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Are Boogie And The Brow The Best Twin-Tower Combo In NBA History?

Of course, DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis are not the first big-man pairing in the Association
by Raul Maningat | Feb 21, 2017
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Okay, okay, it’ll be Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins teaming up in New Orleans. Man, the Pelicans just got juiced up! What were the Kings thinking? Every Sac-Town native must’ve looked for the nearest wall to punch after hearing about the trade. But, hey, down the road, everything might turn out for the better for the all parties involved.

The good news for the rest of us, though, is we’re about to enjoy the NBA even more, now that there’s a Boogie-Brow alliance threatening to decimate the paint wherever they go. So, in light of this colossal development and to have an inkling of what A.D. and DeMarcus can do for the Big Easy, we went to the archives and looked for the Association’s best big-man tandems ever.

Here’s our Top 10:

Honorable mentions

DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin of the LA Clippers; Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers; Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics

10) Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies (2009-present)

Best numbers as teammates:

Gasol – 17.4 ppg 9.3 rpg 1.7 bpg
Randolph – 20.8 ppg 11.7 rpg

Best finish – Western Conference Finals

Marc and Z-Bo are [literally] the biggest reasons for the Grizzlies' 'Grit and Grind' identity. Their home floor, the FedEX Forum, is called the Grindhouse because of their physical play. Lacking the shooters needed to win basketball games these days, Gasol and Randolph’s unrelenting interior pressure still has Memphis making the playoffs year after year. And in 2013, they were able to reach the Western Conference Finals. They lost to the much more complete team of the San Antonio Spurs, 4-zip. But to this day, this duo is still standing, going toe-to-toe against the NBA's best.

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9) Vlade Divac and Chris Webber of the Sacramento Kings (1998-2004)

Best numbers as teammates:

Divac – 14.3 ppg 10rpg 5.3 apg
Webber – 27.1 ppg 13 rpg 5.4 apg

Best finish – Western Conference Finals

The dynamics between Divac and the ultra-talented Webber was a major factor in turning the Kings into one of the best and most entertaining teams of the early 2000s. Both were great passers who kept the Sacramento’s offense fluid and fun to watch. But it wasn’t all about the assists; Vlade provided the craftiness—aka gulang—and C-Webb brought the muscle and the superstar vibe necessary for the basketball world to take notice. Before they could win the big one, though, just as they seemed ready to win it all more than ever, Webber injured his left knee and soon after, had to break his ties with the Kings.

8) Wilt Chamberlain and Lucious Jackson of the Philadelphia 76ers (1965-68)

Best numbers as teammates:

Chamberlain – 33.5 ppg 24.6 rpg
Jackson – 12 ppg 11.6 rpg

NBA titles – 1

During the Sixers 1966-67 championship season, then-future Hall of Famer Billy Cunningham was on his way to becoming the Sixers premier power forward. But at that time, the superhuman Chamberlain’s main sidekick, tenaciously doing the dirty work for him, was Luke Jackson. Simply put, the 7’1”, 275-lb Chamberlain and the 6’9”, 240-lb Jackson took every frontline they faced to a world of hurt and gave them sore backs and horrific stories to tell their grand kids as take home treats. It’s a shame Philly couldn’t get Wilt to stay and injuries got the best of Lucious. Had they stuck it out with the 76ers in full capacity for a few more seasons, considering Cunningham’s development into a bona fide star, they could’ve won at least one more ring.

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7) Bill Walton and Maurice Lucas of the Portland Trail Blazers (1976-78)

Best numbers as teammates:

Walton – 18.9 ppg 14.2 rpg 3.2 bpg 5 apg
Jackson – 20.1 ppg 11.4 rpg

NBA titles – 1

Before his chronic foot problems, Walton was a 6’ 11” center who could do it all. The 1978 NBA MVP was a formidable scorer and a tireless rebounder. But his best asset was playmaking. The Blazers’ offensive possessions often ended with an easy basket off a Walton assist, either from an outlet pass or from the post during half-court sets. Complimenting Walton’s game that’s essentially based on skill was the brute force and toughness of Maurice Lucas. The talented 6’9” forward was the enforcer that kept the Portland’s frontcourt solid. Led by these two, the Trail Blazers defeated a star-studded Sixers, team, bannered by Dr. J, in the 1977 Finals.

6) Bill Russell and Tommy Heinsohn of the Boston Celtics (1956-65)

Best numbers as teammates:

Russell – 18.9 ppg 24.7 rpg
Heinsohn – 22.1 ppg 9.9 rpg

NBA titles – 8

You might recognize Heinsohn as the mega biased analyst for Celtics broadcasts. But in his playing days, he was called 'Tommy Gun' and was one of the most creative shot creators at the power forward position. His starting center wasn’t bad either. Inarguably the greatest winner in basketball and probably the best defender and rebounder of all time, Russell controlled the game like no other. His brilliance freed up his teammates on offense, and one of its biggest beneficiaries was Heinsohn. This one-two punch was a terrific combo of offense and defense. However, a big reason why they’re not on top of this ranking despite being the most successful pair is because of Boston’s stellar roster. Russell was the defensive anchor and he had plenty of help getting buckets form his other teammates, not just from Heinsohn.

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5) Ralph Sampson and Hakeem Olajuwon of the Houston Rockets (1984-88)

Best numbers as teammates:

Sampson – 22.1 ppg 11.1 rpg
Olajuwon – 23.5 ppg 12.1 rpg 3.4 bpg

The Rockets had back-to-back first picks in 1983 and 1984. And it looked like they were onto something when they made Sampson and Olajuwon as their top recruits, respectively in those drafts. The 7’4” Sampson was incredibly mobile for his size, punishing his slower counterparts on the offensive end and frequently seen running the floor like a swingman to finish a fastbreak. His twin tower, Hakeem on the other hand, was only 6’ 10” but was armed with an uncanny mix of quickness, power and athleticism. Together, they challenged the mighty Celtics in the ’86 Finals, which provided Houston a lot to look forward to in the future. But things didn’t go as planned. Sampson’s knees gave out, causing the Twin Towers to go their separate ways.

4) Robert Parish and Kevin McHale of the Boston Celtics (1980-93)

Best numbers as teammates:

Parish – 19.9 ppg 12.5 rpg
McHale – 26.1 ppg 9.9 rpg

NBA titles - 3

McHale is widely considered as the best low-post scorer ever. He pivoted and faked his defenders out of their shoes for layups, en route to helping the Cs win three championships. But life in the paint wouldn’t have been as fun for him if not for Parish. The 7-foot center was a daunting presence on both ends of the floor. Everything the team needed from the 5-position, The Chief did it to a tee. We would’ve placed the McHale-Parish duo higher on this list if not for a teammate who had a lot to do with Boston’s success, a guy named Larry Bird.

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3) Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes of the Washington Bullets (1972-81)

Best numbers as teammates:

Unseld – 12.5 ppg 15.9 rpg
Hayes – 23.7 ppg 18.1rpg 3 bpg

NBA titles – 1

Hayes was a scoring machine. He used his Pterodactyl-like wingspan to shoot jumpers that were virtually impossible to block. Undoubtedly, Washington’s offensive load was well taken care of under the Big E’s watch. Meanwhile, his partner, Unseld, kept himself busy, setting monster picks, crashing the boards and making life a living hell for those who dared to challenge him in the shaded lane. These two beasts’ collaboration resulted in three Finals appearances that culminated in a championship victory in 1978.

2) George Mikan and Vern Mikkelsen of the Minneapolis Lakers (1949-54)

Best numbers as teammates:

Mikan – 28.4 ppg 14.4 rpg
Mikkelsen – 15.3 ppg 10.3 rpg

NBA titles – 4

Mikan was the league’s original most dominant figure, the NBA’s first Shaq or Wilt. Possessing unrivaled strength at 6’10” and the ability to sink hook shots with either hand, he became synonymous with the word unstoppable. Unfortunately for the other teams, he had one of the game’s first bruisers for a frontcourt partner, Mikkelen. The six-time All-Star was a hard-nosed defender and rebounder with a decent shot around the basket. For five seasons, centers and forwards dreaded playing these OGs.

1) David Robinson and Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs (1997-2003) 

Best numbers as teammates:

Robinson – 21.6 ppg 10.6 rpg 2.6 bpg
Duncan – 25.5 ppg 12.9 rpg 2.9 bpg

NBA titles – 2

By the time Timmy arrived in San Antonio, Robinson was already an established superstar. The Admiral had already won an MVP trophy and was right up there with Olajuwon and Shaquille O’Neal in the best center discussion among fans and pundits. In the Spurs’ championship runs in ’99 and ’03, Robinson’s scoring plummeted. However, it was all designed to make enough room for the eventual best power forward of all time to operate. In return for the former Spurs alpha’s willingness to play a supporting role, The Big Fundamental stepped up and carried the team to bagging the first two of the Texas franchise’ five NBA crowns.

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