With the recent seismic shift in power across the NBA following an insane free agency period, the league is now filled with a number of star-studded duos. With the majority of the super-duos located out West, the battle for the Western Conference is shaping up to be a heated battle between a number of elite teams. Seeing as the landscape of the NBA is entirely different from where we left off last season, let’s take a look at which teams rank among the best in the NBA’s new super-duo phase.
Ranking NBA’s Star Duos #5: James Harden & Russell Westbrook – Rockets
Ranking the pairing of the game’s leading scorer and a walking triple-double as only the fifth-best in the league seems insane but goes to show just how loaded the top of the NBA is expected to be this season. While the two have played together before, their styles have both evolved into being heavily ball-dominant players which brings up questions regarding their potential fit moving forward.
If Harden and Westbrook can find the on-court synergy that Harden never had with Chris Paul, these two could have a chance to cement themselves as one of the league’s most formidable duos. The two players have done battle a number of times in the MVP race since parting ways in Oklahoma City and it will be interesting to see how the second pairing of the two stars winds up going.
Ranking NBA’s Star Duos #4: Steph Curry & Klay Thompson – Warriors
If Klay wasn’t missing the first half of the season rehabbing his knee injury, this duo would arguably challenge for the top spot in the West. While somewhat forgotten about once Durant arrived in town, the Curry-Thompson duo led the Warriors to consecutive Finals appearances and a ring. With both players already talked about in the pantheon of great NBA shooters, the backcourt pairing becomes unstoppable when both get hot at the same time.
While not the overwhelming title favorites they have been in years past, expect the Warriors to make yet another deep playoff run as they have the offensive firepower and defensive chops to hang with any team in the NBA.
Ranking NBA’s Star Duos #3: Kevin Durant & Kyrie Irving – Nets
When healthy, Kevin Durant is unquestionably the most talented scorer in the NBA – and one of the league’s all-time great bucket-getters. There is a very real chance Kevin Durant doesn’t step foot on a court for the entirety of the next season after his Achilles’ injury and a reasonable chance he never returns to the same dominant force that racked up two Finals MVP awards with the Warriors.
That said, Irving has already shown that he may arguably be the best supporting star in the NBA with his stellar years in Cleveland alongside LeBron. If Durant gets back to full health, there isn’t any reason to think that this pairing wouldn’t challenge either of the top two duos for the most formidable in the NBA. It just might take a bit longer for this duo to actually hit the court together.
Ranking NBA’s Star Duos #2: Kawhi Leonard & Paul George – Clippers
In Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers have arguably the strongest defensive duo among of any team in the league. Both players are certified defensive stoppers on the wing and the thought of Leonard and George shutting down both sides of the court is rightfully terrifying for the rest of the league. Aside from being two of the league’s best defenders, Leonard is coming off an otherworldly offensive showing in the playoffs while George found himself firmly in the MVP conversation prior to coming down with an injury towards the end of the season.
While health is a bit of an issue regarding both Leonard and George, the Clippers should take a page out of the Raptors’ playbook and diligently manage their two superstars’ time on the court. Assuming both stars stay healthy, they should be able to make an incredibly strong case for the top duo in the league.
Ranking NBA’s Star Duos #1: LeBron James & Anthony Davis – Lakers
Arguably the most talented pairing in the league, the Lakers already have a generational talent and the man long-considered to be the best player in the league with LeBron James. When adding the ultra-talented big man Anthony Davis to the mix, the Laker duo’s raw talent becomes nearly unmatched. What’s scary is that Davis is already an MVP candidate heading into his age-26 season and could be in line to see himself get even better over the coming years.
The pairing looks to have natural chemistry sharing the court and while only time will tell if this ends up being the case, on paper Davis and James look to be the most talented duo of the NBA’s star-studded duos.