The National Basketball Association (NBA) season is underway. The players are shooting threes (3-point shots), but the fans are talking twos.
There are new combinations of superstar players who have joined forces for the 2019-2020 NBA season. Let’s take a look at these new dynamic duos.
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George: Leonard averaged more than 30 points and nine rebounds in the playoffs to lead the Toronto Raptors to the NBA title last season. But Leonard signed a big-money free-agent contract with the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers also added George, a six-time all-star. George definitely will help with scoring when he gets healthy (he is out with a shoulder injury). He averaged 28 points per game last season.
But the reason this superstar combination may work is that Leonard and George can play defense. Leonard is a five-time NBA all-defensive team player and two-time Defensive Player of the Year, while George has been named to the all-defensive team four times.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis: James has been the best player in the NBA for about 15 seasons. But James turns 35 on December 30 and has played in more than 1,400 NBA games (including playoff games), so he will need help making the Los Angeles Lakers a championship contender.
He should get plenty of help from Davis. The Lakers traded a bunch of young players and draft picks to get the man they call “the Brow” (Davis has thick, dark eyebrows). Los Angeles got a big (6-foot-10-inch) and young (age 26) player who can score, rebound and help with interior defense. Davis may make James feel young again.
Westbrook is a “triple-double” machine. He averaged double figures (more than 10) in points, rebounds and assists during his last three seasons for the Oklahoma City Thunder. No one had done that since the great Oscar Robertson averaged a triple double in 1961-1962.
Early in their careers (2009 to 2012), Harden and Westbrook were teammates in Oklahoma City. Now they are teaming up for the Rockets. Still, I wonder if this all-star combination will work. Both Harden and Westbrook like to have the ball in their hands. Two superstars, one ball — I’m not sure that math works.
Whatever happens, it will be fun to watch these new star combinations.
But remember, the most successful team of the past five seasons was the Golden State Warriors (five finals, three championships). The Warriors had the superstar combo of Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, but they also had a great supporting cast including Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.
It usually takes more than two stars to win a championship.