|1||TIM DUNCAN, F-C, SAN ANTONIO: As referenced above, no penalty points here. This guy is the anti-Pacquiao — he gets better with age. And he’ll never make it as a politician. Scoring (18.1 vs. 15.4), rebounding (9.8 vs. 9.0), field-goal percent (.531 vs. 492), free-throw percentage (.776 vs. 695) and minutes (30.3 vs 28.2) are all up from last season. Yes, Tony Parker has been equally important to the Spurs’ success. But you expect TP to be the Spurs’ No. 1 player. He has been for 2-3 years. You don’t expect TD to be this resurgent.||1|
|2||KEVIN DURANT, F, OKLAHOMA CITY: No penalty points here. Hard to find fault with a team that has won seven in a row. I am rearranging my calendar through the end of April to catch every Spurs-Thunder, Thunder-Grizzlies and Spurs-Grizzlies game yet to be played. I am sick of the Lakers. They make for a great story, but I watch these guys for great basketball. Durant, BTW, is no longer chasing 50-40-90. He’s there right now (FG, 3-pt and FT percentages).||3|
|3||CARMELO ANTHONY, F, NEW YORK: Hard to give penalty points to a guy with a gash in his finger who sat out two straight games, and he moves up as the beneficiary of the penalty points being docked against LBJ. Since this is being posted Sunday afternoon, and his Sunday night alumni game against the Nuggets has yet to take place, I’ll set the over/under at 37 1/2 points (if he is cleared to play). Will he make more than half his FG attempts? He hasn’t in his last 5 active games.||4|
|4||DAVID LEE, F, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: Yes, he is above LeBron. Both teams have won 13 games as the new week begins, and therefore the guy who has been most responsible for the Dubs’ 13 wins gets the nod over the guy who has been responsible for the Heat’s 13 wins. Lee’s last 3 games: 24-17, 30-15, 20-11 — all wins. Bonus points for carrying a team that does not have Andrew Bogut but does have Festus Ezeli, who is being rookie hazed with a HelloKitty backpack.||8|
|5||LeBRON JAMES, F, MIAMI: He’s lucky Pat Riley is not coaching the team. Riles would have put him and his teammates through a 5-hour practice the day after their 20-point debacle of a loss against the Melo-less Knicks. It is abundantly clear that these guys have already put it on cruise control, and they are still tied with the Knicks in the loss column. We don’t get to see the next installment of “We Can Beat You By 20″ until March 3 in a Sunday matinee at MSG. The teams play for the 4th and final time April 2 in a rare Tuesday night TNT telecast.||2|
|6||ZACH RANDOLPH, F, MEMPHIS: At a certain point, we are going to have to make this a joint entry along with Rudy Gay. Oops, sorry to mention joint and Z-Bo in the same sentence. Portland readers will appreciate that one. His 38 and 22 against the Suns more than offset his 8-point, 5-rebound aberration against the Pistons. For all his double-doubles, Randolph has only three 20-point games. Rudy has seven. Prior to last season (11.6), Zach averaged 20 ppg for five straight years.||3|
|7||TONY PARKER, G, SAN ANTONIO: The penalty point provision of these rankings starts to take effect again, which is why you haven’t seen the words “Kobe” and “Bryant” in the same sentence yet. As mentioned in the Duncan entry at No. 1, that ship in San Antonio has two captains (aside from Pop), and Parker merits equal billing when it comes to accounting for the Spurs’ overall success. So after being left out of the rankings last week, he returns as the highest-ranked newcomer.||–|
|8||KOBE BRYANT, G, L.A. LAKERS: You know he belongs on this list somewhere, despite his team’s record. Congrats on reaching 30K, Kobe. For a “best of Kobe” video compilation, click here. Stat of the season is Lakers being 1-8 when he scores 30 or more. So maybe he doesn’t belong on this list? Nah.||6|
|9||JAMAL CRAWFORD, G, L.A. CLIPPERS: Back on the list after a brief absence, and not because he earns brownie points for being able on our Friday radio show to name two of the five players who have shot 95 percent or better on FTs over the course of a season (Jose Calderon, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Calvin Murphy, Ray Allen and Jeff Hornacek). JCrossover Hasn’t missed a FT since Nov. 3, when he clanged two vs. GS. He is at .950 to begin the week. He also names his best ankle-bust ever in this interview.||–|
|10||<||O.J. MAYO, G, DALLAS. His 40 in the shootout with James Harden gets him back on the list, where he was a mainstay over Weeks 1-4. If he can keep the Mavs at .500 until Dirk Nowitzki returns, that’ll have been a heck of an accomplishment. Dallas is 8-3 when he scores 20 or more.||–|
DROPPED OUT: Jrue Holiday (7), Ray Allen (9), Anderson Varejao (10).
TEAMS CONSPICUOUSLY UNREPRESENTED: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Utah Jazz.
Pages: 1 2