Kobe Bryant's shift to a pass-first shooting guard isn't the only change that's occurred during the middle of the 2012-13 NBA season. The NBA Superstar Rankings have undergone some serious changes as well.
As the minutes, stats and accolades continue to pile up for the elite players around the Association, we're getting a clearer picture of the superstar landscape each and every day.
So, who's shooting up the ranks? Which players are now truly elite? Have any former superstars begun to fall down?
To find out the answers to all of those questions, as well as see how the rankings have changed since the last edition, you'll have to read on.
Note: All stats, unless otherwise indicated, are current through Feb. 4.
As a quick housekeeping note, injured players are not considered for the star-player power rankings. If a player is out for a prolonged period of time, he's automatically ineligible for the next 20 slides.
Tyson Chandler, C, New York Knicks
Serge Ibaka, PF/C, Oklahoma City Thunder
Serge Ibaka could stand to become more of a presence on the glass, but his blocking and overall defensive abilities are creeping upward, and his offensive game continues to improve.
Greg Monroe, C, Detroit Pistons
This big man continues to be one of the NBA's hidden gems, dishing out dimes from the block and contributing in all facets of the game on a nightly basis.
Zach Randolph, PF, Memphis Grizzlies
Even though he's struggled immensely on offense since the departure of Rudy Gay, Z-Bo has resumed his assault on the boards, recording double-digit rebounds in each of his past four games.
Kemba Walker, PG, Charlotte Bobcats
How Kemba Walker consistently pulls down rebounds boggles my mind. His ability to score and create for his teammates, though, is much more understandable when you watch him play.
Team: Sacramento Kings
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 17.4 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 0.7 blocks, 1.5 steals, 20.23 PER
Every now and again, DeMarcus Cousins goes off on an absolute tear that reminds everyone he has the potential to someday become the best center in the league.
This hasn't been one of those weeks for Boogie, but his versatility is enough for him to elevate up to the final spot in the ranked section while two more players fall victim to the injury imp.
Over his last five games, the 22-year-old big man is averaging just 13.0 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, but each contest is also seeing him add 2.8 assists, 1.2 blocks and 2.0 steals.
Plus, Cousins has shot just under 50 percent during that stretch. For this center, that's something to be proud of.
Team: Utah Jazz
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 17.1 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.1 blocks, 0.9 steals, 20.42 PER
Al Jefferson has been good lately, but he hasn't been absolutely sensational. It's already hard enough for him to garner national attention while playing for the Utah Jazz, but the recent run of non-buzz-worthy performances has further depressed his status as a household name.
That's a shame, because watching Jefferson is still quite enjoyable if you appreciate old-school, back-to-the-basket play with terrific footwork and decision-making.
The 28-year-old has averaged just under his seasonal per-game scoring and rebounding stats, but he's made up for that and a drop in field-goal percentage by feeding teammates more effectively.
Team: Miami Heat
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 17.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.3 blocks, 0.8 steals, 20.44 PER
Chris Bosh is slipping in every area that doesn't involve scoring.
He's recorded just a single assist in his last five games for the Miami Heat. The power forward pretending to be a center has also broken into double figures in the rebound column just twice since 2013 began. Those are not positive signs for the defending champions.
Even if Bosh can continue to put up games like his offensive explosions against the Toronto Raptors and Charlotte Bobcats—28 points on 12-of-19 shooting, and 23 points on 11-of-18 shooting, respectively—it won't matter if he can't do more than just score.
Team: Portland Trail Blazers
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 20.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.3 blocks, 0.9 steals, 19.61 PER
While the Portland Trail Blazers have experienced mixed results over the past week and a half, LaMarcus Aldridge has been consistently impressive in a number of facets. He's recorded double-doubles in five consecutive games while staying fairly efficient.
This domination in the scoring columns and on the glass wasn't quite enough to push the underrated big man into the ranked section of this article, but when coupled with his increased ability to find open teammates out of the post, it certainly was.
Team: Golden State Warriors
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 21.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 0.2 blocks, 1.6 steals, 20.07 PER
Stephen Curry has only played in one game since the last set of rankings, but he proved that his ankle isn't going to cause him any trouble.
Is anything in basketball as pretty as Curry's jumper right now?
Against the Phoenix Suns, the baby-faced assassin knocked down six of his 10 attempts from the outside, recording 29 points and eight assists while leading the Golden State Warriors to yet another victory.
Team: Indiana Pacers
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 17.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 0.7 blocks, 1.8 steals, 17.19 PER
From this point forward, you will never watch Paul George play and fail to see him contribute in multiple areas. The Indiana Pacers may be looking forward to the return of Danny Granger, but the former leading scorer's absence has allowed George to develop into a bona fide superstar.
Just take his game against the Denver Nuggets, even though his Pacers fell by one point on the road.
George recorded 23 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, a block and four steals. He shot 9-of-17 from the field, knocking down four triples in the process. He also played lockdown perimeter defense, helping to anchor the league's best point-stopping machine.
He simply does it all.
Team: Brooklyn Nets
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 18.7 points, 7.2 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 2.2 blocks, 0.6 steals, 25.44 PER
Brook Lopez's rebounding numbers are slipping fast, but the Brooklyn Nets can live with that.
As long as their seven-footer continues to dominate on the offensive end of the court and play solid, much-improved defense, he can continue to look utterly befuddled whenever a shot clangs off the iron.
According to 82games.com, Lopez is allowing opposing centers to post a PER of 16.5 against him. That's by no means an elite mark, but it's not exactly a bad one either.
Team: Philadelphia 76ers
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 19.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 0.4 blocks, 1.5 steals, 18.94 PER
Turnovers have started to become slightly problematic for this breakout point guard, but that's somewhat understandable. Jrue Holiday has been tasked not just with running the Philadelphia 76ers offense but also with just being the Sixers offense.
Of course, as you might expect from this developing floor general, a little bit of time off after six- and eight-turnover performances changed everything.
After a three-day break, Holiday recorded 14 assists and only one turnover against the Orlando Magic in a 78-61 victory. He also added 13 points. Since two of his assists led to three-pointers, the young point guard accounted for a ridiculous 43 of his team's 78 points.
Team: Golden State Warriors
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 19.4 points, 11.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 0.2 blocks, 0.9 steals, 19.67 PER
The Golden State Warriors' first All-Star representative in roughly three million years hasn't slowed down even a tiny bit after getting some recognition for his stellar play during the 2012-13 season.
While David Lee's scoring numbers dropped slightly, he's more than compensated by threatening to record a triple-double night after night.
Lee has put up a double-double in each of his last five games—including a sensational 20-rebound outing against the Dallas Mavericks—and it's been four contests since he's racked up fewer than seven dimes in a single game.
The offensive versatility of this big man is just astounding, even if he isn't a threat to score from the perimeter.
Team: Los Angeles Clippers
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 18.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 0.6 blocks, 1.5 steals, 23.14 PER
Can we let go of the ridiculous notion that Blake Griffin's success is a byproduct of Chris Paul's greatness at the point guard position?
While CP3 has been absent with a knee injury—and I am including the two-game stretch that CP3 returned and wasn't at full strength for—the power forward has averaged 20.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 0.7 blocks and 1.4 steals per game.
With the exception of rebounds and steals, his numbers are up across the board.
Griffin hasn't been playing at the same otherworldly level of the guys who jumped him, and that's the only reason for his fall in the rankings. He's still been a dominant big man.
Team: Miami Heat
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 20.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 0.8 blocks, 1.5 steals, 23.17 PER
The per-game stats you see listed above for Dwyane Wade have remained relatively consent in recent weeks. However, that's been accompanied by a major decrease in efficiency.
Over Wade's past five games, the shooting guard has knocked down only 43.8 percent of his shots, and he's turned the ball over 3.6 times per contest. That's not a recipe for moving up in the rankings, and when a number of players directly around him are playing incredible ball, he has to move down.
Wade is still contributing positively for the Miami Heat, but remember, these are power rankings.
Team: Memphis Grizzlies
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 13.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.8 blocks, 1.0 steals, 19.32 PER
So much of what Marc Gasol does is the kind of stuff that doesn't show up in the box score. You have to watch him anchor the Memphis Grizzlies defense and help make every teammate better on offense in order to truly appreciate what he brings to the table.
As a result, you know Gasol is dominating when he's doing that and putting up monster numbers.
Over his last five games, the big man is averaging 18.0 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.6 blocks and 0.8 steals per contest on 50 percent shooting from the field. He's also stroking his free throws at an 89.5 percent clip.
Team: San Antonio Spurs
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 20.1 points, 3.0 rebounds, 7.6 assists, 0.1 blocks, 0.9 steals, 23.51 PER
Tony Parker just continues to put up monstrous numbers. And I'm talking about monstrous in terms of both volume and efficiency.
The talented point guard has stepped into a larger role while Tim Duncan has missed time with injuries, and the San Antonio Spurs haven't skipped a beat. Of course, that's not hard to do when the Frenchman is balling like this.
In his past five games, Parker is averaging 23.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 9.8 assists per contest. He's also knocked down a ridiculous 65.8 percent of his shots from the field, highlighted by a 9-of-10 outing against the Charlotte Bobcats and a 13-of-17 showing against the Phoenix Suns.
It's safe to say that Parker is on mega-fire.
Team: Cleveland Cavaliers
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 24.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 0.4 blocks, 1.8 steals, 22.78 PER
I have a challenge for you.
Try to give Kyrie Irving the biggest compliment you can for his skills on the basketball court. No matter what you say, it won't be complimentary enough.
The second-year point guard's string of 30-point games ended at three, but he bounced back from two lackluster 14-point outings with his game of the year—so far, at least.
In a 115-110 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, Irving outdueled Kevin Durant down the stretch, recording 13 points in the final three minutes while making all five of his final attempts from the field. It takes a lot to outshine Durant these days, but that's exactly what Irving did.
If you haven't already, check out these highlights of Irving's performance in crunch-time. But be forewarned: You might end up watching the video on a loop, as I've been doing.
Team: Houston Rockets
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 25.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 0.5 blocks, 1.8 steals, 22.62 PER
Two things are keeping James Harden slightly above Kyrie Irving in the power rankings.
First is his incredible ability to draw contact and get to the free-throw line, where he converts at a remarkably high rate. In his last five games, Harden went to the charity stripe 11 times per contest, and he's made 89.1 percent of those attempts.
Second is his performance in a 109-95 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.
Triple-doubles are impressive, especially when it's the first one of a player's career. Against the Bobcats, Harden put up 21 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, a block and a steal, all while shooting 6-of-11 from the field and 8-of-9 on his freebies.
Team: Oklahoma City Thunder
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 22.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 8.3 assists, 0.2 blocks, 1.9 steals, 22.90 PER
Watch out, NBA.
Russell Westbrook is scoring efficiently again. The dynamic point guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder has been picking and choosing his spots a little more wisely, and the result has been back-to-back-to-back performances in which he's shot over 50 percent from the field.
He's also continued to improve his defensive play all the while. According to 82games.com, Westbrook is now holding opposing point guards to a 14.6 PER.
That ability to play defense is what gives him the slight edge over the two young, talented guards directly behind him in the rankings.
Team: New York Knicks
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 28.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.5 blocks, 0.9 steals, 24.13 PER
Carmelo Anthony hasn't been quite the scorer we've been accustomed to watching during his recent games. He even managed to put up only nine points against the the Sacramento Kings, although to be fair, he didn't need to play much in the blowout.
That's been fairly irrelevant, though, as the New York Knicks have continued to win games. At the end of the day, that's all that really matters.
Melo has also picked up the part of his game that generates assists, actually managing to record at least five dimes in three consecutive contests.
Team: Los Angeles Lakers
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 27.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 0.3 blocks, 1.4 steals, 23.02 PER
What Kobe Bryant has done since accepting a new role in the Los Angeles Lakers offense is nothing short of sensational. Not many players could completely change their style of play in the middle of a season without missing a beat, and especially not at 34 years old.
Kobe, tasked with becoming the primary facilitator for the Purple and Gold, recorded double-digit assists in each of his first three games after the shift. He also fell just a combined four rebounds shy of three triple-doubles.
Only Kobe could suddenly go from score-first, score-second, score-third mode to creating questions about whether or not he could lead the league in assists.
Team: Oklahoma City Thunder
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 29.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.2 blocks, 1.6 steals, 29.14 PER
Kevin Durant has struggled with his shot from the field—relatively, of course—but he's made up for that just like a certain former teammate with a beard.
The Durantula is getting to the free-throw line with incredible success, and 13-of-14 nights from the charity stripe tend to offset field-goal percentages that end up in the high 30s.
Even while he's working so hard to score for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Durant is still setting up teammates well and playing strong defense. According to 82games.com, Durant has allowed opposing small forwards to post a PER of just 9.4.
Team: Miami Heat
2012-13 Per-Game Stats: 26.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 0.8 blocks, 1.7 steals, 30.37 PER
LeBron James' performance against the Charlotte Bobcats exemplified everything that makes him so special on a basketball court. And yes, I realize that this performance came against the Bobcats.
The 28-year-old reigning MVP completely abandoned his outside shot because he was able to attack the interior of the Charlotte defense so easily. He took 13 of his shots right at the basket and made 12 of them.
James finished the surprisingly close game with an incredible line: 31 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and two steals on 13-of-14 shooting from the field and a 5-of-6 performance at the line.
The scary part is that this type of performance is becoming typical for the best player in the world.