The NBA has broken the back of the regular season, with the majority of the teams at the 41-game mark or soon to approach it.
That means the inevitable look at the potential award winners; or who should get them if the season was to end today.
Here are some thoughts.
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City: Will probably be a two-man race with LeBron James down to the wire — Chris Paul will also get some consideration — but while James might be the most powerful presence in the league, Durant can do pretty much everything as well.
He's a vastly improved passer, is probably a better long-range shooter and while he can't simply bull his way past defenders, the subtleties to his game are tremendous.
And there's the simple fact the Thunder are in a tougher conference and today have a better record.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Damian Lillard, Portland: There's no doubt he's fun to watch and being a rookie point guard is no easy task for anyone. Lillard's got a thin Blazers roster further now than many had expected.
The question, of course, is: If Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Hornets hadn't missed 13 of his team's first 42 games with injuries, would this race be considerably closer?
Probably yes and it still might be nip-and-tuck when it's time to actually cast ballots.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Mark Jackson, Golden State: The real winner should be Bernie Bickerstaff, the only man who has been able to turn the Lakers into winners.
But, seriously, this might be the toughest vote on the ballot right now.
The case can be made for Indiana's Frank Vogel, Chicago's Tom Thibodeau or even Mike Woodson of the Knicks.
But the name few are mentioning right now is Jackson. The Warriors willingness to play defence while not losing anything offensively has to count for something towards Jackson's resume.
Kevin Durant will likely battle LeBron James for MVP
Toronto Star | Jan 24