The Houston Rockets continue to build on what they did last year.
In the lockout-shortened, 66-game season of 2012, they went 34-32 and just missed the playoffs. Right now, they are currently the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference.
The young guys are still developing chemistry among themselves and are learning on the fly.
It takes everyone pulling in the same direction. Some guys have made progress, and some haven't.
Let's see whose stock has risen and whose has fallen.
All stats are accurate as of Jan. 1, 2013.
What can you say about Omer Asik that hasn't been said previously? His stock has been steadily rising all season long.
His play has been pleasantly and consistently surprising. He may be surprising himself at this point.
There may be a hit-the-wall moment somewhere down the line, as this is his first year starting and playing big minutes.
One has to be impressed with the effort and production that he has given thus far.
Another obvious choice is James Harden. He has come to Houston and put in work. His per-game averages of 26.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.8 steals speak for themselves.
Like Omer Asik, this is Harden's first year playing big minutes as a starter.
Harden had a broader body of work as a bench player than Asik, but there was still no guarantee that he would come in and do what he has done.
He has more than proven that he's up for the challenge of being the first option, and he will only get better.
The play of Marcus Morris has been another nice surprise. His 9.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and one assist per game are all improvements over what he did as a rookie.
He has even dwarfed those numbers as of late. In his last two games, he has scored 39 points and shot 70 percent from downtown.
That's a pretty nice groove.
As far as players whose stock is down, it's the usual suspects. Cole Aldrich should at least be able to provide a little defense and rebounding.
He could have been what Omer Asik was when he was with the Chicago Bulls.
Asik came in and spelled Joakim Noah, provided some effort and work on the boards and sat back down when Noah was ready to return to action.
Aldrich hasn't even been able to do that.
This one is still difficult to understand. Terrence Jones is a first-round pick.
Unlike Royce White, he wants to play. He has played well in the limited action that he has gotten.
Kevin McHale isn't big on playing rookies, obviously. However, the fact that Jones continues to bounce between Houston and Rio Grande Valley is beyond me.
That brings us to Royce White. If you hadn't heard, Jonathan Fiegen of The Houston Chronicle reported that White refused his assignment to the D-League.
His lengthy statement doesn't offer answers. It just raises more questions. Regarding mental health issues, he said that there was "an admitted lack of knowledge on behalf of the Rockets and the NBA" and that "an image of support has been offered by the Rockets."
The standoff between White and the Houston Rockets continues.
Up next, according to Fiegen, a possible suspension.