Who’s now the NBA best backcourt? The top dynamic duo? The premier pair?
There’s a host of candidates following the summer’s reshuffle but no real changes emerging at the head of the pack, unless you consider the already ample times when LeBron James has taken over as playmaker for the Cleveland Cavaliers and pushed Kyrie Irving over to shooting guard.
It’s all about the chemistry – and frequently about offense, which is why only one of the top five can be touted for how well they lock down opponents as much as lighting up the scoreboard.
But as the season progresses, bet on these terrific tandems to hit the headlines, as well as delivering returns for their teams.
1. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson (Golden State)
As complementary pieces, the Warriors twosome are just the perfect fit. Curry’s shooting gets better each season and as yet, few opponents have found ways to consistently negate the one-man assassin. And it says much for his all-round threat that he opened up the campaign with ten assists to go with his 24 points against Sacramento.
His biggest asset, however, may be Thompson whose haranguing of opposing guards affords Curry the energy to go at full tilt. After his 41-point effort against the Lakers on Saturday, we could see him average 20 per game this year but look for him to smother Portland’s Damian Lillard tonight and allow the Warriors brightest star to shine.
2. Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler (Chicago)
We haven’t seen these two in action yet this season with Butler sidelined, and we haven’t so far witnessed Rose at his very best in the early stages of his return from injury.
That hasn’t stopped the Bulls from being a defensive powerhouse but when Butler returns, and Rose blooms, expect Chicago’s gnats to pester the opposition into low scoring output.
3. Russell Westbrook and Reggie Jackson (Oklahoma City)
Another promising partnership MIA. With Westbrook’s early injury and Jackson out for a while, the Thunder may not make much noise until the wintertime but the latter surely merits a permanent spot in the starting line-up.
And as an under-rated hand at the tiller, he might allow Westbrook to shoot – and score – even more.
4. John Wall and Bradley Beal (Washington)
There’s two influential figures who insist the Wizards magicians are the best duo in the NBA: Bradley and Wall themselves. Still young, still improving, they’re not there at present but if Wall can raise his shooting efficiency, he can be a top three guard in the league.
Bradley needs to make a bigger leap but they’re incredibly fun to watch.
5. Chris Paul and JJ Redick (LA Clippers)
No doubts, Paul is the NBA’s best point guard. An under-rated defender, he averaged 19 points and 10 assists last term, illustrating just why the Clippers are now among the league’s true elite.
Redick is among the sharpest shooters and he is a master at getting open. He won’t win many games alone but as a second banana in the backcourt, there are few better, factors which should help both put up big numbers against the Sacramento Kings’ relatively weak guards tonight.
Sunday's best bet: Take the Clippers on the handicap of -10.5 against Sacramento at 1.98.