Superstar players gain the most recognition throughout the NBA. After all, they make the most money, have the most pressure to perform, and often have the most impact on the floor for their teams.
But that doesn’t mean that sidekicks don’t deserve the recognition as well. As a matter of fact, the second NBA star on the team is often just as important as the main superstar because they are capable of playing alongside the number one option and relieving pressure off of him. Without a true second star, an NBA superstar will find it incredibly difficult to achieve team goals.
Here are the best second-best stars in the NBA right now.
15. John Wall
When John Wall is fully fit and healthy, he is the number one star for the Washington Wizards. But since his injury, Bradley Beal has been terrific as the number one option on the team and one of the best pure scorers in the league. Beal is averaging 30.5 PPG on 45.5% shooting this year.
John Wall and Bradley Beal have claimed that they enjoy playing with each other but rumors have come out that they seem to have a conflict of interest in terms of fighting for the title as leader of the team. Nonetheless, John Wall is the 15th best second star in the league right now.
14. LaMarcus Aldridge
LaMarcus Aldridge was supposed to be the second star to Kawhi Leonard for the San Antonio Spurs. But when Kawhi Leonard was traded for DeMar DeRozan, he became the second star for the Spurs to a slightly less capable player.
This is why the Spurs have basically fallen out of championship contention because Kawhi Leonard is practically irreplaceable. Still, Aldridge is a very capable scorer from mid-range and in the paint and one of the best second stars in the league right now. So far this year, Aldridge is putting up 18.9 PPG and 7.4 RPG as the second star for the Spurs.
13. Brandon Ingram
Brandon Ingram has a ton of potential and is one of the best second stars in the league. He’s playing like a true All-Star this year and is showing all the heights of his potential in terms of scoring ability, playmaking, and overall play. Ingram is having his best season yet, averaging 24.2 PPG, 6.2 RPG, and 4.3 APG.
The Pelicans are Zion Williamson’s team going forward, but Brandon Ingram will be an excellent second star as they both develop playing with each other. The future is truly bright in New Orleans and Brandon Ingram is at the heart of it.
12. Kyle Lowry
The Toronto Raptors had an amazing season last year when they won the NBA title with Kawhi Leonard as the superstar. This year, Pascal Siakam is the main guy on the team and Kyle Lowry is the second star from one of the best teams in the East.
The Raptors are title contenders and make no mistake about that. Kyle Lowry’s playmaking and playoff experience will be critical to Toronto’s title hope this year and he will most likely show why he is a critical second star in the NBA right now when the playoffs start.
11. Kristaps Porzingis
Luca Doncic has been a revelation in Dallas. He’s an absolute superstar thanks for his ability to rebound the ball, score at a high rate, and be the team’s primary playmaker. He is clearly the number one option for the Dallas Mavericks and a top 10 player in the league right now.
Luckily for the Mavs, they have Kristaps Porzingis as well. He is a very dominant big man that has the potential to be a Hall of Famer one day. For the Mavs, he is averaging 19.2 PPG and 9.5 RPG in 31.3 MPG of action. Because of his unbelievable potential and his support for Doncic this season, Porzingis barely misses out the top 10 as one of the best second stars in the league.
10. Khris Middleton
In terms of being a second star to Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton is perfect. He can defend very well and is a marksman from deep. Middleton doesn’t need a ton of touches, is a great locker room guy, and does his job every single night in a consistent fashion.
Because of the Milwaukee Bucks record and Middleton’s impact alongside Giannis, Khris Middleton earned his All-Star berth in the East and is a top-10 second star in the week. Middleton is averaging 21.1 PPG and 6.2 RPG as the sidekick to Giannis.
9. Ben Simmons
Ben Simmons should actually be higher on this list but the Sixers have not performed as well as they should have this year. Embiid is still the main guy on the team because he can score from pretty much anywhere and doesn’t really have a weakness in his game, unlike Ben Simmons.
Simmons still can’t shoot, but he’s a fantastic playmaker, defender, and rebounder. For now, he is the 9th best second star in the league but he clearly has the potential to be much higher. Still, Simmons is putting up respectable numbers 16.7 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 8.2 APG for Philly.
8. D’Angelo Russell
Finally, the Minnesota Timberwolves found a way to acquire D’Angelo Russell from the Golden State Warriors. Russell and Karl-Anthony towns can form one of the best duos in the league in the long-run. Russell is a great scorer and is actually a very good playmaker, but has the potential to be a clutch player and big-time score It’s truly there for the taking.
Due to his unbelievable potential and his arrival as an All-Star already in the West, D’Angelo Russell is the 8th best second star in the league. He is putting up 21.7 PPG and 6.6 APG despite being traded from the Warriors to try Timberwolves.
7. C.J. McCollum
Damian Lillard is a superstar player and there’s no question about that. He can drop 30 points in his sleep and is one of the most clutch players in the past decade. That is why C.J. McCollum, even as an unbelievable one-on-one scorer, is the second star for the Portland Trail Blazers.
There are few better second stars than C.J. McCollum because he’s a natural-born scorer and impactful player who can light it up from the perimeter and create his own shot with ease. If the Trail Blazers can make a Western Conference Finals appearance this year at the minimum, McCollum can easily find himself among the top five best second stars in the league.
6. Klay Thompson
Klay Thompson is truly a perfect sidekick. He’s a lockdown defender and arguably the second-best shooter of all time. His pairing with Stephen Curry has dominated the league for over 5 straight years, and he is clearly a player you can build around.
Klay Thompson is a second star for the Golden State Warriors but that may be a good thing. Playing next to Stephen Curry opens up the game for Klay much more, and that’s why he can get hot from the perimeter and break three-point records at any given moment.
5. Kemba Walker
The Boston Celtics have performed admirably without Kyrie Irving on the squad. As a matter of fact, Kemba Walker has basically replicated what Irving has done for the Celtics in terms of scoring the ball. Kemba Walker is a better team player than Kyrie Irving and that is why he has settled as a second star behind Jayson Tatum for the Celtics.
Kemba Walker is averaging 21.2 PPG this season and wants to do everything in his power to win. That is why he’s a top 5-second star in the league and there may be more to come from Kemba.
4. Paul George
Paul George might be one of the best sidekicks in NBA history. If you look at what he can do on the floor, he really has no weakness. He can guard multiple positions, shoot the ball, create his own shot, and has developed his overall game tremendously.
Signing Paul George has immediately made the Los Angeles Clippers title contenders because he and Kawhi Leonard might form the best perimeter duo in the league in the NBA. PG has shown the capabilities of carrying teams to the playoffs, but as a second star, he might be able to help carry a team to the Finals.
3. Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving will always be known as a second star, but that’s not really a bad thing. Even when he played alongside LeBron James, he was the main scorer and the main go-to guy in the clutch. For the Brooklyn Nets, he will play a similar role as Kevin Durant will take the recognition but Kyrie will be able to do what he does best which is to score the basketball and come up big in clutch moments.
Kyrie Irving always had this little brother aura around him and that will likely never change. He is still a superstar in this league and is a third-best second star in the NBA by averaging 27.4 PPG this season.
2. Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook is probably the most determined player in the league today. Nobody plays harder and wants to win more than Russell Westbrook and that is why he’s the second-best sidekick in the league. In fact, he might be better in this role than being the primary guy for a title contender. Westbrook is putting up sensational stats once again including 27.5 PPG, 8.0 RPG, and 7.0 APG.
With James Harden taking the bulk of the blame when they lose, Russ can just focus on being himself which is a dominant playmaker and scorer that goes 110% every single night. Russell Westbrook was once again at All-Star this year and he’s the second-best sidekick in the NBA right now behind one man from Los Angeles.
1. Anthony Davis
Without a shadow of a doubt, Anthony Davis is the best second-star in the NBA. As long as LeBron James is in Los Angeles Anthony Davis will be playing second fiddle to him. That’s not a bad thing because he can learn how to win and play alongside arguably one of the top five greatest players to ever play the game. Davis is putting up 26.7 PPG and 9.4 RPG as a monster big man for the Lakers.
Anthony Davis is already primed to take over the Lakers as the best player on the team in the long-run, but his status as the best second-star in the NBA actually does the Lakers favors. LeBron James might be the best player in the league, and AD is the best second-star in the league. That certainly spells a recipe for potential NBA champions.