LeBron James and Anthony Davis will be teammates on the Los Angeles Lakers.
Let that sink in.
Forget the mess that the Lakers were last season, they're now a problem that each of the other 29 teams will have to deal with for at least the next season and perhaps beyond. How they fare on the floor and how far they take the franchise obviously remains to be seen.
What can't be denied is that James and Davis immediately enter the conversation regarding the best Lakers duos of all-time.
MORE: How will LeBron and AD fit together?
It's a conversation that includes the likes of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.
And Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
And Jerry West and Elgin Baylor.
Given that James and Davis haven't even started writing their chapter, it's not entirely fair to rank the duos based off what they did with the Lakers.
So instead, our expert NBA.com Staff debated the premise of who would win hypothetical 2-on-2 tournament featuring only the very best Lakers duos.
Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): I'm taking Kobe and Shaq every time. Every. Time.
probably definitely showing my age here (or lack thereof), but coming up, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal might as well have been superheroes to me. Looking back, the superhero comparison really isn't that far-fetched when you take their accomplishments into consideration.
At 21-years-old, Kobe was putting up 48 points in elimination games on the road. Meanwhile, Shaq, the most dominant force I've ever witnessed with my own two eyes, was putting up 30 and 15 on a nightly basis in the postseason.
Oh, and they were both All-Defence, too.
The duo is one of the best one-two punches in the history of the league because they compliment one another so well. Sure, these other duos earned their place in Lakers' lore because of their insane compatibility, but it's just no match for what Kobe and Shaq bring to the table.
You're not stopping prime Shaq on the block, and young Kobe provides the perfect blend of athleticism and skill.
Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13): I'm rolling with Showtime.
Sure, it's a halfcourt game. But give me Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson all day long.
Kareem's skyhook doubled as the most unstoppable shot in NBA history even with four other help defenders on the floor in an era with zero spacing. In a 2-on-2 setting? It's ludicrous to think anyone could gve him fits.
As for Johnson, he would pull out some playground trickery that would leave everyone confused. They have enough size to combat any potential mismatches and enough guile to goad any other duo into mental errors.
I can see Magic laying off Kobe and begging him to take 20 footers, thus rendering Shaq to a ball-watching bulldozer.
LeBron and AD don't have the chemistry to work a two-man game on the level of Magic and Kareem.
And as much as I LOVE me some Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, there's just too much of a size disparity for them to really do much of anything.
Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): I'm not willing to bet against LeBron James, therefore I'm riding with him and his new teammate Anthony Davis.
Davis might struggle with Shaq, who has over 70 pounds on him, but let's not forget that AD has earned three All-Defense honours. I'm willing to take my chances on his defensive IQ, as well as his 7-foot-6 wingspan that has helped him lead the NBA in blocks three times in his career to find a way to overcome the size differential.
AD's wingspan also gives him the best shot of any other player mentioned to alter Kareem's unstoppable skyhook.
As for LeBron versus Kobe and Magic, my reasoning is simple - LeBron is arguably the best player of all time. Kobe and Magic are both gamers and they'd bring it to the King, but lining up across from those two will only bring out the best of LeBron.
With Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, it would be a matchup nightmare for West to have to guard either James or Davis. Maybe I'm selling these two short since they played far before my time, but these matchups just don't fare well for this legendary Lakers' duo.
Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay): I have to go with Shaq and Kobe.
I really considered Magic and Kareem here but Kobe's ability to break down off the bounce and also post up puts him over Magic for me. I think Shaq and Kareem pretty much cancel each other out. Kareem's skyhook is the most unguardable shot and he'd be able to get it off over anyone, and Shaq - well, we know what the Diesel would bring to the table. Arguably the most dominant force the league has ever seen.
Good luck trying to guard Shaq and his 300-plus pound frame, Anthony Davis!
Magic's defence was solid even though he never got rewarded with an All-Defensive team nomination and his size is a real asset but Kobe's jumper puts him over the top for me.
Not to say Magic would be afraid of the big shot but with the game on the line give me the cold-blooded Black Mamba.
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