Look up and down the list of NBA championship-winning teams. With few exceptions – the 2011 Dallas Mavericks being one of them – teams built to win it all share something in common: they have at least two superstars. MJ and Scottie; Magic and Kareem; Shaq and Kobe. And as we look ahead to the upcoming season, we wanted to spotlight five of the best young duos in the league, working to add their names into basketball folklore.
Gone are the days of Kwame Brown and Darius Miles-esque draft busts; the collective talent pool in the NBA is as high as its been since the ’90s. Even teams without a shot at the playoffs have reason to be optimistic, so exciting are their young players. None of the listed pairings have made the playoffs yet, and – with one exception – they will most likely be sitting out of the postseason this year. But make no mistake: there’s enough amassed skill here to suggest that sustained success is right around the corner.
Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon, Los Angeles Clippers — Okay, so Blake’s emergence last year wasn’t exactly subtle; dude took the NBA by storm. What should really excite Clippers (and NBA) fans is the inevitable coming-out party for Griffin’s running mate, Eric Gordon. Still only 22, the 2-guard from Indiana is already one of the most well-rounded scorers in the league, averaging a career-high 22.3 PPG last season. A highlight-reel-in-waiting, Gordon and Blake should lead L.A.’s other team to the playoffs this year. You know, unless something particularly Clipper-ish happens.