LeBron James hasn't been the best basketball player in the world during the 2013-14 season.
A week ago, that was a controversial statement. But after LeBron fell in a head-to-head matchup against Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder, it should be commonly accepted that his fellow superstar has moved into the No. 1 spot in player rankings and the all-important race for MVP.
However, is LeBron safe at No. 2? Has he been passed—as a superstar—by Carmelo Anthony or one of the other contenders? He's looking at you skeptically in that picture, but that doesn't mean it's impossible.
And here's where I have to turn to B/R's Grant Hughes for the thrust of these rankings, which he wrote in the last edition. It's his series that I'm taking over for the week, after all:
As a refresher, we're ranking the NBA's superstars on a number of criteria. On-court production is critical, but team success, media cache and other intangibles also matter. Basically, we're out to honor the league's most transcendent, skilled and recognizable talents.
I would never dream of calling 'Melo a better player than LeBron, but in a ranking of superstardom based primarily on recent events? That's when it might happen, and you'll have to read on to find out if I'm bold enough to pull the trigger.
Recency is important, so please keep in mind that these rankings are intentionally reactive. The near past matters far more than the distant past.
Note: All stats, unless otherwise indicated, are accurate as of Jan. 31 and come from Basketball-Reference.