NBA teams may put five players on the court, but oftentimes the magic really happens when two of them combine their superpowers to drive home victory upon victory. Game in and game out, they’re like Batman and Robin or Han Solo and Chewbacca, a pair that scores big, defends hard, and makes fans cheer.
Throughout NBA history, we’ve had a basic understanding of how good players are by looking at their basic actions to see how much they contribute to the final score. From scoring baskets, throwing the perfect alley-oop, or blocking out the opponent to grab a rebound, we can make some determinations about excellence. However, the rise of analytics in sports has introduced a whole new level of stat-gathering, which gives a better understanding for just how phenomenally some basketball players work together.
Stacker compiled a list of the best duos in Portland Trail Blazers history using data from Stathead on all players who appeared in at least 58 games in a season. Along with basic statistics like points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks per game (that’s PPG, RPG, APG, SPG, and BPG), statisticians now also track more advanced measures that allow for more accurate data-based ranking.
Box Plus/Minus (BPM) — which is used for the rankings below — measures a player’s effectiveness when he’s on the court. A positive score indicates the number of points by which his team outperformed the opponent. A negative number shows how much better the opposing team did while he was playing.
Value Over Replacement Player (VORP) looks at how much value a player adds to the team versus someone coming off the bench.
Player Efficiency Rating (PER) looks at a number of mostly offensive actions, both positive and negative, that a player does when he’s on the court to measure how good they are on a minute-by-minute basis. The average score across the NBA is 15.00, which allows for year-over-year comparisons.
Win Shares (WS) looks at a player’s actions during an entire game to determine how much he contributed to a team’s win.
Read on to see how well the data-driven duos meet your expectations.
#5. 2019-20 Portland Trail Blazers
– Damian Lillard: 7.5 BPM (#6 player in 2019-20)
– Hassan Whiteside: 3.2 BPM (#18 player in 2019-20)
– Total: 10.7 BPM (#3 duo in 2019-20)
#4. 1977-78 Portland Trail Blazers
– Bill Walton: 8.1 BPM (#2 player in 1977-78)
– Bob Gross: 3.2 BPM (#15 player in 1977-78)
– Total: 11.3 BPM (#1 duo in 1977-78)
#3. 1991-92 Portland Trail Blazers
– Clyde Drexler: 8.7 BPM (#4 player in 1991-92)
– Terry Porter: 3.7 BPM (#16 player in 1991-92)
– Total: 12.4 BPM (#3 duo in 1991-92)
#2. 1989-90 Portland Trail Blazers
– Clyde Drexler: 7.3 BPM (#5 player in 1989-90)
– Terry Porter: 5.8 BPM (#8 player in 1989-90)
– Total: 13.1 BPM (#3 duo in 1989-90)
#1. 1990-91 Portland Trail Blazers
– Terry Porter: 7.4 BPM (#6 player in 1990-91)
– Clyde Drexler: 6.8 BPM (#7 player in 1990-91)
– Total: 14.2 BPM (#2 duo in 1990-91)
Stacker is a news organization that produces and distributes data journalism to the world’s news organizations. Founded in 2017, Stacker combines data analysis with rich editorial context, drawing on authoritative sources and subject matter experts to drive storytelling. This article has been republished pursuant to a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.