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Most lethal NBA duos of all time

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Lucy Nicholson // Getty Images

Most lethal NBA duos of all time

Ever Michael Lewis' 2003 book (and subsequent movie) “Moneyball,” about advanced statistics in baseball, a statistical revolution has taken place across all professional leagues—most especially in NBA basketball. Whereas an NBA box score used to tell players, fans, coaches, and scouts how many points, rebounds, and assists a player might have for a game, statistical depth today is measured with advanced algorithms in dozens of categories.

Some of the most widely used measures are VORP, BPM, PER, and WS. VORP stands for Value Over Replacement Player, which basically measures the overall value that a player gives to his team in comparison to a player who could theoretically “replace” him. The measure of the replacement player is a set number that might be comparable to the average benchwarmer.

BPM stands for Box Plus/Minus. This statistic measures a player's performance during his time on the court. If a player is a +1, then his team outperformed their opponent by one point during his time on the court. If he's a -1, then the player's time on the court resulted in losing a point to the opposing team.

PER stands for Player Efficiency Rating. This metric was designed by John Hollinger while at ESPN, and is a holistic approach to measuring a player's efficiency while on the court. It takes into account field goals, free throws, assists, turnovers, missed shots, and more. The average PER for players is 15. If a player scores higher, it's great; lower, not so much.

Finally, WS, which stands for Win Shares. This number is calculated by taking a player's output and determining what percentage that output ultimately contributed to a team win.

The advanced numbers help define which players had the best seasons and how that resulted in team success. Stacker, using Basketball Reference as its data source, broke down these stats between the years 1974 and 2017 (1974 was the first year the NBA kept stats for categories like steals, blocks, and others, and when VORP and BPM could be tabulated), to determine not only which players were the best, but to create a list of deadly duos whose combined advanced stats made them the most lethal combo for a given season.

The list below is a tantalizing look at the best tag teams in NBA history (after 1974) from a purely empirical data standpoint. Note that Stacker has included only the best year for each duo. Feelings about who the best is are subjective, but measuring statistics is the most objective way to figure out which teammates ultimately rise to the top.

You may also like: The Most Improved Players on Every NBA Team

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Jared Wickerham // Getty Images

#25. 2007–2008 Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce (BOS)

- Kevin Garnett (#3 in NBA):
--- PPG: 18.8, RPG: 9.2, APG: 3.4, SPG: 1.4, BPG: 1.3
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 5.5 (#5), PER: 25.3 (#7), BPM: 7.4 (#5), WS: 12.9 (#7)
- Paul Pierce (#10 in NBA):
--- PPG: 19.6, RPG: 5.1, APG: 4.5, SPG: 1.3, BPG: 0.5
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 4.9 (#9), PER: 19.6 (#42.5), BPM: 4.7 (#15), WS: 12.4 (#9)

Paul Pierce's #34 was retired by the Boston Celtics 10 years after he and Kevin Garnett helped the Celtics win their last championship title in 2008—the first time since 1986. Pierce and Garnett led Boston in the championship game against fierce competition: Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, a team Pierce admired as a child. Pierce told ESPN that he and Garnett "were meant to be together." The Celtics may have won more championships if not for Garnett's knee injury in 2009, Pierce has said. The duo met toward the end of their high school years and have maintained a strong bond. Both men and their families are close; their children are reportedly best friends, as are their wives. 

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Ronald Martinez // Getty Images

#24. 2015–2016 Stephen Curry and Draymond Green (GSW)

- Stephen Curry (#1 in NBA):
--- PPG: 30.1, RPG: 5.4, APG: 6.7, SPG: 2.1, BPG: 0.2
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 9.8 (#1), PER: 31.5 (#5), BPM: 12.5 (#2), WS: 17.9 (#1)
- Draymond Green (#12 in NBA):
--- PPG: 14.0, RPG: 9.5, APG: 7.4, SPG: 1.5, BPG: 1.4
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 5.5 (#9), PER: 19.3 (#60), BPM: 5.8 (#11), WS: 11.1 (#10)

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the 2015–2016 Golden State Warriors had a killer duo on their roster. After all, this is the team that set the single season wins record by going 73-9. What may be surprising is that the duo is Steph Curry and Draymond Green, and not Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. When taking advanced metrics into account, Draymond was a statistical marvel and bested Klay across the board, while Steph was the league MVP, having one of the greatest shooting seasons in NBA history, and ranking first in combined advanced league data. Unfortunately, the statistical gem wasn't enough to overcome LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.

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Robert W Stowell Jr . // Getty Images

#23. 1984–1985 Sidney Moncrief and Terry Cummings (MIL)

- Sidney Moncrief (#6 in NBA):
--- PPG: 21.7, RPG: 5.4, APG: 5.2, SPG: 1.6, BPG: 0.5
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 4.6 (#8), PER: 20.1 (#19), BPM: 4.7 (#9), WS: 11.2 (#6)
- Terry Cummings (#7 in NBA):
--- PPG: 23.6, RPG: 9.1, APG: 2.9, SPG: 1.5, BPG: 0.8
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 4.0 (#12), PER: 22.1 (#8), BPM: 3.8 (#16), WS: 10.7 (#9)

In the NBA, it's often said that if you have the two best players in a game or series, you're usually going to win. That held true for most of the 1984–1985 season for the Milwaukee Bucks, when Sidney Moncrief and Terry Cummings both averaged more than 20 points per game, and both made the Eastern Conference All-Star team while leading the Bucks to 59 wins. Of course, in the playoffs they ran into a team that had the three best players in Julius Erving, Moses Malone, and Charles Barkley, and got swept in the second round.

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Unknown // Wikimedia Commons

#22. 1975–1976 Bob McAdoo and Randy Smith (BUF)

- Bob McAdoo (#3 in NBA):
--- PPG: 31.1, RPG: 12.4, APG: 4.0, SPG: 1.2, BPG: 2.1
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 5.9 (#2), PER: 23.3 (#4), BPM: 5.0 (#10), WS: 12.3 (#2)
- Randy Smith (#10 in NBA):
--- PPG: 21.8, RPG: 5.1, APG: 5.9, SPG: 1.9, BPG: 0.0
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 4.3 (#9), PER: 18.7 (#21), BPM: 3.3 (#18), WS: 9.4 (#11)

Bob McAdoo's best season was actually the year before in 1974–1975, when he won the league MVP award, but as a duo, he and Randy Smith took the Buffalo Braves to new heights. In advanced stats, McAdoo ranked third league-wide and Smith was 10th, while averaging 31.1 and 21.8 points respectively. 1975–1976 was the fourth year the two all-stars played together (both made the 1976 All-Star team) but they ultimately lost to the Celtics in the second round of the playoffs. Just two years later, the Buffalo Braves relocated to San Diego and became the Clippers.

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Nick Laham // Getty Images

#21. 2011–2012 Kevin Durant and James Harden (OKC)

- Kevin Durant (#3 in NBA):
--- PPG: 28.0, RPG: 8.0, APG: 3.5, SPG: 1.3, BPG: 1.2
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 4.6 (#3), PER: 26.2 (#5), BPM: 5.2 (#7), WS: 12.2 (#3)
- James Harden (#9.5 in NBA):
--- PPG: 16.8, RPG: 4.1, APG: 3.7, SPG: 1.0, BPG: 0.2
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 3.2 (#15), PER: 21.1 (#34), BPM: 4.5 (#14), WS: 9.3 (#6)

Before one of the worst trades in NBA history, Kevin Durant and James Harden were a lethal combo leading their team to the NBA Finals in 2012 (losing to the Miami Heat). On the statistical side, Durant was ranked third overall in advanced numbers and led the league in scoring with 28 points per game. Unbelievably (since he is the reigning NBA MVP), Harden came off the bench for the Thunder and earned the league's Sixth Man of the Year award.

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Harry How // Getty Images

#20. 2008–2009 Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol (LAL)

- Kobe Bryant (#5 in NBA):
--- PPG: 26.8, RPG: 5.2, APG: 4.9, SPG: 1.5, BPG: 0.5
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 4.9 (#6), PER: 24.4 (#14), BPM: 4.5 (#13), WS: 12.7 (#7)
- Pau Gasol (#7 in NBA):
--- PPG: 18.9, RPG: 9.6, APG: 3.5, SPG: 0.6, BPG: 1.0
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 5.3 (#5), PER: 22.2 (#23), BPM: 5.0 (#10), WS: 13.9 (#4)

The 2008–2009 season wasn't Kobe Bryant's best individual performance (he won league MVP the year before), but it was the first full season that he and teammate Pau Gasol played together, winning 65 games and bringing the Lakers another NBA title. Gasol was traded to the Lakers midway through the previous season. Bryant's advanced stats put him as the fifth ranked player in the league and Gasol was just behind him at seventh. The duo was so good that they repeated as champions, beating the Boston Celtics the next year.

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Focus On Sport // Getty Images

#19. 1979–1980 Larry Bird and Cedric Maxwell (BOS)

- Larry Bird (#5 in NBA):
--- PPG: 21.3, RPG: 10.4, APG: 4.5, SPG: 1.7, BPG: 0.6
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 5.4 (#3), PER: 20.5 (#17), BPM: 5.3 (#5), WS: 11.2 (#8)
- Cedric Maxwell (#7 in NBA):
--- PPG: 16.9, RPG: 8.8, APG: 2.5, SPG: 1.0, BPG: 0.8
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 5.1 (#5), PER: 19.0 (#31), BPM: 5.4 (#4), WS: 12.2 (#3)

Larry Bird's rookie season was so incredible that he not only won Rookie of the Year, he improved the Boston Celtics record by a whopping 32 games from the previous year as the team went 61-21. Cedric Maxwell, meanwhile, didn't win any awards, but statistically he was in the top five rankings in VORP, BPM, and WS. The Celtics didn't win the title that year, but they did win it the year after with Maxwell taking home the Finals MVP trophy.

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Dick Raphael // Getty Images

#18. 1973–1974 Rudy Tomjanovich and Calvin Murphy (HOU)

- Rudy Tomjanovich (#5 in NBA):
--- PPG: 24.5, RPG: 9.0, APG: 3.1, SPG: 1.1, BPG: 0.8
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 4.7 (#7), PER: 20.5 (#8), BPM: 3.8 (#9), WS: 12.8 (#4)
- Calvin Murphy (#7 in NBA):
--- PPG: 20.4, RPG: 2.3, APG: 7.4, SPG: 1.9, BPG: 0.0
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 3.7 (#10), PER: 20.0 (#10), BPM: 3.0 (#13), WS: 9.2 (#13)

The 1973–1974 Houston Rockets didn't exactly have a banner season—they went 32-50 and missed the playoffs entirely. What they did have was all-star Rudy Tomjanovich and lightning quick guard Calvin Murphy, who played their third consecutive season together, putting up highlight statistics that ranked them fifth and seventh overall in advanced metrics. It was also just the third year of the team in Houston, as they moved from San Diego in 1971. Besides their joint rankings, Tomjanovich and Murphy have the dubious distinction of being the only duo on this list where their advanced statistical dominance didn't translate into team success.

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Focus On Sport // Getty Images

#17. 1980–1981 Julius Erving and Bobby Jones (PHI)

- Julius Erving (#1 in NBA):
--- PPG: 24.6, RPG: 8.0, APG: 4.4, SPG: 2.1, BPG: 1.8
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 7.2 (#1), PER: 25.1 (#5), BPM: 8.0 (#3), WS: 13.8 (#2)
- Bobby Jones (#9 in NBA):
--- PPG: 13.5, RPG: 5.4, APG: 2.8, SPG: 1.2, BPG: 0.9
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 3.6 (#16), PER: 20.1 (#17), BPM: 5.0 (#8), WS: 9.2 (#14)

The 1980–1981 season was a monster year for Julius Erving. He was the league MVP and led his Philadelphia 76ers to 62 wins. From an advanced metric standpoint, he was the overall #1 ranked player. As a duo, Erving and teammate Bobby Jones played together for eight seasons and in 1980–1981, led the league's statistical rankings as Jones was in the top 10 overall in advanced numbers and made the NBA All-Star team alongside Erving. Unfortunately, the team ran into the juggernaut that was the Boston Celtics and lost in the Eastern Conference Finals.

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The Sporting News Archives // Wikimedia Commons

#16. 1973–1974 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Lucius Allen (MIL)

- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (#1 in NBA):
--- PPG: 27.0, RPG: 14.5, APG: 4.8, SPG: 1.4, BPG: 3.5
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 9.4 (#1), PER: 24.4 (#2), BPM: 8.5 (#1), WS: 18.4 (#1)
- Lucius Allen (#9 in NBA):
--- PPG: 17.6, RPG: 4.0, APG: 5.2, SPG: 1.9, BPG: 0.3
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 3.4 (#15), PER: 18.8 (#16), BPM: 3.6 (#10), WS: 8.2 (#18)

The 1973–1974 season was the first year the NBA kept stats for categories like steals, blocks, and offensive and defensive rebounds, which is why it's the first year that advanced metrics could be tabulated properly. It's also a year where Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the league MVP and was the #1 ranked player in all advanced stat categories except for PER (he was ranked #2). Combining this historic season with Lucius Allen's nearly 18 points per game made this the most lethal duo for the year. The team wound up winning 59 games, but fell short by losing to the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.

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Dick Raphael // Getty Images

#15. 1982–1983 Sidney Moncrief and Marques Johnson (MIL)

- Sidney Moncrief (#3 in NBA):
--- PPG: 22.5, RPG: 5.8, APG: 3.9, SPG: 1.5, BPG: 0.3
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 5.3 (#3), PER: 22.6 (#10), BPM: 5.7 (#4), WS: 13.2 (#3)
- Marques Johnson (#7 in NBA):
--- PPG: 21.4, RPG: 7.0, APG: 4.5, SPG: 1.3, BPG: 0.7
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 4.9 (#6), PER: 21.1 (#14), BPM: 4.8 (#5), WS: 10.7 (#11)

The Milwaukee Bucks have had many deadly duos in their history and the 1982–1983 season is right up there with the best of them. Sidney Moncrief was voted an All-Star and won the Defensive Player of the Year award, while Marques Johnson was also voted to the All-Star Game and intimidated opposing teams with his infamous glare. The team won 51 games that year but fell to the eventual champion Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Finals. Today, Johnson can be remembered for his classic guest starring role as Raymond, the pickup basketball player with a gun in the hit movie “White Men Can't Jump.”

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Manny Millan // Getty Images

#14. 1982–1983 Julius Erving and Moses Malone (PHI)

- Julius Erving (#4 in NBA):
--- PPG: 21.4, RPG: 6.8, APG: 3.7, SPG: 1.6, BPG: 1.8
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 5.1 (#4), PER: 23.1 (#6), BPM: 6.3 (#3), WS: 10.9 (#8)
- Moses Malone (#6 in NBA):
--- PPG: 24.5, RPG: 15.3, APG: 1.3, SPG: 1.1, BPG: 2.0
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 4.0 (#9), PER: 25.1 (#1), BPM: 3.4 (#18), WS: 15.1 (#1)

Moses Malone predicted his Philadelphia 76ers would sweep their way to the NBA Finals in 1983, with his famous line of “fo', fo', fo'.” The team fell just short, losing a single playoff game on their way to the title. That Sixers team is considered one of the best ever because of their dynamic duo of Malone and high-flying superstar Julius Erving. In 1983, Malone won the league MVP and Finals MVP, and led the NBA in rebounding. At the same time, Julius Erving ranked in the top 10 in all advanced statistical categories, which helped the team to 65 wins and a sweep of the Lakers for the championship.

 

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Mike Powell // Getty Images

#13. 1982–1983 Larry Bird and Robert Parish (BOS)

- Larry Bird (#1 in NBA):
--- PPG: 23.6, RPG: 11.0, APG: 5.8, SPG: 1.9, BPG: 0.9
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 7.2 (#1), PER: 24.1 (#3), BPM: 7.6 (#1), WS: 14.0 (#2)
- Robert Parish (#9 in NBA):
--- PPG: 19.3, RPG: 10.6, APG: 1.8, SPG: 1.0, BPG: 1.9
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 3.7 (#13), PER: 23.0 (#7), BPM: 4.0 (#11), WS: 10.8 (#10)

Though the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers had statistically dominant duos in the 1982–1983 season (the Sixers won the title), it was the Boston Celtics' combo of Larry Bird and Robert Parish who came out ahead in all advanced numbers. Bird was an absolute stat monster this year coming in first in VORP and BPM, second in WS, third in PER, and first overall—and this was the year before winning his first of three straight MVP awards. Parish was no slouch either, ranking ninth overall in advanced metrics. Though they fell short in the playoffs losing to the Bucks, they still won 56 games during the season.

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Ronald Martinez // Getty Images

#12. 2006–2007 Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili (SAS)

- Tim Duncan (#3 in NBA):
--- PPG: 20.0, RPG: 10.6, APG: 3.4, SPG: 0.8, BPG: 2.4
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 6.3 (#2), PER: 26.1 (#4), BPM: 7.1 (#4), WS: 13.0 (#3)
- Manu Ginobili (#6 in NBA):
--- PPG: 16.5, RPG: 4.4, APG: 3.5, SPG: 1.5, BPG: 0.4
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 4.8 (#13), PER: 24.1 (#8), BPM: 7.2 (#3), WS: 10.6 (#14)

Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are one of the best duos in NBA history, let alone their spectacular 2006–2007 season. The two legendary all-stars played together for 14 seasons and won four NBA championships for the San Antonio Spurs. In 2006–2007, Duncan was the third ranked player and Ginobili sixth in advanced metrics for the season, and they combined to win 58 games and the NBA title by sweeping the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers in four games. Duncan and Ginobili are also the third best duo in NBA history for total playoff wins, falling behind Tony Parker and Duncan, and Parker and Ginobili.

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Lucy Nicholson // Getty Images

#11. 2002–2003 Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal (LAL)

- Kobe Bryant (#4 in NBA):
--- PPG: 30.0, RPG: 6.9, APG: 5.9, SPG: 2.2, BPG: 0.8
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 7.1 (#4), PER: 26.2 (#6), BPM: 6.4 (#7), WS: 14.9 (#5)
- Shaquille O'Neal (#5 in NBA):
--- PPG: 27.5, RPG: 11.1, APG: 3.1, SPG: 0.6, BPG: 2.4
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 5.3 (#9), PER: 29.5 (#2), BPM: 6.3 (#9), WS: 13.2 (#6)

Even though the Los Angeles Lakers lost in the playoffs, ending their streak of the three straight championships, the 2002–2003 season was statistically the most dominant for Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal when it came to advanced numbers as a duo. Ranked fourth and fifth respectively, Bryant and O'Neal torched the league averaging a combined 57.5 points per game. The Bryant-O'Neal combo only lasted one additional season as Shaq was traded to Miami in 2004.

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Streeter Lecka // Getty Images

#10. 2011–2012 Chris Paul and Blake Griffin (LAC)

- Chris Paul (#2 in NBA):
--- PPG: 19.8, RPG: 3.6, APG: 9.1, SPG: 2.5, BPG: 0.1
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 5.4 (#2), PER: 27.0 (#3), BPM: 7.9 (#2), WS: 12.7 (#2)
- Blake Griffin (#6 in NBA):
--- PPG: 20.7, RPG: 10.9, APG: 3.2, SPG: 0.8, BPG: 0.7
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 3.7 (#5), PER: 23.4 (#11), BPM: 4.1 (#22), WS: 9.2 (#7)

When Chris Paul joined the Los Angeles Clippers in 2011, Blake Griffin coined the term ‘Lob City,' excited for the potential alley-oop dunks he was going to get from Paul's famous passing skills. The moniker stuck and the Clippers had an amazing turnaround, winning 61% of their games compared to 40% the previous year. Paul and Blake were also advanced statistical marvels ranking second and sixth in overall numbers, propelling their team into the playoffs for the first time since 2006.

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VINCENT LAFORET // Getty Images

#9. 1995–1996 Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen (CHI)

- Michael Jordan (#2 in NBA):
--- PPG: 30.4, RPG: 6.6, APG: 4.3, SPG: 2.2, BPG: 0.5
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 8.3 (#2), PER: 29.4 (#4), BPM: 8.6 (#4), WS: 20.4 (#1)
- Scottie Pippen (#6 in NBA):
--- PPG: 19.4, RPG: 6.4, APG: 5.9, SPG: 1.7, BPG: 0.7
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 6.3 (#5), PER: 21.0 (#23), BPM: 6.8 (#6), WS: 12.3 (#7)

At the time, the 1995–1996 Chicago Bulls were the winningest team in the history of the NBA, going 72-10 during the regular season and 15-3 in the playoffs en route to a championship. Led by league MVP and Finals MVP Michael Jordan and first-team All-Defense specialist Scottie Pippen, the Bulls ran roughshod over the entire league and at one point won 18 straight games. Jordan and Pippen played together for 10 seasons and racked up six NBA titles, but nothing was like 1996, when they were the most devastating duo from an advanced metrics standpoint and just a general, old fashioned eye-test.

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Focus On Sport // Getty Images

#8. 1986–1987 Larry Bird and Kevin McHale (BOS)

- Larry Bird (#2 in NBA):
--- PPG: 28.1, RPG: 9.2, APG: 7.6, SPG: 1.8, BPG: 0.9
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 8.5 (#2), PER: 26.4 (#6), BPM: 9.2 (#2), WS: 15.2 (#3)
- Kevin McHale (#6 in NBA):
--- PPG: 26.1, RPG: 9.9, APG: 2.6, SPG: 0.5, BPG: 2.2
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 5.6 (#8), PER: 24.0 (#8), BPM: 5.2 (#11), WS: 14.8 (#4)

Larry Bird and Kevin McHale are both in the Basketball Hall of Fame having won multiple titles and awards, and being consistently ranked as two of the best forwards in NBA history. They played 12 seasons together, won three NBA championships, and usually led the league in advanced stats—Bird ranked second overall in the 1986–1987 season and McHale was sixth. Coming off a championship in 1986, Bird and McHale's Boston Celtics hoped for a repeat, but McHale played in the NBA Finals with a broken foot and the team lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.

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Andy Hayt // Getty Images

#7. 1994–1995 Karl Malone and John Stockton (UTA)

- Karl Malone (#2 in NBA):
--- PPG: 26.7, RPG: 10.6, APG: 3.5, SPG: 1.6, BPG: 1.0
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 6.1 (#3), PER: 25.1 (#7), BPM: 5.8 (#10), WS: 13.8 (#4)
- John Stockton (#5 in NBA):
--- PPG: 14.7, RPG: 3.1, APG: 12.3, SPG: 2.4, BPG: 0.3
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 5.4 (#6), PER: 23.3 (#8), BPM: 5.5 (#12), WS: 13.9 (#3)

Consistently rated as one of the best NBA duos of all-time, Karl Malone and John Stockton of the Utah Jazz have a lot of numbers to back up that claim. Though they never won a championship, they made the playoffs every year they played together—that's 18 straight years—and went to two NBA Finals, losing to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. As a twosome, Malone and Stockton were advanced statistical beasts in the 1994–1995 season. Malone was ranked #2 overall in advanced numbers while averaging 26.7 points and 10.6 rebounds per game and Stockton was fifth in overall rankings, while leading the NBA in assists with 12.3 per game. At the end of their careers and to this day, Stockton is the NBA all-time leader in total assists and Malone is the second all-time scorer in total points.

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Lou Capozzola // Getty Images

#6. 2003–2004 Kevin Garnett and Sam Cassell (MIN)

- Kevin Garnett (#1 in NBA):
--- PPG: 24.2, RPG: 13.9, APG: 5.0, SPG: 1.5, BPG: 2.2
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 9.8 (#1), PER: 29.4 (#2), BPM: 9.9 (#1), WS: 18.3 (#1)
- Sam Cassell (#6 in NBA):
--- PPG: 19.8, RPG: 3.3, APG: 7.3, SPG: 1.3, BPG: 0.2
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 4.5 (#12), PER: 22.8 (#10), BPM: 4.3 (#14), WS: 12.1 (#4)

Kevin Garnett and the Minnesota Timberwolves had lost in the first round of the NBA playoffs for seven straight years, but when he teamed up with point guard Sam Cassell in the 2003–2004 season everything changed. Garnett was a beast, finishing the season first in advanced metrics while Cassell was sixth. The team improved dramatically, winning 58 games and making it to the Western Conference Finals (but lost to the Los Angeles Lakers). Cassell and Garnett were only teammates for two years, but they got the most out of a Minnesota team that had experienced nothing but losing early in the postseason up to that point.

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Nathaniel S. Butler // Getty Images

#5. 1991–1992 Michael Jordan and Horace Grant (CHI)

- Michael Jordan (#1 in NBA):
--- PPG: 30.1, RPG: 6.4, APG: 6.1, SPG: 2.3, BPG: 0.9
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 8.3 (#1), PER: 27.7 (#4), BPM: 8.6 (#3), WS: 17.7 (#1)
- Horace Grant (#6 in NBA):
--- PPG: 14.2, RPG: 10.0, APG: 2.7, SPG: 1.2, BPG: 1.6
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 6.7 (#6), PER: 20.6 (#21), BPM: 7.3 (#6), WS: 14.1 (#3)

The 1991–1992 season was one of Michael Jordan's finest. He led the league in scoring, was the MVP of the league and the NBA Finals, was ranked #1 in overall advanced stats, and helped the Chicago Bulls to their second straight championship. His counterpart Horace Grant also had one of his best seasons, ranking sixth in overall advanced metrics while pulling down 10 rebounds and scoring 14.2 points per game. The duo played together for seven seasons and won three straight titles together, a feat that has only been accomplished by a handful of teams.

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Manny Millan // Getty Images

#4. 1979–1980 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson (LAL)

- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (#1.5 in NBA):
--- PPG: 24.8, RPG: 10.8, APG: 4.5, SPG: 1.0, BPG: 3.4
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 6.8 (#1), PER: 25.3 (#2), BPM: 6.7 (#2), WS: 14.8 (#1)
- Magic Johnson (#4 in NBA):
--- PPG: 18.0, RPG: 7.7, APG: 7.3, SPG: 2.4, BPG: 0.5
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 5.3 (#4), PER: 20.6 (#15), BPM: 5.5 (#3), WS: 10.5 (#11)

Coming in at #4 on the list is arguably the most successful duo in NBA history. Together, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson played 10 seasons, went to eight NBA finals, and won five championships. The 1979–1980 season was the first year the two played together and was Magic's rookie campaign. Abdul-Jabbar was the MVP of the league that year and was insanely dominant from an advanced metric standpoint. Johnson was no slouch as he was ranked fourth in advanced stats and won the NBA Finals MVP with one of the greatest games in NBA Finals history.

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Christian Petersen // Getty Images

#3. 2015–2016 Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant (OKC)

- Russell Westbrook (#2 in NBA):
--- PPG: 23.5, RPG: 7.8, APG: 10.4, SPG: 2.0, BPG: 0.3
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 8.3 (#2), PER: 27.6 (#9), BPM: 10.0 (#3), WS: 14.0 (#3)
- Kevin Durant (#3 in NBA):
--- PPG: 28.2, RPG: 8.2, APG: 5.0, SPG: 1.0, BPG: 1.2
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 6.4 (#5), PER: 28.2 (#7), BPM: 7.9 (#7), WS: 14.5 (#2)

The 2012–2013 campaign for Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant was nasty (see #5 on the list), but 2015–2016 was truly the statistical peak of this twosome's prowess. Westbrook was the #2 ranked player in the league in advanced ratings as he was second in the league in assists and steals, and had the best shooting percentage of his career. Durant was third in overall rankings and was third in the league in scoring. Together, the duo led the Oklahoma City Thunder to 55 wins, but barely lost to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals in one of the tightest series in recent memory.

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PAUL BUCK // Getty Images

#2. 1997–1998 David Robinson and Tim Duncan (SAS)

- David Robinson (#2 in NBA):
--- PPG: 21.6, RPG: 10.6, APG: 2.7, SPG: 0.9, BPG: 2.6
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 6.1 (#2), PER: 27.8 (#5), BPM: 7.8 (#1), WS: 13.8 (#3)
- Tim Duncan (#3 in NBA):
--- PPG: 21.1, RPG: 11.9, APG: 2.7, SPG: 0.7, BPG: 2.5
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 6.0 (#3), PER: 22.6 (#10), BPM: 5.5 (#5), WS: 12.8 (#4)

In the 1996–1997 season, the San Antonio Spurs were plagued with injuries and finished 20-62 for the third worst record in the league. The futility was good and bad enough, though, to win the NBA Draft Lottery where they scored Tim Duncan with the #1 pick. The team's fortunes turned around immediately as Duncan teamed up with perennial All-Star and former MVP David Robinson, winning 56 games. Duncan was the NBA Rookie of the Year and the third ranked player from an advanced metric standpoint, while Robinson was ranked second overall. The duo lost in the playoffs but went on to win an NBA title the next season.

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Chris Trotman // Getty Images

#1. 2010–2011 LeBron James and Dwyane Wade (MIA)

- LeBron James (#1 in NBA):
--- PPG: 26.7, RPG: 7.5, APG: 7.0, SPG: 1.6, BPG: 0.6
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 8.2 (#1), PER: 27.3 (#3), BPM: 8.6 (#1), WS: 15.6 (#1)
- Dwyane Wade (#3 in NBA):
--- PPG: 25.5, RPG: 6.4, APG: 4.6, SPG: 1.5, BPG: 1.1
--- Advanced stats rankings: VORP: 5.7 (#4), PER: 25.6 (#5), BPM: 5.9 (#3), WS: 12.8 (#6)

At the time, LeBron James was widely derided for joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat in 2010. But James and Wade meshed immediately, winning 58 games and bringing the Heat to the NBA Finals. They ultimately lost to the Dallas Mavericks in 2011, but that didn't stop James and Wade from having the most incredible combined advanced stat season. James was ranked #1 in every advanced category except PER (he was #3) and Wade was ranked #3 overall. In their four seasons together in Miami, James and Wade went to the NBA Finals all four years and won twice, solidifying their twosome as one of the all-time best.

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