The Golden State Big Four era seems to be over for good, and we enter the new Dynamic Duo era. This season, we see the rise of powerful duos including LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and James Harden and Russell Westbrook. But are these duos the runaway best in the league? Or does a particular dynamic duo for the Clippers have something to say about it?
This season, the best duos have managed to capture strong records in the league and have put up excellent combined stats. Next season, we will see the return of a possible top-five duo in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, which will surely shake things up for this list. But for the time being, here are the top ten duos in the NBA ranked.
10. Damian Lillard & C.J. McCollum
Damian Lillard: 28.9 PPG, 7.8 APG, 4.3 RPG
CJ McCollum: 22.5 PPG, 4.3 APG, 4.1 RPG
Combined: 51.4 PPG, 12.1 APG, 8.4 RPG
While many will claim C.J. and Dame are better than the 10th ranked duo in the league, their poor record is a reflection of their inconsistency this season. The Blazers hold the 11th best record in the West, a far cry from their Western Conference Finals berth last season.
While both players can score, that doesn’t offer much in defensive resistance as Dame and C.J. are 6'2" and 6'3" respectively. Even though they can score, they can't make up for their team’s poor defensive efforts this season. Only time will tell if the Blazers will split them up, as this experiment has been a disaster this season.
9. Nikola Jokic & Jamal Murray
Nikola Jokic: 20.3 PPG, 6.8 APG, 10.2 RPG
Jamal Murray: 18.7 PPG, 4.8 APG, 3.9 RPG
Combined Stats: 39.0 PPG, 11.6 APG, 14.1 RPG
Nikola Jokic is a top-three big man in the league, and his passing ability might be his greatest asset. Jokic averages 6.8 assists per game which is good for 15th in the league ahead of the likes of Chris Paul. He is also a strong scorer and rebounder, ranking 25th and 9th in the NBA respectively.
Jokic is the best player in Denver, and Jamal Murray complements him perfectly. While he isn't much of a defender, Murray's ability from three is a true asset to the Nuggets as he can spread the floor better than anyone else on the team. Murray's scoring and the playmaking of Jokic is a nice mix that has the Nuggets sitting at second in the West.
8. Donovan Mitchell & Rudy Gobert
Donovan Mitchell: 24.2 PPG, 4.2 APG, 4.4 RPG
Rudy Gobert: 15.1 PPG, 1.4 APG, 13.7 RPG
Combined Stats: 39.3 PPG, 5.6 APG, 18.1 RPG
Mitchell and Gobert are a strong duo because they can defend and impact the floor in many ways. Gobert is averaging 2.0 blocks and 13.9 rebounds per game, great numbers for the reigning Defensive Player of the Year.
Meanwhile, Mitchell can score in clutch moments and has flourished as the number one option on the team. The Jazz is currently fourth in the West, and this is mainly due to Gobert's defense and Mitchell's offensive prowess.
7. Luka Doncic & Kristaps Porzingis
Luka Doncic: 28.7 PPG, 8.7 APG, 9.4 RPG
Kristaps Porzingis: 19.2 PPG, 1.7 APG, 9.5 RPG
Combined Stats: 47.9 PPG, 10.4 APG, 18.9 RPG
This duo could also be higher if Porzingis shows his All-NBA form he had with the Knicks prior to his injury. Kristaps is still finding his way after his injuries with his new team, and his impact will only improve as he gets acclimated in his environment.
Doncic has already arrived and is one of the best players in the league already. His ability to impact the game in every possible way, with his near triple-double average, is truly amazing for someone in his second season.
The future is bright for this duo, and they might be further up the list very soon.
6. Giannis Antetokounmpo & Khris Middleton
Giannis Antetokounmpo: 29.6 PPG, 5.8 APG, 13.7 RPG
Khris Middleton: 21.1 PPG, 4.1 APG, 6.2 RPG
Combined Stats: 50.7 PPG, 9.9 APG, 19.9 RPG
While it may be blasphemous to see Giannis not in a top-five in any list, it more has to do with the ability of the other top duos in the league. Middleton is a perfect complement to Giannis since he is one of the better three-point marksmen in the league and also a good defender.
Giannis is a player who thrives in the middle, so Middleton is a great sidekick as a spot-up shooter and scorer. If the Bucks hold onto the best record in the league, it is mainly due to this strong duo.
5. Jayson Tatum & Kemba Walker
Jayson Tatum: 23.6 PPG, 2.9 APG, 7.1 RPG
Kemba Walker: 21.2 PPG, 4.9 APG, 4.1 RPG
Combined Stats: 44.8 PPG, 7.8 APG, 11.2 RPG
Young Tatum has developed into an All-Star, and it won't be long before he is a superstar. Based on what we have seen so far, Tatum has arrived. His scoring has increased, from 15.7to 23.4 this season, and he has shown the ability to offensively take over games when needed.
Walker has also continued where he left off last season, by averaging 21.4 PPG, near his career average of 20.0 PPG. Walker is a perfect complement to Tatum's scoring in the ball-sharing system employed by Brad Stevens.
This pair has done well enough to make the top five, and their combined stats are very impressive indeed.
4. Joel Embiid & Ben Simmons
Joel Embiid: 23.3 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 3.1 APG
Ben Simmons: 16.7 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 8.2 APG
Combined Stats: 40.0 PPG, 19.6 RPG, 11.3 APG
While there have been rumors that the pair might be split, Embiid and Simmons are a top-five duo in the league. In terms of pure talent, their combination is very scary despite the team inconsistency this season.
Simmons is flourishing as the team’s point guard, as his size and athleticism allow him to see the floor and push the ball better than most guards in the NBA. Embiid is a bonafide double-double machine who gets it done on both ends.
Even though Simmons’s poor 3 point shooting (0.333%) doesn't help the Sixers be a consistent threat, the pair does everything else well on the court.
3. Kawhi Leonard & Paul George
Kawhi Leonard: 26.9 PPG, 5.0 APG, 7.3 RPG
Paul George: 21.0 PPG, 3.9 APG, 5.7 RPG
Combined Stats: 47.9 PPG, 8.9 APG, 13.0 RPG
Leonard and George would probably be higher if George hasn't been injured so long. But in terms of potential, they are a top-two duo in the NBA. Both George and Leonard are two of the best two-way players in the world.
George is fresh off an MVP-worthy campaign last season, while Leonard just won Finals MVP and an NBA title.
George and Leonard complement each other's games since they can do it all on the floor offensively and defensively.
2. James Harden & Russell Westbrook
James Harden: 34.4 PPG, 7.4 APG, 6.4 RPG
Russell Westbrook: 27.5 PPG, 7.0 APG, 8.0 RPG
Combined Stats: 61.9 PPG, 14.4 APG, 14.4 RPG
Harden and Westbrook are the highest-scoring duo in the league and are probably the most offensively dominant duo we have seen since Kobe and Shaq. Russ is a monster at attacking the basket, while Harden can do it all offensively. Especially in a system that caters to scoring, no duo can put up more points in a single game than both of these guys.
Not to mention, Harden and Russ are excellent at being the primary ballhandlers and playmakers on the floor. Their combined stats are staggering, and time will tell if they can manage to win a title together.
1. LeBron James & Anthony Davis
LeBron James: 25.7 PPG, 10.6 APG, 7.9 RPG
Anthony Davis: 26.7 PPG, 3.1 APG, 9.4 RPG
Combined Stats: 52.4 PPG, 13.7 APG, 17.3 RPG
James and Davis are the best duos in the league, and it's by quite a mile. James and Davis are both two of the top five players in the world, with the former making the case as the No. 1 in the world.
James has the most experience out of all the league’s top duos and has the greatest basketball I.Q. Davis is the most dominant big man, who can score from both inside and outside the paint. Not to mention, Davis can shut down the paint and even the perimeter when he's focused.