New York Knicks Carmelo Anthony
So far during the 2012-13 NBA season, injuries have been a factor, as has the ability of some teams to figure out how their new pieces will work together.
Those who have done that already have seen their stock soar. Those who haven't have seen it plummet.
Through Sunday's games, there are 13 NBA teams who are under .500, two that are directly at the break even point and the rest are playing various degrees of above-average basketball.
At the quarter-turn, stocks are moving up and down for teams all over the league as we head toward the All-Star break.
Washington Wizards Bradley Beal
The Washington Wizards are losing games by an average of 7.4 points on the season. That number is good for the worst differential in the NBA.
They are also 0-8 on the road. Only 17 games into the season, the Wizards are already 10.5 games out of first place in the Southeast Division.
Their stock is as low as possible.
But they did beat the Miami Heat last week, right?
Rookie Bradley Beal is averaging 11.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists on 35 percent shooting from the floor. Someday he'll eventually play alongside John Wall in the Wizards backcourt, but there is still no set timetable, however, as to when that will actually happen.
Cleveland Cavaliers Anderson Varejao
Heading into year two of the Kyrie Irving era, there was some hope for improvement with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Unfortunately, that hasn't happened.
The Cavaliers are shooting a league-worst 41.2 percent from the floor, and they are also allowing opponents to shoot a league-high 48.1 percent overall against them.
Irving has not played since November 18, after being sidelined with a finger injury. Rookie Dion Waiters has also missed the last four games due to injury as well.
Anderson Varejao has been a bright spot though, and is leading the NBA in rebounding with 15.2 per game. He's also scoring a career-high 14.5 points.
That's still not enough to keep the Cavaliers' stock out of the basement. They appear certain to be drafting in the lottery again by season's end.
Toronto Raptors Andrea Bargnani
The Toronto Raptors are worse than they were last year.
They finished the 2011-12 campaign winning 34.8 percent of their games, but this season, the Raptors are winning only 19 percent of them.
They are giving up an average of 103.5 points per game defensively while only scoring 96.5 points themselves.
Jonas Valanciunas looked impressive during the preseason, but he's looked like a rookie ever since, averaging 8.2 points and 5.3 rebounds.
Trade talk surrounding Andrea Bargnani also seems louder now than it's ever been in Toronto, and he has been shouldering much of the blame for the Raptors' awful start. Assuming a team was interested in paying his eight-figure salary through 2015, he might not finish the season in Toronto.
New Orleans Hornets Anthony Davis
The New Orleans Hornets' stock will remain down for as long as rookie Anthony Davis is wearing a suit on the sidelines.
He's missed the last 11 games for the Hornets, and in that time, they've won only two of those games.
Earlier this season, Davis averaged an encouraging 16 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks, and the team certainly misses that production.
It could be a stat line worthy of Rookie of the Year honors, if only he played more than six games.
The good news for New Orleans is that Davis could be back soon, according to The Times Picayune's John Reid.
The bad news is that fellow rookie Austin Rivers has been underwhelming so far and Eric Gordon is still injured.
The Hornets are also allowing a league-worst 41.5 percent per game from three-point range on the season, which isn't helping.
Detroit Pistons Kyle Singler
Kyle Singler has the Detroit Pistons' stock trending upward.
How many people thought we'd be saying that at this point in the year?
After opening the season 0-8, the Pistons rallied to win seven of their next 14 games, this after inserting Singler into the starting lineup.
They haven't necessarily stepped into the playoff picture, but they do appear to be stepping forward.
Since replacing Rodney Stuckey as a starter, Singler is averaging 10.4 points per night. He's shooting 48 percent from the floor overall and 42 percent from three.
Singler is also helping to take pressure off of fellow rookie Andre Drummond, who's averaging only 6.5 points and 6.2 rebounds so far.
Phoenix Suns Michael Beasley
I respect the Phoenix Suns' attempt to guarantee satisfaction from an organizational standpoint this season.
Unfortunately, that decision has not worked to improve their on-court product.
On November 27, the Suns moved to 7-8 with a 91-78 road win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Michael Beasley efficiently sunk six of his eight field goal attempts that night.
Since then, Phoenix has lost its last seven games. Beasley has also totaled more field goal attempts on the year (254) than he's scored points (248), as of Sunday.
Goran Dragic and Luis Scola have proved to be solid additions, but they need more help than they're getting.
Sacramento Kings DeMarcus Cousins
Yes, you read that right.
On the strength of three-straight wins heading into the quarter-turn of the season, the Sacramento Kings' stock is trending upward.
DeMarcus Cousins is a top-10 rebounder in the NBA right now at 10.1 boards per game.
He's also throwing in an average of 16.8 points per night.
If Cousins' field goal percentage can improve over the course of the season, the Kings might not finish as poorly as most people assumed they would this year.
Also, if Tyreke Evans is able to navigate through his sore knee issues, he could help keep the wins piling up in Sacramento.
Charlotte Bobcats Kemba Walker
Remember that triumphant moment in NBA history when the Charlotte Bobcats were 7-5?
Me too. I wanted so badly to believe that these Bobcats were different from last year's abysmal squad.
Their strong play at the beginning of the season has been replaced with the traditional routine of losing that we've grown accustomed to in Charlotte.
The Bobcats have dropped seven straight games through Sunday, including a 30-point loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
It could get ugly again in Charlotte this year.
Orlando Magic J.J. Redick
The Orlando Magic beat Dwight Howard's new "superteam" to open the month of December.
That win alone has much to do with the recent surge in Magic stock.
They've been respectable this season, winning eight games in total so far. J.J. Redick is also averaging a career high in points and assists at 13.8 and 5.1 per night respectively.
Nobody would have been mad at Orlando for tanking as hard as they could this season, but they're actually trying to win and are doing so more often than most people expected.
Portland Trail Blazers Damian Lillard
The NBA is a point guard-driven league.
Through the first quarter of this season, the Portland Trail Blazers have found themselves a point guard.
They weren't going to compete for an NBA championship this season, no matter what happened, which is why the Trail Blazers have their stock up despite their losing record.
Much of this stock rising has to do with rookie point guard Damian Lillard, who is averaging 18.9 points and 6.5 assists on the season.
Pairing him with All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge over the next few seasons as they continue to build appears to be a recipe for sustainable success.
Portland did not have that type of recipe identified last season.
Los Angeles Lakes Dwight Howard
Maybe Mike Brown wasn't all that was wrong with this year's Los Angeles Lakers.
Kobe Bryant is leading the NBA in scoring at 28.6 points per game, but his teammates seem unsure of how to best support him.
Or maybe they are just unable to.
Dwight Howard is third in rebounding in the NBA at 11.7 per game. He's also averaging just over 18 points.
Metta World Peace and Pau Gasol are each scoring 12 points per game, but the bench has been non-existent.
The Lakers are only 2-6 on the road through Sunday, winning only three of their last 10 games overall.
Steve Nash will come back eventually, though, so maybe that will help.
Houston Rockets James Harden
After executing a blockbuster trade to acquire James Harden at the start of the season, the Houston Rockets are a playoff contender.
Despite the fact that they've lost their last two games, their stock is still up because of that.
Omer Asik was acquired this summer and is also fourth in the NBA at 11.5 rebounds per game. James Harden is the fifth leading scorer in the league, averaging 24.7 points.
The biggest problem for Houston is the league-worst 103.9 points per game that they're giving up collectively.
That will need to change somehow if they hope to make a serious push toward the playoffs.
Milwaukee Bucks Brandon Jennings
The Milwaukee Bucks are contending for a playoff spot right now.
They are also leading the NBA in blocks at 7.7 per game as of Sunday, and Larry Sanders is a big reason why.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Sanders has become a valuable contributor to the Bucks this season. He's blocking a league-best 3.11 shots per game as of Sunday.
If Larry Sanders leading the NBA in blocks doesn't impress you, how about the offensive-minded Brandon Jennings currently being third in the league in steals at 2.58 per game?
Scott Skiles has his team playing some defense so far and its stock has gone up because of it.
Indiana Pacers Roy Hibbert
Trending upward ever so slightly are the Indiana Pacers.
The reason is team defense, while they wait for the return of Danny Granger.
The Pacers are holding opponents to a league best 41.3 percent shooting from the floor overall. They are also leading the league in rebounding at 46.3 per night.
Roy Hibbert's offensive production hasn't been what we expected after his All-Star performance last season, but he is still third in the NBA at 3.0 blocks per game.
If they can stay around .500 until Granger returns, the Pacers will still be a threat in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Denver Nuggets Ty Lawson
The Denver Nuggets are 5-1 at home.
They've also only played six home games so far, which is the least amount of any team in the NBA.
Their 10-11 record isn't as good as we thought it would be at the beginning of the year, but the home wins games start to add up here shortly.
If Denver can continue to defend its home floor, everything should work itself out, especially if Ty Lawson can continue his career-high pace in assists per game as the season goes on.
Minnesota Timberwolves Kevin Love
Ricky Rubio has been back practicing since last Sunday, and he could return as soon as this week.
When he does, the Timberwolves would have managed through injuries to their two best players this season while still playing .500 basketball.
Stock is way up in Minnesota because of that.
Dallas Mavericks O.J. Mayo
O.J. Mayo has made a nice transition to life as a Dallas Maverick, averaging over 20 points per game so far this season.
That much has been encouraging for Mavericks fans, but it does not look like Dallas will be much of a contender this season.
That is at least not until Dirk Nowitzki is back, which may not be for some time.
Utah Jazz's Gordon Hayward
The Utah Jazz have won their last three games to get up over .500 at the quarter-turn.
We knew that Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Mo Williams would provide consistent production for the Jazz this season, but it's been the supporting cast that has improved their stock.
Gordon Hayward, specifically, has improved his production to more than 13 points per game so far. That is an increase of almost two points per game while averaging three less minutes per night than last season.
The Utah Jazz are going to be a playoff team this season. At least it seems more certain that will be now than it did this summer.
Philadelphia 76ers Jrue Holiday
When you make the splash that the Philadelphia 76ers did to acquire a player like Andrew Bynum and yet he still has not stepped onto the court through a quarter of the season, your stock is going to go down—even if Jrue Holiday is balling out.
Holiday is averaging 17.7 points, nine assists and 3.8 rebounds per night. That assist total is good for third in the NBA.
All that progress is being weighed down by the Bynum injury, however.
Boston Celtics Rajon Rondo
There was a thought that the Boston Celtics' reserve unit would be bolstered by Jared Sullinger and Jeff Green heading into this season.
So far, that hasn't really happened.
Sullinger is averaging 5.5 points in 20 games and Green is averaging 9.8 in 18 games.
Rajon Rondo, now with complete control of the offense, hasn't totaled the type of 20-point-per-game scoring that Celtics fans had hoped for either.
While Rondo is still leading the league in assists at 12.8 per game, he will need to score more than 13 points per game if the Celtics are going to make a deep run into the playoffs.
Chicago Bulls Joakim Noah
Derrick Rose is going to return eventually.
If the Chicago Bulls can do enough to manage a top-five seed in the Eastern Conference while he's out, that should be good enough to make things interesting.
They've won their last three straight games and six of their last eight.
Joakim Noah is scoring a career-high 13.7 points to go along with his 10.8 rebounds.
Stock is way up in Chicago as Rose continues to heal.
Brooklyn Nets Deron Williams
The Brooklyn Nets were 11-4 not so long ago, and they appeared to be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
Since that time, they've seen their stock fall as a result of four straight losses.
Deron Williams is still fourth in the NBA at 8.7 assists per game but he needs to score more than 16.8 points for this team to be considered elite.
The rest of his teammates need to do more as well or the Nets will become average pretty quickly.
Golden State Warriors David Lee
The Golden State Warriors have won three straight and are only one game back in the Western Conference's Pacific Division.
David Lee is fifth in the NBA in rebounding at 11.3 boards per game.
This has all been with Andrew Bogut and Stephen Curry each missing time due to injury this season.
Head coach Mark Jackson may have changed things in the Bay for the better after all.
Stock is as high as it's been in a decade for Golden State right now.
Atlanta Hawks Jeff Teague
You think you can trade your most productive scorer over the last few seasons and actually improve?
Well, it appears that the Hawks have done just that after dealing Joe Johnson to Brooklyn over the summer in a contract-dumping move for the future.
Josh Smith has stepped up to lead a more balanced attack at 17 points per game.
Al Horford is averaging 16 points per contest, while Jeff Teague is scoring 13.6 points and dishing out a team-high 6.8 assists.
The addition of Lou Williams shouldn't be overlooked either in Atlanta's surprising start to the season.
Los Angeles Clippers Chris Paul
The Clippers have won six straight and are leading the Pacific Division.
They are an NBA championship contender that nobody really wants to talk too much about.
The Clippers are leading the NBA in steals at 11 per game as a team, playing an up-tempo style of defense lately.
Chris Paul is also leading the league himself in that category at 2.65 per night, while dishing out 9.3 assists.
That assist total for Paul is good for second in the league at the quarter-turn.
With Jamal Crawford and an improved Eric Bledsoe, the Clippers' roster is deeper than it was last season too.
Miami Heat's LeBron James
Outside of LeBron James, the Heat are simply not producing like an NBA championship team.
The Heat managed to lose to the New York Knicks at home without Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert last week.
The lack of defense at the point guard position was highlighted by Raymond Felton's 27-point performance
LeBron James is averaging 25.1 points per game, and that should not equate to five losses in 18 tries for his team.
New York Knicks Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony is the NBA's third leading scorer as of Sunday at 26.8 points per game.
The Knicks have answered the questions surrounding Jeremy Lin's departure by playing better than they probably would have with Lin on board.
The only question they'll soon have to answer now is: How will they mesh when Stoudemire comes back?
If Stoudemire can blend in and contribute to what New York is doing, they just might become and NBA title contender.
The Knicks are not there yet, but they are inching closer.
Memphis Grizzlies Zach Randolph
Rudy Gay is thriving alongside Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol this season—something that has never really happened during the last three seasons.
With each of their three best players all healthy and contributing at high levels together, the sky is the limit for the grind-time Grizzlies.
Randolph is second in the NBA at 12.9 rebounds per game, and he's also averaging 17.6 points.
Rudy Gay is at 19 points per game and Marc Gasol is at 15.7.
The Grizzlies are for real, you guys.
Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook
If their record wasn't indicative enough of how well they've been playing this season, here are a few statistics for the Oklahoma City Thunder:
They are leading the NBA in scoring at 106 points per game, and they have the greatest average point differential at 9.4 points per contest.
They are also leading the NBA in three-point shooting at 42.6 percent.
Kevin Durant is second in the NBA in scoring, Serge Ibaka is second in blocks and Russell Westbrook is in the top 10 in assists.
The Thunder are very good, and they haven't missed James Harden yet. Maybe they will in the playoffs, but we'll have to wait and see.
San Antonio Spurs Tim Duncan
Quick, besides the Thunder, which team has the best record in the NBA?
I'm not sure how many people would answer that question by naming the San Antonio Spurs, but those that did would be right.
The San Antonio machine is leading the league in assists at 25.5 per game.
The Spurs are still very good, no matter how old you think Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker are.
They could win the NBA title this season, so don't sleep on them.
Stock is way up in San Antonio.