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Best NBA Duos: The 25 highest scoring duos on same team, in the same season

At its core, basketball is about putting the ball through the hoop more than your opponent. Not that all the other skills and talents don’t contribute to having success on the court, but the NBA certainly puts a premium on players that are elite scorers. More often than not, these are the league’s superstars and your franchise would be lucky to have a Kobe, Curry, Bird, Dirk, West or Wade.

Then there are rare times when you have two superstars on one team. Think to when LeBron James decided to team with Dwyane Wade in Miami. When Allen Iverson joined Carmelo Anthony in Denver. When Shaquille O’Neal was traded to a Lakers team that had a young Kobe Bryant already on the roster.

The 25 Best NBA Duos in League History

What goes into defining the NBA’s “best” duo of all-time – the easiest way to quantify this is by identifying teammates with the highest combined scoring averages over a course of a season. We’ll use this as an over-simplified definition of the NBA’s best duos.

The only restrictions in qualifying for our “best duo” list is that it couldn’t be top heavy meaning one player couldn’t average 44.8 points and the other 16 points (as Wilt Chamberlain and Tom Meschery did in 1962-63). The threshold was that both players had to average at least 20 points per game, and both players had to play at least half the season.

One would certainly wager casino no deposit bonus 2023 that the Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen tandem would be all over this list, but Pippen only averaged over 20 points twice in his NBA career. It’s another reason we believe Pippen has gone from underrated to overrated in the last decade or so.

As expected, Shaquille-O’Neal and Kobe Bryant’s time as teammates dominates this list. It’s not a surprise to see Wilt Chamberlain in any discussion of NBA scoring, but I was surprised to see that he had a teammate average over 20 points alongside him – Paul Azirin. Here’s the league’s highest scoring duos of all-time.

The 20 Highest Scoring Teammates in the Same Season
Combined Season Player Avg Teammate Avg Team
72.3 1961-62 Wilt Chamberlain 50.4 Paul Arizin 21.9 Philadelphia warriors
69.1 1961-62 Elgin Baylor 38.3 Jerry West 30.8 Los Angeles Lakers
61.5 1960-61 Wilt Chamberlain 38.3 Paul Arizin 23.2 Philadelphia warriors
61.4 2019-20 James Harden 34.3 Russell Westbrook 27.2 Houston Rockets
61.1 1962-63 Elgin Baylor 34.0 Jerry West 27.1 Los Angeles Lakers
59.9 1959-60 Wilt Chamberlain 37.6 Paul Arizin 22.3 Philadelphia warriors
58.1 1964-65 Jerry West 31.0 Elgin Baylor 27.1 Los Angeles Lakers
57.5 2002-03 Kobe Bryant 30.0 Shaquille O’Neal 27.5 Los Angeles Lakers
57.2 2000-01 Shaquille O’Neal 28.7 Kobe Bryant 28.5 Los Angeles Lakers
56.2 1965-66 Wilt Chamberlain 33.5 Hal Greer 22.7 Philadelphia 76ers
55.8 1983-84 Kiki Vandeweghe 29.4 Alex English 26.4 Denver Nuggets
55.1 1982-83 Alex English 28.4 Kiki Vandeweghe 26.7 Denver Nuggets
54.2 1986-87 Larry Bird 28.1 Kevin McHale 26.1 Boston Celtics
53.8 2013-14 Kevin Durant 32.0 Russell Westbrook 21.8 Oklahoma City Thunder
53.7 2006-07 Carmelo Anthony 28.9 Allen Iverson 24.8 Denver Nuggets
53.2 2005-06 Allen Iverson 33.0 Chris Webber 20.2 Philadelphia 76ers
52.5 1987-88 Larry Bird 29.9 Kevin McHale 22.6 Boston Celtics
52.4 2001-02 Shaquille O’Neal 27.2 Kobe Bryant 25.2 Los Angeles Lakers
52.2 1999-00 Shaquille O’Neal 29.7 Kobe Bryant 22.5 Los Angeles Lakers
52.2 2010-11 LeBron James 26.7 Dwyane Wade 25.5 Miami Heat
52.2 2015-16 Steph Curry 30.1 Klay Thompson 22.1 Golden State Warriors
51.6 2011-12 Kevin Durant 28.0 Russell Westbrook 23.6 Oklahoma City Thunder
51.1 1984-85 Michael Jordan 28.2 Orlando Woolridge 22.9 Chicago Bulls
51.1 1991-92 Michael Jordan 30.1 Scottie Pippen 21.0 Chicago Bulls
50.4 1972-73 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 30.2 Bob Dandridge 20.2 Milwaukee Bucks
50.2 1994-95 Shaquille O’Neal 29.3 Anfernee Hardaway 20.9 Orlando Magic

Even more rare than having two superstars on a team that average over 50 point per game together are tandems that homegrown, or drafted by that team. It’s early into the 2022-23 season, but the Boston Celtics look to have one of these rare pairings in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. If they continue on their pace of combing for ~57 points a game, they would surpass Larry Bird and Kevin McHale during the great Celtics dynasty of the 1980s.

What we found a little surprising is Michael Jordan only appearing twice on this list… and barely at that – one season when Pippen averaged 21 points and Jordan’s rookie season when he paired with the late Orlando Woolridge. Jordan’s highest scoring season was 1986-87 when he averaged a mind-boggling 37.1 points per game, but the second leading scorer was Charles Oakley at just 14.5 points per game average.

We also have to put more respect on Jerry West and Elgin Baylor‘s names, not only does the pairing appear on this list together three times; they’re the only teammates in the history of the league to both average over 30 points per game in the same season.

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