NBA's Top 10 Potential Duos Ever
There have been many great duos of the past: John Stockton and Karl Malone, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, and Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to name a few.
While these are always great teammates to watch play together, there is always the wonder of what it would have been like if two players of greatness played together that never had a chance.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are going to be given that chance this coming year. There are many duos that could be conjured up as great and the group I chose is of my biased nature.
My favorite player to watch was Michael Jordan and I know I'm not alone in that thought. That brings him to the front of my list of options. Still, there are many duos that would be of intrigue; there are too many to count.
I am going to then stay with the ten duos I would have been most interested in seeing.
This list is made with the idea that all players are in the peak of their careers. If there is a duo that isn't listed, it's probably because it is among a slew of different choices that could have been made.
10. Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley
I mostly have interest in this Duo strictly from Jordan's mental aspect within this combination. Jordan was seen as the man; but Barkley's personality could even be too much for Jordan at times.
Even as great buds, there could have been some drama between these two in some form.
I know Barkley was thinking of joining Jordan in Washington when he came back at 39, but Barkley and Jordan at their peak was another thing.
Jordan and Barkley together in 1992-1993 could have been more intriguing than impressive in just how the chemistry of the team would have evolved around them.
9. Kobe Bryant and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
I want to see this duo mostly because of Kobe Bryant. There is the debate about who the greatest Laker of All-Time is and these are two of the three that fall into the debate most of the time.
I could put Jerry West or Shaq into the argument, but that would fall mostly to deaf ears.
We had a chance to see Magic run Showtime in LA during the 80s. If not for HIV, he might have run it throughout the 90s.
This is more of a play in my mind on seeing if Kobe had replaced Magic and you put the same talent around Kobe would he succeed as well as Magic?
Also, would we see that Kareem was more valuable than he ever truly gets credit for being?
Those are both questions I have that take more than just having James Worthy and Michael Cooper on your roster to answer. I'm not sure of my answer, but there is a compelling argument on both sides.
8. John Stockton and Tim Duncan
We all have memories of Stockton to Malone buried in our minds. How about Stockton to Duncan?
Today, Tim Duncan has been anointed by most as the Greatest Power Forward of All-Time, over the likes of Karl Malone and Charles Barkley.
The style of play in which Stockton ran the Jazz was different than the half court set of the Spurs, which could affect Duncan's effectiveness.
Like with Kobe Bryant replacing Magic Johnson on the Lakers, I wanted to know what Tim Duncan would be like replacing Karl Malone on the Jazz.
Did Stockton and Malone really make each other better players by playing together and thus the greatness of Tim Duncan would shine through?
Or, would playing against a Michael Jordan led team in two straight Finals prove that Duncan was no greater than Barkley or Malone as many might believe.
That is my appeal to this duo.
7. Hakeem Olajuwon and Oscar Robertson
The Dream and Big O would have made a tantalizing duo. The triple-double machine that was Oscar could have used the outside shooting abilities of Hakeem to bolster his play-making in terms of statistics and awe inspiring plays.
An argument could also be made for Shaq and Big O since Shaq shot such a high field goal percentage during his peak, but I liked the intangibles Olajuwon and Robertson would present.
The in and out game between them could have been particularly taxing on a defense if other shooters were set up around these two.
I don't know if these two as leads would have been effective at winning multiple titles since the Big O and Lew Alcindor combo only won one title.
Still, this would have been a fun duo to watch.
6. Kobe Bryant and LeBron James
To keep it to the point, I want to see the two best players in today's game playing together.
Some might say that's Wade and James.
For the time being, I am taking Bryant at his peak and what I am assuming is a slightly better LeBron in a year or two.
Even if LeBron doesn't get better and stays at his current level, it would be intriguing to see these two play together outside of just the Olympics.
How they would mesh would be of interest to all and the expectations would, of course, be huge.
Could these two even come close in their primes to the duo of Jordan and Pippen?
Also, how would they deal with the issue of others playing with these two? Would there be any issues?
All of these are thoughts to ponder about today's top two in the game.
5. Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain
These big men had their battles throughout the 60s as they vied every year for titles against each other.
Let's assume for a moment that the Celtics don't trade for the rights to Bill Russell and he somehow ends up with Chamberlain. Could this Twin Tower power be stopped?
We saw that David Robinson and Tim Duncan were pretty nasty together and that wasn't even with Robinson playing at his peak during their time together.
Taking out the offensive side of the equation, to beat this team would take momentous efforts by the other team in the back-court. The interior would be completely owned by Russell and Chamberlain.
I wonder if with these two combined and solid players around if Russell could have still mustered his eleven titles in thirteen years.
My gut tells me it wouldn't happen; but without Russell, the Celtics weren't winning anything near the amount of titles they did in the 50s and 60s.
4. Magic Johnson and Shaquille O'Neal
There is not a lot I can say for my reasoning on this duo. Take out Kareem, input Shaq, and let me see how it flows.
The power Shaq has would be great and he would offer a tougher presence within the team.
My question would be whether or not Shaq could flow fluidly with the up and down pace that was the Showtime Lakers.
Whether he could or not, it would be enjoyable to take in the showing.
I feel in the end, though, that the Kareem-Magic duo would still top Shaq-Magic.
3. Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson
Magic and Michael, the two greatest players of All-Time. At least in my opinion.
I just would have loved to see the two best playing together and putting together more Dream Team of 1992-like plays. They both were ultra competitive and would drive each other for more and more titles.
I think if these two could have played together, they could have challenged Russell for winning supremacy. That is, of course, assuming that Magic does not contract HIV which limited his career.
The long lead passes from Magic to a streaking Michael as he cuts through the D for a dunk would have been splendid in the least.
The squeaks from the sounds of basketball shoes moving would have been a constant with these two playing the game in a sound manner.
2. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird
The biggest winners of the 80s playing together in a team oriented, "what's best for the team" system would have been awesome.
You could run both of these guys at multiple positions, which would have allowed the lineup to take on a multiple amount of looks.
They were both leaders in their own way and I see there being great chemistry between them, even if they currently say neither one of them would have left their given teams to play together.
It would have been great fundamentals from the greatest below the rim players the game has seen if these two had landed together.
1. Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain
This is the strongest and most compelling duo I would have liked to see. The most prolific Per Game scorers of All-Time playing together.
A deadly inside out combo that could have had their teams averaging statistics of all sorts flying through the record books.
You'd have the man who scored 63 in Boston Garden in the Playoffs and the other who had put up 100 points in a regulation game.
How they would feed off each other would also be a focal point to look in to. We've seen Shaq-Kobe, and Magic-Kareem; but Jordan and Chamberlain would be just mean in a certain sense.
Making this the best potential duo of the list.