When LeBron James decided to return home to the Cleveland Cavaliers and team up with Kyrie Irving, the expectations were unreasonably high. It was assumed that these two would join forces and immediately dominate the rest of the league. What we soon found out, and probably should’ve already known, was that it takes time to build trust and chemistry on the floor.
Championship teams aren’t made overnight, and the Cavs were in no position to contend for a title. They needed time to adjust. Time to get healthy. Time to learn each other’s tendencies. Just time. And maybe that time has officially come.
With last night’s victory against the Detroit Pistons, the Cleveland Cavs have now won seven straight games. But, more importantly, with Irving leading the way with 38 points, and James right there with 32 of his own, it appears that the two stars may have officially found their rhythm together on the floor. And, if that’s the case, the league better be prepared to face an incredibly dynamic duo. Perhaps the best?
Let’s look at who we feel are the top seven NBA duos right now.
All statistics are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com
7. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan
The Toronto Raptors have been performing better than anyone could’ve predicted at the beginning of the season. This team has a legitimate chance to make it out of the Eastern Conference, and can play against anyone in the NBA. The reason behind this unexpected surprise can mainly be attributed to the quality backcourt play of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. On top of that, Lowry is performing like one of the best point guards in the NBA. His averages of 19.6 points-per-game and 7.4 assists have definitely put him in the MVP conversation. This is an exciting time to be part of the Raptors’ fanbase.
6. Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge
Point guard Damian Lillard has become one of the most clutch players in the NBA today. It’s as if once the fourth quarter comes around, Lillard flips a switch and takes his game to another level. Teammate LaMarcus Aldridge has also emerged as one of the best players at his respective position. The 6-foot-11 power forward is strong on the block, but also can shoot it from the perimeter. This season, he’s averaging around 23 points and 10 rebounds a game, and he’s also going to attempt to play through injury. With these two leading the way, the Portland Trail Blazers are 32-13, and currently leading the Northwest Division.
5. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving
It is true that LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are starting to figure out how to play together. And, yes, this progress has led to seven straight victories for the Cleveland Cavaliers. But, it’s too small of a sample size to put these guys any higher on the list. At this point, James is scoring 26.4 points-per-game, and Kyrie is contributing 21.3 of his own. The Cavs are certainly moving in the right direction, and it’s safe to say that this pair is heavily responsible for that. But, let’s wait and see how the rest of the season plays out before we consider them the NBA’s best duo.
4. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin
The Los Angeles Clippers know that the Western Conference is filled with strong teams, and they’re holding their own against the stiff competition. This would not be possible without the combination of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. These two have led the Clips to a 32-14 record, which is currently good for second place in the Pacific Division. CP3 is among the best floor generals in the game, and probably the best facilitator in the league. Griffin has made a lot of progress in his game, and he is no longer just a super athletic power forward. When these two are clicking, the Los Angeles Clippers can beat anyone in the NBA.
3. James Harden and Dwight Howard
James Harden is clearly more than his immaculate beard, as he leads the NBA in scoring with 27.6 points-per-game. And Dwight Howard is starting to look like the player he was before he was slowed down by injuries. This one-two punch makes the Houston Rockets one of the most explosive teams in the NBA. With a 31-14 record, the Rockets are vying with the Memphis Grizzlies for the Southwest Division crown. Whether they win the division title or not, this dynamic duo is going to make Houston a very difficult out come playoff time.
2. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook
If the season were to end today, the Oklahoma City Thunder would not be in the playoffs. But, there’s still half a season to go, and they have Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. When you have these two leading the charge, anything is possible. In fact, the only reason the Thunder aren’t at the front of the pack is because they’ve spent a good chunk of the season without these two superstars. With Durant and Westbrook both experiencing early season injuries, OKC was just trying to stay afloat. But, if these two can continue to remain on the floor together, the sky’s the limit.
1. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson
The Golden State Warriors are the best team in the NBA, and they are led by the league’s best backcourt. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are both smooth shooters, intense winners, and extremely entertaining to watch. And when they’re both knocking down shots, the Warriors are more than likely to come away with the win. Curry is putting up 22.8 points-a-game, and Thompson is a little ahead with an even 23. It’s safe to say that, right now, the Splash Brothers are the best duo in the NBA.