The Summer of 2019 has been an interesting one — to say the very least. In just the first twelve days of the 2019 NBA off-season, the entire landscape of the association has changed. From Anthony Davis being traded to the LeBron James lead Los Angeles Lakers, to Kawhi Leanord and Paul George joining forces on the Los Angeles Clippers, to Russell Westbrook joining his previous teammate and long time friend James Harden in Houston, the NBA has been through an abundant amount of league changing events. However, the move that set this all in place was the departure of Kevin Durant from the Golden State Warriors. Durant, who signed with the Brooklyn Nets this off season has changed the landscape of the NBA, (again). With his decision of leaving the Warriors, thus presumably ending the Warriors dynasty, Durant invited in a new era to the NBA, one in which parity has finally returned to the league. With the demise of the Golden State Warriors dynasty, the NBA is no longer controlled by a single power house team, but is instead run by a band of newly formed power duos. A new age has dawned upon us NBA fans, in which the NBA is now run by the likes of some of the most elite duos constructed in recent NBA history. Let’s take a look at the top five duos in the upcoming 2018-2019 NBA season (when healthy):
1) Lebron James & Anthony Davis
Starting off this list is one of the greatest players of all time, LeBron James accompanied by one of the greatest players of this decade, Anthony Davis. While there is no way of being certain, since they have yet to hit the hardwood together, this duo has all the implications of being completely dominant. LeBron’s excellent play making ability mixed with Anthony Davis’ ability to finish around the basket will electrify the Lakers fan base and the NBA world. With a combination of the two superstars scoring ability, offensive versatility, defensive tools, athleticism, and size, it’s hard to see any other duo dominating at the same level as these two.
2) Kawhi Leanord & Paul George
Kawhi Leanord, the reigning NBA Finals MVP just tore down the all time great Golden State Dynasty without a single other superstar by his side. Now, imagine what he will do with another superstar, Paul George by his side. Kawhi, who is a two time Defensive Player of the Year is proven to be one of the greatest defenders in the NBA, however Paul George, his new teammate is in the conversation for best defender in the NBA as well. Both stars are lock down defenders on one end, and will score on the defense in a number of different ways on the opposite end. George and Kawhi can both score the basketball, spread the floor, finish around the basket, and still lock up the best player on the opposing team. Now, that is a dangerous tandem to stop.
3) Kevin Durant & Kyrie Irving
Next up is the duo that NBA fans have speculated about for the last year — two great friends and even greater basketball players, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Kevin Durant is arguably the best basketball player in the world, and has always yearned to be the guy on a championship team. Yes, he was phenomenal in Golden State, however that was always Steph Curry’s team. Finally, Durant has a chance to be the batman and a point guard that can be the perfect robin — Kyrie Irving. Imagine throwing a double team at Kyrie only to have Kevin Durant patiently waiting on the wing for his chance to destroy the opposing defense. Combining Durant’s overall scoring dominance (possibly greatest scorer of all time), with Irving’s immense skill level and ability to finish through driving lanes, the Brooklyn Nets have two of the most skilled players in the NBA.
4) James Harden & Russell Westbrook
This duo, while unorthodox, has the potential to completely dominate the NBA. Both player have been amongst the top ten leaders in NBA usage rate for the last three years, and both have been top three in turnovers for the last few years as well. That being said, both are triple double machines, and are arguably two of the top three most versatile players in the NBA alongside LeBron James. For what James Harden lacks in aggression, Russell (more than) makes up, and for what Russell lacks in shooting ability, James Harden makes up. Both superstars have won an MVP in the last three years, can score thirty plus in any given game while still being extraordinary play makers. Westbrook and Harden collectively have the NBA in scoring for four of the last five NBA seasons, and have still managed to stay on the top of the list for assists per game year in and year out. This duo, in the hands of the right offensive system, can wreak havoc on any opposing team in the league.
5) Stephen Curry & Klay Thompson
Unlike the other four previously mentioned duos, this tandem is the only one to have been seen before. Curry and Thompson are two of the top five greatest shooters that the NBA has ever seen, Steph’ being undeniably number one. The two stars undoubtedly have the best chemistry out of any other two man tandem in the NBA, and that is not likely to change. Together, Curry and Klay lead the Warriors to an NBA championship in 2015, and the very next year lead their team to an NBA record 73 wins in the regular season. While the pair of sharp shooters are an all time great duo, they lack the athleticism of the other superstar duos in the league, and Klay Thompson, while an exceptional basketball player, is not on the same level as any other player listed above.
The NBA is finally free of dynasties taking over the league, parity has finally been restored and now the real show begins — the battle of the duos.