If the NBA All-Star Game can do it, why not take the same approach for the All-NBA first team? This year's squad, as much as any, deserves three forwards instead of two and a center. The 2012-13 season's best players are:
1. LeBron James, F, Heat » The scary thing is that the best season of his career so far has come after winning his first NBA title. James did it all this season, averaging 26.8 points and 7.3 assists, shooting 56.5 percent from the field and leading the Heat at one point to 27 straight wins.
2. Kevin Durant, F, Thunder » Scoring title? Whatever. Durant set out to join the elusive 50-40-90 club -- 50 percent from the field, 40 percent on 3-pointers and 90 percent at the line -- and became its sixth member in style. His final numbers: 51.0 percent, 41.6 percent and 90.5 percent.
3. Carmelo Anthony, F, Knicks » He may have won the scoring title in March and April, but he set the tone for the Knicks' fantastic regular season right out of the gate. His level of play was more impressive than that of any center.
4. Chris Paul, G, Clippers » Paul will finish the year with fewer assists per game (9.7) than Rajon Rondo (11.1) but nearly double the assist-to-turnover ratio (4.19 to 2.84). More than that, he's proving his franchise's transformation isn't a fluke.
5. Kobe Bryant, G, Lakers » Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook may be better all around, and Houston certainly relied on James Harden. But Bryant's endurance and inspired play throughout a season of unexpected adversity is worthy of recognition.
- Craig Stouffer