DENVER (Stacker) — 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 Denver Nuggets 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. 1977-78 Denver Nuggets
– David Thompson: 4.8 BPM (#6 player in 1977-78)
– Bobby Jones: 4.7 BPM (#8 player in 1977-78)
– Total: 9.5 BPM (#3 duo in 1977-78)

#4. 1976-77 Denver Nuggets
– Bobby Jones: 7 BPM (#2 player in 1976-77)
– Dan Issel: 2.7 BPM (#19 player in 1976-77)
– Total: 9.7 BPM (#3 duo in 1976-77)

#3. 2018-19 Denver Nuggets
– Nikola Jokić: 9.1 BPM (#3 player in 2018-19)
– Mason Plumlee: 2.1 BPM (#45 player in 2018-19)
– Total: 11.2 BPM (#6 duo in 2018-19)

#2. 2021-22 Denver Nuggets
– Nikola Jokić: 13.7 BPM (#1 player in 2021-22)
– Monte Morris: 0 BPM (#104 player in 2021-22)
– Total: 13.7 BPM (#2 duo in 2021-22)

#1. 2020-21 Denver Nuggets
– Nikola Jokić: 12.1 BPM (#1 player in 2020-21)
– Michael Porter Jr.: 3.1 BPM (#26 player in 2020-21)
– Total: 15.2 BPM (#1 duo in 2020-21)


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