|NBA Awards Races|
With Shaq or without Shaq, LeBron James has carried the Cleveland franchise on his back, and done so quite well. Having won the league's Most Valuable Player award last year without the big man on board, James is on track to repeat, this time without Cleveland's top two point guards, Mo Williams (shoulder) and Delonte West (finger), for the past couple of weeks. The Cavs have steamrolled their last nine opponents, a streak during which James has averaged 28.2 points, 10 assists and 6.7 rebounds.
But beyond James, things get interesting as we dive into the NBA Awards races. In compiling our first effort (and we'll update this every other week through the end of the season), we tried to marry individual excellence with a player's impact on his team. As the weeks go on and the contenders separate from the pretenders, the names will change. But enough chatter, let's do this ...
(All stats and records are through Feb. 2.)