#MixxSports: Top 5 Duos for the Upcoming Season

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As an avid fan of the NBA, this has been one of the most exciting free agency summer. Literally a third of the league became free agents this summer and there were plenty of big moves around the league that shifted the balance of the association. Following what many call the fall of the Warriors dynasty, the Larry O’Brien trophy is up for grabs and many teams are liking their chances in getting it this upcoming season.

Away with the super-teams era and say welcome back to the era of NBA Duos. The 90’s were filled with plenty of duos from Jordan and Pippen to Payton and Kemp to Stockton and Malone. Today we now have duos consisting of Lebron and Anthony Davis to Kawhi and Paul George to James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Who would’ve ever thought we would see these pairings in today’s game? 

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So, Stephen A. Smith does his own top 5 list on the ESPN show First Take and recently he gave his top 5 for the NBA’s Best Duos. While his list is pretty accurate, it was based off no injuries. Considering that Kevin Durant will miss the entire season and Klay Thompson will be out until February, it inspired me to make a top 5 list of NBA duos for this upcoming season based off injuries. 

5. Damian Lillard & CJ McCollum – Portland Trailblazers

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Ok after making it to the Western Conference Finals with what I consider an inferior roster compared to the Nuggets and the Thunder, it’s hard to deny these two as a top duo. Damian Lillard is coming off an amazing playoff performance this past season with one of the best buzzer beater shots in NBA history, making 2nd All NBA team and signed a super max extension in this past offseason worth $196 million ?. 

McCollum isn’t no slouch either proving to many that the mid-range game isn’t dead with his Game 7 performance against the Nuggets in the Western Semis. Averaging 21 points off of 46% shooting from the field, CJ usually gets swept under the radar as one of the NBA’s best shooting guards.

These two don’t miss too many games as well meaning they are reliable to give you 100% throughout the whole season.

4.  Nikola Jokic & Jamal Murray – Denver Nuggets 

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These two young studs are making their names known around the league with their up tempo play and high scoring volume. Jokic is the embodiment of today’s big man and he’s one of the best big man. Having the ability to shoot, pass like a point guard, rebound, The Joker is one of the league’s premier big man; he was even top 5 in MVP voting this past season as well while having the 2nd most triple doubles in the season behind Russell Westbrook. 

Jamal Murray is slowly rising to be one of the top point guards in the league. With range out of this world and a remarkable handle display, there’s no wonder people were comparing him to Steph Curry. Murray has only gotten better and better as he enters his 4th year. 

Don’t sleep on the Nuggets as team either. Even with all the shake-up around the league, this team can still finish up as a top 3 team in the West just as did last season. 

3. James Harden & Russell Westbrook – Houston Rockets

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Now, I’m just going to start by saying this: this is my favorite duo in the league. As a big Russell Westbrook fan, I was excited when I heard the news about Westbrook getting traded to the Rockets. These are two of the most dominant players in recent NBA history as they both won MVP, both have led the league in assist for the past 3-4 years and both have the highest usage rate in NBA history. Many have concern about these two ball dominant players playing together as they are not known for playing off-ball.

With these two having already played with each other in Oklahoma City with Kevin Durant, there is a mutual respect between the two. Westbrook respects Harden’s game and Harden respects Westbrook’s game. Coach Mike D’Antoni, entering the last year of his contract, is going to have to make adjustments to the Rockets system or he won’t be coaching the team next year. 

Westbrook is younger and more athletic than Chris Paul and already has a past history with Harden. With that being said, this is going to be one of the most exciting teams to watch this upcoming season. 

2. Kawhi Leonard & Paul George – Los Angeles Clippers

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This tandem came out of nowhere and surprised the whole league. Many were speculating Kawhi Leonard to sign with the Lakers or possibly resign with the Toronto Raptors. No one saw that he was going to sign with the Clippers and no one definitely see Paul George being traded there to join him as well. 

George has just signed a max deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder just last summer and even said that he wasn’t going anywhere. The writing was on the wall however after the Thunder lost to the Trail Blazers in the 1st round and there was no sign of the team getting any better. Leonard is coming off his one and only season with the Raptors that led to him putting on an amazing playoff performance and ultimately winning his 2nd title as well as his 2nd Finals MVP.

These two are the best two-way players in the game today and you add them to a Clippers team that won 48 games. Not to mention they took the Warriors to 6 game series with no superstar. They also have a strong led organization with Doc Rivers as the coach, Jerry West and Lawrence Frank in the front office and probably the richest owner in the NBA in Steve Ballmer. Many, including myself, are calling this the best team in the NBA. 

1.  Lebron James & Anthony Davis – Los Angeles Lakers

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Although the Clippers might be the best NBA team, this is hands down the best duo in the NBA. You have one of the all-time greats Lebron James teaming up with one of the best big man in recent history Anthony Davis. How can you get any better than that?

Now, the trade to send Davis to the Lakers has been brewing since December and has cause a lot of turmoil around the league. With many executives around the league urging then General Manager Dell Demps to not go through with the trade, it only led to low morale from both Anthony Davis and the young Lakers core. The drama finally came to an end during this summer after the Pelicans landed the 1st overall pick and the Lakers landed the 4th overall pick allowing both teams agreeing to a deal sending Anthony Davis to the Lakers for the 4th pick, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart.

Now that these two are finally together and Lebron is coming off his longest break in the off season, the Battle of LA between the Lakers and the Clippers just got more interesting as both are serious title contenders. 

Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, I grew up loving the sport of basketball and entertainment altogether. Currently, I am a student at the University of Kentucky with a major in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Theater.