Ranking the NBA Jam Duos of the Current NBA

Posted: February 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

ImageThose of us old enough will always remember the thrill of playing NBA Jam against your friends for the SNES or Genesis back in the early-mid 1990s. The classes 2v2 gameplay provided kids with hypothetical matchups unlike any other game of its time. Now, with the 2012-13 season fully entrenched, we rank the teams by their potential NBA Jam duos:

30. Orlando Magic – SG Arron Afflalo and PF Glen Davis
The Magic have been a pleasant surprise this season. But, these two are good at what they do but great at nothing. Their lack of scoring punch would inhibit them in the classic 2v2 arcade style of NBA Jam.

29. Charlotte Bobcats – PG Kemba Walker and C Byron Mullens
The only thing keeping Charlotte’s duo out of the gutter is Walker’s penchant for clutch scoring. The Bobcats are so bad that the mediocre BJ Mullens is considered one of their better players.

28. Phoenix Suns – PG Goran Dragic and PF Luis Scola
The foreign-born duo has plenty of scoring talent. But, their defense is perhaps the worst in the league.

27. Toronto Raptors – PG Kyle Lowry and SG DeMar DeRozan
I like both of these players. But, when compared to the rest of the league, they are lacking. Neither is a good shooter and DeRozan’s defense would be exposed one-on-one with the best in the league.

26. Washington Wizards – PG John Wall and SG Jordan Crawford
Crawford has had a nice year, and the Wizards are improving since Wall came back from injury. Still, their lack of size and defensive lapses would likely have them in the bottom-five of the rankings.

25. New Orleans Pelicans – SG Eric Gordon and PF/C Anthony Davis
If all goes right for New Orleans, this will be a top-10 duo in a few seasons. But, right now, they cannot hold a candle to most. Gordon’s injury woes leave onlookers wondering if he will ever live up to the potential that we have seen in glimpses since he joined the NBA.

24. Sacramento Kings – SG Tyreke Evans and C DeMarcus Cousins
On pure talent alone, this duo is probably top 15. However, their mental-makeup, consistency, and immaturity leaves them in the bottom tier.

23. Detroit Pistons – PG Brandon Knight and C Greg Monroe
Another duo with loads of potential. Monroe was a 2012 Eastern Conference all-star, and Knight was highly touted out of Kentucky in 2011. However, they are too much of a defensive liability to consider any higher than this.

22.  Cleveland Cavaliers – PG Kyrie Irving and C Anderson Varejao
This may be a little low for these two. Kyrie Irving has already established himself as one of the finest young PG’s in the league. Meanwhile, Varejao has emerged from LeBron James’ shadow to evolve into a

21. Utah Jazz – PF Paul Millsap and C Al Jefferson
It would be difficult for two big men (despite how talented they are) to keep up defensively with speedy guards. That is why Utah is so far down the list.

 

20. Denver Nuggets – PG Ty Lawson and SF Andre Iguodala
I feel like these two might be underrated. One one hand, you have the scoring prowess and speed of Lawson. On the other, you have Iguodala’s ability to defend anyone in the league. But, that just goes to show how many talented players there are in the NBA.

19. Dallas Mavericks – SG OJ Mayo and PF Dirk Nowitzki
A few years ago, this would have been a top 10 unit. But, Nowitzki has been in sharp decline since Dallas won the title in 2011, and Mayo has never been anything more than a nice scorer with an attitude.

18. Memphis Grizzlies – PG Mike Conley and C Marc Gasol
The Grizzlies would have been higher up on the list if Rudy Gay were still around. Instead, it’s Conley and Gasol: two good players who are underrated in the league.

17. Milwaukee Bucks – PG Brandon Jennings and SG Monta Ellis
In reality, this unit is probably not this high on a list. But, can anyone really argue that they wouldn’t dominate in 2 v. 2?

16. Golden State Warriors – PG Stephen Curry and PF David Lee
Curry is enjoying an All-Star campaign. Meanwhile, David Lee continues to go under the radar as one of the finest scoring bigs out west.

15. Houston Rockets – PG Jeremy Lin and SG James Harden
I’ve never been a Lin fan. But, Harden is one of the great young players in the league. The two of them together could wreak havoc on slower defenders in a 2 v. 2 matchup.

14. Philadelphia 76ers – PG Jrue Holiday and C Andrew Bynum
This unit could be higher if Bynum actually played basketball. Holiday is electric and has emerged as a star. His counterpart will need to stop bowling and start hooping before they get top-10 respect.

13. Indiana Pacers – SG Paul George and PF David West
This duo is athletic and talented. Paul George has emerged as a #1 option for Indiana. West is a textbook face-up front-court beast who is a tough assignment for any player to cover.

12. Atlanta Hawks – PF Josh Smith and C Al Horford
Both of these guys are All-Stars. But, their lack of a back-court presence would cause trouble against some.

11. Portland Trail Blazers – PG Damian Lillard and PF LaMarcus Aldridge
Anyone who doesn’t yet know about Lillard has not been paying enough attention. This kid is going to win ROY and should be a superstar alongside the #2 pick of the 2006 draft, Aldridge.

10. Boston Celtics – PG Rajon Rondo and SF Paul Pierce
These two have tons of talent, pedigree, and attitude. Five years ago, Pierce might have still had enough left in the tank to make this a top 3 duo.

9. Brooklyn Nets – PG Deron Williams and C Brook Lopez
The only problem with this duo is that Brook doesn’t play much defense. They would likely be overmatched against the top-8 teams in the list.

8. Chicago Bulls – PG Derrick Rose and C Joakim Noah
Rose hasn’t played this season. So, maybe I am just forgetting how talented he is. These two could rule with the pick-and-roll game.

7. Minnesota Timberwolves – PG Ricky Rubio and PF Kevin Love
I’m sure I’ll catch flak for this. But, when healthy, these two would be a lethal combination. Love’s ability to dominate the boards and the arc combined with Rubio’s passing efficiency would wreak havoc.

6. New York Knickerbockers – SF Carmelo Anthony and PF Amare Stoudemire
Amare may have lost a step or two. But, Carmelo is having a renaissance season. The two might not work all that well on a real NBA team. In a 2 v. 2 tournament, however, I think they would be divine.

5. San Antonio Spurs – PG Tony Parker and C Tim Duncan
Five years ago, this is a top-3 duo. Parker and Duncan are enjoying fantastic seasons. But, I don’t think they could keep up with the speed and strength of those above them.

4. Los Angeles Lakers – SG Kobe Bryant and C Dwight Howard
All the hype for these two last offseason has devolved into misery. But, they’re still tremendously talented. I doubt they would win this competition, though.

3. Miami Heat – SG Dwyane Wade and SF LeBron James
LeBron and anyone would probably crack the top-five. Wade is in decline. That cannot be argued. The top-three was tough to delineate between. Any of them could be #1.

2. Los Angeles Clippers – PG Chris Paul and PF Blake Griffin
Their combination of poise and athleticism is what pushes these two ahead of the Lakers and Heat. I think Paul is the best guard in the world.

1. Oklahoma City Thunder – PG Russell Westbrook and SF Kevin Durant
The best duo in basketball is truly deserving of the top spot. After winning the Western Conference last season, the Thunder have been a wrecking-ball in 2013. They’re my favorite to win the NBA Finals. They’re also my favorite to win this tournament in NBA Jam 2 v. 2 style!

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