Sometimes in the Association, two players will meet at one junction or another on a team and true chemistry will form. These are the top 12 pairs of players in the league right now, duos that complement each other’s capabilities on the court.
12. Andre Iguadala and Elton Brand- These two Philadelphia 76ers don’t overwhelm their opponents by any stretch of the imagination, but they are two very solid players. Brand is the inside presence that has excellent low post moves. Iguadala is a talented wingman that can just as easily nail the last second three-pointer as throw down a monster jam in the teeth of the defense. Only in the newborn stages of their relationship, these two could use one another two advance far into the playoffs.
11. Joe Johnson and Al Horford- Similar to AI and Brand, these Hawks are the shooter and big man for Atlanta. Johnson is a supremely talented scorer whose struggles are brought on through his lack of dedication to winning. Horford is an excellent young power forward forced to play center due to a lack of a feasible replacement. Think of Horford as what Kendrick Perkins could be if he had any offensive game.
10. Hedo Turkoglu and Dwight Howard-with the help of the timely shooting of Rashard Lewis, the Magic advanced all the way to the Finals. Turkoglu runs the point out of his forward position, often running the pick-and-roll with Howard who glides to the basket for the easy jam. Howard, the best up-and-coming center, would probably be on the list with any of his other teammates.
9. Yao Ming and Ron Artest- This odd couple has formed some sort of weird chemistry on the court in their first year together in Houston. Even without the considerable talents of Tracy McGrady, Houston nearly defeated the eventual champion Lakers in the Conference Semifinals. The Rockets have to decide if they want Artest back with the team or not, but if they do they have two players that mesh together that probably shouldn’t.
8. Chris Paul and David West- Both All-Star players, these two led the Hornets deep into the playoffs two seasons ago. This ranking is more predicated on Paul than on West, with all due respect. Paul is a top point guard in the Association who blisters the skin of his opponents from the heat he leaves as he blows by them off the dribble on the way to an easy lay-up. West is an athletic big man who shows a flair for dropping 20 points a game.
7. Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer- The Williams to Boozer connection harkens back to memories from the Stockton to Malone era of yesteryear for Jazz fans. Williams is Paul’s chief rival for the claim of best point guard in the Association and Boozer continually posts a double-double. The flash and muscle duo of Utah could end soon if the Jazz don’t open their checkbooks and retain the talented power forward.
6. Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire- These players have the benefit of experience on their side; playing together since 2005 these two have earned much success in the league. Nash, with his flair for the flashy, and Stoudemire with his raw power in the paint have put their mark on the Western Conference for multiple seasons.
5. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce- The two Bostonians, along with the help of Ray Allen’s clutch shooting, helped Boston regain their former glory of the 80’s. Garnett is one of the most talented big men in the game who has the range to drain a 20 footer or spin by his defender under the basket. Pierce, while not Kobe, Wade or LeBron, Pierce also has the ability to drop 40 points on any court he walks on.
4. Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups- Joe Dumars deserves all the credit for this pairing. Anthony was allowed to drop to the Nuggets at the number 3 slot in the ‘03 draft after Dumars decided on Darko instead. Then, beyond all reason and sense, Joe traded away Billups for Allen Iverson, who is the complete opposite of everything the Pistons stood for.
3. LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal- Not verifiable by actual play on the court, the new addition of Shaq makes these two players one of the best duos in the Association. Even though Shaq is aging and is no longer the dominant big man of years past, he provides a substantial presence in the paint. LeBron, the MVP of the Association, is a legitimate superstar in the league who is often the best player on the court (sans Kobe). Will the pairing of these two future Hall-of-Famers lead to the alleviation of Cleveland’s championship troubles? Probably not, but it will be entertaining.
2. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker- The Spurs have been one of the most dominant teams in the past decade, largely due to Duncan’s overall greatness and Parker’s ability to disrupt the defense of the opponent. The Big Fundamental is likely the greatest power forward of all time that uses the bank shot like most players use the lay-up. Mr. Eva Longoria has perfected the floater as he drives the lane, infuriating and amazing opponents and their fandom.
1. Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol- The obvious choice after their championship run this year, Bryant and Gasol are two dominant players at each of their respective positions. Bryant, the best player in the league, would have ranked near the top with Adam Morrison if needed. Gasol, ugly as he may be, is an excellent player who knows how to score the basketball.