Ranking the Top 10 Duos in NBA History

When the Warriors added Kevin Durant this off-season, everyone knew that they would be an automatic lock to come out of the West. But what nobody could measure is how incredible of a run Steph and KD would go on. Their current 15-0 post-season record is something we’ve never seen before, and it’s something we probably won’t see again for a while. With that said, let’s take a look at my top 10 dynamic duos in NBA history. Keep in mind that this list is compiled only from the 80’s on.

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10. Shaquille O’Neal & Penny Hardaway, Orlando Magic

This duo could have been so special if they never broke up. Penny Hardaway was Westbrook before Westbrook, and Shaq was, well he was Shaq. In their three best seasons together they won a lot, posting win totals of 50, 57, and 60. Injuries bouncing back and forth between the two, and the departure of Shaq to LA is what ultimately broke these two up. Michael Jordan’s presence in the Eastern Conference also may have played a factor in these two never winning a championship together.

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9. Kevin Durant & Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors

I know it’s early, but I have these guys on this list solely based on what they have the potential of doing. They could end up way higher on this list by the end of their time together, so I feel like they’re worthy of a spot now. They are most likely going to be the first team in NBA history to go 16-0 in the playoffs, and they both posted regular season numbers worthy of MVP recognition. With a combined 3 MVP’s under their belts, these two are truley something special. If they stick together, Steph and KD are going to be a scary duo for years to come.

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8. Tim Duncan & Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs

Next to the Lakers, these guys dominated the 2000’s. They won three championships from ’03-’07, and won another one in 2014. Led by one of the greatest coaches in NBA history, Duncan & Parker were a classy, profesional, well-oiled machine from start to finish. Consecutive 50 win seasons and never missing the playoffs are also great stats to have under your belt, especially in the high powered Western Conference.

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7. LeBron James & Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

For how good they were together, I feel like there is no excuse for LeBron and D-Wade losing multiple Finals. But that doesn’t takeaway the spot they deserve on this list. LeBron and Wade started the whole super team thing when they decided to get together with Chris Bosh and choose where they all were going to sign in the 2010 off-season. They lived up to the hype. In their time together they made four straight Finals appearances, going 2-2. If they were to have gone 4-0 they would have earned a higher spot on my list. They also posted 50+ win seasons three of their four years together, which shouldn’t be overlooked.

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6. Isiah Thomas & Joe Dumars, Detroit Pistons

These two are one of the very few duos to take down Michael Jordan in the playoffs multiple times. They won two straight championships together, sweeping Magic and the LA Lakers and taking down a tough Portland Trail Blazers squad. They even managed to get over the hump and take down the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. The collection of great teams they were able to beat during their run is one of the many reasons they deserve a spot on this list. They also were able to put up 50+ wins five of the  nine seasons they were together.

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5. John Stockton & Karl Malone, Utah Jazz

These two are the best duo to never win a title together. Stockton and Malone had a pick-n-roll game that was nearly unstoppable, as they dominated many regular seasons putting up 11 50+ win seasons. They also made two straight NBA Finals appearances, only to face MJ and the Bulls. We all know what happened there. Imagine if these two hit their peak while Jordan was still playing baseball, or even before? Who knows how many titles they could have brought back to Utah.

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4. Larry Bird & Kevin Mchale, Boston Celtics

I wish I was alive to watch the best duo in Celtics history play together. Bird and Mchale wasted no time, making it to the Finals five times in their first seven years together. They managed to bring three championships back to Boston, taking down the likes of Hakeem Olajouwon and Magic Johnson in some of the greatest matchups in NBA Finals history. They made the playoffs every year they were together, notching 50+ win seasons in 12 of them.

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3. Magic Johnson & Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Los Angles Lakers

When I think of Magic and Kareem playing together, I have a tough time imagining them shooting anything but skyhooks. Besides that, the Showtime Lakers were a dominant force in the 80’s. They went to the Finals eight out of their ten years together, bringing five titles back to LA. Combined, the two brought back four Finals MVP awards as well. Truley one of the flashiest duos in NBA history.

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2. Shaquille O’Neal & Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

In the eight seasons Shaq and Kobe spent together, they made the Finals four times. Their Lakers were the first team to win back-to-back-to-back championships since MJ did it with the Bulls. Not only that, but they were two of the most dominant scorers in their era, so it only makes sense why they won so easily together. Their breakup was caused by some off-court issues they had with eachother. If they hadn’t broke up, one can only imagine how many more rings they could have won together. Both did go on to win a championship without the other.

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1. Michael Jordan & Scottie Pippen, Chicago Bulls 

The most deserving of this number one spot, MJ and Pippen dominated the NBA in both the 80’s and 90’s. They managed to three-peat twice, which is something we might not ever see again. Jordan is the greatest player of all-time, so it only makes sense that pairing him up with one of the best defenders ever in Scottie Pippen led to multiple titles. They posted the second best win total in regular season history with 72 wins, something nobody thought could be tarnished until last season. They also went 6-0 in the Finals, which alone could be enough to earn them number one on this list. If MJ never left the NBA, they probably could have won even more.

Written By: Nick Cherico (@NickCherico2)

 

 

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