The NBA regular season gets underway in 10 days. The top teams will be powered by a combination of All-Star-caliber players. Some have legit Big Threes, but it will take at least a deadly twosome for any team to rise above the pack.
Here are the top five tandems heading in the 2021-22 season.
KD & The Beard
We begin in Brooklyn with the Nets and their lethal duo of Kevin Durant and James Harden. Last season these two scoring machines seldom took the floor together, due to injuries. They remain the most dynamic and unguardable duo in the league when healthy.
Harden’s willingness to run the show upon arrival following the trade from Houston was a welcome sight and once again showed his elite offensive versatility. While KD showed everyone in the playoffs why he’s now the best player in the league.
How confident is Harden about the possibilities? Here’s what he said in August.
“At full strength nobody can beat us. I’m just gonna leave it at that.”
King James & AD
LeBron James and Anthony Davis have already won an NBA title together, although it did come in the “NBA Bubble,” it’s still recognized as an “NBA chip.”
Last season injuries and complacency seemed to prevail over a repeat championship in Tinseltown.
LeBron and AD have to remain healthy. After that, the key will be how they elevate and mesh with a whole new cast of aging veterans and inexperienced young players.
This will be very interesting if things don’t go as planned. Great two-way duo no matter what.
Greek Freak & Khris Middleton
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton have risen through the NBA ranks together in “Brew Country” over the years (2013-present).
Give and go run to perfection by Middleton and the Greek Freak 👏 pic.twitter.com/qsRQAG9pjY
— NBA TV (@NBATV) February 26, 2017
Their union culminated in bringing “Cream City” it’s first NBA title since 1971, when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson did the honors.
These two are the toast of the city, and they don’t have to accomplish anything else after that run last postseason.
But they’ll be hungry and looking to prove that they can beat teams at full strength.
This duo is still wildly underrated by the average fan, but they should be considered top five on any list.
CP3 & DBook
Chris Paul and Devin Booker were so close to bringing “The Valley of the Suns” its first ever NBA title. The backcourt duo of “CP3 and CookBook” led the young team to a surprise NBA Finals appearance.
"This is the playoffs. … We're here."@CP3 and @DevinBook asked to push their charter back so they could support the @phoenixmercury 👏 @sportsiren pic.twitter.com/pzM0pKmD2l
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 3, 2021
Paul offered tremendous leadership and mentorship to rising superstar Booker. You saw the elevation in Booker’s game.
Now they’ll look to terrorize opponents again and try to bring Paul that elusive title that has evaded the future Hall of Famer.
Dame DOLLA & CJ McCollum
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum get the nod in the fifth spot. They advanced to a Western Conference Finals in 2019, and that seemed to be the plateau for this duo.
So happy for Dame Dolla and CJ… What an accomplishment https://t.co/AWbveqfZ2V
— Otis Livingston (@OlivingstonTV) May 13, 2019
Dame and CJ have long been a top 2-3 backcourt, so this ranking isn’t all that surprising.
They are an undersized backcourt that has been going strong for years. The roster around them won’t ever allow them to win anything.
One has to wonder how much longer they’ll be together in “Rip City.”
Staying healthy is the key to success for all of these tandems.
If Kristaps Porzingis can remain healthy, the tandem of Porzingis and superstar Luka Doncic could elevate to legit contenders.
Kristaps Porzingis stuffs the stats sheet with 15 PTS, 5 REB, 4 AST and 3 BLK in the @dallasmavs' win!
Eugene Omoruyi: 19 PTS, 5 REB
Luka Doncic: 14 PTS, 8 REB, 9 AST
Dwight Powell: 14 PTS, 5 REB pic.twitter.com/RL9l3prO98
— NBA (@NBA) October 9, 2021
We just need to see some substantial growth in both players. If the stars align, Dallas could be a surprise team to emerge from the West.
Few tandems in the league are more dangerous when these dynamic players are functioning at 100 percent.