NBA

NBA: Ranking the Best Duos in the League

Lakers forwards LeBron James and Anthony Davis

Over the years, the NBA has become an ever-changing league with player movement being at the forefront more than ever before. Kevin Durant’s decision to leave the Golden State Warriors has brought back the conversation regarding the top duos heading into the 2019-20 season. Without further ado, here are the best current healthy pairings in the NBA.

4. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton

The Milwaukee Bucks have steadily risen to the top as one of the NBA’s best teams behind the play of their All-Star duo. Antetokounmpo is widely regarded as one of the best players in the league, especially after coming off a career-best campaign that helped him earn his first MVP award while he was also a finalist for the Defensive Player of the Year award.

Meanwhile, Middleton has truly come into his own over the last couple of years being a highly productive talent alongside Antetokounmpo. He is also coming off a career year earning his first All-Star selection while proving to be an effective scorer shooting 45.1% from the floor and 38.8% from 3-point range for his career.

Milwaukee will continue to have plenty of success with these two leading the charge, but it’s Middleton that prevents them from being higher on this list.

3. James Harden and Russell Westbrook

Rockets guards James Harden and Russell Westbrook
James Harden and Russell Westbrook may also be the best backcourt in the NBA. | Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets made the big-splash move this offseason with the decision to pair together two former league MVPs, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. This quickly puts them on the map as being not only among the best backcourt duos in the NBA but also the best overall pairings.

Harden continues to hone in as being a nearly unstoppable offensive factor, coming off yet another MVP-worthy campaign after averaging an NBA-best and career-high 36.1 points. Westbrook stacked up his third straight campaign averaging a triple-double, showing his unique ability to impact the game in many more ways than just his scoring and playmaking.

There is no question that these two belong in this conversation, but it’s hard to place them ahead of the two duos ranked higher on this list.

2. LeBron James and Anthony Davis

Any pairing that has James will undoubtedly land him on this list given his own talent outright as possibly still the best player in the league. However, the Los Angeles Lakers have acquired yet another elite player to play alongside him in Davis, who is arguably the best big man in the league.

The 26-year-old has proven to be an all-around factor on the court that can simultaneously contend for both the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards. The pairing with James could allow him to showcase his talent at another level while helping bring the Lakers back into title contention.

James may be heading into his 17th year and is coming off an injury-riddled campaign, but an extended offseason to focus on his health could bring out the best in him this upcoming season.

1. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George

Clippers forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George
The Clippers All-Stars, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, hold claim to being the best duo in the NBA. | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The entire offseason was set ablaze after the LA Clippers made the franchise-changing moves by adding the All-Star forwards. Leonard has established himself as arguably the best player in the league, especially coming after a dominant run through the playoffs leading the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA title.

George had a career year in his own right that saw him be a finalist for both the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards. On top of that, as he put it during the Clippers Media Day on Sunday, both he and Leonard may be the best pair of two-way players in the league.

These two may have a history of injuries, but they are each in the prime of their careers with a chance to make the Clippers into the best team in the league as possibly the favorites to win the NBA title next season. Given all that, it’s hard to put any other duo above them.