|1||KEVIN DURANT, F, OKLAHOMA CITY: I have a beef with just about everybody at the top of these rankings, based upon the events of the past week. But I am going to try to let the venom fly while still looking at the bigger picture. This fella scored 30 or more points in all four games last week. The Thunder went 1-3. So why keep him at No. 1? Because of the value he provided in the form of hope to every other team in the Western Conference.||1|
|2||LeBRON JAMES, F, MIAMI:A week ago I wrote that he was going to shatter the scoring record at Madison Square Garden and Atlantic Yards on consecutive nights. Didn’t quite work out that way, eh? For me, it’s a blessing because I wanted to get all of my ridiculous predictions out of the way before traveling to Vegas, where I am today. From here on out, I gamble like Spock and cash like Chris Moneymaker.||2|
|3||LaMARCUS ALDRIDGE, F, PORTLAND: Reclaims his rightful spot ahead of Damian Lillard after an exceptional week (26 vs. Orlando, 21 and 13 vs. Boston), which has been his standard about 80 percent of the season if you look on a week by week basis. The news came out that he wants to stay in Portland with an extension, and even Paul Allen is not crazy enough to deny LMA what he has earned.||4|
|4||PAUL GEORGE, G-F, INDIANA: Mr. November got his mojo back against the Sacramento Kings by scoring 31 points — snapping a streak of 15 games in which he failed to reach 30. He also had a 2-for-14 clunker against the Wizards that was more than mitigated by his 13 rebounds and six assists. In a place now where he’d make every ballot if the vote were held today but would not garner a single first-place vote.||5|
|5||TONY PARKER, G, SAN ANTONIO: He will never win the MVP award. Too many Francophiles among the voters. Memo to the French: It is your own fault for treating visiting Americans with disdain. Oui, I run very hot and cold on Monsieur Parker, and this week he has earned his props: Best record in the West, five game winning streak, shooting 56 percent from the field in January. Welcome back, Tony.||–|
|6||BLAKE GRIFFIN, F, L.A. CLIPPERS: There is something to be said about having a three-game winning streak (no matter how shoddy the competition) despite playing without Chris Paul, and Griffin’s January numbers are quite strong: 25.5 ppg, 10.0 rebounds, 57 percent shooting. And in case you haven’t been paying attention, his FT percentage has risen from .611 over his first three seasons to .707 this season. And Donald Sterling isn’t trading him, old buddy Ric Bucher reports.||–|
|7||DAMIAN LILLARD, G, PORTLAND: Dropped to seventh in the league in 3-point accuracy after a 4-for-12 week, but still has a slim lead for most 3s in the NBA (120) over Klay Thompson (118). Y’all should expect to see him playing for Team USA at the World Cup in Spain over the summer, according to my sources. With this guy and Durant on the floor together, the Americans should lead all teams in 3-point shooting percentage — unless Kevin Love ruins it.||3|
|8||JAMES HARDEN, G, HOUSTON: Gonna give him a bump ahead of Steph, and we’ll see if he can make it hold up. Averaging 28.2 points on 49 percent shooting in January, and continues the Kobe Bryant tradition of being the best player on a team that also has Dwight Howard. Which reminds me: Another memo to Adam Silver: Change the rules to get rid of the Hack-a-Shaq strategy. NBA games need more flow. If you want to see flow, watch any FIBA game. They rarely last 2 hours.||8|
|9||STEPHEN CURRY, G, GOLDEN STATE: This guy and his teammates have had the misfortune of playing 23 road games and just 16 home games in front of the league’s most passionate fans (when it comes to cheering for a title-deprived team). They are brilliant to watch, and there is not a low IQ player on the roster. The wise guys who set the odds in Vegas have noticed (hard to miss a team that has won 11 of 12), as they are listed at 10-1 to win the title — same odds as Portland and lower odds than the Clippers and Rockets (12-1).||6|
|10||DWYANE WADE, G, MIAMI: I don’t care if he takes more nights off than most — he’s earned it my sacrificing his body in his early years and refining his game in his later years. He has attempted only 19 3-pointers this season, making 42 percent of them. To put that in perspective, he attempted 727 of them in a 3-year span beginning in 2008-09. Ninth in NBA in FG percent at .545. It ain’t LBJ’s .590, but it’s awful good.||10|
DROPPED OUT: Kevin Love (7), Chris Paul (9).
Jan. 1 Edition: Good Riddance, 2013
Dec. 25 Edition: LBJ and Wi Tu Lo
Dec. 18 Edition: Aldridge Moves to No. 1
Dec. 11 Edition: Still Limited Love for LeBron
Dec. 4 Edition: Paul George Back at No. 1
Nov. 27 Edition: Viva Tony Parker
Nov. 20 Edition: Durant takes over No. 1 spot.
NOV. 13 Edition: Paul George is No. 1.
Chris Sheridan is publisher and editor-in-chief of SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter