Before Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving decided to cause chaos in Brooklyn, they shared the court for a total of 45 games together. Between injuries, COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, drama, and everything else, Brooklyn's duo never got the chance to play an entire season together.
Assuming a trade happens, KD and Kyrie's tenure with the Nets will go down as a failure and the franchise's most significant "what if."
That said, Durant and Irving aren't the first duo not to meet expectations. Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry, Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady, Allen Iverson and Chris Webber, Scottie Pippen and Charles Barkley join that embarrassing list. However, unlike Durant and Irving, several other duos that teamed up had the opportunity to play more together than they did.
Below is a rundown of duos that played more than 45 games together in 3 years.
LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal: 53 games
O'Neal's last few years in the league were spent in Clevland alongside James, hoping to end his career with another title. Unfortunately, Shaq's dropoff was just too much as he couldn't keep up with the other centers in the league. Despite James and O'Neal's inability to win together, they still played 53 games.
Dirk Nowitzki and Rajon Rondo: 45 games
One of Dirk's biggest mistakes was when he pushed the Dallas Mavericks management to trade for Rajon Rondo in 2016. Rondo's tenure in Dallas lasted only a year as he didn't get along with head coach Rick Carlisle. The duo only played 45 games together.
Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash: 48 games
In 2012, the Lakers built what was supposed to be a "superteam" consisting of Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Steve Nash. But similar to what occurred in 2022, the roster construction didn't work, and injuries (specifically to Nash for the whole season) played a massive part in the Lakers' downfall. At least L.A. can say that Bryant and Nash clocked in 48 games together in 1 season.
Hakeem Olajuwon and Vince Carter: 47 games
It was hard watching Hakeem Olajuwon play for a team that's not the Houston Rockets but what's even worst is seeing him underperform in a different jersey alongside Vince Carter. The Olajuwon-Carter duo wasn't disastrous (they finished the season with a 42-40 record), but it just didn't click. Still, both teammates played 47 games together.
Rasheed Wallace and Allen Iverson: 48 games
Wallace and Iverson played together for the Pistons, hoping to create their own two-way punch, but they couldn't find the right chemistry on the court. Iverson's only season in Detroit resulted in a 39-43 regular-season record and an Eastern Conference first-round exit against LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers. Despite their failure, at least Wallace and Iverson can say they tried to make it work for 48 games.