50 Best NBA Duos of All Time
To win a championship, you need a team effort. That was proven this past season when a complete team effort from the Dallas Mavericks managed to put away the three-man effort of the Miami Heat.
For now, we forget about team efforts and focus on the two players that have made history with the amount of success that they have either brought amongst each other or to their team.
A dynamic duo usually features at least one player that could score at a prolific rate, a defender, and a leader all wrapped into two players that have managed to lead teams in the time that they have played together.
They have also maintained some sort of success. Whether it was just a few postseason appearances or multiple titles, these 50 duos have found their way on this list for one reason or another by featuring success that occurred on account of those two players being together and willing their team to victories.
I've written enough already, just go ahead and read the 50 best duos in the history of the game.
50. Jameer Nelson and Dwight Howard
Both players complement each other very well with Nelson always on the lookout for Howard in the middle and Dwight always being ready to finish near the rim.
Nelson made his first All-Star game in 2009, while Howard has been a perennial All-Star since 2007. These two were also at the forefront of leading the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals in 2009their first appearance since 1995.
49. Mark Price and Brad Daugherty
Two of the league's most underrated players in the history of the game, Mark Price and Brad Daugherty were the first players in the franchises history to bring consistent success to the team.
Among that success includes two 57-win seasons and their first trip to the conference finals since 1976.
With Price hitting nearly everything from 25 feet and beyond and Daugherty commanding the paint, they led the Cavaliers to have a multi-dimensional game with one of the league's top shooters and post presences.
48. Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming
Two players who could never seem to get to the top and two players who saw their careers abruptly make a 180 due to injuries. Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming might have never made it to the championship game, but they did provide for some entertaining basketball in Houston throughout the mid to late 2000s.
At 7'6", there wasn't much resistance you could provide to deter Yao. He was clever in the post and had a midrange game to accompany it, Yao could have been regarded as one of the top centers in league history had injuries not completely ruined four of the final five seasons of his career. He was averaging as much as 25 points and 11 rebounds per during his time with Houston.
The Rockets didn't receive the McGrady from his Orlando Magic days, but they did get a solid wing player that could chip in at least 20 points on any given night.
Houston would win as much as 55 games with these two but would never make it past the semifinals.
47. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook
A little too early, you say? You must not have watched too much Oklahoma City basketball then.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have only been paired up on this new franchise for three seasons, but they have already made their mark on the NBA with their first division title in their new location and their first trip to the conference finals since 1996.
Durant and Westbrook led the charge with some high energy and a lot of scoring. Both players are extremely athletic, can score from anywhere and know how to score most of all, they're destined for greatness as a title berth could very well be in their future.
46. George Gervin and Larry Kenon
Most people have heard of George Gervin. Larry Kenon on the other hand? Not so much.
Kenon and Gervin were teammates on the San Antonio Spurs between 1976 and 1980 and spent prosperous years together that came with two division titles, a 52-win season and their first trip to the conference finals.
Gervin was the leading scorer on the Spurs, as well as in the NBA four times, and Kenon was the second-option averaging as much as 22 points per game in the short time he played with the Spurs.
45. Penny Hardaway and Shaquille O'Neal
The Orlando Magic didn't have too much trouble getting off the ground as a new franchise, considering they had one of the league's top shooting guards in Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway and their No. 1 pick in center Shaquille O'Neal.
The team was so successful in such a short time that it only took them three years to make it to their first NBA Finals. They were swept by the Houston Rockets, but it's still no reason to knock such an impressive accomplishment.
O'Neal spent the first four seasons of his career playing with the Magic and with Hardaway as he saw his first scoring title when he averaged 29 points per in only his third year and a career high in blocks at nearly four per game in his rookie season.
Hardaway had a career that never completely got off the ground due to injuries. He had an impressive first three years where he averaged as much as 22 points and seven assists per before injuries began to take their toll, and the Magic eventually traded him away.
44. Alex English and Kiki Vandeweghe
Members of those high-powered offensive Denver Nuggets teams from the 1980s, Alex English and Kiki Vandeweghe made sure that no points went to waste during their tenures with the team.
Vandeweghe was averaging as much as 29 points per in his final season with the Nuggets, while English was averaging a modest 26 points per as the team's second option. Together, they combined for 55 points of their team's total output which is more than what any duo in the league can say today, and that includes Dwyane Wade and LeBron James and Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony.
The Nuggets didn't see too much success with this duo aside from a few postseasons and a trip to the semifinals.
43. Chris Webber and Vlade Divac
One of the top passing frontcourts of all time, the duo of Vlade Divac and Chris Webber did all they could in their power to lift the Sacramento Kings to heights that they had never seen before.
Coincidentally, both joining the Kings prior to the 1998-'99 season, Webber and Divac had a few solid years together with Chris enjoying his prime and Vlade entering the twilight of his career. Webber averaged his career highs with the Kings by averaging a league-leading 13 rebounds per and then 27 points per two seasons later.
Divac averaged at least 10 boards per in three of the six seasons he spent there.
These two led the Kings to the playoffs more than they had seen since the franchise resided in Kansas City. The Kings won two division titles, a franchise-high 61 wins and even their first trip to the conference finals since 1981.
42. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade
Spending only one season together thus far, many would argue that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade don't even deserve a spot here.
It's tough to argue against leading the league in points per game between two players, 58 wins and an NBA Finals appearance in that first season though.
James and Wade faced their fair share of struggles in their first season together, but they did manage to right the ship in time for the playoffs where they were able to best some of the Eastern Conference's powerhouses before advancing to their second NBA Finals in franchise history.
Had they actually won, they could have very well found themselves in the top 30. Alas, that will have to wait for next year.
41. Hakeem Olajuwon and Kenny Smith
The first of many instances where Hakeem Olajuwon appears on this list features himself and the relationship he had with teammate and point guard Kenny Smith.
Smith was with Olajuwon during the glory days of the Rockets franchise where they won two consecutive titles in 1994 and 1995 during Michael Jordan's retirement and then recovery period.
"The Jet" wasn't a prolific point guard, but he was extremely reliable and just what the Rockets needed from a teammate of Olajuwon. He hit a number of big shots during both championship runs and averaged as much as 18 points and seven assists per during his time with the Rockets between 1990 and 1996.
Olajuwon was busy dominating the paint and making most elite centers look like rookies. He won Finals MVP's for both championships with Olajuwon averaging as much as 28 points per in the time he spent with Smith.
40. Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis
Prior to the days of Rashard Lewis being looked at as an exhibit of why the NBA are in a lockout, just look at his contract, he and another famed sharpshooter in Ray Allen formed one of the league's most volatile and dangerous duos between 2003 and 2007.
Both players made their living beyond the perimeter, and both players had reason to pitch a tent there considering how consistent they shot. In the four full seasons they spent together, both players never shot below 37 percent from the land of three.
Lewis averaged a career-high of 23 points per in his final season with the Seattle Supersonics while Allen averaged nearly 27 points per in the same year. Unfortunately, these two never saw too much postseason success aside from a 52-win season and a semifinals appearance.
39. Clyde Drexler and Terry Porter
Playing together as members of the Portland Trail Blazers between 1985 and 1995, Clyde Drexler and Terry Porter brought success to the team that they hadn't seen since the days of Bill Walton.
With Drexler taking over scoring duties and Porter playing the role of facilitator, the Blazers were able to make it as far as the 1990 NBA Finals before losing in five games to the Detroit Pistons and to the 1992 NBA Finals where they would take the powerhouse Chicago Bulls to six games before succumbing to a loss.
Drexler averaged as much as 27 points, eight rebounds and six assists while Porter averaged as much as 18 points and 10 assists per in different seasons.
38. Jason Kidd and Vince Carter
Bolting Toronto for the New Jersey Nets, Vince Carter joined a stacked team that already came equipped with one of the league's top offensive facilitators in Jason Kidd.
Kidd had already built up a reputation with the Nets leading the team to two consecutive NBA Finals appearances. Carter on the other hand was in the prime of his career waiting for an opportunity like joining the Nets to arise.
The two featured great chemistry in the five seasons they spent together but couldn't come away with anything more than a division championship and two semifinals appearances. Carter did manage to average a career high with 25 points per in the second full season he had with Kidd and the Nets.
37. Dominique Wilkins and Kevin Willis
One of the league's top defensive presences coupled with one of the league's top scorers at the time proved to be key elements to success for the Atlanta Hawks franchise.
Not too much success, but Dominique Wilkins and Kevin Willis did manage to lead the Hawks to more success than they had seen since the Bob Pettit days.
Playing together between 1984 and 1994, Wilkins led the Hawks and the NBA in scoring by averaging as much as 31 points per and over 30 points per on two different occasions. He had averaged at least 21 points per game in all but one season he played with the Hawks, and that one year was his rookie season where he still managed to average 18 points per.
His teammate in Willis was a strong interior presence and a terrific rebounder averaging as much as 16 rebounds per with five of them coming on the offensive glass. Willis also averaged as much as 19 points per before the team eventually disbanded the two.
The Hawks won 57 games on two separate occasions with Wilkins and Willisa feat that has yet to be matched by any Hawks team since.
36. Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki
Mark Cuban had the wrong idea in thinking that Steve Nash's career was over, turns out that it was the complete opposite, and that his Dallas Mavericks possibly wouldn't have had to wait until 2011 for their first championship.
Good friends before even becoming teammates in 1998, Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki formed one of the league's most high-powered duos in the six seasons they spent together on the Mavericks. Nash developed into the player he is today while with the Mavericks as he refined his game and learned how to methodically run an offense.
Nowitzki was the team leader averaging as much as 25 points per in the time he and Nash were teammates.
The Mavericks began their reign of terror in the Western Conference with Nash and Nowitzki on their squad with their best season coming in 2003 when they finished 60-22 and made it all the way to the Western Conference finals.
35. Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway
One of the leagues most underrated duos of the golden period known as the 1990s, Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway to heights that Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O'Neal or LeBron James couldn't even achieve with the team yet.
That mark is the 61 wins that the team won in 1996 in Mourning and Hardaway's first full season together as teammates. The team has come as close as 59 wins but have never eclipsed the 61-win mark that the team accomplished 15 years ago. That year was also the first time in franchise history that the team made it to the conference finals.
Hardaway and Mourning complemented each other very well with Timmy finishing from the outside and dishing it to the inside where Alonzo would be waiting. The two played with each other from 1995 until 2001 with both players achieving heights that they hadn't seen on their former teams in Golden State and Charlotte.
Hardaway earned the first and only All-NBA first team nomination of his career, while Mourning would win two consecutive Defensive Player of the Year awards.
34. Rick Barry and Nate Thurmond
A duo that unfortunately only lasted two seasons pitted one of the leagues top scorers in Rick Barry and one of its famed rebounders and defenders in Nate Thurmond.
Those two seasons were memorable though as Thurmond still managed to average 17 points and 17 rebounds in the first season they spent together and 13 and 14 in their final year. Barry would also average as much as 25 points and nine rebounds per.
They would make it to the Western Conference finals in their first year together as Barry would go on to win the 1975 championship in the year after Thurmond was traded to Chicago.
33. Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry
Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry joined forces in 2004, and it's still a surprise to many that this duo finally paid off with their first championship together in 2011.
It might have taken seven extremely long years for Nowitzki and Terry to help the Mavericks secure a title, but they managed to finally complete the task by bringing it all together for a complete effort by beating the three-man team known as the Miami Heat.
With Nowitzki taking up most of the attention from opposing defenses on account of his unstoppable jump shot and tremendous post game, Terry was free to pick and choose where he wanted to shoot and whenever he felt like driving.
Jason is still considered one of the league's top sixth men, he won the award in 2009 and has averaged as much as 20 points per off the bench while also shooting as well as 44 percent from beyond the arc.
32. Paul Arizin and Neil Johnston
An extremely underrated duo, Paul Arizin and Neil Johnston formed one of the league's first volatile tandems.
Playing together on the San Francisco Warriors from 1951 until Johnston's retirement in 1959, Arizin and Johnston formed an outstanding inside-outside threat with Arizin playing the role of mid-range shooter and slasher while Johnston did his work in the post to help lead the team to their second title in franchise history with a five-game series win against the Fort Wayne Pistons in 1956.
Arizin led the league in scoring twice while Johnston won the scoring title for three years. It was unfortunate for the Warriors and for Johnston that the team lost Paul for two seasons due to joining the Marines during the Korean War.
Paul Arizin: All-around bad ass.
31. Charles Barkley and Hakeem Olajuwon
Charles Barkley must have made a basketball god very angry because it seems impossible that he couldn't even secure a title with Hakeem Olajuwon as his running mate.
It could have been due to the fact that both players were on the downside of their careers with Olajuwon averaging over 20 points per game only once in the four years they spent together and Barkley failing to average anything more than 20. Barkley did still manage to average a near career-high of 14 rebounds per in his first year with the team.
The two did manage to make it all the way to the Western Conference finals but could get no further due to the fact that Olajuwon's production was declining, and both players were suffering from countless injuries that prohibited Barkley from playing in more than 68 games and Hakeem from playing in anything more than 58.
Potential out the roof, but injuries just would not allow this to get off the ground.
30. Bill Walton and Maurice Lucas
This was a duo you did not want to mess with. You had the peace loving, deadhead Bill Walton manning the middle and the hard-nosed, never-back-down mindset of Maurice Lucas standing right beside him.
It's no surprise that these two won a championship together despite being on the same team for only two seasons.
Walton was in his third year in the NBA when Lucas made the transition over from the ABA to the NBA. The chemistry was there right away as Walton averaged career highs in rebounds with 14 and blocks at three, both stats led the league. Lucas was having no trouble adjusting to the NBA as he averaged 20 points and 11 boards per.
29. Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal
A duo that should have done so much more, Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal were hampered by age, injuries, and South Beach.
According to Shaq, the allure of South Beach should have kept the team from taking the 2006 NBA title.
The duo spent three-and-a-half seasons together and put the Miami Heat franchise back on the map as well as Wade's career. O'Neal joined the team in Wade's second season and the big guy immediately allowed the sophomore to take over.
Wade averaged 24 points per in his second season and was well on his way to leading the team to their first championship appearance if not for a rib injury that he suffered during the conference finals.
O'Neal played at an MVP pace that season averaged 23 points and 10 boards per while leading the team to a 17-win improvement from the year before.
The two would win the title in 2006 before imploding over the next two seasons.
28. Oscar Robertson and Jerry Lucas
Teammates from 1963 until 1970, Jerry Lucas and Oscar Robertson formed one of the league's top duos and could have had a couple of championships if not for the unstoppable centers in Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell dominating the league.
Nevertheless, Lucas and Robertson were still prolific teammates. While Robertson was out getting the attention by nearly averaging triple-doubles season after season, Lucas was an absolute force in the paint and on the boards averaging as much as 21 rebounds per and even having consecutive 20-20 seasons.
Lucas averaged at least 17 boards per in every season he played with the Royals.
Robertson was busy playing the role of facilitator and leading the league in assists for three consecutive seasons with Lucas by his side.
27. Bill Sharman and Bob Cousy
Cousy and Sharman played as teammates from 1951 to 1961 as a part of the powerhouse Boston Celtics backcourt with Cousy as the point guard and Sharman as the shooting guard.
Cousy would lead the league in assists in eight out of the 10 years that the two played together while Sharman took to the role of scoring, where he would average as much as 22 points per while also leading the league in free-throw percentage seven times.
They didn't win 11 championships together, but four is a nice touch.
26. Bob Pettit and Cliff Hagan
Leading the Atlanta Hawks to their only title in franchise history with a win in 1958, Bob Pettit and Cliff Hagan were one of the only other teams outside of Minneapolis and Boston to contend for titles on a consistent basis.
Pettit was a force once he entered the league averaging 20 points and 14 boards in his rookie season and then averaging a league-leading 26 points and 16 boards per in his second year. He and Hagan played together from 1956 to 1965 with the two forming a volatile inside-outside tandem.
Hagan averaged three consecutive double-doubles in the first four years of his career in points and rebounds while averaging a career-high 24 points per in his fourth season.
25. Patrick Ewing and John Starks
Joined together on the New York Knicks from 1990 to 1998, Patrick Ewing and John Starks proved to be one of the Chicago Bulls greatest obstacles during their constant 1990s championship runs.
With Ewing bringing the Knicks back into the spotlight and Starks assisting the team in reaching their peak, the Knicks had a number of close run-ins to the championship that includes their 1994 appearance when they took the Houston Rockets to seven games before eventually falling.
Ewing was one of the league's most dominant centers in an era filled with elite centers. He averaged as much as 29 points per while averaging a double-double for nine consecutive seasons. Starks' numbers weren't prolific, but he was a solid enough shooter and slasher to keep the Knicks in the championship hunt year after year.
24. Steve Nash and Amar'e Stoudemire
Easily one of the greatest pick-and-roll duos to ever play the game of basketball, Steve Nash and Amar'e Stoudemire had undeniable chemistry that allowed the two to work together more fluently than any other duo.
With Nash's game refined from his days in Dallas and in a fast-paced system that he could work with, he was able to pick and choose his passes in an offense that was made to not allow defenses to react quick enough to end the Phoenix Suns offensive possession. Nash's court awareness was second to none amongst point guards and having an athlete like Stoudemire by his side only helped.
Stoudemire was a scoring machine that could slash better than any other power forward in the league up until Blake Griffin's recent inclusion in the league.
The Suns would win as much as 62 games but would never make it as far as the Western Conference finals.
23. Kevin Johnson and Charles Barkley
Teammates from 1992 until 1996, the Phoenix Suns saw some of their best years with Kevin Johnson running the show and Charles Barkley playing the role of scorer and rebounder.
The team made it to their first championship in Barkley's first year with the club in 1993 where they would ultimately lose to the defending champion Chicago Bulls in six games.
Nevertheless, the Suns still saw plenty of prosperity with the tandem of Johnson and Barkley. KJ was a quality all-around point guard that was fast enough to drive as well as having a solid mid-range game, while Barkley was one of the league's best finishers around the basket and top rebounders on both sides of the court.
Barkley also brought home his only MVP in his first year with the Suns.
22. Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler
Alright, this is the last time that Hakeem Olajuwon will be featured as part of a duo. I promise.
It's tough not to include his greatest running mate in Clyde Drexler who played with "The Dream" for three-and-a-half seasons, including the tail end of 1995 when they completed the back-to-back with a win over the Orlando Magic.
That would also be the final season that Drexler would average over 20 points per game. It didn't matter though considering Olajuwon was averaging a career-high 28 points per to go along with 10 rebounds per as well.
This duo wasn't as prolific as it would have been in the early part of the 1990s (obviously), but it was enough to get the job done and get Olajuwon his second championship and Drexler a deserving first.
21. Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes
Forming one of the meanest and high powered frontcourts in NBA history, Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes were the first players to put the Washington Bullets franchise on the map.
Teammates from 1972 until 1981, the duo came complete with shot-blocking, defense, offense and rebounding all packed into one extremely volatile frontcourt. Unseld might have had his best rebounding years already behind him, but he still managed to consistently average over 10 boards per in all but one season while leading the league in rebounds per in 1975.
Hayes was the Bullets leading scorer with a wide array of post moves as well as an ability to drive. He too was also an outstanding rebounder averaging as much as 18 boards per, good enough to lead the league, while still chipping in as much as 24 points per only a few seasons later.
Their hard work finally paid off in 1978 with their lone championship.
20. Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol
Only playing together since the tail end of the 2008 campaign, the duo of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol are already competing with what previous legendary Laker tandems have done before.
In only four years as teammates, Gasol and Bryant have made it to three championships with two trophies to show for it. Bryant led the way on both occasions taking home the Finals MVP as his consistent ability to hit shots whenever the team called upon him was enough to give the Lakers just what they needed to blow out the Orlando Magic for their first title and then eek out a close win over the Boston Celtics.
After losing his previous running mate in the post years prior, Gasol was just what the doctor ordered for Bryant. The former MVP and five-time champion can score at an efficient rate without a post presence, he did average 35 points per in 2006, but it helps when you throw in a volatile post presence that can score and rebound at will.
19. Paul Arizin and Wilt Chamberlain
A tandem that sadly only lasted three years features two Hall of Famers in guard/forward Paul Arizin and center Wilt Chamberlain.
There's just no explanation as to how these two didn't win championships together.
Despite those three years with Chamberlain being the last of his career, Arizin was still averaging over 22 points per in each of those seasons. Combine that with Chamberlain averaging over 37 points per in the first three seasons of his career and you have two players combining for nearly 60 points per.
It also makes it scarier considering that the two combined for over 70 points per in Arizin's final season which also happened to be the year that Chamberlain averaged 50 points per game.
18. Willis Reed and Walt Frazier
Teammates from 1967 to 1974, the duo of Willis Reed and Walt Frazier led the New York Knicks to their best years in franchise history that came complete with championships in 1970 and 1973.
Reed, most remembered for a game where he scored four points, was the teams starting center for most of his time with the Knicks averaging a double-double in the four seasons he played with Frazier while also averaging a career-high 22 points per as well as a near career high of 15 rebounds per.
Frazier was the point guard for the Knicks and did just about everything on the court as he filled up stat sheets in the points, rebounds and assists department. His best numbers all came when he was teammates with Reed as he averaged as well as 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists per.
17. Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp
The duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook can only hope that they could reach the heights and the chemistry that Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp had together in the 1990s.
It was easy to have that kind of chemistry when you're drafted one year apart from each other, and each player has a niche that they accept.
Payton played the role of facilitator while Kemp was the team's offensive enforcer with his ability to throw down some of the most powerful dunks the game had ever seen. Kemp averaged a double-double for six consecutive seasons with careers highs coming in 1996 when he averaged 20 points and 11 boards per.
1996 also happened to be the year that the Sonics won a franchise-high 64 games while also making it to their first NBA Finals since the late-1970s.
16. George Mikan and Jim Pollard
Well, they're certainly not the most awkward looking fellows.
Teammates for nearly the entirety of their careers, center George Mikan and forward/center (look it up) Jim Pollard were one of the first tandems to dominate the league.
Mikan was the league's first superstar in a time before rebounds were even registered making it a lot more difficult to judge just how prolific of a player he truly was. He led the league in scoring for the first three years of his career averaging as much as 28 points per while also going on to lead the league in rebounding for two consecutive seasons once they started keeping track.
Pollard wasn't as prolific a player as Mikan was, but he was a solid contributor to a dynasty. He averaged as much as 16 points and nine boards per in the seven seasons they played together as members of the Minneapolis Lakers.
Oh, and they also won five championships.
15. Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West
It took the most dominant in the games history to win it, but Jerry West finally managed to get a hold of his first title once Wilt Chamberlain made the smart choice in heading west to Los Angeles.
Chamberlain finished out the final five years of his career in Los Angeles with West and still managed to lead the league in boards per for all but one season. His scoring production was lower than it had ever been as he finished out his career averaging 13 points per, but he still managed to produce at an efficient enough rate to put the Lakers over the top.
With Chamberlain attracting attention in the post, West was able to pick and choose his shots as he averaged a near career high and a league-leading 31 points per.
Chamberlain and West formed an impressive duo and were able to win the 1972 title, the season before Wilt's retirement.
14. John Havlicek and Dave Cowens
Prolonging the Boston Celtics dynasty an extra decade, the duo of John Havlicek and Dave Cowens made sure that their franchise wouldn't die out once Bob Cousy and Bill Russell left the scene.
Havlicek and Cowens played as teammates from 1970 to 1978 with two championships and an MVP for Dave coming in those eight years. The duo formed an excellent inside-outside punch with Havlicek handling the slashing and mid-range duties while Cowens commanded the paint with impressive defense, rebounding and a post game.
Cowens averaged as much as 21 points and 16 boards per during his MVP season while Havlicek averaged as much as 29 points as the Celtics offensive leader.
13. Oscar Robertson and Lew Alcindor
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wasn't all about the glitz and glamor of Los Angeles. Before that, he was regular Lew Alcindor playing in Milwaukee and averaging 35 points per game in only his third season.
Abdul-Jabbar spent the first six years of a famed career with the Bucks where he would see his greatest statistical numbers posted with the aforementioned 35 points per and the two scoring championships that came in only his second and third years. He was the youngest player to win a scoring title up until Kevin Durant stole that crown two seasons ago.
It was a good thing Abdul-Jabbar showed up too because it seemed as if the triple-double machine Oscar Robertson was going to end his career without a ring. His overall production was on the decline once he went to Milwaukee as he failed to average anything more than 20 points, nine assists or seven boards per.
That's still saying something nonetheless.
After suffering for so long in Cincinnati only to go ringless, it only took one year in Milwaukee for Robertson to get his first and only ring and the first of many for Abdul-Jabbar.
12. Tim Duncan and David Robinson
Is this going to be the same deal as the Indianapolis Colts?
The San Antonio Spurs were a powerhouse with David Robinson, as the Colts are with Peyton Manning, only to see him get injured and play in only six games in the 1996-97 season. Their record was so abysmal without Robinson that they were rewarded the No. 1 pick and ended up taking "The Admiral's" apprentice in Tim Duncan.
With the Colts, the same story might occur with Manning getting injured this season and the high possibility that they secure the No. 1 pick and then taking his possible apprentice in Stanford's Andrew Luck.
Duncan and a healthy Robinson led the Spurs to a 36-game improvement the next season and then won the first title in franchise history with an easy five-game series victory over the New York Knicks at the end of the lockout-shortened season.
As a last hurrah, Robinson would end his career with one more title in 2003 with a six-game series win over the New Jersey Nets.
Even with an average supporting cast, Robinson and Duncan basically shot off any sort of entry to the post. They were too good of defenders and shot-blockers on defense, and they possessed too good of footwork on offense to be denied.
11. Jerry West and Elgin Baylor
The top duo on this list to not win a title (thanks a lot, Boston), Jerry West and Elgin Baylor were able to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to seven NBA Finals only to come away with nothing each and every time.
The one time Jerry West won? The year right after Baylor's departure. Ouch.
Even without a championship as teammates, the two combined to form one of the young league's most volatile offensive duos with Baylor consistently averaging nearly 30 points per and West posting around the same. For a three-year stretch, Baylor was averaging over 34 points per while West posted up better than 27 points per in two of those seasons.
It also helped the team work more efficiently considering that West played the role of facilitator while Baylor spent the majority of his time in the post grabbing every rebound that came his way.
It's not fair to Baylor that he finished out a prestigious career without a ring. Maybe Sasha Vujacic should give one of his away.
10. Wilt Chamberlain and Hal Greer
Wilt Chamberlain might have had trouble winning his first championship, but when he did, he made sure to make it as prolific as possible.
By prolific, we mean that he and Hal Greer led the Philadelphia 76ers to a then single season record 68 wins and then going 11-4 in the postseason.
Chamberlain and Greer spent three-and-a-half seasons together, and they happened to be some of the best of "The Stilts" career. He led the league in points per at 34 per while also leading the league in rebounds per for the three full seasons he played with Greer and the Sixers.
Overshadowed by Wilt's accomplishments, Greer still managed to be the team's second scoring option as well as a solid rebounder and facilitator. He had his best statistics in his final season with Wilt when he averaged 24 points, five rebounds and five assists per.
9. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker
Championships don't lie. This is a duo that is extremely deserving of being placed in the top 10 amongst all the league's greatest tandems.
With three championships and three Finals MVP's between them, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker picked up where Duncan and David Robinson left off. While Parker was a member of that 2003 team that won a title, he didn't carry as much of an impact than he did in the Spurs most recent two championships.
What leads the Spurs to so many titles over the past 12 years is the chemistry and the teamwork they show off on a nightly basis. Duncan and Parker possess greater chemistry than any other tandem in the league today, and it has led to more success than any duo currently playing together could say.
Duncan led the way for the Spurs title win in 2005 when they defeated the Detroit Pistons in seven games while Parker took over those duties in 2007 when he led the team to their easiest championship in the form of a sweep over the overmatched Cleveland Cavaliers.
8. Julius Erving and Moses Malone
Playing only four seasons together, the tandem of Moses Malone and Julius Erving made perfectly sure to get their championship when they had the chance.
After all, the title that they won in 1983 came only four years before Erving eventually retired.
In the first season that Malone was brought in from Houston, the two found chemistry together and worked well by leading the Philadelphia 76ers to a 65-17 record and the guarantee of "fo-fo-fo" which is basically the equivalent of saying we're going to beat you, and you should be happy that's all your getting from us.
It's a bold claim to make, but Malone nearly came through on his guarantee by only losing one game in the three series that they played in. The loss didn't come in the finals either as they swept the Magic Johnson-led Los Angeles Lakers.
The Sixers would persist as championship contenders for the following three seasons but would never reach that plateau again.
7. Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars
Forming the best backcourt that's ever been bestowed upon the NBA hardwood, the tandem of Joe Dumars and Isiah Thomas formed an unbelievable combination that came equipped with some of the most efficient offense and hard-nosed defense that you'll ever find on one team.
Playing as teammates from 1985 until 1994, these two knew how to run an offense to near perfection with Dumars taking over the role of scoring and Thomas doing just as much scoring while also being one of the greatest facilitators the league has ever seen. Thomas averaged better than 20 per in the first two seasons he played with Dumars but saw that decline once the shooting guard began taking over those duties.
Dumars would average as much as 24 points per in the time he spent with Detroit with both players spending the entirety of their careers with the club they both found success in.
The two would win consecutive titles in 1989 and 1990 with one of those wins coming after they finished the regular season 63-19 and then proceeded to go 15-2 in the postseason with both losses coming against the Chicago Bulls in the conference finals.
They would split the two Finals MVP's awarded.
6. John Stockton and Karl Malone
The only thing keeping these two out of the No. 2 or No. 3 spot? Take one look at their hands and you'll see something missing and then you'll know why.
With Karl Malone being taken only one year after John Stockton was selected by the Utah Jazz, the two had the benefit of getting to know each other right at the beginning of their careers. This proved to work out well as the Jazz became an immediate powerhouse with Stockton and Malone showing off terrific chemistry and teamwork.
Stockton led the league in assists for nine consecutive seasons thanks to the high-powered offense of Malone, averaging as much as 15 assists per and holding the record for assists in a careera record that will most likely never be broken.
Malone's ability to hit the mid-range jumper and finish around the rim coupled with Stockton's court awareness and pass-first mentality led the Jazz to success that they had never seen before. They would be perennial championship contenders and would make it as far as the NBA Finals twice before succumbing to the Chicago Bulls in six games on both occasions.
5. Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal
It didn't end as amicably as we hoped for, and their time together had its fair share of rocky moments, but you can't deny just how prolific and volatile of a duo that Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal formed in the late-1990s and early-2000s.
Shaquille O'Neal had already made a name for himself in Orlando after winning a scoring title in only his third year and then leading the young team to a title appearance. He continued to transition that dominant play to Los Angeles where he would feature the best years of his career that would come with three championships and an MVP award.
With O'Neal taking up so much attention in the post since not one single center could guard him, it allowed Bryant to do whatever it was to his liking. Shaq was already averaging over 25 points per, it only got better for the Lakers once Bryant started to come into his own and began averaging as much as 30 per.
The two would win three consecutive titles as teammates with wins coming against the Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, and New Jersey Nets. Their 2001 title run was by far the most impressive as they finished 15-1 with the one loss coming in the finals by way of a 48-point effort from Allen Iverson.
4. Bob Cousy and Bill Russell
Easily the most successful tandem in the history of the game, Bob Cousy and Bill Russell revolutionized quite a few aspects in their time together.
Cousy created the art of slowing down an offense and running actual set plays, while Russell created the art of defense by deterring as many shots as possible while also playing solid individual defense. One of his greatest accomplishments would be the defense he consistently played on Wilt Chamberlain which would seem to be the only formidable defense that Chamberlain would see.
Teammates from 1956 to 1963, it was when Russell arrived that would put Cousy and the Boston Celtics over the top. While Cousy ran an efficient offense with the likes of Tom Heinsohn and Sam Jones, Russell was busy playing the defense that allowed the Celtics to win games in a sport that was usually fast paced and filled with nothing but offense.
Russell would lead the league in rebounding for three consecutive seasons as the two would combine to win six titles.
3. Larry Bird and Kevin McHale
Tough to omit Robert Parish from this occasion, but he honestly paled in comparison to what Larry Bird and Kevin McHale contributed to the Boston Celtics dynasty of the 1980s.
This was one of the few duos that managed to limit the Los Angeles Lakers throughout the decade as Bird and McHale showed off superb offensive skill sets that players could only dream of possessing today.
Bird played the role of shooter and seldom slasher, while McHale would do the majority of his damage on offense with his second to none footwork in the post. McHale would lead the league in field goal percentage for two consecutive seasons and would see his best statistical year come in 1987 when he averaged a career-high 26 points per as well as nearly 10 boards per.
Larry was the team's offensive leader however as he could basically score from anywhere on the court. At 6'9" and equipped with a quick release, Bird was able to shoot and score over anyone at will, and it led to him averaging as much as 30 points per while also shooting better than 40 percent from deep for four consecutive years.
In return, the Celtics would take home three titles between 1981and 1986.
2. Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
It's tough not to have great chemistry with your point guard when his name is Magic Johnson.
At 6'9" and court awareness that would even make Jason Kidd's head spin, Johnson was able to lead one of the league's most efficient offenses to multiple titles through the 1980s. Having an undeniable post presence in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was only an added bonus to Johnson's arsenal as he made sure to use the big man to his advantage by finding him for scores that no other point guard could possibly find.
Abdul-Jabbar might have seen his stats decline once he left Milwaukee for Los Angeles, but I can guarantee that it didn't matter once he began winning titles in his first season with Johnson as the team's floor general.
With Magic at the helm and performing feats that the game had never seen before and Abdul-Jabbar commanding the paint with his 7'2" frame, the Lakers were nearly unstoppable, and it led to five titles between 1980 and 1988 with four of the Finals MVP's being split up amongst the two superstars.
1. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen
This was the equivalent of forming into Voltron. When Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen stepped out on the floor together, you knew that you were in for a workout, and that it wasn't going to take every fiber of your being to deter them.
That didn't happen too much. The Detroit Pistons and the Boston Celtics in the late-1980s seemed to be the only teams capable of deterring the Chicago Bulls, and once they finally beat those two teams, it was victory from there on out.
Pippen was just what Jordan needed. Jordan was posting up stats that nobody had seen since the 1960's, but it still didn't translate to team success as they always came up short when going against an actual contender. Once Pippen came on the team and Jordan established chemistry with him though, it proved to be the key to the Bulls' winning championships.
With Jordan scoring every which way and doing just about everything else and Pippen playing the best perimeter defense you will ever witness, the duo would form an unstoppable tandem that would not be denied throughout the 1990's as they would win six titles together. They would see those six titles come by way of two three-peats with the possibility of the team possibly winning eight straight had Jordan not retired.
Still, six championships is impressive, and for that, we award Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen with the top spot on this list.