NBA / Sep 17, 2013 / 1:15 pm

The 25 Best Duos In NBA History

Kevin Durant & Russell Westbrook

Kevin Durant & Russell Westbrook (photo. Rob Hammer)

It’s an almost impossible task for one man to carry a NBA team. We are seeing more and more players with unique skill-sets flock into the league each year, which is why some superstars are pairing up with one another. Over time, many superstar combos seamlessly gelled together.

Today, we are ranking the 25 best duos in NBA history. This won’t be just about who won the most titles together or who scored the most or who dominated statistically. Basketball is an art form, and two talented teammates that fit perfectly together can make a masterpiece. Which duos complemented each other, never taking, only adding to the buffet? That’s what we had to ask ourselves while writing this.

From dynasty duos to duos that never met the anticipation surrounding them, here’s where they fall in the top 25.

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25. ALONZO MOURNING and LARRY JOHNSON (1992-1995)
For three years, one of the most bolstering and youngest frontcourts belonged to the Charlotte Hornets. Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson were simply too much power for opposing teams to handle. Both ‘Zo and Johnson were 20 and 10 players their first season together, and even though the young tandem finished under .500, they were able to make it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals against New York.

Even though the two never seemed to really get along, ever, their talent together went unquestioned, and if their chemistry remained in balance, there’s no telling how much more we could have seen out of the two.

24. KEVIN DURANT and RUSSELL WESTBROOK (2008-PRESENT)
With both players only 24 years old, the sky is the limit for the young Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Already one of the best scoring pairs in the NBA, together they make one of the best one-two punches in the league.

Of their five seasons together, both have averaged over 20 points per game in three of those seasons. Combined, they have scored a total of 20,090 points throughout 706 games together. This is only the beginning for these two as both are in the midst of maximum contracts. Despite getting to the Finals only one time, they still have a great deal of time to get there again, as both KD and Westbrook have yet to even enter their primes.

23. CHARLES BARKLEY and KEVIN JOHNSON (1992-1996)
Charles Barkley was a ruthless and wild power forward. Kevin Johnson was a quick, athletic slashing point guard. The two were the perfect one-two combo that worked in Phoenix for four years. There was no time wasted in Barkley’s journey for a championship, going directly to work his first year with his quick crafty point guard, going to the NBA Finals their first season together, but falling to the Chicago Bulls as many teams did in the ’90s.

Both players were able to get it done on each end of the floor, and were tough as nails. Johnson was able to put pressure on opposing teams, which helped Barkley create for himself. Over four seasons, Barkley and Johnson held a regular season record of 204-124 and one Finals appearance.

22. ALONZO MOURNING and TIM HARDAWAY (1995-2001)
Coming together in 1996, expectations were high for Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway. Unfortunately, the two constantly fell short of even reaching the Finals, losing to the Knicks and Bulls year in and year out.

Mourning, a seven-time All-Star and two-time Defensive Player of the Year, complemented the offensive-minded Hardaway with his aggressive defense and shotblocking prowess. Hardaway was a five-time All-Star and possessed a killer crossover that devastated opponents, while Mourning locked down the interior, and is still the all-time leader in blocks for the Miami Heat with 1625 swats.

21. KOBE BRYANT and PAU GASOL (2007-PRESENT)
This tandem was a fixture at the top of the Western Conference for a half decade, making three trips to the NBA Finals and winning two championships during their seven years together. Despite only playing 27 games their first season together, Gasol was able to manage his health for a full playoff run to help get the Lakers to the Finals.

After that year, Bryant and Gasol looked to be an unstoppable force, winning back-to-back championships while Kobe made himself a staple in points per game, finishing in the top five every year. Without the drama of Dwight Howard this year, a healthy Bryant and Gasol could see a reemergence as a force in the Western Conference.

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  • north

    The rankings don’t seem to match your criteria on page 1. Maybe they’re in the order you remembered them in? This is just a list of people who played together with barely an resemblance of a ranking process.

    This should be 2 articles, entertainment value and success. Then at least something will make sense and people can debate something.

    Entertainment:
    Magic/Kareem
    LeBron/Wade
    MJ/Pippen
    Payton/Kemp

    Success
    Russell/Cousy
    MJ/Pippen
    Magic/Kareem
    Bird/McHale

  • Kord Stanley

    I’ll have to assume you’re a NYer Mr. Scafidi….but PLEASE immediately take Ewing and Starks off the list and replace them with Price and Daugherty.

  • Saleem Rainman

    I know i may seem a bit biased due to my dp, but regardless….No Nash and STAT? Really? wow…

  • Dumbo
  • disqus_hfiTdCx2mk

    It’s true there is room to argue for a few others but over all I don’t see much room for any serious argument. The classic duos the flashy duos , the strong the quick, the most assuredly successful. GOOD JOB! Only pairs left would be superman& Batman and the Hulk and anybody.

  • http://www.basesandbaskets.com/ Elijah

    Agreed. I’d put those guys in the 20s. Even though they didn’t win anything in the playoffs, they were a dynamic duo. The argument that the author could make for excluding them is the fact that those two couldn’t play defense if they spent an off-season training for it.

  • jj

    For sheer entertainment, Vince and T-Mac

  • Alen

    In terms of how they feed off one another on the court, how unstoppable they were, entertainment value, and the success they achieved, here’s my list of the best duo’s in the NBA in the modern post 80′s era.

    1. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen
    2. Dwayne Wade and Lebron James
    3. Penny Hardaway and Shaquille O’Neal
    4. Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp
    5. John Stockton and Karl Malone
    6. Kevin Johnson and Charles Barkley
    7. Tony Parker and Tim Duncan
    8. Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal
    9. Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars
    10. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant

    From the Older Era..

    1. Bob Cousy and Bill Russell
    2. Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain
    3. Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
    4. Larry Bird and Kevin McHale
    5. Oscar Robertson and Lew Alcindor
    6. John Havlicek and David Cowens
    7. Walt Frazier and Willis Reed

  • squatty

    peen and cooch is the best duo. second is peanut butter and chocolate.

  • http://twitchtv.com/breathfan Teodor Gergov

    SHAQ and Penny is my favourite duo :))

  • Mark E. McIntyre

    Roger Brown Mel Daniels

  • Mark E. McIntyre

    Artis Gilmore & Dan Issel

  • Mark E. McIntyre

    George Gervin and Larry (Special K) Kenon

  • Mark E. McIntyre

    Elvin Hayes & Bobby Dandridge

  • Mark E. McIntyre

    Downtown Freddie Brown & Jack Sikma

  • Mark E. McIntyre

    Sidney Wickes & Curtis Rowe (UCLA)

  • Mark E. McIntyre

    Dan Issel & Alex English

  • Mark E. McIntyre

    Curly Neal & Meadowlark Lemmon (Globetrotters)