Start/Bench/Cut: Historic Duos Edition
OK now this is what I want to see. I want to get back to having tougher NBA Twitter debates and the last few of these I've done have fit the bill. These should make you sweat and feel wrong for cutting someone dominant and that's what we have here. Three of the best duos the NBA has ever seen. They have everything you could ask for, titles, MVPs, all time ranks, historic players, you name it. There are obviously a few ways you could look at this exercise, but for me I'm going to go with the time they actually played together as opposed to who they were as players throughout their career. For example, I'm not counting any of Kareem's production before Magic got there in 1979. You also have to be careful with only going the RINNNGGGZZZZ route because let's be honest, if Shaq and Kobe never broke up they probably have a few more.
For me, this is about what pairings were the most dominant. Who struck the fear of god into you when you saw them on the schedule? I thought a lot about it and here is how I net out. I'll give my order first and then explain my thought process
Start: Shaq & Kobe
Bench: Magic & Kareem
Cut: Jordan & Pippen
OK, before you say mean things to me on the internet, allow me to explain. While they weren't together long, Shaq & Kobe at least in my opinion were the most dominant duo. Prime Shaq destroys pretty much anything in his path, and Kobe is as close to Jordan-Lite that we have in his exercise. The knock on them is they both need the ball to dominate, but when I think of putting the fear of god into someone, nobody did that better than Prime Shaq.
I'm keeping Magic/Kareem because let's face it, Magic is the best point guard in NBA history. He plays all 5 positions at an elite level, and I want that playmaking. Kareem, maybe you've heard of him, is the all time leading scorer, is high up there in terms of rebounds and blocks, and has one of the most unguardable shots in history. You're not getting Prime Kareem, but even a mid 30s Kareem was a problem.
That means I'm cutting Jordan/Pippen. I know that's going to warrant pushback. I mean Jordan is the GOAT. There's no denying that. But for me, Pippen is the problem here. He's by far the worst second player of everyone listed. The difference in Pippen and whoever you choose as the #2 for the other pairings is simply too great. We're talking about four other guys that are comfortably in the top 10ish all time depending on who you ask. Pippen is not. Jordan as great as he is, doesn't elevate that pairing high enough to warrant cutting two all time greats. It just doesn't. Even if you think Magic and Kobe are like....65% of MJ, when you compare Shaq/Kareem to Pippen it's a bloodbath.
So that's my reasoning. As always you are free to call me mean names in the comments, but not before you give your order and reason why.