It's been the best of times for some NBA stars and the worst of times for others. You don't need to be Charles Dickens to figure that out.
There are those who are at the peak of their respective powers. LeBron James has kicked it up a notch, Carmelo Anthony is playing like an MVP (for once), Chris Paul is playing the point as well as anyone since Magic Johnson, and Rajon Rondo isn't far behind.
There are those whose greatness continues to grow. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are doing more without James Harden, who's also doing plenty without them. Kyle Lowry and Ryan Anderson have been revelations for their cellar-dwelling squads. Blake Griffin is on the mend after a slow start, Zach Randolph seems to have recovered from last season's knee troubles and Kevin Love is providing plenty more competition at power forward now that his broken hand has healed.
And there are those for whom Father Time is not yet undefeated. Kobe Bryant is leading the league in scoring, and is doing so more efficiently than ever. Tim Duncan is closing in on a 20-10 campaign at the tender age of 36. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have been none too shabby in their latest go-round with the Boston Celtics.
But not everyone's been so fortunate. Just ask these seven stars, all of whom have struggled to live up to (rather lofty) expectations thus far and would do well to tweak their games accordingly.