With the NBA all-star break upon us, let’s hand out some midseason hardware and look ahead to the second half of the season.
Most outstanding player: LeBron James
Kevin Durant is in the midst of his finest season, about to win his fourth consecutive scoring title and making improvements in nearly every statistical category to become a more complete player. All of that is good enough to give him a firm, unwavering grasp on his position as the second-best player in the league. Since winning his third most valuable player award, first NBA championship, a Finals MVP and a second gold medal, LeBron James is no longer chasing his contemporaries; he has his eyes set on playing the perfect game, on transcending the hype and truly being an all-time great. Already an unstoppable force when attacking the rim, James has become a more lethal jump shooter — with his accuracy extending well beyond the three-point line — and an effective playmaker and scorer in the low post. James is operating on a different plane than the rest of the league, playing at such a high level that he can observe the competition from the window seat of a private jet.