Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The influx of previously injured stars forced a number of quality players either out of the rankings or out of contention. Seeing as the league is getting ridiculously deep at the top with a number of players clamoring for positive attention, I thought it would be beneficial to include a sizable list of honorable mentions.
I wanted to include each of these guys; I just didn't have the space in the top 20 to do so.
LaMarcus Aldridge, PF, Portland Trail Blazers
The big man in Rip City has been on a tear recently, putting up a double-double in four of his past five contests. Averaging 22.2 points and 12.4 rebounds per contest over that stretch is nothing to sniff at.
DeMarcus Cousins, C, Sacramento Kings
Although he's been less involved than normal during the most recent stretch of action for the Sacramento Kings, Boogie has still been a physical presence on both ends of the court. When fully engaged, there are few better centers in the Association than this Kentucky product.
Rudy Gay, SF, Toronto Raptors
If Rudy Gay has taken the next step and learned how to shoot, then look out NBA. Averaging 21.0 points on 52.5 percent shooting from the field over a four-game stretch is a great way to put your name in the imaginary player power rankings goblet of fire, but that has to be maintained for the goblet to spit the name back out.
Jrue Holiday, PG, Philadelphia 76ers
Jrue Holiday was the first player to fall short of the top 20, so consider him the top dog among the honorable mentions. I just need to see a bit more consistency from him as he attempts to rebound from his first true slump of the season.
Damian Lillard, PG, Portland Trail Blazers
What rookie wall?
Dirk Nowitzki, PF, Dallas Mavericks
Is it possible that Dirk Nowitzki has grown out the NBA's second-most awesome batch of facial hair?
Impressively enough, Dirk's recent play on the court has even managed to outshine the burgeoning follicular forest.
The Denver Nuggets
No one player on the Denver Nuggets has played well enough as an individual to make it into this edition of the rankings—Ty Lawson is the closest, and he's hurt—but as a whole, it's hard not to at least give the team a mention.
This is a squad that wins by committee, and it's done a whole lot of winning lately.