The NBA's new pecking order isn't just based on things like scoring averages or All-Star votes. Sure, those things matter, but there's something else that's far more significant in establishing who's on top of the league's power structure:
Just like the world of organized crime, the NBA has a sort of hierarchical ladder. At the top, there's the Godfather. His authority is unassailable, he commands the utmost deference from everyone around him and you should never, ever cross him.
Below that, there's the Boss. Bosses answer only to the Godfather, and they've got full control over everyone underneath them, including the appropriately named Underboss.
Moving down the line, we've got capos, who head up crews of soldiers and still have immense power and influence. Said soldiers are the ones who do the dirty work. They're violent, dangerous and often unpredictable. Besides that, they'll do anything to move up the ladder.
And finally, at the very bottom, there are associates. These guys look like gangsters and may carry themselves like them, but they're not actually part of the family and don't command nearly as much respect as "made men."
Using the mafia template, we'll have a little fun by organizing the NBA into mob-like tiers. Remember, respect is the key here, and there are lots of ways to get it; on-court skill, a reputation in the clutch and, of course, power and influence all factor into our "respect rankings."
So go and get your bleepin' shine box, because we're ranking the NBA's new pecking order, mafia style.