If the King continues to be M.I.A., the "knights" might be able to get past the gate and into the throne room.
While that may still be a ways off from happening, there's a handful of players who are making noise and could present a challenge to the kingdom.
Meanwhile, another very familiar face is close to losing his spot in the chase. He'd join a group of names that have been all too familiar to the OSPR (Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade, Pau Gasol).
- Notes: Statistics are through games of Jan. 9; ATHO = All To His Own
- Any player who turns 32 during regular season can be added to rankings.
- Check out previous rankings
ATHO. LeBron James (33), Los Angeles Lakers
Previous rank: ATHO
Latest stats: Injured
Season stats: 27.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 7.1 apg
James, who has missed the last eight games with a strained groin, is progressing but will be out until at least Jan. 16. He's been cleared for more on-court activities. In the meantime, his grip on the 'ATHO' standing continues to loosen, with a few names inching closer and closer to being in the same room as the King.
1. LaMarcus Aldridge (33), San Antonio Spurs
Previous rank: 1
Latest stats: 7 games, 24.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 3.6 apg
Season stats: 19.8 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 2.4 apg
The scoring and shooting have been there (20 or more points in six of last eight; 50 percent or better from the field in seven of eight), but the rebounding continues to be a letdown. Aldridge has just one double-figure rebound game in the last 12. You won't be overthrowing the King if you're not filling up the box score.
2. Lou Williams (32), LA Clippers
Previous rank: 4
Latest stats: 6 games, 23.2 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 5.2 apg
Season stats: 18.5 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 4.9 apg
Williams has eclipsed the 20-point mark in four of the last six despite averaging just 27.7 minutes. He's also connected on two or more 3s in three straight. In fact, he's failed to score in double figures just twice since Nov. 25, a span of 17 games. And we'd be missing the mark if we didn't mention Williams' career-high 36 points last Friday.
3. J.J. Redick (34), Philadelphia 76ers
Previous rank: 3
Latest stats: 4 games, 19.0 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 2.3 apg
Season stats: 18.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.8 apg
He missed the last two games with back spasms, but that wasn't enough to bump him down a rung. In the four games he did play, Redick shot a respectable 47.9 from the field and 44.8 from deep. He also managed to score 18 or more points in three of the four while nailing 13 treys over that span.
4. Marc Gasol (33), Memphis Grizzlies
Previous rank: 2
Latest stats: 7 games, 13.1 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 5.3 apg
Season stats: 15.7 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 4.5 apg
Most of the time, one impressive game can prevent you from sliding down the list. Not this time, as Gasol's other six performances left such a bad taste in our mouth. Outside of Wednesday's 26-point, 14-rebound showing, the big man failed to score more than 15 while also being held under 10 points twice.
5. Kyle Lowry (32), Toronto Raptors
Previous rank: 5
Latest stats: 2 games, 14.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 7.0 apg
Season stats: 14.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 9.6 apg
Had any of the names below him made substantial noise, Lowry definitely would have slipped down at least one spot. That said, he did manage to score 12 or more points, dish out six or more assists and snatch three or more steals in both games. Of course the shooting (40.9 FG%) left a lot to be desired.
6. Marvin Williams (32), Charlotte Hornets
Previous rank: 6
Latest stats: 7 games, 12.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.4 apg
Season stats: 10.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.1 apg
Williams is another example of doing just enough to keep his position. What really stood out were the home-away splits. In three home games, Williams averaged 8.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 32.1 FG%. In four road games, he averaged 15.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 47.1 FG%. Maybe he's afraid of getting an MJ 'love' tap.
7. DeMarre Carroll (32), Brooklyn Nets
Previous rank: Just missed
Latest stats: 6 games, 18.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.3 apg
Season stats: 10.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.1 apg
Despite averaging 24.1 minutes (his lowest since '12-13), Carroll is on a solid run, notching 15 or more points in six straight while shooting 54.7 from the field and 48.6 from deep in the process. If we're going to nitpick, we'd like to see more work on the boards, as Carroll has just one double-digit rebounding game this season.
8. Gerald Green (32), Houston Rockets
Previous rank: NA
Latest stats: 6 games, 14.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 0.5 apg
Season stats: 8.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 0.4 apg
Green has stepped up during Chris Paul's extended absence. After averaging 21.1 minutes in December, Green has seen the court for 29.9 minutes in January. He's rewarding coach Mike D'Antoni for the extra playing time, shooting 49.2 from the field, 40.0 from deep and scoring more than 15 in four of the last six.
9. Jeff Green (32), Washington Wizards
Previous rank: NA
Latest stats: 7 games, 13.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 3.7 apg
Season stats: 11.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.7 apg
There was nothing spectacular about the last seven games from Green, but it was good enough to make it onto the bottom of our list. Despite seeing his double-figure scoring streak snapped at six, Green has emerged as a consistent scoring option for the Wizards, who need to extra punch with John Wall out for the season.
10. Chris Paul (33), Houston Rockets
Previous rank: 8
Latest stats: Injured
Season stats: 15.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 8.0 apg
Recovering from a hamstring injury that will likely keep him sidelined until the end of January, Paul is barely hanging on to a spot on our list. While he'll likely lose his spot in the next edition, we aren't going out on a big limb when we predict he'll be back in the top tier before it's all said and done.
Just missed the cut: Paul Millsap, Dwyane Wade, Trevor Ariza, Taj Gibson
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