It's by far the least threatening, easily the most entertaining arms race you'll ever see.
NBA teams have filled their ranks with dynamic duos, because in a superstars league, it takes two (at least) to tango with the Larry O'Brien championship trophy.
The star power in the 2014 playoff picture is awe-inspiring, even without those familiar faces left behind by the basketball gods (Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant). The parity in this field is incredible. Only three teams still own an unblemished postseason record, and only one of those three is a top-four seed.
There's depth among the elites, and it trickles all the way down to the last teams to collect their tickets to the second season. Those supporting casts will have their moments, but it's these tremendous twosomes that will consistently shine in this 16-win trek to the top.
From the decorated (LeBron James and Dwyane Wade) to the newcomers (Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker), each playoff team packs a wicked one-two punch. But which ones are best equipped to throw (and land) a knockout blow?
It's that question we'll attempt to answer here, as we take a numerical look at the best two-man combos in the game.
These rankings are statistically based.
Each pair was judged on its average game score (an all-encompassing formula developed by former ESPN analyst and current Memphis Grizzlies vice president of basketball operations John Hollinger) and its average rank across three efficiency metrics: player efficiency rating, true shooting percentage and defensive rating. Stats were measured for both regular season and playoff performance to determine the NBA's top two-man tandems of this NBA postseason.
The combined total of those four averages gave each group its "tandem score" (the lower the better) and decided its place among the top one-two punches in this playoff field.
All statistics obtained via Basketball-Reference and accurate as of April 24, 2014.