NBA Power Rankings: NBA's best duos, starring Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum
Almost every team in the NBA has a duo of some kind. So who's your favorite team's duo?
Thanks to their star duo guards, the Trail Blazers and Raptors have been two of the best teams in the NBA since the All-Star break. The Blazers and the Raptors have two players that are capable of coming up big during crunch time and can also represent the team as the face of the franchise. You can always count on a duo on almost every team -- even in the era of superteams where three or four stars are team up to take over the league by storm.
For some squads, that duo represents the two best players on the roster. That's the simplest method. However, not every team has a duo that features its best players. There are instances where a group of stars are paired, but they don't exactly compliment each other. There are other instances where the best duo features a really good role player and a star player. Then, of course, there are teams that aren't as fortunate -- think of the bottom-dwellers like the Suns or Magic.
So forget superteams. Forget the Big Three. This is all about the dynamic duo. Who's your favorite team's duo?
|1||Trail Blazers||We've seen speculation in the past on whether the Trail Blazers should keep Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum together. They have two similar skill sets that overlap. Is one holding back the other? It's a question worth asking, but right now those two are the reason Portland looks so great.||2||49-33|
|2||Raptors||The Raptors have one of the most exciting duos in the league. DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry have been through it all with the Raptors and they've finally turned into a fearsome star duo. It helps that they're also great friends, which creates some interesting banter between the two.||1||59-23|
|3||Rockets||Apparently, the secret to unlocking James Harden was to add Chris Paul to the mix. These two have worked together so well that any concerns with the duo have been completely overshadowed by Houston's dominance.||1||65-17|
|4||Warriors||The Warriors are a four-headed dragon that only the strongest knights in all of the land can slain. But who is the duo among the group? It has to be the two that started it all. Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry have always been the Splash Bros, and their ability to shoot is why everything works the way it does.||--||58-24|
|5||Jazz||Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert don't completely compliment each other ... yet. What Gobert is good at does make Mitchell better, but they aren't a tandem that strikes fear into the hearts of opponents. Those two are the reason the Jazz have completely flipped their season around.||--||48-34|
|6||Thunder||OKC's stars feel more like individuals that co-exist together as opposed to a duo or trio. They run sets together, but it's not often that it feels like they're truly existing together as a unit. And that is why Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams form the Thunder's best duo. Their experience together creates an incredible pick-and-roll combo that decimates teams.||8||48-34|
|7||Pacers||We know it's the Victor Oladipo show in Indiana, but who works best with him? It might be the young Lithuanian who came over with Oladipo in the blockbuster summer trade from OKC. Domantas Sabonis and Oladipo have a net rating of plus-9.8 when they share the floor together. They're good, young players that could represent the future of the Pacers.||1||48-34|
|8||76ers||Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid already have a chemistry that is really fun to watch. It's not often a point guard can go to the post and receive an entry pass from a center, but that's something the 76ers can do. They're going to become appointment television once they get some playoff experience under the belt.||4||52-30|
|9||Wizards||The Wizards might have players that work better together, but if Washington is going to go anywhere, it will need Bradley Beal and John Wall to co-exist. They're both incredible guards that can take over a game. Beal has been thriving lately in Wall's absence, but everybody knows Washington is at its best when those two are in sync.||6||43-39|
|10||Pelicans||Before injuries, the Pelicans' obvious duo was DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis. They had an incredible rapport and New Orleans ran some really interesting sets on the high post, with one of them as the primary ball handler. However, with Cousins out for the season, Jrue Holiday has taken over as Davis's tag-team partner. They're fantastic together and have kept the Pelicans strong during the playoff push.||3||48-34|
|11||Celtics||Can the Celtics' best duo be anybody besides Kyrie Irving and Al Horford? They've been excellent together this season and have a 6.3 net rating when on the floor together. There was a bit of a drop-off from late January to early February, but those two at their best are hard to beat.||3||55-27|
|12||Spurs||When healthy, San Antonio's best duo is LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, especially since the offense is designed around the two. However, the more interesting duo is Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli. It's still fun to watch the two remaining pieces from the glory days share the floor together.||7||47-35|
|13||Timberwolves||Minnesota is still trying to figure out its identity, but one thing that's certain is that Jimmy Butler is the best player on the team right now. In the future, the best player in Minnesota might be Karl-Anthony Towns. The two are establishing good rapport on offense that could eventually pay off once Towns comes into his own.||3||47-35|
|14||Clippers||Lou Williams and DeAndre Jordan are the new Chris Paul and Blake Griffin apparently. They've carried the Clippers in a season that multiple times felt out of their reach. Los Angeles in a playoff race nobody expected them to be in with players that weren't supposed to play this well together.||5||42-40|
|15||Heat||Dwyane Wade's return, while fun, has actually been a bit of a negative. The Heat are better when he's not on the floor, especially on offense. However, add Justise Winslow and all of a sudden he becomes an efficiency machine. These two need to play together way more.||5||44-38|
|16||Lakers||There's a lot of youth on the Lakers and their obsession with adding an established superstar could throw a wrench into this, but Lonzo Ball and Julius Randle have been really great together this season. They have a net rating of plus-3.9 and their skills match each other well.||3||35-47|
|17||Cavaliers||LeBron James and Kevin Love are the two players that will need to be at their best if the Cavaliers are going to have any shot at winning a championship this season. They've worked well together in the past, but an injury to Love has not given them much time to work together with their new teammates.||--||50-32|
|18||Bucks||Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton are the players that makes Milwaukee go. The Bucks are going to enter the offseason with a lot of questions about their identity. Hopefully, Milwaukee designs a system around the two.||--||44-38|
|19||Nuggets||A duo hasn't really emerged in Denver yet, but Jamal Murray and Gary Harris deserve praise. The guard depth for the Nuggets is poor to say the least. Nikola Jokic might be the future, but it's incredible that Murray and Harris have kept that backcourt going all season.||8||46-36|
|20||Hornets||Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum were an incredible dynamic duo two seasons ago when Charlotte won 48 games and made the playoffs. Now, the Hornets are relying more on Walker and Dwight Howard's pick-and-roll combination. It's effective, but nowhere near as lethal as Batum was at his best.||--||36-46|
|21||Kings||There is no dynamic duo on the Kings right now. There's a lot of fun young pieces that are slowly growing individually, but no two players have come out to form a clear foundation. On potential alone, De'Aaron Fox and Skal Labissiere are future candidates.||1||27-55|
|22||Bulls||Chicago is hitting the tank extra hard this season, but they've found a couple nice building blocks in Zach Lavine and Lauri Markkanen. They haven't played together enough yet to form a combination, but their skills compliment each other well.||1||27-55|
|23||Pistons||Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin are slowly building something that might work in the future if the Pistons keep them together. However, without Reggie Jackson, there just isn't that ball handler that can put pressure on defenses to open those two up more.||2||39-43|
|24||Mavericks||Dennis Smith Jr. is a fun future piece for the Mavericks, but he doesn't have much of a combination with anybody on the team. Funny enough, J.J. Barea and Dirk Nowitzki might be one of the best duos the Mavericks have on experience alone.||--||24-58|
|25||Magic||The Magic have had the same general core of players together for so long and have never managed to form a duo on the court. Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon had a semblance of one before Payton's trade, but really there isn't much in Orlando that works well together.||--||25-57|
|26||Hawks||Atlanta is in the first stages of a rebuild so it's difficult to spot a duo or to exhibit building blocks for one. However, they do have a nice relationship forming between rookie John Collins and sophomore Isaiah Taylor. They're a positive on the floor together and they compliment each other as well.||--||24-58|
|27||Nets||Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert are both solid young players that the Nets can watch grow. It's uncertain where their ceilings are, but they're fun to see play together when they share the court.||--||28-54|
|28||Knicks||It would have been nice to see Frank Ntilikina and Kristaps Porzingis get some more time on the floor together this season, but Jeff Hornacek waited too long to start Ntilikina and Porzingis got hurt.||--||29-53|
|29||Suns||Phoenix is still in the stage where they're trying to find a proper partner to pair with Devin Booker. They have a lot of young options and are hoping Josh Jackson can be that guy. But right now, they're still searching.||--||21-61|
|30||Grizzlies||Memphis has Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. They don't have them right now, because Conley is out for the season. When they're healthy, that pairing still works. Sadly, they didn't get nearly enough time on the court together this season.||--||22-60|
The Cavs responded with a big win to even the series at 2-2
Watch the top-seeded Raptors square up against the No. 8 Wizards in the Eastern Conference
We brought back NBA Jam to show you how these teams can win it all
The NBA postseason continues with a quartet of games on Wednesday
The first round of the NBA postseason is kicking into high gear, and we've got the scores from...
James Harden and the Rockets take on Jimmy Butler and the Wolves in the first round