National Basketball Association

Zion Williamson, James Harden rising up Nick Wright's NBA player pyramid

March 3

Roughly midway through the NBA season, how do the league's best players stack up?

For the first time since late January, Nick Wright of "First Things First" reevaluated his NBA Player Pyramid, and there has been plenty of movement in the pecking order.

"The King," LeBron James, retained his throne at the top of Wright's ratings, and a few other superstars made their respective ascents. But for every player who moves up a level, one must also come down.

Here's how Wright stacks up the NBA's biggest stars, along with key statistics and commentary. Plus, check out the favorite to win the NBA's regular-season MVP award in each of Wright's levels, via FOX Bet.

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TOP LEVEL: LeBron James

Best MVP odds: James +175

Key stat: James is set to miss his first game after playing in all 36 to start the season for the Los Angeles Lakers. Wednesday night's rest against the Sacramento Kings snaps a string of 60 consecutive contests for James dating to Aug. 6, 2020.

Wright's thoughts: "Obviously, LeBron's the best player in the league."

SECOND LEVEL: Joel EmbiidKevin Durant

Best MVP odds: Embiid +300

Key stat: Embiid has four games with at least 40 points and 10 rebounds this season. No other player in the league has more than one such game, via ESPN Stats & Info.

Wright's thoughts: "Kevin Durant, you might be like, 'He's barely played this year.' Yeah, but it's an emeritus spot for him. He was playing so well before he got hurt."

THIRD LEVEL: Giannis AntetokounmpoLuka Doncic, James Harden

Best MVP odds: Doncic +1200

Key stat: Doncic and Damian Lillard were the only two players in the league to average more than 30 points and eight assists in the month of February.

Wright's thoughts: "You might be ineligible for league MVP, James Harden, but you are eligible to potentially be a Level Two pyramid guy. We'll see if you keep up this pace."

FOURTH LEVEL: Nikola JokicKawhi LeonardStephen Curry, Damian Lillard

Best MVP odds: Jokic +500

Key stat: With his 37-point effort for the Denver Nuggets in a win against the Milwaukee Bucks, Jokic became the third-fastest player in NBA history to reach 50 career triple-doubles, per the NBA.

Wright's thoughts: "Steph continues to play great."

FIFTH LEVEL: Anthony Davis, Zion Williamson, Kyrie IrvingBradley BealChris Paul

Best MVP odds: Davis +10000, Irving +10000

Key stat: With 1,020 points in 31 games this season, Beal became the fastest player to crack the millennium mark in a season in Washington Wizards franchise history, breaking the record of 33 games held by Gilbert Arenas and Bernard King, via NBA History.

Wright's thoughts: "Zion keeps moving up the charts! ... Anthony Davis, he wasn't playing great on offense, and now he's hurt. He has to move down."

To see Wright's breakdown of his pyramid, including the full list of players in levels six through eight and players he has added or removed, check out the video below:


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