Ranking the 7 best young NBA duos

PK brought up an interesting tid-bit on this week’s podcast.

We ranked the current best NBA duos. Kawhi & PG, LeBron & AD etc.

It got me thinking, who are the best younger duos in the NBA currently? Are there any sleepers out there not getting enough shine? Have some rookies already brought their team in to a Big 2 discussion?

The only criteria applicable: they must be 23 years of age or under.

So, without further ado, let’s dissect the league and spot the best youngest duos.

7 – Jaren Jackson Jr & Ja Morant 

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This tag team are the youngest duo in the list with both being just 19 years of age. The Grizzlies have moved on from the Marc Gasol/Mike Conley era, and now they’re deep in the midst of a rebuild. Morant has yet to play, but if his performances at Murray State are anything to go by, he’ll have a solid rookie year. Jackson Jr on the other hand has one NBA season under the belt. Injuries only allowed him to play 52 games, and he did have his fair share of foul trouble, but a lot of people liked what they saw.

6 – Devin Booker & DeAndre Ayton 

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It’s crazy to think Devin Booker is going into his fifth season in the league at age 22. The Suns have had several disappointing seasons, but many believe their time will come. A lot rides on the maturation of Booker, his defensive capabilities improving, and his supporting cast to get better. Ayton was third in most ROTY voting this year. He’s already a force in the paint. Paired up with Booker coming off his highest PPG ratio to date of 26.6, the only way for this Suns duo is up. Hopefully blocking a shot, or two.

5 – Zion Williamson & Lonzo Ball 

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Some Lakers fans might feel like Brandon Ingram has been hard done by here, and maybe so. But talking about true duos that compliment each others games – Lonzo and Zion are by far the best fit. A lot of fitness issues were raised this week surrounding Zion. Just a few weeks back, people were calling him the best draft prospect since LeBron James. Welcome to the league, I guess. Lonzo’s one wish this year will be for full fitness, and if we can see an improvement on his rookie year – get ready for the Pelicans to become Lob City.

4 – DeAaron Fox and Marvin Bagley 

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What a difference a year can make. Many believed the Kings were one of the worst teams in the league last year, and probably rightfully so. In 2018/2019 they showed immense progression and were a fringe playoff team. A lot of that had to do with DeAaron Fox’s most-improved-player-caliber season. He improved by leaps and bounds -and it was a joy to watch. Bagley on the other hand dusted off a shaky start to the season by putting in solid minutes towards the end. A lot of eyes will be on this Kings duo next year.

3 – Trae Young and John Collins 

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Injuries may have prevented us from seeing this duo for a full season, but the Hawks have a lot to look forward to. Trae Young was the most polarising prospect in the draft but ended the season as an arguable ROTY. His consistent facilitating and game close-out ability attracted lots of support from around the league. John Collins had a quietly productive season, almost totalling 20-10 in just his second year in the league. Hawks fans will be spoilt with more additions to this young core, but Collins and Young are very much the centerpieces.

2 – Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown 

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Look, this is not Celtics bias, as much as it appears to be. The maturity of Tatum and Brown leapfrogs them in this list in my opinion. Out of all these duos, these two have by far the most playoff experience and versatility. Tatum showed in his rookie postseason that he can be the ‘guy’, and Brown despite minutes restrictions showed flashes of brilliance last year. Defensively, this duo are as solidly sound as one could hope for this early into their careers. They may not be a Celtics big 2, but they can project towards those discussions with a big year next year.

1 – Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis 

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Only Booker and Porzingis can boast max-contract status on this list; and that’s for a reason. Porzingis proved in 2017/2018 how valuable he can be to a team in the modern league. Having a stretch big that can knock down 3s is still very rare, and that’s just one element of Porzingis’ game. Doncic, on the other hand, is the reigning ROTY and arguably the most mature performer we’ve seen in years from a first year player. Porzingis brought a terrible-upside New York Knicks team towards fringe playoff contenders in his best year to date. Pair him with Doncic and their trajectory is scary.

 

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