10 Superstar Duos That Fell Short of Dreams of the Championship



Celebrity team-ups are fairly widespread within the NBA, they usually definitely enhance the gamers’ and groups’ probabilities of successful a championship. Some team-ups that had been profitable embrace the likes of the Massive Three for the Miami Warmth that noticed Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh win two titles collectively. Others embrace the Boston Celtics, that includes Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Rajon Rondo hoist the NBA trophy.

Nevertheless, having celebrity team-ups doesn’t at all times assure a NBA championship. With the current elimination of the Houston Rockets that had two MVPs in Russell Westbrook and James Harden, and the stunning exit of the Los Angeles Clippers that had Kawhi Leonard and Paul George within the ongoing playoffs, it’s a stern reminder that celebrity team-ups doesn’t robotically outcome right into a title.

For this piece, let’s check out 10 celebrity team-ups that by no means received a championship collectively.

Lebron James and Shaquille O’Neal – Cleveland Cavaliers

stephen curry, lebron james, shaquille o'neal, NBA

Season/s Collectively: 2009-2010

Lebron James is at the moment having a formidable run alongside All-Star large man Anthony Davis within the ongoing NBA Finals. Nevertheless, exterior of Davis and Kevin Love, James additionally had an opportunity to additionally pair up with Corridor of Fame large man Shaquille O’Neal in a single season with the Cavaliers.

In 2009, James was the reigning NBA MVP, as he was placing up spectacular particular person performances. Nevertheless, the Cavaliers had been surprised by Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic. With James’ contract virtually up, the administration knew they needed to help James with legit championship items with a purpose to win a championship and to persuade their MVP to remain. With this, the Cavaliers acquired Shaquille O’Neal in a commerce with the Phoenix Suns.

On paper, this appeared like imply dynamic duo. Exterior of James’ MVP presence, theoretically, the workforce now had a legit middle down low. Shaq was coming off an All-Star season with the Phoenix Suns, as he averaged 17.eight factors and eight.four rebounds per recreation. Nevertheless, the duo of James and Shaq received’t be sufficient to offer Cleveland its first championship.

James continued to provide MVP numbers, which earned him his second straight MVP trophy. Sadly, Shaq was now not in his prime years, as he finally slowed down and began to come across some accidents. The previous Cavs middle might solely produce 12.zero factors and 6.7 rebounds per recreation. Though James and O’Neal had been capable of do sufficient to get previous the Chicago Bulls within the first spherical, they confronted a hungry Boston Celtics workforce within the second spherical that ended their playoff hopes in six video games. This in fact ended the partnership between Shaq and James, because it additionally led to James’ notorious signing with the Miami Warmth.

Dwight Howard and James Harden – Houston Rockets

Season/s Collectively: 2013-2016

After failing to win a championship with the Orlando Magic and a disastrous stint with the Los Angeles Lakers, which we are going to discuss later, Howard teamed up with Houston Rockets standout James Harden. Harden was coming off a wonderful first stint with the Rockets, as he proved to everybody that he was able to changing into the chief of a franchise. Paired with a dominant large man in Howard and coached by Kevin McHale, it seemed like a powerful workforce that may contend for a championship.

The partnership lasted for 3 seasons, however sadly, the farthest they went was a Western Convention Finals look, the place they had been eradicated by the eventual champions the Golden State Warriors within the 2015 NBA Playoffs. For almost all a part of the Harden and Howard duo, the Rockets would get knocked away within the opening spherical.

The workforce wished to run their offense by Harden with choose and roll performs. Sadly, Howard wasn’t all too completely satisfied about this as he most well-liked to post-up extra along with his again to the basket fashion of play which diminished the duo’s relationship. Howard and Harden cited the dearth of communication between them resulted into the duo’s failure to seize a championship.

In an interview with Sports activities Illustrated, Howard stated “Once I don’t like what’s happening, I are likely to shut down, put my headphones on and ignore the whole lot. I don’t discuss issues. That occurred to me in L.A. It occurred to me once more in Houston. I ought to have communicated higher.”

With this, Howard ultimately left Houston for the Atlanta Hawks.

James Harden and Chris Paul – Houston Rockets


Season/s Collectively: 2017-2019

Dwight Howard wasn’t the one celebrity that teamed up with the Beard in Houston. Other than Howard, Chris Paul additionally had an opportunity to workforce up with the Rockets star. At first, it appeared like a promising partnership, as Harden was a scoring risk whereas Chris Paul was a proficient pass-first guard.

Nevertheless, the deepest playoff run that they had was a stint as soon as once more within the Western Convention Finals, the place they confronted their tormentor the Golden State Warriors. The Rockets had been really near dethroning the defending champions at the moment, as they took a 3-2 lead within the sequence. Sadly, Paul suffered a hamstring harm which compelled him to sit down out video games six and 7. With out the NBA All-Star guard, the Warriors reasserted their mastery over the Rockets and have become eventual champions that 12 months.

Chris Paul has been riddled with accidents, particularly through the postseason. Aside from that, the superstars’ relationship as teammates deteriorated simply after the Western Convention Finals run. The 2 alpha canine of the workforce had a dramatic off-court altercation that needed to be handled by the Rockets administration.

In response to Yahoo Sports activities, a supply stated “There’s no respect in any respect, on both facet. They should get away from each other. Chris doesn’t respect James’ standing within the league, and James doesn’t respect the work Chris has put in so far.”

With Paul demanding a commerce and Harden issuing a “him or me” ultimatum, the administration saved  Harden whereas buying and selling Paul to the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder for Russell Westbrook. It was a partnership that led to ugly style.

Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire – New York Knicks

Season/s Collectively: 2011- 2015

The New York Knicks had been one of many entrance runners to come back out with an excellent workforce through the stacked 2010 Free Company season. Nevertheless, the one celebrity they had been capable of land was Amar’e Stoudemire. Stoudemire was an explosive energy ahead that had an excellent profession in Phoenix and was a suitable catch for New York. Finally, the Knicks had been additionally capable of get candy taking pictures swingman Carmelo Anthony in an enormous commerce with the Denver Nuggets halfway by the season.

Though it appeared like a pairing that would maintain consistent with the Warmth’s Massive Three at the moment, the Knicks had been hardly a successful workforce with their two superstars on board. Of their first 12 months collectively, they had been swept by the Boston Celtics within the first spherical. The 12 months after, wasn’t all too totally different, as they barely even made the playoffs. Their presence within the playoffs was because of the rise of Linsanity when Jeremy Lin made an underdog run. With Lin struggling a knee harm, the Knicks had been defeated by the Miami Warmth in 5 video games within the first spherical.

The 2012-2013 season was the perfect season of the Knicks in current reminiscence, because it was their deepest playoff run within the 2000’s. The Knicks reached the Japanese Convention Semifinals throughout that season. Though it was the duo’s best achievement, Stoudemire for essentially the most a part of the season was rendered inactive because of accidents. The previous Knicks large man appeared solely in 29 video games. Throughout the postseason, he was a non-factor as he might solely put up 3.eight factors and a pair of.Three rebounds per recreation.

The partnership is deemed a failure for quite a lot of causes. Taking part in alongside Carmelo, Stoudemire’s numbers took a dip. As a result of Melo is a heavy scorer, it meant fewer alternatives for the STAT to attain. It additionally didn’t assist that the Knicks had been coping with teaching adjustments and locker room points. To make issues worse, the continuous accidents that hounded Amar’e definitely prevented the duo from fulfilling their full potential.

With Stoudemire sad along with his diminished position, he ultimately took his abilities to Dallas which ended the partnership between him and Anthony. Regardless of the presence of those two superstars, the Knicks hardly got here near a championship.

Hakeem Olajuwon and Charles Barkley (with Clyde Drexler and Scottie Pippen) – Houston Rockets

Season/s Collectively: 1996-2000

The Houston Rockets had been on a scorching position from 1993-1995, as they captured two straight NBA titles because of Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. With the Rockets administration unhappy, the franchise determined to accumulate Charles Barkley for 4 of their gamers in Sam Cassell, Robert Horry, Chucks Brown, and Mark Bryant. It was a team-up that put collectively three of the highest 50 gamers of all time. Nevertheless, it’s price noting that there have been a number of questions surrounding the workforce comparable to Barkley’s locker room match and whether or not or not these prime gamers nonetheless had sufficient left within the tank, given their age at the moment.

Consequently, regardless of forming an excellent workforce, this Rockets version did not seize a championship collectively. Though they did present some promise of their first 12 months collectively, as they reached the Western Convention Finals, they stumbled upon a formidable Utah Jazz workforce that defeated them in six video games. Sadly after that, the workforce went on to turn out to be an everyday fixture within the opening spherical of the playoffs for the subsequent two years together with a heartbreaking first spherical exit in 1998 by the hands of the Jazz as soon as once more when John Stockton nailed the sport successful three level shot in Sport 7. This really broke the primary version of this team-up, because it despatched Clyde Drexler into retirement.

Though Drexler left the workforce, the Rockets did handle to get one other star in Scottie Pippen, who received six championships with the Chicago Bulls. This second version was additionally thought-about an excellent workforce, but it surely was additionally an getting older tremendous workforce at that with Olajuwon at 35, Barkley at 34, and Pippen already at 33. Sadly, they confronted the Los Angeles Lakers within the 1999 Playoffs and had been dispatched three video games to 1. Afterwards, the workforce by no means made an look within the postseason once more, as Barkley ultimately retired whereas Olajuwon was shipped to the Toronto Raptors.

Russell Westbrook and Paul George (with Carmelo Anthony) – Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder


Season/s collectively: 2017-2019

Paul George and Carmelo Anthony initially thought they will make their very own model of the Massive Three in Oklahoma after they joined Russell Westbrook. On paper, it appeared like a team-up that would replicate the success of Miami Warmth’s personal model of the Massive Three again then.

George was coming off a spectacular profession with the Indiana Pacers. However, Carmelo Anthony was searching for a contemporary begin exterior of a comparatively lengthy profession in New York. Mix these gamers with a triple double machine in Russell Westbrook, the Thunder appeared prefer it might give the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers a run for his or her cash.

Nevertheless, regardless of one other triple double and MVP season by Westbrook, an All-Star season by George and an honest efficiency by Anthony, it didn’t outcome right into a championship. In actual fact, the workforce solely made it to the opening spherical of the playoffs, as they had been defeated by the Utah Jazz, 4 video games to 2.

Even when Westbrook, George and Anthony had been glorious on offense, the workforce was inefficient offensively as they solely ranked 17th within the league when it got here to Offensive Ranking. Loads of the blame fell on the shoulders of Carmelo Anthony, who liked operating isolation performs that led to ill-advised photographs. Moreover, Anthony appeared to be out of his consolation zone enjoying because the workforce’s third choice, a task that Melo by no means dealt with.

In an interview with Yahoo Sports activities, George stated about Anthony “As a lot as I liked enjoying with Melo and having Melo alongside us, I perceive the choice of each side. It simply didn’t work. It didn’t work.”

The preliminary version of the celebrity team-up solely lasted one season, as Anthony ultimately took his abilities to Houston after only one season. However, George and Westbrook performed collectively for one more season. Westbrook had one other triple double season, whereas George improved his numbers even additional. However regardless of this, the Thunder had been outclassed by the Portland Trailblazers within the opening spherical, as they conceded in 5 video games.

The unsuccessful playoff campaigns prompted George to make an notorious transfer to the Los Angeles Clippers final 12 months, whereas Westbrook was traded to Houston for All-Star guard Chris Paul.

Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire (with Joe Johnson, Shawn Marion, Grant Hill, and Shaquille O’Neal) – Phoenix Suns

Shaq asks Steve Nash to “present me a type of MVP trophies you stole from me.”

Nash burns him proper again 😂🔥pic.twitter.com/ytec1i00BB

— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) September 11, 2020

Season/s Collectively: 2004-2010

The Phoenix Suns had a struggling season in 2003-2004, as they posted a 29-53 win loss report. Nevertheless, their younger proficient core that had Amar’e Stoudemire, Shawn Marion, and Joe Johnson was sufficient to persuade Steve Nash to affix the Suns. Individually for Nash, he reached new heights as he collected two straight MVP trophies. Moreover, he led the Suns to a Western Convention Finals for 2 straight seasons. Stoudemire, a younger energy ahead at the moment, emerged to be nice operating mate within the entrance courtroom for the Canadian playmaker. With Nash on board, Stoudemire elevated his averages from 20.6 factors per recreation to 26.zero factors per outing, which earned him his first All-Star recreation look. Nevertheless, accidents riddled Stoudemire through the 2005-2005 season, which prevented him from serving to within the Suns’ playoff marketing campaign that 12 months.

As soon as Stoudemire recovered, the previous Suns large man and Nash had been instrumental for Phoenix, as they made the franchise an everyday fixture within the playoffs. Nevertheless, it wasn’t sufficient to convey them a championship. Finally, the Suns determined to commerce for Shaquille O’Neal which gave the workforce three superstars. On paper, it was doubtlessly a dominant workforce that had a number of star energy.

Sadly, even the addition of O’Neal wasn’t sufficient to offer the franchise and the duo its first NBA championship. Shaq was introduced in for the so referred to as “Amar’e Mission”,which was to assist the event of Stoudemir, in change for the versatile Shawn Marion and guard Marcus Banks. It was efficient at first, as Stoudemire averaged 25.2 factors and 9.1 boards per recreation whereas Shaq put up 12.9 factors and 10.6 boards per recreation. Nevertheless, Nash simply wasn’t used to enjoying with a middle that was parked within the paint which negatively affected the passing guard’s enjoying fashion.  Moreover, the celebrity team-up simply needed to face the defending champions at the moment within the San Antonio Spurs through the opening spherical of the playoffs.

Because the playoffs unfolded that 12 months, the Suns’ marketing campaign was shockingly over when the Spurs dispatched Phoenix in 5 video games. With a fast exit, one would count on the celebrity trio to bounce again within the succeeding season. Nevertheless, the Suns carried out extra poorly as they didn’t even attain the 2009 NBA Playoffs.

Some individuals would pin the blame on the exit of Mike D’Antoni and his alternative, Terry Porter, who tried to vary the workforce’s tradition based on his methods. It additionally didn’t assist that STAT needed to endure an eye fixed harm through the essential section of the Suns season.

Though Shaq was ultimately traded to the Cavaliers in 2009, Nash and Stoudemire continued their partnership till 2010. It was arguably the final time the duo got here near a championship. Within the 2010 Playoffs, the Suns ran by the Blazers in six video games and swept the San Antonio Spurs to make an look as soon as once more within the Western Convention Finals. Sadly, they confronted eventual champions the Los Angeles Lakers led by the late Kobe Bryant.

After the playoffs, Stoudemire performed for the Knicks and Nash continued to play for the Suns. The team-up by no means resulted right into a championship ring. Individually, Nash and Stoudemire by no means received a championship individually both as gamers of their whole NBA profession.

Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Metta World Peace, and Pau Gasol – Los Angeles Lakers


Season/s Collectively: 2012-2013

The Los Angeles Lakers arguably put up essentially the most stacked workforce in franchise historical past after they signed Dwight Howard and Steve Nash because the workforce already had Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Metta World Peace. It was apparent that the workforce was aiming for a championship with Howard not successful one in Orlando and Nash failing to win one in his whole profession. Moreover, Kobe was additionally wanting so as to add not less than yet another championship in his ring assortment.

The workforce positively didn’t lack in star energy. Nevertheless with that large amount of expertise in a single workforce, there was no query that egos will ultimately come to blows. One of many feuds that occurred within the locker room was between Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard, the place the latter simply disagreed with the management and tradition set by Bryant.

The workforce put up a disappointing efficiency, as they opened the season with just one win in 5 video games. Moreover, the workforce barely made the playoffs. To make issues worse, a number of accidents to the workforce positively dampened the workforce’s championship hopes together with a torn Achilles’ tendon that sidelined Bryant for the remainder of the season.

Within the 2013 Playoffs, the injury-clipped Lakers had been swept by the San Antonio Spurs within the first spherical to finish their disappointing season.

Dwight Howard stated concerning the wayward NBA workforce “I simply assume there have been two large issues, accidents and ego. What would I’ve carried out totally different? I’d say wait till I used to be wholesome…At time, I feel desirous to be egocentric value all people on the workforce.”

There was no query that accidents and ego had been certainly the principle culprits of stopping the All-Star workforce from residing as much as its expectations.

Karl Malone and John Stockton – Utah Jazz

John Stockton, Karl Malone, Byron Russell, Jazz

Season/s Collectively: 1985-2003

Karl Malone and John Stockton are arguably top-of-the-line duos that the league has ever seen, provided that they had been so lethal at operating the pick-and-roll collectively. The partnership lasted for 18 years, when the Jazz drafted Stockton in 1984 and Malone within the 12 months after.

In an interview, Pat Riley stated concerning the dynamic duo “They’re masters at moving into individuals’s heads. They’re very well-drilled within the bodily recreation. They’re very bodily at each ends of the courtroom, they usually have the expertise of with the ability to play technically and tactically.”

Sadly, the fierce dynamic duo simply by no means received not less than a single championship throughout that stretch. Regardless of serving to the Jazz attain the postseason from 1985-2003, the duo might solely produce two NBA Finals appearances and 5 Western Convention Finals stints.

The duo got here awfully near successful a championship within the 1997 and 1998 Playoffs. Nevertheless, the Chicago Bulls led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen proved to be an excessive amount of to deal with on each events as they fell in six video games for 2 straight years by the hands of the identical tormentor.

Regardless of the duo’s dominance on the courtroom, they go down as top-of-the-line team-ups that by no means received a single ring collectively.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook (with James Harden and Serge Ibaka) – Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder

Season/s Collectively: 2008-2016

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook had been little question a feared pairing within the league. All of them the extra seemed scary with the addition of James Harden and Serge Ibaka. Should you have a look at this workforce now, it’d be onerous to consider that these gamers performed collectively at one level of their careers, provided that Durant, Westbrook, and Harden have a combed 27 All-Star recreation appearances and three MVPs.

There was little question that this group was a younger and proficient workforce. Durant and Westbrook first kickstarted their partnership in 2008, which wasn’t all too memorable, with exception to the truth that it was the franchise’s first season within the league, as that they solely posted a 23-59 win loss report. Nevertheless within the succeeding 12 months with Harden and Ibaka approaching board, the workforce was now not a pushover.

The team-up of those 4 gamers led Oklahoma Metropolis to the playoffs for a few years, together with a Finals stint in opposition to the Miami Warmth’s Massive Three in 2012. It was the closest that the workforce ever acquired to a championship, as they took Sport 1. Nevertheless, the mixture of James, Wade, and Bosh proved to be an excessive amount of to deal with for the younger stars because the Thunder succumbed to the Warmth in 5 video games, shedding 4 straight.

Sadly, this team-up by no means had one other Finals run collectively once more. Simply after the Warmth received the NBA championship, Harden took his abilities to Houston with a purpose to show that he was able to changing into a face of a franchise, not like in Oklahoma the place he was enjoying the position of the sixth man. Though the Thunder did come awfully shut within the 2016 NBA Playoffs, when Durant, Westbrook, and Ibaka helped their workforce construct a 3-1 lead in opposition to the Golden State Warriors led by Stephen Curry, Durant and firm surprisingly blew their alternative to return to the NBA Finals’ brilliant lights.

The partnership between Westbrook and Durant would meet at an finish when the latter determined to signal with the Golden State Warriors, which earned the ire of many Oklahoma Metropolis and NBA followers.

Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Durant, Nets

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