From Kyrie – Luka to Jokic – Murray, 5 ‘scariest’ duos in NBA right now

The best duos in the NBA will be setting the playoffs on fire with their dominating performances.


From Kyrie – Luka to Jokic – Murray, 5 ‘scariest’ duos in NBA right now

Check out the scariest duos playing in NBA currently

In the NBA, one superstar can alleviate a franchise. Two, makes them capable enough to fight for a title. But not all duos have the potential to fight for the Larry O’Brien Trophy or lead their respective teams to the topmost seeds in their conferences. It takes a special duo to bring out that elite level of basketball.

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Since the inception of the NBA, many an iconic duo have captured the imagination of the basketball world. Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, captured the imagination of fans until the late 90’s. Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant were the last of the popularly scary duos to dominate the sport. Since then, several teams in the NBA have moved on to Big-3’s. Nowadays, with the salaries NBA stars get, making a surefire Big-3 with talent who are in their prime, is extremely difficult.

Sticking to the topic of duos, the majority of the NBA teams focus on creating a duo and surrounding them with a capable supporting cast. What makes some one-two punches scary, is if they can add playmaking, rebounding and defense along with their ability to score at will. But what makes them scariest is if the duo can dominate and win a game on their own. Here are the top 5 scariest duos in the NBA right now.

Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray

This duo had just won the NBA title by dominating their opposition on their way to do that. That feat itself puts them on this list. But their combination play has been in the running for long. The two have played together for almost 6 seasons. However, injuries for Jamal Murray robbed 2 years of their playtime.

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Now as NBA Champions, Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray are the gold standard of NBA duos, and the hardest to stop
Now as NBA Champions, Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray are the gold standard of NBA duos, and the hardest to stop (image via Denver Nuggets/X)

However, they made sure that they did not repeat their 2020 Western Conference Finals loss; going on to beat the same Los Angeles Lakers team in a rematch last year. The Denver Nuggets had a staggering 16-4 record en route to their first NBA title. Even though there are other star players on their roster, the combination plays of Nikola Jokic and Murray was used to devastating effect.

Every NBA team uses the pick-and-roll to create easy scoring opportunities. Where this one-two punch distinguishes themselves as the best, is their ability to score from anywhere on the court. Both have an elite understanding of where the basket is. Moreover, their ability to score at will, especially in clutch situations, has given them an edge over the competition. If not for Murray’s injuries, who knows if they could have taken a crack at a couple of more titles.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis

LeBron James has been a part of his fair share of duos and Big-3’s during his 21 years in the league. But currently, he is enjoying the company of Anthony Davis. James lured Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers after struggling to make an impact with the youngsters in his first season with the purple and gold. That year, the duo spurred the Lakers to their 17th title in NBA history.

Despite their low playoff seedings, opponents want to avoid LeBron James and Anthony Davis during the playoffs
Despite their low playoff seedings, opponents want to avoid LeBron James and Anthony Davis during the playoffs (image via Los Angeles Lakers/X)

Such is this one-two punch, that their combination of scoring, defense and playmaking have made it hard on opponents. Fast forward 4 years and the duo are still feared. The Lakers may not be in the top playoff spots, but every opposing team wants to avoid the duo entering the playoffs.

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Anthony Davis is an elite scorer in the paint and has always been in the conversation as one of the best defenders in the league. LeBron James has used his game management skills besides his elite scoring ability. A testament to this is the last year’s playoffs. The Lakers had a dismal regular season and finished in the play-in spots. They dominated their way back to the Western Conference finals. If only they had more help, they could have been on their way to another championship.

Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic

Many consider Kyrie Irving as one of the best scorers in the league. The Dallas Mavericks traded for the veteran NBA Champion for his ability to score at will. Now couple that with Luka Doncic. The young Slovenian international has become one of the best young players in the league. Effortless scoring is his biggest trait. The former Euro League MVP and champion also has the dog mentality in him, that is required to succeed.

Many believe the combination of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving will be too much for the opposition
Many believe the combination of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving will be too much for the opposition (image via Dallas Mavericks/X)

When playing together, Doncic and Irving can be too much to handle for opposing defenses. As in, who will the defenders try and slow down? A double team against one will open the gates for the other. Luka Doncic has taken advantage of that situation to almost post a triple-double season. Even though those numbers have not translated into consistent wins, opposing players know that come playoff time, these two will dominate.

Their ability to score in clutch situations will strike fear in the hearts of opponents. Even though both are slightly disadvantaged in the defensive department, they can be willing when the stakes are high. Unless injury strikes, the Dallas Mavericks can ride the scoring performances of these two to an attempt at an NBA Title. As a one-two punch, the two are unstoppable.

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Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown

How often does a team have two players drafted in back-to-back Drafts in the No. 3 overall spots? And how many of those two players have similar skill sets and are surefire All-Stars? The duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are those two players. Measuring just 2 inches apart in height, this one-two punch have a similar ability to defend the perimeter, score from anywhere on the court, and willingly take on clutch situations.

Boston Celtics duo Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are vying to win multiple championships together
Boston Celtics duo Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are vying to win multiple championships together (image via CelticsMuse/X)

Brown was sidelined with an injury towards the end of the 2020-21 season. Other than that year, the duo have taken the Boston Celtics to at least the conference Semi-Finals every year. Seldom do a duo of players with similar skill sets and sizes complement each other. This duo has helped the Celtics be a major playoff threat every year.

The only knock on their abilities is that they have not taken that next step to bring another title to the TD Garden. However, they are the youngest pair in this group. With time on their side, the duo could continue to dominate for a long time. And with experience, they will adjust more to the nuances of a game. This year they have led the Celtics to the best record in the league and are hotly tipped to take home the NBA title this year.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard

The ‘Greek Freak’ or Giannis Antetokounmpo is a two-time league MVP and Defensive Player of the Player. Along with those accolades he is also an NBA Champion and a Finals MVP. But that was without Damian Lillard in the house. After exiting in the first round last season, Lillard was brought in to win a few more NBA titles.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard are the newest duo in this list
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard are the newest duo in this list (image via Milwaukee Bucks/X)

Now, this combination is proving to be too hot to handle in the East. Despite missing fellow star Khris Middleton for the majority of the year, the Milwaukee Bucks are currently second in the Eastern Conference. And that is despite both of them still learning how to play together. What complicates matters is the coaching change mid-season.

But Lillard is one of the most feared clutch scorers in the league. He is also known to go on a scoring run and dominate games single-handedly. Now imagine if he brings out his former league-leading form and combines that with the all-round gunning attack of Antetokounmpo. As Lillard said earlier in the season, the best is yet to come. Therefore, opponents better hold on to their horses when this one-two punch starts imposing their will.

With less than a month to go for the Play-In games to start, the basketball world will be waiting to see which of these NBA duos come out on top. But rest assured, none of these one-two punches will disappoint.

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