The 10 Best ‘NBA Jam’ Duos In Today’s NBA, Ranked

NBA Jam: I love it, you love it, and the people you send this article to love it. The game is beloved by basketball fans and gamers alike, as it puts an extremely fun twist on the hoops. Whether you played it at an arcade or on a home console, there’s a good chance you have a memory of playing the game with your friends and family.

We haven’t had a game in the NBA Jam cinematic universe since 2011, and obviously, a whole heck of a lot has happened in the world of basketball over that time. The case can be made that, with players being more athletic and better shooters than ever, there’s never been a better time for the game to come back. Unless someone is cooking up something we don’t know, that’s not going to happen, so instead, we decided to look through current NBA rosters and identify which duos would be the most fun if the game existed today.

Honorable Mention: Literally anyone and Victor Wembanyama, San Antonio Spurs

I think Victor Wembanyama was put on this earth to be a character in a video game who drives people insane. The Spurs need to find a co-star for him, but for now, we’ll slot Keldon Johnson or Devin Vassell in there and wish everyone who plays against Wemby the best of luck.

10. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chet Holmgren, Oklahoma City Thunder

In, oh, nine months or so, this ranking is going to be way too low, as Holmgren is the sort of player who would dominate in NBA Jam due to his size (although I can imagine the game would give him a low strength rating), ability in the paint on both ends of the floor, and jumper. As he gets better, OKC will rise in this list, especially because Gilgeous-Alexander’s ability to get to whatever spot he wants and ability to jump passing lanes would be coveted in the game, even though he’s not the most likely dude to let it fly from three.

9. LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers

The rim would get torn off on offense and no one would score at the rim on defense. The problems pop up if you can hit a few threes against them — neither James nor Davis are great shooters (although, LeBron did shoot a career-best 41 percent from deep this season), which can be a huge issue if the other team can get a few looks from deep that go in. Still, that LeBron to AD lob in NBA Jam would be a lot of fun.

8. Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

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On offense, using these two would be a joy, as both dudes can make stuff happen with the ball in their hands and catch fire from the field — both essentially shoot fireballs out of their hands already when they see a few go in. Their problems, obviously, would come on the defensive end of the floor, as there would be less than no rim protection and opponents would love getting good shot after good shot from anywhere on the floor if they don’t turn the ball over.

7. Devin Booker and Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns

Basically the exact same thing as the Dallas duo, only Durant can provide more rim protection. Also: More dunks. More dunks in NBA Jam gives them a leg up over the Dallas duo.

6. Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

The top-6 duos are all really close, so the Nuggets get knocked a hair just because neither guy is a crazy athlete (faster guys would get behind them with regularity) and Jokic’s savant-level understanding of basketball goes out the window when you’re in an arcade game. Having said that, both of them can really shoot the ball, plus Jokic’s passing would still be an asset. How they’d hold up on the defensive end would be a question, but they sure will score.

5. Jayson Tatum and Kristaps Porzingis, Boston Celtics

After this past season, I think we can say with some confidence that Porzingis’ game would translate to NBA Jam incredibly well due to his shot blocking, shooting, and dunking. Tatum’s game would look great in NBA Jam, as well, as he’d bring some size and strength (along with the requisite shooting and dunking) to a position that isn’t especially big. Maybe you can poke the ball away from him a bit, but generally, Boston would be a nightmare to deal with.

4. Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies

We haven’t seen this duo get extended run in the NBA in a minute, but outside of the fact that neither guy is especially strong and would get shoved around a bit, this is a near-perfect pairing. In Morant, you get someone who is fast as hell and a nuclear athlete. In Jackson, you get someone who can protect the rim, shoot threes, and catch lobs. Again, the lack of strength would be a problem but you’d win a whole lot using the grizzlies.

3. Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

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This is a tricky one, because Dame would so clearly be a nightmare in NBA Jam with his shooting, athleticism, and speed. Him catching fire would happen every game, and if teams made the mistake of keying in on him, Giannis has the athletic gifts to absolutely kill teams with lobs. And Lillard’s defensive deficiencies wouldn’t be that big of a problem, because he has Antetokounmpo there to protect the rim. If Giannis was comfortable shooting, they’d be a clear No. 1, but they’d still be incredible.

2. Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves

The Wolves get knocked from No. 1 because Ant is a good (but not elite) three-point shooter and KAT is on the slower side and not a super great rim protector. Having said that: Oh my goodness do I want to use Anthony Edwards in NBA Jam. I think you could make the case to put them No. 1 just off of “it would be so fun to use Anthony Edwards in NBA Jam,” as he would be able to dunk from anywhere and is stronger than everyone. Using Towns, the best shooting big man of all time, would also be a ton of fun.

1. Tyrese Maxey and Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

Maxey is the fastest person alive, shoots threes at a great clip, and can really pass the ball. Embiid can shoot and dunk and overpower everyone and block anything and everything near the rim. They’re one of the best duos in the league, and their skill-sets are basically perfect (and compliment one another perfectly) for NBA Jam at their respective positions.