Top 5 New NBA Duos
#5 Kyrie Irving - DeAndre Jordan
Despite not having the services of Kevin Durant, the pairing of Jordan and Kyrie will be dangerous and fun to watch. Jordan is a high flyer with great hands, and Kyrie sees the court as well as any point guard that has ever played. If Jordan was more of a force defensively or if he ever developed an outside game like DeMarcus Cousins. Anthony Davis, or Karl Anthony-Towns, then these two would be higher on the list. But these deficiencies (along with Jordan’s abysmal free throw shooting) make him a liability and have plagued Jordan his entire career. Sadly, Kyrie will soon understand Chris Paul’s frustrations with playing alongside this under performing big. Not to fret Nets fans, it is still a weak Eastern Conference that just lost the best player on the planet. So Kyrie will have enough help to carry Brooklyn to the second round of the playoffs. Without Durant, the Nets likely will not be competitive against the likes of Philly or Milwaukee, but still worth the cost of admission.
#4 Joel Embiid - Al Horford
The new look 76ers just got more experience and toughness on the low block. The selflessness of Embiid and Horford along with their gritty defense will emulate the Spurs’ Twin Towers of the 90s. Embiid remains a perennial all star, while Horford remains one of the most versatile bigs in the game. A healthy Embiid and consistent Horford will provide the necessary boost to propel the talented Philadelphia roster to the Finals.
#3 Stephen Curry - D’Angelo Russell
Regardless of how long Russell dons a Warriors uniform, the time he spends on the court with Steph will be special. Both players are elite ball handlers, both players can create off the dribble, both players are effective catch and shoot perimeter players, and both players have superior passing abilities. They share quickness and smart decision making. With or without Klay, Steph and Russell are going to create matchup nightmares every night. No team besides the Clippers have a backcourt fast enough to slow down this duo. Steph is a proven champion and former two-time league MVP, while Russell evolved into a top 3 point guard in the East. Anyone that thinks the Warriors will fall out of the playoffs does not know basketball.
#2 Anthony Davis - LeBron James
Matching a perennial MVP candidate with the most skilled big in the game could spell doom for the rest of the NBA. If healthy, these two should waltz into the Western Conference Finals. Unfortunately, due to Davis’ injury-prone past, assuming he will finish the season unscathed or even play in 72 games is fool headed. Davis is made of glass and James is fighting against an undefeated Father Time. Expectations are high for these two as they should be, but Lakers fans longing for the days of Kobe and Shaq shouldn’t hold their breath.
#1 Kawhi Leonard - Paul George
This duo is the third best duo in the history of Los Angeles basketball (after Magic - Kareem and Kobe - Shaq). Two top six players in their prime, that should scare the rest of the NBA. This pairing is reminiscent of LeBron joining Wade and Bosh in Miami a decade ago. Kawhi and PG are tough perimeter defenders and clutch offensive performers. Kawhi is unquestionably the best player in the game (with KD’s injury) and PG is coming off an MVP caliber season. With head coach Doc Rivers leading these tenacious veterans, the Clippers will likely shatter defensive records. Teams will seldom eclipse the 100 point threshold against a Kawhi-led stingy Clippers defense. Los Angeles will return to glory, but it won’t be the Purple and Gold leading the charge. Be ready for Kawhi and PG to take Clipper Nation to multiple Finals.