The Miami Heats' LeBron James (left) and Dwayne Wade are undoubtedly the top duo in the NBA today.
The NBA is a league that is primarily identified through its star power.
Each passing decade can be identified by the icons who dominated the basketball court and became household names throughout the United States.
In the '80s it was Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Isiah Thomas. In the '90s it was Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Karl Malone and Charles Barkley. In the '00s it was Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O'Neal and Kevin Garnett. Today it's LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard and Chris Paul.
All of these players rightfully deserve the praise and recognition they are given for what they've been able to accomplish on the basketball court.
But what's equally important in the making of a star is the sidekick who teams up with him.
For James it's Dwayne Wade, for Durant it's Russell Westbrook, for Howard it's Kobe Bryant and for Paul it's Blake Griffin.
These are the duos which get the attention of fans and the media, and their popularity is measured by their success.
While it's easy to pinpoint these star duos, it's much harder to identify some of the lesser-covered tandems in the league.
With this in mind, who then are the five most-underrated duos heading into the 2012-13 NBA season?
Al Jefferson (left) and Paul Millsap are arising as one of the NBA's most feared post duo's for the Jazz.
In the '90s, the Utah Jazz had one of the most recognizable duos in the NBA.
John Stockton and Karl Malone led the team to two straight NBA Finals, where unfortunately they had to face possibly the best duo of all-time in Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen of the Chicago Bulls.
Today, the Jazz hold one of the most potent post duos in the NBA but, compared to the days of Stockton and Malone, the two haven't received nearly as much credit as they rightfully deserve.
They are forwards Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap.
Last season, both had, statistically, arguably their best seasons in the NBA, which saw them placed among the tops in the league at their position.
Jefferson averaged 19.2 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.7 blocks per game.
Millsap averaged 16.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.8 steals per game.
Although the Jazz were swept in the first round of the playoffs by a tough Spurs team, the duos performance went for the most part unnoticed all season long.
Jefferson ranked 15th in the NBA in scoring average, 12th in rebounding and 12th in blocks.
Millsap ranked 29th in scoring average, 18th in rebounding and fourth in steals.
Somehow, even with the incredible performance from these two, they both slipped under the radar of both the media and NBA fans.
Don't be surprised if the duo is able to make more noise in the playoffs this season and make a name for themselves among the NBA's best.
For an organization hoping to relive the glory days of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson or Glenn Robinson and Ray Allen, they've done a pretty good job at finding the right combination to do the trick.
Last March, the Milwaukee Bucks shipped injury-prone center Andrew Bogut and disgruntled guard Stephen Jackson to the Golden State Warriors, in exchange for guard and scoring machine Monta Ellis, forward Ekpe Udoh and veteran center Kwame Brown.
Instantly, the Bucks now have one of the most feared and under-appreciated backcourt duos in the NBA.
Last season, although it didn't necessarily translate into enough wins to make the playoffs, Monta Ellis and guard Brandon Jennings proved they could be something very special.
Ellis averaged 17.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game.
Jennings averaged 19.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.6 steals per game.
The Bucks finished the season just four games out of the final playoff spot in the East, while Ellis and Jennings proved they could co-exist as teammates and be a lethal combination to reckon with, if they're on the same page.
With an entire offseason of guidance under Scott Skiles, expect the duo to pack an even more powerful punch for the upcoming season. The Bucks should also get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2009-10.
When both are cleared for action, Ricky Rubio (left) and Kevin Love will be a duo to watch for the Timberwolves this season.
The Minnesota Timberwolves were in the mix as a potential playoff team last season, thanks to the play of a sensational new rookie and one of the NBA's best big men.
Guard Ricky Rubio and forward Kevin Love added promise to an organization which had fallen into irrelevance after the departure of franchise superstar Kevin Garnett.
That was until Rubio was lost for the season in March, after he tore his ACL from banging knees with Kobe Bryant.
Until the injury, the Timberwolves stood at 21-20 and were just a half-game from the eighth seed in the Western Conference. Without Rubio, the Timberwolves finished the season at 26-40 and missed the playoffs for the eighth-straight season.
Clearly Rubio's injury was a main factor in the Timberwolves demise for the remainder of the season.
As a rookie Rubio averaged 10.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 8.2 assists and 2.2 steals per game.
Love averaged 26 points, 13.3 rebound and 2 assists per game.
For point guards, Rubio's 4.2 rebounds ranked him sixth. His 8.2 assists ranked him sixth in the entire NBA and his steals average put him second.
Love ranked fourth in the NBA in scoring, second in rebounding and 15th among power forwards in assists.
Without a doubt, this duo will once again make their mark in the NBA next season, once they reach full health. Rubio still needs a couple weeks to strengthen his knee before he can return to the court, while Kevin Love fractured his hand and will need at least a month to recover before he can make his season debut.
When the two finally do return to the court however, it will be a must-see event.
Guard Eric Gordon and forward Anthony Davis (not pictured) will be crucial to the Hornets' success this season.
In the city of New Orleans, citizens know the importance of a skilled partner. Some of the best jazz bands ever created were born within the city's limits.
Missing a member of the band on any given night would prove to be devastating to a band's performance.
In the 2012 offseason, the Hornets have pulled together the pieces necessary for their own fine jazz ensemble on the basketball court.
The duo expected to lead the charge is stellar guard Eric Gordon and highly-regarded rookie Anthony Davis.
Gordon, who's returning from ACL surgery on his right knee, is supposed to shoulder the load offensively this season for the Hornets, while Davis should bring a much-needed post presence to the Hornets frontcourt.
Gordon averaged 20.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.4 steals a game for the Hornets before the injury.
Davis led the Kentucky Wildcats to a National Championship as a freshman last year averaging 14.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 4.7 blocks.
How the two will mesh on the court is yet to be seen, but they have the potential to be a devastating duo for years to come.
The Hornets will go as far as these two will take them, and could have the city of New Orleans playing the sweet music of victory on a nightly basis.
Ty Lawson (3) and Andre Iguodala (9) are the key to the Nuggets offense next season.
What is a point guard's ultimate dream? Getting a highly-athletic distributor for a teammate, who can take the pressure off of you on any given night.
That's what Denver Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson received in Andre Iguodala, who was sent over to the Nuggets in a trade with Philadelphia this past August.
Lawson, who has turned the Nuggets into one of the fastest and most exciting teams to watch in the NBA, now has one of the most athletically-gifted players in the NBA in Iguodala at his disposal.
Lawson averaged 16.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.3 steals per game last season.
Iguodala averaged 12.4 points, 6.1 assists, 5.5 assists and 1.7 steals, while making his very first All-Star game.
Lawson is as underrated as they come for an NBA point guard, while Iguodala has always stood in the shadows of stronger small forwards such as LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony.
Both will not only be out to win basketball games next season, they'll be out to emerge as one of the most dynamic duos in the NBA.
Both offensively and defensively they rank among the tops at their position.
The Nuggets will be one of the most exciting teams to watch this year, and these two will be the reason why.