The NBA, more than any other league, is a league of stars. That doesn’t mean that it’s void of some all-world level talents as 2nd options, however. Here are the 5 best 2nd options in the National Basketball Association:
#5.) DeMarcus Cousins
Pelicans’ Best Player: Anthony Davis
He’s quite a character, DeMarcus Cousins. There was a point in time a few years ago where he was known more for his temper tantrums than his on-court prowess. That’s all changed over the past couple of seasons, however.
He’s been a model of consistency over the past 4 years, never averaging below 10 rebounds, and only averaging below 24 points once. The Cousins/Davis tandem is something that didn’t gain steam until it was too late last season, but should be a force to be reckoned with in 2017-18′.
#4.) Paul George
Thunder’s Best Player: Russell Westbrook
For the first time since breaking through as a star, Paul George is going to have to take a backseat. He had the extreme misfortunate of having players like Roy Hibbert and George Hill as sidekicks back in Indiana, but he’ll now have an uber-talented Oklahoma City roster at his disposal.
George/OKC could either be a match made in heaven or a disaster waiting to happen. Both Westbrook and George are used to having the ball in their hands. Both players aren’t exactly models of efficiency either, so while George is one of the most talented players in the league, we’ll have to wait and see how this relationship plays out.
#3.) Karl-Anthony Towns
Timberwolves’ Best Player: Jimmy Butler
I’m high on Karl-Anthony Towns. Scratch that. I’m really high on Karl-Anthony Towns. So high, in fact, that I was debating whether or not the 21-year old is actually the best player on the revamped Wolves. The only reason that I didn’t conclude KAT>Butler is because of KAT’s sometimes lackluster defense. Offensively, Towns is far and away the best T-Wolve, and probably the best center in the league.
In his age-21 season, Towns averaged 25.1 points per game and 12.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 54.2% and maintaining a 25.9 PER. Only 4 other players in NBA history have ever pulled that off in any season. Their names are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson, and Charles Barkley. Pretty good company.
#2.) Chris Paul
Rockets’ Best Player: James Harden
Paul has averaged at least 9 assists in every season for the past decade, eclipsing the 10-assist mark in 6 of those seasons. He’s also super careful with the ball in his hands despite the heavy workload, with a career assist-to-turnover ratio damn near 5. His ball protection should be a breath of fresh air for Houston, who have gotten all too used to James Harden’s reckless ballhandling.
Paul has cemented himself as one of the greatest point guards of all-time–don’t let the whole “hasn’t made a Conference Finals’ thing fool you–as he boasts the highest PER among all point guards. His 25.72 rating places him 6th all-time in the category, trailing only Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson, and Wilt Chamberlain.
#1.) Steph Curry
Warriors’ Best Player: Kevin Durant
Steph Curry is either the 3rd or 4th best player in the world, depending on who you ask. It just so happens that he has the undisputed 2nd best player in the world on his team.