The 2014 season of NBA action is at the halfway point with the All-Star game approaching this weekend. In what has been a very interesting year, there are a multitude of stories and exciting moments that have been witnessed. With that in mind, it's time to look at some of the winners and losers of the year at the midpoint of this season. To start, here is a look at those that have risen to the occasion:
Coming into this year, very few expected the Portland Trailblazers to be one of the best teams in the league. However, the team has grown to be a true threat to the top teams in the sport. At 36-17 they have the build of a unit that can make a run late into the year. LaMarcus Aldridge has developed into one of the best, but under appreciated big men in the league. He's averaging 23.9 points and 11.4 rebounds 53 games into this year. Damian Lillard is bringing in 20.7 points and 5.7 assists as he continues to become a highly ranked point guard while falling well off the media's radar. The team may not have that third “big name” player on their roster; they still rise to the occasion enough to support their “big two.”
The Trailblazers are leading the league in scoring and rebounding while having the fourth best assisting team on the court. Still, playing out in Oregon has helped them stay away from the limelight which may prove to be an advantage once the post season comes around.
The NBA lends itself to the scrutinization of individual performances as debates rage around who is the best player in the league. But this year, Kevin Durant has put an end to those conversations and sent a message to everyone else in the sport.
Seven years into his professional career Kevin is setting himself apart. This year he is breaking the mold across the board. He's averaging 31.2 points, 5.5 assists and 7.7 rebounds while scoring on 51.3 percent. Those numbers are career highs in each respect. Miami Heat star LeBron James has been a shoe-in for the MVP nearly every year in recent memory, but this year his play is being overshadowed by what is going on in Oklahoma City.
Even without Russell Westbrook by his side, Durant is playing like he's on a mission to push the Thunder back to the NBA Finals and closer to his first championship. While there are still many games to be played in this year. Kevin has risen his game to be the front runner for all MVP voters.
The 2013-2014 season has been a breakout year for Stephen Curry. While he was considered one of the leagues top point guards coming into this season; he's pushed himself into the conversation of the best on the court. While he's averaging 24.6 points and 9 assists per game it's the point that he's finally taking steps toward the superstar status that was once thought out of his range.
This weekend he will be starting in his first NBA All Star game while participating in other events throughout the weekend. He's elevated Golden State to a level of relevancy that hasn't been seen in recent years. The team still has some issues to overcome if they are going to make a run in the second half of the year, but with Stephen Curry at the helm the team is always in shooting range to win a game.
The Portland Trailblazers, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry are the top midseason winners at this point in the year. As the second half of the season picks up after this weekend's festivities their stories will be some of the most important to watch for fans and media alike.