NBA superstar duos: Ranking best teammates after wild free agency
10. Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis
In a few years, this might be the top duo in the NBA.
Last time we saw Kristaps Porzingis, he was doing unicorn things at Madison Square Garden, averaging 22.7 points and 6.6 rebounds before tearing his ACL. After a full year to recover, Porzinigis now finds himself in Dallas alongside one of the NBA's bright young stars.
Luka Doncic proved he was worthy of the hype during his rookie season, and his game should mesh well with Porzingis to form a lethal pick-and-pop combo. The Mavs have something special cooking.
9. Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray
Once again, we have one top 10 NBA player in Nikola Jokic and one player who's ceiling is sky-high but has yet to reach it.
Murray, 22, has All-Star potential and is coming off a season in which he averaged 18.2 points, 4.8 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game. Jokic, 24, has MVP potential and showed how dominant he can be in trying to will the Denver Nuggets past the Trail Blazers in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs.
This duo checks in at No. 9, but they could be much higher in a couple of years.
8. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton
I'll start by saying the obvious: Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the five best players in the NBA and will only get better as he cruises toward the peak of his powers.
But as a duo, pairing the reigning NBA MVP with a fringe All-Star doesn't move the needle all that much for me. Middleton is a good shooter and has evolved into a playmaker during his time in Milwaukee. The duo averaged 46 points, 18.5 rebounds and 10.2 assists last season which is why they had the best record in the NBA.
I'm still not sold on Middleton as a legit star, though, even if he is paid like one.
7. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons
Joel Embiid needs to show he can get in shape and stay healthy. Ben Simmons needs to find a jump shot. It doesn't even have to be all that effective, but at least make defenses guard you outside the key.
The 76ers stars are ridiculously talented, but I'm not sold on it being a perfect fit. Although, Philly is.
6. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving
If Kevin Durant can return from his ruptured Achilles at 80 percent of what he was, the Nets should be the favorites in the Eastern Conference in 2020-21 and 2021-22.
This, of course, also relies on Irving not going Illuminati on the young Nets while Durant is out and trashing the good chemistry the existing group, which I'm not willing to bank on. But the basketball fit between a healthy KD and Kyrie should, in theory, be a lot of fun and breed success in Brooklyn.
Check back in 2020.
5. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum
Every year people doubt the Portland Trail Blazers, and yet Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum keep on balling.
They combined for 46.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 9.9 assists per game last season while leading the Blazers to the Western Conference finals. Are Dame and CJ a championship-caliber duo? We'll find out.
4. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson
I know, Klay Thompson is hurt and won't be back until at least February. Don't care.
Once he returns, the Splash Brothers will be back in action looking to prove all of the Warriors' doubters wrong. Their credentials are unquestioned, their strokes two of the purest the game has ever seen. Full stop.
3. LeBron James and Anthony Davis
Say what you will about the Lakers' mishmash roster (why is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope back again?), but the LeBron James-Anthony Davis pairing was one made in basketball heaven.
If only Dr. James Naismith could come back to watch a living basketball legend and NBA alien run the pick-and-roll to perfection. If both stars can stay healthy this will be basketball nirvana.
2. James Harden and Russell Westbrook
Spare me all of your pearl-clutching takes about usage rates and isolation basketball.
The Rockets swapped out an aging Chris Paul for one of the 10-12 best players in the NBA. Will the fit be perfect? Probably not. But I expect Mike D'Antoni to tweak the offense a touch and stagger Harden and Westbrook much in the way he did with Paul and Harden two seasons ago. Westbrook as the primary ball-handler against a team's second unit surrounded by Eric Gordon, PJ Tucker and Austin Rivers instead of Andre Roberson and Alex Abrines? Sign me up.
1. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George
Take the two-time NBA Finals MVP who just had one of the greatest postseasons in NBA history and pair him an MVP finalist who led the league in real plus-minus and you have something scary.
Leonard and George arguably are the two best two-way players in the NBA. Their length and athleticism will give opponents fits. Oh, and they both can play on or off the ball, making the Clippers' offense a nightmare to defend.