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Kawhi's big week inches him closer to Steph, but was it enough?

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Kawhi Leonard jumps to No. 3 on Broussard's player rankings (4:14)

ESPN NBA Insider Chris Broussard breaks down his top 10 players of the week and explains why Kawhi Leonard is ranked ahead of Thunder stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. (4:14)

We're back with our second installment of the weekly player power rankings. Of course, some things remain the same. Surely, you didn't think an off-afternoon in Los Angeles would change Steph Curry's status as the league's top dog?

But spots in the top 20 are so hotly contested that a good week here and a bad week there make us move guys up and down.

Remember, this list is not about the MVP race, building a team, past accomplishments or future potential. It is about who is playing the best ball right now. So think back on the week's most impactful players, check out the rankings, and let the debate begin.

Note: MVP odds from Ladbrokes.com


1. Stephen Curry

Golden State Warriors
RPM: 10.12 (No. 1)
MVP betting odds: 1-100
Previous rank: No. 1

It would take nearly a month's worth of shoddy shooting and careless ballhandling to knock Steph from his perch atop the league, and true to form, he didn't let his cold streak last even two days. One night after he missed nine of 10 3s in a stunning loss to the Lakers, Curry found his touch and poured in 41 against Orlando -- and just to let you know he's not one-dimensional, he also grabbed 13 rebounds.

In fact, at 5.4 per game, Steph is fourth among all guards in rebounding. That's almost as impressive as his shooting stroke.


2. LeBron James

Cleveland Cavaliers
RPM: 8.74 (No. 5)
MVP odds: 30-1
Previous rank: No. 2

LeBron spent a sizable amount of time at power forward last week, as the Cavaliers effectively played small ball against Washington and Boston. That led to less ball domination -- which is nice -- without sacrificing James' scoring or assists.

As you might expect, King James was more active on the glass, as he averaged 11 boards in three games. Although the Cavs still show bouts of complacency (losing to banged up Memphis? Really?), their small-ball lineup can be formidable.


3. Kawhi Leonard

San Antonio Spurs
RPM: 9.62 (No. 2)
MVP odds: 18-1
Previous rank: No. 5

Leonard is taking over more and more for San Antonio, which -- combined with the Spurs' near Warriors-esque win total -- is why he has moved ahead of the two catalysts in OKC. He averaged more than 20 shots a game (and 24 points) last week. When was the last time the balanced Spurs had someone shoot that much?

All this shows how much the game's greatest coach trusts Leonard. Plus, his increased scoring, rebounding and passing haven't led to a decline on the other end. That being the case, we had to reward the league's quietest superstar with a leap up the rankings.


4. Kevin Durant

Oklahoma City Thunder
RPM: 6.31 (No. 8)
MVP odds: 20-1
Previous rank: No. 3

KD has been getting buckets, boards and even dimes galore, but his ball security has become shakier than a Beyonce video.

He averaged nearly seven turnovers last week, and in the Thunder's gut-wrenching loss to Golden State, he coughed the ball up four times in the decisive fourth quarter. That came a day after he gave it away three times in the fourth, which helped the Clippers rally from a 22-point deficit to upset OKC. It looks like he's trying to do too much.


5. Russell Westbrook

Oklahoma City Thunder
RPM: 9.11 (No. 3)
MVP odds: 28-1
Previous rank: No. 4

As is the case with his OKC partner, Westbrook's stats are eye-popping, all the way down to the errors. He has averaged nearly a triple-double over the past two months, but he has also racked up seven turnovers in three of the past five games, and his team is wallowing in underachievement.

Despite his huge assist numbers, Westbrook still is working to find the balance between setting up his teammates and going for his own. Key stat: The Thunder are 14-12 (.538) when Westbrook takes 20 or more shots but 29-8 (.783) when he shoots less.


6. Chris Paul

Los Angeles Clippers
RPM: 7.60 (No. 6)
MVP odds: 100-1
Previous rank: No. 6

That balance Westbrook is looking for? It can be found right here. Still the league's ultimate floor general, CP3 is inching closer and closer to knocking someone (hint: it's another point guard) out of the top five.

The hope is that he continues to seek his own offense when Blake Griffin returns. If so, perhaps the Clippers -- who have beaten both OKC and San Antonio since the All-Star break -- will emerge as true title contenders.


7. Damian Lillard

Portland Trail Blazers
RPM: 2.27 (No. 50)
MVP odds: 150-1
Previous rank: No. 7

It was a tough week for the Blazers, who dropped the last three games of a six-game road trip, but that was not because of Lillard. He put 50 points on Toronto's Kyle Lowry, one of the league's grittiest defensive point guards, and then 41 points and 11 assists on John Wall, as he went for 30 or more points for the eighth time in 11 games since All-Star Weekend.

Think about this: Wall hasn't been able to lead Washington to a playoff spot in the East. Without Durant for much of the past season, Westbrook failed to get OKC to the postseason. But Lillard has the post-LaMarcus Aldridge Blazers -- with guys named Vonleh, Aminu and Plumlee starting -- still firmly in the Western Conference playoffs, even with their recent skid.


8. James Harden

Houston Rockets
RPM: 5.24 (No. 12)
MVP odds: 40-1
Previous rank: No. 10

Yeah, I saw the comical video of Harden's defensive gems that's in heavy rotation on our Rockets' home page. But I also saw him rack up 40 points, 14 assists and just one turnover in a big-time victory at Toronto.

The bottom line is this dude's offense is so nasty -- scoring like Steph while dropping dimes like Rondo -- that you can live with his, uh, let's just call it what it is: horrific defense. After all, he's carrying an entire team on his back. Who else in Houston can create his own shot? The Beard moves up two spots from last week.


9. Kyle Lowry

Toronto Raptors
RPM: 7.36 (No. 6)
MVP odds: 150-1
Previous rank: No. 9

We recently saw how valuable Lowry is to Toronto, when his absence against Detroit led the Raptors to fall to the Pistons for the first time in three meetings this season. He is that rare point guard who plays tough, physical defense while also being a master thief (league-leading 2.2 steals per game).

What's more, his scoring and accuracy are improving by the month -- literally. He was better in January than in December, better in February than in January, and so far in March, he's averaging nearly 26 points on 58 percent shooting.


10. Anthony Davis

New Orleans Pelicans
RPM: 3.20 (No. 31)
MVP odds: 150-1
Previous rank: No. 8

A few players from opposing teams recently told me they're waiting for AD to develop that "dawg'' in him. When he does, the inconsistency will vanish.

Look at the names above this one: They deliver big numbers every single night. Not AD. Not yet. There's a 12-point game here and a nine-point game there. Seven rebounds here and six there. But I have no doubt that he'll get there, and when he does, he'll move up the list.

The next 10

11. Paul George | SF | Indiana Pacers

Did I say last week that he had fallen too in love with the 3-ball? Well, lately, he has been on fire from beyond the arc, so fire away PG13 -- and switch places with Boogie from last week.

Previous rank: No. 12

12. DeMarcus Cousins | C | Sacramento Kings

We haven't seen numbers like his from the center position since Shaq left the Lakers. Of course, Shaq's totals led to wins. That's a big difference.

Previous rank: No. 11

13. John Wall | PG | Washington Wizards

Most of today's scoring point guards aren't near double figures in assists. Only two others score and assist on the same level as Wall, and they're both near the top of this list.

Previous rank: No. 13

14. LaMarcus Aldridge | PF | San Antonio Spurs

Like his teammate, Aldridge jumped two spots because he is replacing San Antonio's historic "Big Three" as the face and engine of the team.

Previous rank: No. 16

15. Dwyane Wade | SG | Miami Heat

D-Wade has provided the offense and the intangibles to lead the surging Heat in the absence of Chris Bosh. For that, I've promoted him two spots.

Previous rank: No. 17

16. Draymond Green | PF | Golden State Warriors

Mr. Versatile is impacting games with deft floor generalship, strong rebounding and staunch defense. But his scoring and field goal percentage are fading so much that I had to drop him a few pegs. Still, he was a beast for gutting it out through strep throat.

Previous rank: No. 14

17. Klay Thompson | SG | Golden State Warriors

He might very well be the second-best shooter in the league, but since early February, he has been cold from 3.

Previous rank: No. 15

18. DeAndre Jordan | C | Los Angeles Clippers

He showed Dallas what it's missing with a 23-point, 20-rebound masterpiece earlier this week.

Previous rank: No. 18

19. Hassan Whiteside | C | Miami Heat

Sure, he can be silly and lose focus, but my goodness, this dude is wrecking shop -- off the bench, no less. He's the lone newcomer to the top 20.

Previous rank: N/A

20. Pau Gasol | C | Chicago Bulls

Pau's doing whatever the Bulls need from him. He is the team's top assist man by a healthy margin over the past 10 games.

Previous rank: No. 19