Before the NBA season started, and was subsequently suspended, I put together a top ten list of the league’s best duos, which can be found here.
Now, since there’s no basketball happening currently or for the immediate future, I figured it’s time to look back on how that list panned out to this point of the season. You probably don’t have much going on aside from mindlessly scrolling through the same 3 or 4 social media apps anyway, right?
10. Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis – Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks currently rank as the 7th best team in the West, and Luka is looking like he’s a few years away from MVP considerations. While I feel they could have been higher, this seems pretty accurate from where we stand to this point in the season.
Also, considering both players had their fair share of time on the injured list, it’s safe to say their best ball could be yet to come if the season comes back and both guys remain healthy.
9. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons – Philadelphia 76ers
As the 6th seed in the East, the Sixers appear to be a bit of a disappointment on the surface. The biggest revelation to come out of this season so far is that Simmons is actually the key to the team’s success and not Embiid, as most people had thought.
When Embiid missed time, Simmons stepped his game up to a perennial top-10 caliber player. Once Embiid returned, Simmons’ play continued to soar until a lower back injury sidelined him, and that’s when Philly began to slide.
A bit early to say for sure, but I’m comfortable with this duo’s placement on the list.
8. Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell – Utah Jazz
Coronavirus jokes aside, these two have delivered to a tune of a 4th seed in the West, if the playoffs were to start right now. Not bad for a couple of guys who, prior to all of this COVID-19 insanity, your casual sports fan probably wouldn’t have known about.
In all seriousness, let’s hope there are no lingering effects of the virus for both of these young ballers, so that they both can get out on the court again and continue to thrive in arguably the lamest state to own an NBA franchise.
7. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum – Portland Trail Blazers
OK, I gotta admit I was way off on this one. Portland is sitting outside of the playoff picture even after having added Hassan Whiteside and Carmelo Anthony. If the NBA were to start again with enough time to finish the regular season, Portland MIGHT have a chance to grab the 8th seed, but they would need to play nearly flawless basketball.
With as much as they’ve underachieved already, though, I don’t see that happening. Holding the L here.
6. James Harden and Russell Westbrook – Houston Rockets
The most interesting takeaway from this pairing is that although everyone expected this Houston team to flourish, and their prior team OKC to falter, both are tied at 40-24 on the season. What that says about team chemistry, or what both these guys bring to their team on a leadership level, I’m not sure. All I’m gonna say is I never expected this duo to turn the Rockets into a true contender.
On the bright side, a switch to small ball has yielded positive results for D’Antoni’s squad. How far they can take that momentum remains to be seen.
5. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving – Brooklyn Nets
Nothing really to be said here as both guys are basically out for the entire year. Once they both come back, it’ll be interesting to see how they mesh together. But as of this moment, I’ll have to say this was another L.
4. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton – Milwaukee Bucks
The NBA’s best team (record wise) should have their duo ranked higher on this list. There’s no way around that fact, but alas they sat at #4 due to playing in the lightly competitive Eastern conference. The truth is, everyone knows that, just as last year showed us, the best team in the regular season isn’t always going to be the team holding up the trophy when all the games are done being played.
Still, Middleton has taken a hell of a leap this year and may finish as one of the few players ever to complete a season with 50% FG, 40% 3PT, and 90% FT splits.
3. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson – Golden State Warriors
Yeah… I mean, I knew Klay was gonna miss the season, so this was a throwaway. When both these guys are healthy, they’re one of the top teams in the league. Period. No other explanation needs to be made.
2. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George – Los Angeles Clippers
I can’t really take much credit for being right here considering everyone knew who the two best teams were gonna be, and therefore the two best duos had to come from those teams. It just depends on which order you had them ranked, and as of now, we’re sitting right at preseason expectations.
1. LeBron James and Anthony Davis – Los Angeles Lakers
Ladies and gentleman, your 2020 NBA Champions……….. if the season ever comes back.