Last summer, we saw three new formidable NBA duos former as a result of the free agency period. Anthony Davis joined LeBron James in Los Angeles after the former was traded to the Lakers from the New Orleans Pelicans. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant signed with the Brooklyn Nets to start the summer. And then in perhaps the biggest move of the year, 2019 Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard signed with the Los Angeles Clippers after the team traded for Paul Goerge from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Those player movements have made the Clippers, Lakers, and Nets among the early favorites to win the NBA title. As of October 30, 2019, the Clippers are +300 favorites to win the NBA title according to BetOnline. The Lakers are second in the odds board at +400 while the Nets are 12th +4000. If Durant wasn’t hurt, we probably would have seen the Nets higher on the list.

Having superstar duos is now a common thing among NBA teams. In the history of the NBA, we have also seen many dynamic duos help their teams achieve success. These are the best duos in NBA history:

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen

The Chicago Bulls won six NBA titles in seven years during the 1990s while facing five different Western Conference opponents in their six wins. Michael Jordan is arguably the best player in the history of the game of basketball. However, MJ was merely a slam dunk artists and scoring machine during his early days. When the Bulls drafted Scottie Pippen, Jordan became the best player he could be. The two played 10 seasons together and won six titles during their partnership. Jordan and Pippen are among the 50 greatest players in NBA history.

Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

The Los Angeles Lakers dominated the 80’s decade and won five titles during that period. Los Angeles won back to back titles in 1987 and 1988, fulfilling a guarantee by head coach Pat Riley. Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were the anchors of Showtime. Johnson was the flamboyant 6-9 point guard who led the Lakers running game and gave them their flare with his no-look passes. Jabbar was the steady force in the middle. Not only did he grab rebounds and block shots, but Kareem also had the most unguardable shot in the history of the game: the skyhook. As a duo, they made 8 Finals appearances with Johnson winning three Finals MVP and Jabbar taking home one Finals MVP.

Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal

Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal revived the Los Angeles Lakers as a championship team. Led by the duo, the 2000s Lakers became the fourth team in NBA history to win at least three straight NBA titles. Bryant and O’Neal had many feuds during their partnership but there is no doubt they are one of the best duos we’ve ever seen in the NBA. Had this duo not broken up after eight years of partnership, they could have won more NBA titles. O’Neal won one more in Miami while Bryant helped the Lakers win back to back titles late in the decade.

Tim Duncan and Tony Parker

The San Antonio Spurs are the model for NBA success. San Antonio has made the playoffs in 22 straight seasons and counting. They also won at least 50 games in 20 straight seasons until the 2016-17 season. Much of the credit has been given to head coach Gregg Popovich but Coach Pop wouldn’t have done it with his version of the dynamic duo. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker played 15 seasons together. They made 15 straight playoff appearances and the team won at least 50 games in each of those seasons. Duncan and Parker helped the Spurs reach five NBA Finals and won four.

Karl Malone and John Stockton

“Stockton to Malone.” How many times did we hear that line during the ’80s and ’90s? The Utah Jazz were the Chicago Bulls’ rivals during the ’90s and although they were never able to beat the Bulls in the Finals, Utah provided them with the challenge that made them the great team they are. John Stockton is the NBA’s all-time assists leader while Karl Malone is 2nd in the NBA’s scoring list. They played 1,142 games together and made 18 straight playoff appearances. They led the Jazz to five trips to the Western Conference Finals for seven years in the ’90s.

Larry Bird and Kevin McHale

Larry Bird and his Celtics were the only teams that challenged the Los Angeles Lakers’ Showtime team. Bird, McHale and Robert Parish form one of the best frontlines in the history of the NBA. The bird was Magic’s rival since college and he was the Lakers’ biggest headache. McHale was an unstoppable player in the lost post because he was a man with a million post moves. This pair led the Celtics to the playoffs in each of their 13 seasons together. They helped Boston make the NBA Finals five times and won three NBA championships together.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade

You can add Chris Bosh to this duo because they were known as the Big Three during their tenure in Miami. However, the duo of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were the main catalysts of the team. James took his talents to South Beach after failing to win a title in Cleveland. Wade already won a title in Miami and together this duo led the Miami Heat to four straight appearances in the NBA Finals and won twice. During their partnership, the Heat also won 27 consecutive games which are the 2nd longest winning streak ever in NBA history.

Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West

Wilt Chamberlain will always be remembered as the player who once scored 100 points in a single NBA game. Wilt the Stilt is one of the most dominant big men in the history of the NBA. He is the only player to have averaged 40 and 50 points per game during an NBA season. Jerry West was known as Mr. Clutch for being one of the best clutch players of all-time. He is also the only player to win the Finals MVP while playing for the losing team. And yes, West’s silhouette is what is now the NBA’s logo. This pair helped the Los Angeles Lakers reach four NBA Finals appearances, winning once. During the 1971-72 season, Chamberlain and West were instrumental in Los Angeles’ NBA record 33-game winning streak.

Bob Cousy and Bill Russell

This is a duo that is similar to the Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West pairing. Bob Cousy was known as the Houdini of the Hardwood and he was one of the best playmakers during the ’50s and ’60s. Cousy won the MVP in his first season then led the NBA in assists for 8 straight seasons. Bill Russell was a five-time NBA MVP who was the centerpiece of 11 NBA championships during the ’60s. This duo led the Celtics to six NBA championships in seven years, including five in a row.

Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars

When you talk about the Bad Boys, the first names that come to mind are Bill Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn. Laimbeer and Mahorn were the enforcers of the Detroit Pistons team which won back to back titles in 1989 and 1990. However, more than their physical defense, the key to winning the two titles were their starting backcourt of Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars. Regarded as one of the best starting backcourts ever, Thomas and Dumars won a combined 64 playoff games and helped the Pistons reach three NBA Finals in nine seasons as teammates. Thomas was a supreme passer and scorer while Dumars was a sweet-shooting guard who played lockdown defense.

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