Hello, playoff-level LeBron and the resurgent James Harden

With one week left in the regular season and the playoffs on the horizon, winning played a big role in this week's Player Power Rankings. After all, how good could your season really have been if you're about to go fishing?

We didn't punish all players toiling on non-playoff squads, but if a guy's team is way, way, way out of the race, he was penalized.

That -- combined with the fact that you're talking about world-class athletes, so the difference between finishing first, second or fifth is usually minuscule -- led to an unprecedented amount of movement in the rankings.

Oh, and injuries, suspensions, attitudes, professionalism and flat-out being unavailable to play also factored into our thinking. So the great Anthony Davis (61 games), the rugged Jimmy Butler (62) and the ultra-talented, ultra-frustrating DeMarcus Cousins (63 games) are nowhere to be found. When playoff spots are decided by half a game, missing 15 or more nights of action is a problem.

Note: MVP odds from Ladbrokes.com

1. Stephen Curry

Golden State Warriors
RPM: 9.41 (No. 1)
MVP betting odds: 1-100
Previous rank: No. 1

I don't know if I was the first person to say it on the air, but I was the first person I heard say it on the air: "Steph Curry is the best shooter in NBA history.''

Can that be doubted now? He's closing in on becoming the first player ever to hit 400 3-pointers in a season (no one else has even made 300). Plus, he's second all-time in 3-point percentage (.445), right behind his head coach Steve Kerr (.454). For those who think Steph simply hasn't played long enough, peep this: He's already made (1,569) and attempted (3,527), twice as many 3s as Kerr (726/1,599). And we all know the more you shoot, the greater the chances of your field-goal percentage slipping.

2. LeBron James

Cleveland Cavaliers
RPM: 8.13 (No. 5)
MVP odds: 90-1
Previous rank: No. 3

A week after falling to No. 3, LeBron is back on Curry's heels. Well, maybe not on his heels, but closer to him than anyone else. Maybe within a rock's throw?

Seemingly in full playoff-focus mode, LeBron nearly averaged 30 points and a triple-double last week. In his past four games, he's given out 10.7 assists per game -- and remember, he hasn't even been playing point guard. Better still, he didn't create any soap opera headlines. No so-called "cryptic'' (who came up with that description?) tweets. No rhapsodizing about different teammates. No negative comments.

The King kept it positive. That's improvement.

3. Russell Westbrook

Oklahoma City Thunder
RPM: 8.30 (No. 4)
MVP odds: 60-1
Previous rank: No. 2

Even with LeBron's uptick, he would not have passed Westbrook if Russ hadn't had, by his standards, a sub-par week. With Kevin Durant sitting out against Detroit, Russ was unable to work his magic. Sure, he scored 24 points and had six assists, but he shot 8-for-28 as the Thunder took the loss. Then, with KD by his side, he coughed it up eight times in a loss to former teammate James Harden and the puzzlingly mediocre Houston Rockets.

Even though OKC only led by two in the third quarter in that game, the floor general has to take at least a slight hit after dropping a league-high 13 games after being ahead entering the final 12 minutes.

4. Kawhi Leonard

San Antonio Spurs
RPM: 9.06 (No. 2)
MVP odds: 22-1
Previous rank: No. 5

After returning from a bruised quad with a solid, if unspectacular, performance against New Orleans, Leonard returned to his superstar form by posting 33 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds against Toronto.

Of course, he was an aggravating lockdown defender as well. For him to lead a team that's in the midst of setting a franchise record for wins in an organization that's featured George Gervin, David Robinson, Tim Duncan and five championships says it all about the season he's having.

5. Kevin Durant

Oklahoma City Thunder
RPM: 6.09 (No. 8)
MVP odds: 22-1
Previous rank: No. 4

His value to the Thunder was seen when they lost to Detroit with him on the sidelines. Still, you have to nitpick when differentiating between the game's best players, and for all his greatness, KD has had a few struggles recently.

He got back on track against Denver on Tuesday, but in the two games before that KD committed 11 turnovers, despite averaging 32 points. Turnovers have dogged him for much of this season and between him and Westbrook, that's a problem. Also, he was a bit chilly from distance, missing 15-of-19 3s in those two games and shooting just 34 percent from beyond the arc in March.

6. Chris Paul

Los Angeles Clippers
RPM: 7.40 (No. 6)
MVP odds: 200-1
Previous rank: No. 6

Paul outplayed John Wall last weekend, outscoring him 27 to 15 and helping hold him to 5-of-14 shooting in a Clippers victory.

In Blake Griffin's return from more than three months off due to injury, CP3 attempted 19 shots. If the Clippers are going to have any chance of upsetting Golden State in the second round (yeah, I'm counting out first-round opponent Portland or Memphis), Paul will have to stay aggressive offensively even when Griffin returns to form.

7. LaMarcus Aldridge

San Antonio Spurs
RPM: 2.00 (No. 58)
MVP odds: N/A
Previous rank: No. 8

He's been on a tear the past two months and last week he did something that no Spurs player has done in 12 years. Heading into Tuesday's action, Aldridge had scored at least 31 points and grabbed at least 12 rebounds in three of his past four games. The last Spur to go for at least 30 and 10 three times in a four-game stretch was Tim Duncan from Jan. 27 to Feb. 2, 2004.

For Aldridge to do something the immortal Duncan -- who was in his prime at least through the end of the 2008-09 season -- hasn't done since '04 speaks volumes. For what it's worth, Duncan has had three such streaks in his 19 years in San Antonio. Aldridge now has one in 70 games as a Spur.

8. James Harden

Houston Rockets
RPM: 4.73 (No. 17)
MVP odds: 150-1
Previous rank: No. 13

A combination of some of the guys in front of him slipping a tad and Harden just plain schooling cats on the offensive end has led to the resurrection of The Beard, at least as far as our rankings go.

Of course, his defense still suffers. I actually saw a highlight of Harden guarding air (or was it the Rockets' bench?) while his Bulls opponent, completely unbeknownst to him, broke free for a wide-open backdoor layup (that he missed) last week.

However, two nights earlier Harden had posted 27 points and eight assists to lead the Rockets to a come-from-behind victory in Cleveland (sans LeBron), and three days after the Bulls' gaffe he erupted for 41 points and nine assists while beating Durant and Westbrook.

Bottom line is this: How many guys in the league can average more than 28 points and seven assists a game like Harden? Four, maybe. Derrick Rose put up lesser numbers during his 2011 MVP campaign.

9. Damian Lillard

Portland Trail Blazers
RPM: 1.76 (No. 68)
MVP odds: 200-1
Previous rank: No. 7

He's been a mainstay at No. 7 since these rankings began six weeks ago, but the burden of carrying Portland's overachieving bunch might finally be taking its toll. Before exploding for 38 points (and zero turnovers) in a loss at Golden State, Lillard went through a five-game stretch in which he shot just 29 percent from the floor while averaging fewer than 16 points a game. He's shot just 40 percent from the floor for the past month.

10. Draymond Green

Golden State Warriors
RPM: 8.40 (No. 3)
MVP odds: 60-1
Previous rank: No. 11

He's been in the undoubtedly more prestigious top 10 of NBA legend Jerry West since November, but this is his first appearance in mine.

Green has been terrific all year, but he experienced a February shooting slump that saw him average just 10 points on 42 percent shooting. He rediscovered his range in early March and that -- combined with the all-around skills he's displayed all season -- have taken him to another level. What's a Warriors opponent to do when the tenacious and energetic defender who's always near double figures in rebounding and assists also starts dropping 15.5 PPG, as Green has done for the past month?

The next 10

11. Paul George | SF | Indiana Pacers

He's picked up his scoring and rebounding lately, trying to will Indiana into the playoffs.

Previous rank: No. 10

12. Kyle Lowry | PG | Toronto Raptors

The elbow? Fatigue? Something is bothering Lowry, who entered Tuesday's game averaging just 16 PPG on 28 percent shooting in his past six outings.

Previous rank: No. 9

13. Klay Thompson | SG | Golden State Warriors

You knew he'd come back to Earth after averaging 37 points during a three-game stretch -- and he did, shooting just 40 percent in his next four contests.

Previous rank: No. 12

14. Isaiah Thomas | PG | Boston Celtics

I've never been a big fan of his game, but you have to reward 22 PPG and winning. Of the clubs with the top eight records in the league as of Tuesday afternoon, only Thomas' Celtics lacked multiple guys who've made an All-Star team.

Previous rank: No. 18

15. Paul Millsap | PF | Atlanta Hawks

Riding Millsap's back, the Hawks will be dangerous in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Previous rank: No. 17

16. DeMar DeRozan | SG | Toronto Raptors

With Lowry slowing a bit, DeRozan has picked up his scoring to keep the Raptors firmly in control of the East's No. 2 seed.

Previous rank: No. 20

17. Hassan Whiteside | C | Miami Heat

Despite coming off the bench and averaging fewer than 30 MPG, he's on pace to become the first player to record more than 250 blocks and shoot better than 60 percent from the floor since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did while winning the MVP award in the 1979-80 season.

Previous rank: No. 14

18. John Wall | PG | Washington Wizards

Fatigue -- and perhaps discouragement over the Wizards' disappointing season -- may be showing as Wall has shot just 38 percent in his past 10 games.

Previous rank: No. 15

19. DeAndre Jordan | C | Los Angeles Clippers

Could finish in the top two in rebounding (13.9), blocks (2.3) and field goal percentage (.702) this season.

Previous rank: N/A

20. Kemba Walker | PG | Charlotte Hornets

Like Thomas, he has some flaws, but he's carrying Charlotte to one of the most surprising finishes in the league.

Previous rank: N/A