Since the San Antonio Spurs made the phrase "Big 3" part of the NBA lexicon, front office philosophy has seemed to overtly shift towards constructing NBA teams centered around 3 all-star level players and surrounding them with role players. We saw this occur most recently with Boston and it's "Big 3", now even our own Portland Trail Blazers have started marketing its own Big 3. I realize that there have already been a number of columns and articles devoted to this shift in philosophy over the past 2-3 years, and that is not the focus of this post. Rather, I would like to take a look back at examples of the old guard, the dynamic duo which has gone the way of the dodo as far as the NBA is concerned. After the jump is a list of the most prolific duos to play in the NBA. A caveat, my list of duos is set within the context of the last 20 years. I realize that there were amazing duos in the 70's and 80's, but those decades were before my time.
1. Michael Jordan/Scottie Pippen: Scottie was actually what made me think about this issue, when I recalled how blazer fans were so excited when we acquired him in that blockbuster trade that sent like 6 blazers to get him. But really, 6 championships and a lasting legacy is no small feat, and although MJ gets the lion's share of the credit for the Bulls sucess (deservedly so), Pippen has become so ingrained in even the average NBA fan's subconsciousness that his name has become synonymous with the concept of the ultimate complementary star.d Jordan/Pippen was a prolific duo, and in my opinion it was the greatest pairing in NBA history, which is why it is at the top of this list.
2. Kobe/Shaq: Ehh. Not much to say here. As a blazer fan they earn my eternal hate for drumming us out of the playoffs, so that puts them up on this list. Not to mention Shaq was the most dominant center in his era and Kobe was, (and still is) a prolific scorer, and they won 3 championships together. If their relationship hadn't fallen apart, they might have won enough additional championships to supplant Jordan/Pippen as the greatest duo in NBA history. Wow that makes me feel nauseous.
3. Stockton/Malone: These two turned the pick and roll into an art form, and Stockton is currently the 2nd best point guard of all time. Even as a division rival, they earned my rooting allegiance when playing the bulls, if only because they had so much heart. Unfortunately they fell short and neither player got the championship ring they deserved, but they are still 3rd in my list. I still remember the taunt "Mailman doesn't deliver on Sundays!"
4. Drexler/Olajuwon: Even though they only played one season together in the NBA, they did win an NBA championship. Also furthering their cause is the fact that they were college teammates at University of Houston. Drexler/Olajuwon was amazing. Drexler/Olajuwon also hurts, as any blazer fan can attest to.
5. GP/Kemp: (yes this one's for you, AK). The Glove was one of the best defensive pg's of all time, and even though his face scares the crap out of people, the dude was a baller. And Shawn Kemp? Well he was just an athletic phenomenon. The sonics were somewhat overshadowed by the Jazz in the West, and in their only finals appearance in the 90's this dynamic duo was defeated by who else but Jordan/Pippen. However, they put up a fight till the bitter end, and ended up putting a scare into the Bulls when they managed to force game 6, but the Bulls ended up being too good in the end. The Glove eventually got his ring as a benchwarming scrub with Wade and Shaq's Heat, and the Blazers got the 'spoiled' leftovers of this duo: fat Shawn Kemp.
Well that is my top five dynamic duo's in the past 20 years. With that said, who's in your favorite five?