a bit of an overstatement, but they did just make it to the NBA finals. Although, adding one of the greatest floor generals in history may have helped. If Cp3 didn’t join Phoenix last season, it’s hard to tell what the Suns would have done.
Nonetheless, the good news about the Booker/Ayton duo is that they don’t have the problem fighting over the ball like Shaq and Kobe did. Deandre Ayton seems completely accepting of his role and plays efficiently on both the offensive and defensive end alongside Booker. These two will have the opportunity to become unstoppable over the next few years.
2. Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram
Zion Williamson Career Stats: 25.7 PPG 7.0 RPG 3.2 APG
Brandon Ingram Career Stats: 17.8 PPG 5.0 RPG 3.5 APG
This is arguably the most talented duo on the list. Last season Brandon Ingram averaged 23.8 PPG coming off an All-Star season while Zion Williamson averaged 27.0 PPG and made his first All-Star appearance at the age of 20. Regardless of age, this is one of the highest-scoring duos in the entire league. The amount of talent and potential these two possess is riveting.
The only problem with this duo is that they haven’t figured out how to work best to each other's strengths and weaknesses. But after a full season playing together last year, I can see them having far better chemistry heading into next season. I wouldn’t be surprised if this duo claims the top spot after this year.
1. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown
Jayson Tatum Career Stats: 19.4 PPG 6.3 RPG 2.7 APG
Jaylen Brown Career Stats: 15.1 PPG 4.7 RPG 1.8 APG
This duo headlines the list mainly because of what they have achieved. The Celtics have consistently made the Eastern Conference Finals or Semifinals every season of Tatum and Jaylen Brown’s career up until this past season when the Nets inevitably defeated them in the first round.
These two have spent the most time together out of the other duos on this list, but they’ve really flourished over the past two seasons, both averaging over 20 PPG and becoming All-Stars. Last season Tatum averaged 26.4 PPG while Brown averaged 24.7 PPG. They finished the 2021 season as the highest-scoring duo in the entire league, Zion and Brandon Ingram close behind.
With the loss of a few key players in Boston and also a couple of Eastern Conference teams improving this off-season, it will be a testament if these two can uplift the Celtics into the playoffs once again.