The 2014-2015 NBA season has been marred by a number of significant injuries to its top stars but when everyone is healthy, the competition is instantly brought to a whole new level. On that note, we played a game of “what ifs” and came up with a list the league’s 10 most vicious duo’s when healthy. We took into consideration their Player Efficiency Rating and the intangibles that they bring to the court.
10 – Anthony Davis and Tyreke Evans
Anthony Davis: 24.7 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.5 SPG, 2.9 BPG (59 games)
Tyreke Evans: 16.7 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 6.5 APG, 1.2 SPG (70 games)
Combined PER: 48.2
New Orleans is blessed with a solid starting lineup but the phalanx of bad luck prevented Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, and Jrue Holiday to play a significant number of games, leaving behind Anthony Davis and Tyreke Evans to carry the load for a Pelicans team that is hoping to sneak their way into the playoffs. Davis has been a beast this year and that is still an understatement with the way he’s been dominating both ends of the floor with off the chart efficiency. Meanwhile, Evans has improved his consistency and is slowly returning to his old form where he just does everything on the floor.
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9 – Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh
Dwyane Wade: 21.7 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 5.0 APG, 1.3 SPG (55 games)
Chris Bosh: 21.1 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.2 APG, 0.9 SPG (44 games)
Combined PER: 42.1
Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are two individuals who have already proven themselves as elite players so no matter what injury they may have, their status alone gives them a good bump in this list. When healthy, Wade is absolutely among the league’s best, dominating both ends of the floor while Bosh, sans the injury, has taken forward strides this year into returning to his peak form when he was in Toronto.
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8 – Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph
Marc Gasol: 18.8 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 4.1 APG, 0.9 SPG, 1.8 BPG (74 games)
Zach Randolph: 16.3 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 2.1 APG, 0.9 SPG (64 games)
Combine PER: 41.2
Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph perfectly epitomize Memphis’ smashmouth old school style with the way they punish their opponents down low. While Gasol has taken strides to become the league’s best center by doing a multitude of things on the floor, Randolph has been his usual grind it out self who still manages to put up big numbers. These two bruisers are simply playing in rhythm with one another.
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7 – Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol
Derrick Rose: 18.4 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 5.0 APG, 0.7 SPG (46 games)
Pau Gasol: 18.6 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.9 BPG (70 games)
Combined PER: 38.8
The sad fate of Derrick Rose’s health has been an annual tale of unfortunate events but there’s no denying that when healthy, very few guards can keep up with the former MVP’s unique combination of strength and athleticism at the point guard spot. On the other hand, Pau Gasol is enjoying quite a rebirth in Chicago – even outperforming his better Laker years. The seven foot Spaniard is having his best PER evaluation in four seasons and it’s an amazing feat because people have already penciled out Gasol when he was battling injuries in Los Angeles.
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6 – LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard
LaMarcus Aldridge: 23.5 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.0 BPG (65 games)
Damian Lillard: 21.0 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.3 SPG (73 games)
Combined PER: 43.7
The big-small duo of LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard has carried the Blazers to a very respectable standing in the tough Western Conference despite injuries to the other starters. Aldridge is probably this season’s toughest warrior giving consistent high level production despite forgoing surgery on his injured thumb while Lillard has continued his rise in the West’s upper echelon of point guards.
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5 – DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay
Demarcus Cousins: 24.1 PPG, 12.4 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.5 SPG, 1.7 BPG (56 games)
Rudy Gay: 20.9 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 3.7 APG, 1.0 SPG (67 games)
Combined PER: 45.0
With a dominant paint presence and an explosive wing, the potent and prolific tandem of Demarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay are pillars of the Sacramento Kings` future. Cousins has been filling up the statsheet while displaying improvements in his mental approach to the game and Gay has been doing his all around display of skills on a consistent basis. Coupled with the guidance of Coach George Karl, these two are set to gain more stability which only bodes well for the Kings` future.
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4 – Chris Paul and Blake Griffin
Chris Paul:18.9 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 10.1 APG, 1.9 SPG (75 games)
Blake Griffin: 22.1 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 5.1 APG, 1.0 SPG (60 games)
Combined PER: 48.3
The major proponents of Lob City are leading the way for the Western Conference dark horse, Clippers. Despite the emergence of young and talented point guards, Chris Paul has kept a stronghold on the claim of being the league’s best point guards but with a certain Dub splashing his way into CP3`s title, expect the competitive player in Paul to fight back hard. Meanwhile, Griffin has been a steady and immovable force down low who’s constantly evolving his game. Both stars also have deep playoff experience so they’ll show up when the bright lights are on.
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3 – Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook
Kevin Durant: 25.4 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 4.1 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.9 BPG (27 games)
Russell Westbrook: 27.6 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 8.6 APG, 2.2 SPG (59 games)
Combined PER: 57
The partnership of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook simply eliminates all competition convincingly. KD is only less than a year removed from his MVP season while RWB has been heating up this year with his hysterical, sorry, historical numbers. Both players are Top 10 talent and either of them can dominate the best of them on any given night. This duo is teeming with off the chart potential and when healthy, OKC easily gets in championship conversation.
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2 – LeBron James and Kyrie Irving
LeBron James: 25.7 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 7.3 APG, 1.6 SPG (64 games)
Kyrie Irving: 21.9 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 5.2 APG, 1.5 SPG (70 games)
Combined PER: 47.3
After a slow start to the season, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving have finally learned how to play off one another and the result has been nothing but splendid. James has regained his old MVP form as he provides all around brilliance on both ends of the floor and at a high level. Irving, on the other hand, has displayed great strides in his defense while continuing to polish his scarily lethal offensive game and the results for Uncle Drew have been highlighted by two 50 point games this year.
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1 – Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson
Steph Curry: 23.7 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 7.9 APG, 2.1 SPG (71 games)
Klay Thompson: 21.7 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.8 BPG (68 games)
Combined PER: 48.8
Both members of Golden State’s Splash Brothers are enjoying their best seasons so far and this has translated to the Dubs owning the NBA’s best record. Steph Curry has established himself as one of the league’s premiere offensive weapons with his array of moves that never fail to make people shake their head as they succumb to the talent of the guard out of Davidson. While Klay Thompson has improved by leaps and bounds on the defensive end, making him an elite tree-and-D type of player. I’m no longer going to talk about his sweet shooting if you may.
8 – Paul Millsap and Al Horford
Paul Millsap: 17.2 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.9 BPG (70 games)
Al Horford:15.0 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 3.3 APG, 0.8 SPG, 1.3 BPG (69 games)
Combined PER: 41.1
Paul Millsap and Al Horford aren’t only the Atlanta Hawks’ top two options, they’re arguably the Eastern Conference’s best big man combo as well. Both All Stars can do multiple damages on the court with their high skill level whether it’s putting the ball in the hoop, dishing it out, or providing solid defense and as a result of their stellar plays this season, the Hawks are enjoying their lofty place atop the East.
5 – James Harden and Dwight Howard
James Harden: 27.2 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 7.0 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.8 BPG (73 games)
Dwight Howard: 15.9 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 0.7 SPG, 1.3 BPG (35 games)
Combined PER: 45
James Harden is having an MVP season no doubt as he’s been doing everything on the floor in a Houston Rockets team that is already loaded with prolific players. The Beard is simply untouchable this year and he’s also toughed it out by playing through a few minor injuries which would have made other players of his caliber sit out games. Dwight Howard, despite going through an injury riddled season, is still a dominant force in the paint and when he’s healthy, Superman will make for a very dangerous partner of Harden.