Top 10 NBA Duo’s from 1980-2020

Photo Credit: (Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports).

10) Sean Kemp and Gary Payton:

The Seattle Supersonics drafted Kemp in 1989 with the 17th overall pick. Payton was their No. 2nd overall pick in 1990.  From 1991-1996 Kemp averaged a double/double. Including 1996 when he averaged 19.6 and 11.4 rebound per game. Kemp has a human highlight reel with dunks and fast-break baskets. In 1999, Payton averaged 24 points, 8.9 assists, 6.5 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game. For a decade, Payton was considered by most to be one of the best two-way point guards of all-time.

9) Kyrie Irving/LeBron James. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade:

Irving and James went to three straight NBA Finals. In 2016, The Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors on the road in Game 7. They became the first team in the history of the NBA to win a championship after being down 3 games to 1. The LeBron block and Kyrie’s three-point shot will always be remembered in Cleveland.

The Miami Heat went to 4 straight finals, winning back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013. Both James and Wade are amongst the all-time greats.

8B) Karl Malone and John Stockton:

Stockton and Malone were two of the most consistent players to ever play in the NBA. Stockton led the league in assists 9 times and averaged 14.5 assists per game during the 1989-90 season. Malone was Mr. reliable in Utah. He only had one season where he didn’t play more than 80 games for the Jazz. He finished his career scoring 25 points per game and averaged 10.1 rebounds per contest. His mid-range jump shot was a thing of beauty. “The mailman” always delivered.

8A) Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry:

One could argue that Durant shooter to ever play that game at the small forward position. Curry is the best shooter to ever play the point guard position. Both could should three or beat you off the dribble. Durant’s shoots 88% from the free throw line and Curry shoots 90%. Curry has three NBA championship and Durant won 2. Like Shaq and Kobe, if they stayed together, they could have won 5 or 6 rings.

7) Moses Malone and Julius Irving:

These two legends of the game only played together for 4 years. The Philadelphia 76ers went 65-17 in 1983 and won the Championship. Malone averaged 24 points and 15 rebounds that season. Dr. J finished his career averaging 24 points and 8 rebounds per game.

6) Larry Bird and Kevin McHale:

These two Boston Legends won three titles in1981,1984 and 1986. Bird is considered by many to be one of the greatest players to ever play the game. He averaged 24 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists. Before LeBron James, many considered “Larry Legend” the greatest passing forward of all-time. McHale was one of the most skilled big men to ever play the game. He had tremendous foot-work and great hands. In 1986, McHale averaged 26 points and 9.9 rebounds per game.

5) Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars:

One of the best scoring backcourts of all-time. Thomas finished his career averaging 19 points and 9 assists per game. Dumars had 7 straight years where he averaged 17 points or more per game. He was named 1st team all defense 4-times. The Detroit Pistons won consecutive titles in 1989 and 1990.  In 1989, they finished the regular season 63-19 and then proceeded to go 15-2 in the post-season.

4) Tim Duncan and Tony Parker:

Duncan won 5 NBA Titles and Parker has won 4. The Duo could go down as the greatest power forward and point guard combination in the history of the NBA. Duncan was a 15 -time NBA All-star and won the Finals MVP Award 3xs. He finished his career averaging 19 points, 10 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game.  Parker was a 6-time NBA All-star and won the Finals MVP award in 2007.

3) Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neil:

Kobe and Shaq won 3 NBA titles and if they stayed together, they could have won 5 or 6. The three wins came against the Indiana Pacers, the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Nets. In 2001, they went 15-1 in the post-season. Their only loss came in the NBA Finals, when Allen Iverson scored 48 points. Kobe went on to win 2 titles on his own and Shaq won a ring with the Miami Heat. Kobe will always be remembered as one of the greatest scorers to ever play the game. If O’Neil had Bryant’s work ethic, he would have been considered the greatest centers of all-time.

2) Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar:

The “Showtime” Lakers won 5 NBA Titles with Magic playing point guard and Kareem at center, with this patented, “Sky-hook.”  At 6’9 Magic could play and defend all five positions on the court. He averaged 19 points 11 assists and 7 rebounds per game during his illustrious career. Kareem’s 38,387 points is the most in the history of the NBA. This was the best PG/Center combination in the history of the NBA.

1) Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.

The 1990s Chicago Bulls were considered by many to be the greatest basketball teams of all-time. When Jordan retired the first time in 1993, the Bulls had a record of 57-25. Without him, the following year, the Bulls were 55-27. Pippen was voted as one of the top 50 players of all-time. Jordan won 6 NBA Championships, 6 Finals MVP Awards and was the MVP of the NBA 5xs.


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I am a former AAU and College basketball coach as well as a Former Stand Up Comedian. Over the past two years I have written over 500 articles for numerous websites. I am the former host of The Monte Cristo Sports Thing on WRNJ radio in New Jersey. I am now the host of my own podcast. The Full Monte airs every Thursday at 6PM Eastern (Sports and Politics) and The Full Monte Football Show airs every Sunday 11 AM. Over the past 2 years I have been a featured guest or host on over 200 radio shows and podcasts. For bookings send emails to Monteinsidesports Follow me on Twitter MonteJP231
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