Steph Curry and Kevin Durant are having one of the greatest offensive seasons ever, and arguably they are making a case to be the greatest duo ever. The dominance of the Warriors over the past five years has gotten monotonous and uneventful for many NBA fans. Since Durant has joined the team there has been a level of dominance that the league has not seen often. Their great play, and many nights their mastery of the game is often taken for granted. The ease on how successful they are on the court is often times taken for granted. The truth is as lovers of the game of basketball we are witnessing something monumental.
According to NBA.com both players are currently averaging over 28 PTS. A game. Steph Curry is averaging 29.5 PTS per game and Kevin Durant is averaging 28.2 PTS per game. Curry is currently second in scoring and KD is 4th. Their skill sets make them two of the all-time scorers in the history of the NBA. Both Players can shoot the 3, they will destroy you in the mid-range, and they both have the ability to drive to the basket. In the era of the pick-n-roll no two players instill fear into opponents the way Curry and Durant do running this simple but effective play. Both players are very close to the 50-40-90 club. This club in tells shooting 50% from the field 40% from 3-point range and 90% from the free-throw line.
As I sat on my couch holding my son watching the Warriors score 51 points on the Denver Nuggets the other night. I started to think has there been a duo to average 28 plus points for an entire season? Sure there have been dominate duos in the history of the NBA, but how many of them averaged that many points? I turned to basketball refenernce and started to look at some of the great duos in NBA history. There is only one duo that accomplished what were seeing from Durant and Curry. Two duos have come close to pulling off this feat. Shaq and Kobe back in 2001-02 almost accomplished this Kobe averaged 25.2 PTS per game and Shaq averaged 27.2 PTS per game. They won their third straight championship that season. Carmelo and Iverson is the other duo to almost pull this off. In 2007-08 season Iverson averaged 26.4 PTS. Per game and Carmelo averaged 25.7 PTS. Per game all statistics come from BasketballRefenerce.com
So what duo was able to average 28 PTS a game for an entire season? The answer is Elgin Baylor and the logo himself Jerry West. These two all-time greats actually accomplished this in back to back seasons. In 1961-62 season Baylor’s stats were absurd he averaged 38.6 PTS and 18.6 REBS. West averaged 30.8 PTS and 7.9 REBS. In 1962-63 Baylor averaged 34.0 PTS per game and West averaged 27.1 PTS. Per game they also had two other seasons where one player was over 28 a game and the other player was close. West is seen as “Mr. Clutch”, while Baylor is often times left out of the all-time great discussion. Baylor was the first athletic forward in history. Without Baylor there is no Dr. J, and if there is no Dr. J, then there is no Michael Jordan.
Although this piece is about the greatest duo in NBA history, Klay Thompson is quietly averaging 21 PTS a game himself. The reason I bring Klay up because those same Los Angles Lakers teams that featured Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, and Wilt Chamberlin also accomplished this. They were able to produce this level of greatness from 1968-1971. One season Chamberlin had a 20/20 season averaging 20.5 PTS and 21.1 REBS.
In the era of impatience and a desire to get to the next thing, we don’t take time to appreciate greatness anymore. We often times lack perspective, and are quick to point out a player’s weakness instead of enjoying their greatness. What we are witnessing from Curry and Durant is historic. Only one other duo has accomplished this, and barring something dramatic this is properly the end of the road for the greatest duo in NBA history of Curry and Durant.