NBA’s best 1-2 combos
NBA BUZZ - Bobby Motus (The Freeman) - October 2, 2019 - 12:00am

Very recently, Paul George declared to the world that he and Kawhi Leonard are the best duo in the NBA right now.  Maybe. Until the paring is tested against all the other 1-2 punches in the league, let’s put that statement on hold.

Stats wise, including Leonard’s, George has everything to back his declaration but until he returns to active duty sometime in November because of shoulder surgery, things purely remain as mere statements.  It would have been nice seeing both play on opening night against Staples Center co-tenant LA Lakers.

This season opens with strong but new and untested pairings.  The Lakers of course have LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Houston has Russell Westbrook and James Harden, Dallas with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, Malcolm Brogdon and Myles Turner of Indiana and Boston’s Kemba Walker and Jason Tatum.  Because Kevin Durant is out for the season, his pairing with Kyrie Irving will take a backseat.

We have the proven pairs of Joel Imbiid and Ben Simmons of Philadelphia, Denver’s Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, Portland’s CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kris Middleton of Milwaukee and to some extent, Orlando’s Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic.

But thru the years, we had seen pairings who were incomparable in terms of production and contributions they made to their respective teams.  In an article by Zach Kram on The Ringer, he ranked the 20 most dynamic duos according to their most productive years.  Some pairs were mentioned twice because of the seasons that had been significant to their team.

My list is kind of shortened because of duplicity, with all due respect to Mr. Kram, and had added some of my personal choices from the early 90s to mid 2000s.

HOUSTON – Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler – University of Houston Cougars Phi Slamma Jamma reunion gave the Rockets their second consecutive title in 1995.

HOUSTON - Yao Ming  and Tracy McGrady  – if only injuries had not shortened their careers.

DETROIT – Grant Hill and Jerry Stackhouse – they were on a Pistons team lacking in depth.

BOSTON – Larry Bird and Kevin McHale – together, they gave the Celtics 3 titles (1981, 1984, 1986)

BOSTON – Antoine Walker and Paul Pierce – in their prime, both had a combined average of 25ppg but no other Celtic had averaged more than 10 points per.

PHILADELPHIA – Moses Malone and Julius Erving – Malone was immovable in the middle and Dr. J was gracefully gliding for a slam en route to Philly’s only league championship in 1983.

PHILADELPHIA – Allen Iverson and Chris Webber – the mid 2000s had this scoring threat with younger versions of Andre Iguodala and Kyle Korver.

DENVER – Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony – the duo became the only teammates to each average at least 25 points a game.

MIAMI – Lebron James and Dwayne Wade – together, they gave the Heat back-to-back titles.

LA LAKERS – Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – the duo anchored the Showtime Lakers that won five titles (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988)

LA LAKERS – Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant – arguably, nobody dominated the league like what this duo did.  Unfortunately, personal issues got in the way.

UTAH – Karl Malone and John Stockton – they never won a title but this combo was legit.

CHICAGO – Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen – probably the game’s highly offensive and defensive duo that resulted in six titles for the Bulls.

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