Ranking the Best Second Stars in the NBA
The NBA is back in full swing thanks to the bubble and a little bit seems right with the world again. With all of this in mind, one question that gets overlooked and needs to be asked is which second fiddle is the best in the bubble? By second fiddle, I mean co-star. Second options which are clearly the second-best players on their teams such as Paul George, Anthony Davis, and Khris Middleton. With this in mind, it is time to rank the best second stars in the NBA bubble right now. Without further adieu, let’s take a look at which co-star is the best out of the “second-best,” players.
The Best Five Co-Stars in the NBA
5. Khris Middleton
Khris Middleton was considered a bit “overhyped,” coming into this season playing alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo as his second-option. However, the man is as efficient as they come in this league. Middleton was a 50,40,90 player at the All-Star Break and now has specific totals of 49.4 percent from the field, 41.3 percent from three-point land, and 91.0 percent from the free-throw line. Not to mention, he also is averaging 21.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game.
Middleton is also tallying an offensive rating of 119 to go along with a value above replacement player (VORP) of 2.7. Middleton is the perfect complimentary star to the Greek Freak with his ability to space the floor and create his own shot when he needs to during the game. Giannis is similar to LeBron James in the regard of, they both need to be surrounded by shooters in order for them to operate in the paint, where they are most effective. With this in mind, Khris Middleton is an All-Star for a reason and the fifth-best second-option in the bubble.
4. Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker was thought to be the Boston Celtics’ new first option coming into the year. However, the Celtics have had a seamless changing of the guard with the emergence of Jayson Tatum. Walker does not have a big ego, which allowed him to hand the metaphorical “keys to the car,” to Tatum mid-season. This is somewhat reminiscent of Chauncey Billups making sure Carmelo Anthony was still the clear go-to option back in 2009 for the Nuggets, or even Paul Millsap making Nikola Jokic take charge as the leader if we stay in Denver.
The great thing about Walker is, when needed, he still steps up for the Celtics. If Tatum is having an off night, Boston can ask Kemba to take over and lead them to a win. Despite battling a nagging knee issue all year, Cardiac Kemba is still averaging 21.1 points, 4.9 assists, and 4.0 rebounds per game while shooting an effective field goal percentage of 52.2 percent. Not to mention, Walker also possesses an offensive rating of 116 to go along with a VORP of 2.8. Kemba netted himself his fourth All-Star selection this season and could be the X-factor for the Boston Celtics in the postseason.
3. Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook is still one of the deadliest point guards in the game right now. Despite having to share the ball with James Harden, the star duo has made it work for the Houston Rockets. They have formed arguably a top-three backcourt this season and it has translated into another promising season for Houston. For the year, Westbrook has averaged 27.5 points, 7.0 assists, and 8.1 rebounds per game which has relatively gone overlooked this season. On top of this, Brodie has also tallied an effective field goal percentage of 49.4 percent, a defensive rebounding percentage of 18.3 percent, and a VORP of 1.8. Don’t let Westbrook’s inefficient shooting from deep discern you, the man is still a killer on the court.
2. Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis got his wish last year and is now playing with LeBron James for a chance at a title. Many are probably wondering why he is not number one on this list. He is still extremely gifted and looks to be a perfect second option to LeBron this season. What keeps him out of the number one slot is his tendency to disappear in big moments. Moments such as scoring 0 points in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers. Regardless, Davis has had a terrific year with numbers of 26.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game. The cherry on top is he is also averaging an offensive rating of 121, a defensive rating of 101, and a VORP of 5.2. With this in mind, AD is clearly the second-best second fiddle in the bubble.
1. Paul George
I know about the narrative that has been painted about Paul George. He does not show up in big moments. If you look at the numbers, that is far from the truth. Plus, he stepped up big in the close loss to the Los Angeles Lakers the other night with a clutch, stepback three-point shot to tie the game in the waning moments. When George is healthy and firing on all cylinders, he and Kawhi Leonard have the best shot at the title this year.
Despite a somewhat injury-riddled year from PG13, he is still averaging impressive numbers of 21.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game. He has done this while tallying an effective field goal percentage of 53.8 percent. His advanced stats are also impressive with totals of an assist percentage of 21.2 percent and a VORP of 2.1. Despite his struggles, it is important to note he is getting used to a new team and having to learn a new role. In Oklahoma City, he and Russell Westbrook were more like 1A and 1B whereas, with the Clippers, the Klaw is the definite go-to player. After looking at this, it is clear that Paul George is the best out of all the second fiddles in the NBA bubble.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images