For every championship-contending team, you have a superstar. In addition to that, you have a terrific sidekick; a Robin to your Batman, a Mike Lowry to your Marcus Burnett, you get the drift. This year has seen the usual suspects do their thing. The Lakers are smashing teams at will, Phoenix is winning, and Denver is doing great as well. It’s also no secret all three of those teams have their number one player, and a terrific number two. Right now, we’re gonna look at some of the obvious number twos, as well as a player who can be the difference between their team being decent, and possibly making some noise as the season moves forward.
Josh Smith – Atlanta Hawks
Hopefully, we can all agree that Joe Johnson is the number one player on the Atlanta Hawks. Cool? Cool. With that being said, Josh Smith has the ability to make this team go from simply making the playoffs to making the Eastern Conference Finals. He’s an underrated defender, good rebounder, and we all know he has the ability to make a game-changing play. It may be swatting a shot into the stands, or catching oops from Mike Bibby. He has that rare ability to change the momentum of a game, and in a game that’s ALL ABOUT MOMENTUM, Josh Smith gets it done. Atlanta is first in the East right now, and they can keep the party going, as long as he continues to do his thing.
Amare Stoudemire – Phoenix Suns
Much to the chagrin of Ed, who loves Amare Stoudemire, he is the second-best player on Phoenix, but when your best player is a two-time MVP, it’s not a bad position to be in. As a matter of fact, it’s a damn good one. I’ve come to accept the fact that he’ll never average ten boards a game, but he definitely makes his mark. We all know he’ll dunk on anything that moves, but he’s also an excellent mid-range shooter, and an adequate defender around the basket. I still think a healthy Grant Hill is the key for this team, but Grant Hill, by no means, is the second-best player on the Phoenix Suns. That honor goes to Amare. If he continues to play well, it won’t be a shock to see Phoenix back in the playoffs this year.
Pau Gasol – Los Angeles Lakers
Pau Gasol is to the Lakers what KG is to Boston; with him, they are many people’s favorite to repeat as NBA champions. Without him, they are still good, but they’re not winning the Western Conference title, let alone an NBA title. Gasol is the perfect fit for this team, and since he’s got to LA, anyone with a set of eyes can see this. He’s tailor-made for the triangle-on-steroids offense the Lakers run, he has damn near every post move in the book, he doesn’t take bad shots, he’s an excellent rebounder, and an underrated post defender. Let Ed tell it, Pau Gasol is the MVP of the Lakers, and that post will come sooner than you think (I’m calling you out, Ed). If he’s not the best second-best player in basketball, he’s in the top-three, easily.
Wild Card: Greg Oden – Portland Trailblazers
That’s right; none other than the Number One pick in the 2007 Draft, that Greg Oden. Before you send hate mail to the site, hear me out. There’s one thing I’m certain of, and it’s that the Trailblazers will not experience post-season success, if their second-best player is LaMarcus *bleeping* Aldridge. No disrespect to him, but he doesn’t do one thing, in my opinion, that has a game-changing impact, but Greg Oden does. When he keeps his butt out of foul trouble, he shows the ability to be a terrific rebounder, and a force around the basket, whether it’s blocking shots, or altering twice as many. I’m calling this one a wild-card, because he isn’t Portland’s second-best player, but he has all the ability to be an effective sidekick for Brandon Roy. It looks like he’s 100%, and if that remains the same, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
WHO ARE SOME OTHER TERRIFIC SIDEKICKS? UP-AND-COMERS? LET US KNOW!