Top 5 young post duos

Alonzo Mourning-Larry Johnson rank as best young big tandem since merger

Updated: October 1, 2013, 10:52 AM ET
By Justin Kubatko | ESPN Insider

AP Photo/Duane BurlesonHow do Greg Monroe (left) and Andre Drummond stack up among the all-time best young big duos?

In Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, the Detroit Pistons have two of the best young post players in the NBA. Monroe, 23, and Drummond, 20, enter their second season in the league together with high expectations based on their play during the 2012-13 season.

That inspired a question: Are Monroe and Drummond the best young post combination in recent history? In order to answer that question, I decided to look at all of the young post combos since the ABA-NBA merger in 1976, with "young" being defined as any player age 23 or younger.

The pairs were ranked based on the harmonic mean of their regular-season win shares. Why use the harmonic mean rather than the standard arithmetic mean? Because the arithmetic mean will not properly account for vast differences in the two win-share totals.

For example, Shaquille O'Neal had 16.9 win shares in 1993-94, the best figure in NBA history for a player age 21 or younger. Because O'Neal was so dominant, he and Keith Tower -- a rookie backup center who played all of 32 minutes -- would rank as one of the best young post duos of all time based on the arithmetic mean. The harmonic mean will mitigate the influence of O'Neal's contribution and increase the influence of Tower's contribution, pushing the combo toward the bottom of the list.

With that said, here are the top five young post combos since the merger:


1. Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson | 1992-93 | Charlotte Hornets

Johnson, a power forward out of UNLV, was the first overall pick in the 1991 NBA draft and was named Rookie of the Year.


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