Welcome back to NBA Star Power Index: A weekly gauge of the players getting the most buzz around the league. Inclusion on this list isn’t necessarily a good thing — it simply means you’re capturing the NBA world’s attention. This is also not a ranking. The players listed are in no particular order. This column will run every week throughout the regular season. 

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In four games with the Mavericks, Irving is averaging 28 points and seven assists on 53/43/100 shooting splits. The league’s leading fourth-quarter scorer (per game and total), Irving scored an electric 26 fourth-quarter points against Minnesota on Monday. When he gets in his bag like this, you almost forget what a headache he can be for his own team. 

Irving’s outburst wasn’t enough as the Wolves held on thanks to a heroic defensive effort from Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels, who combined to flummox Irving and Luka Doncic on the potential game-tying possession in a way you might never see happen to those two guys again. 

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Entering the game against the Wizards Tuesday night, when he scored 39 points on 30 shots, Lillard had combined for 78 points on 14 for 27 from 3 over his previous two games. His 40 piece against the Lakers on Monday was his 11th 40-point game of this season. Luka Doncic and Joel Embiid are the only other players with 10-plus 40-point outings. 

Lillard has now scored 741 points over his last 20 games. That’s over 37 a night for a five-week stretch. Nobody in the league has scored more points in February than Lillard’s 250. 

Indeed, there’s not a guard in the league playing better than Lillard right now. Unfortunately, the Trail Blazers just can’t get any traction. On Tuesday they lost to the Wizards, who were on a back-to-back, to fall to 28-30. Portland hovers around .500 with frustrating consistency. 

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Did you hear that Durant plays for the Phoenix Suns now? Kind of a big trade-deadline deal. He hasn’t played for Phoenix yet, but he’s expected back after the All-Star break and this Phoenix team, which has quietly climbed into the West’s No. 4 seed after weathering Devin Booker and Chris Paul injuries, is going to be awesome. 

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Paul registered 19 assists in Phoenix’s win over Sacramento on Tuesday. He’s the oldest player in history do reach that total, and his 112 career games with at least 15 assists is the fourth most ever, passing the great Oscar Robertson. 

Talk of Paul’s decline has been exaggerated. He’s missed six weeks over two stints with two different injuries, and we’re all prisoners of the moment. Paul’s shooting has been abysmal in February (he’s under 34 percent including 4 for 24 from 3), but he was scorching hot in January (52/48/100 splits over the same eight games he’s played in February), so which stretch are you going to trust? 

No, Paul has not been nearly as efficient as he’s been in his recent past, largely because he hasn’t been a guarantee to get to his midrange spots, or knock those shots down at the Durant-like rate we’ve all come to expect when he does get there. 

That said, the fact that Paul hasn’t yet been the All-NBA player he was last season doesn’t mean that guy isn’t still in there. Don’t talk yourself into the most recently introduced statistical evidence. Watch him play, and you’ll still see a guy who can be great, even if not as consistently. 

Even at 70 percent of last year’s version, Paul is a hell of a third option behind Devin Booker and Durant and he’s going to get Durant the ball in optimal spots. With Paul rounding into more typical form, I’ll just repeat what I said above: The Suns are going to be awesome. 

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Not really sure how Giannis didn’t win Eastern Conference Player of the Week (no disrespect to Derek White) after averaging 32 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists over a 3-0 span for the Bucks, who have now won 11 straight after defeating the Celtics on Tuesday — when Antetokounmpo added 36 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists to his recent ledger. (We’ll ignore the eight turnovers, and focus on Antetokounmpo stepping up to hit five of his final six free throws in clutch time.)

Over the last two weeks, Giannis has a 50-point game against New Orleans and a 54-point game against the Clippers. His usage is skyrocketing. Khris Middleton is rolling into form while still coming off the bench. Over the 10-game stretch entering the Boston game, the Bucks ranked second in both defensive and net rating. They’re about to add Jae Crowder to the mix and Bobby Portis will be back soon. 

Yeah, things are looking up for the Bucks. 

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Brunson should be on the All-Star team. He deserves it, if nothing else, over his Knicks teammate Julius Randle. That’s no disrespect to Randle, who has been very good this year, but Brunson has made New York a team that’s truly good, to say nothing of his contributions to Randle’s rediscovery. The season that Brunson is having is fringe-MVP stuff in my book. 

Brunson has said he doesn’t care about the All-Star snub, but since the rosters were announced on Feb. 3 the man is averaging 32.5 points on 61-percent shooting, including 56 percent from 3, with almost a 6-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Only Damian Lillard has scored more over that stretch. 

Take it back to Jan. 1, and Brunson is averaging 30 points on 51/48 shooting. Over his last two games, Brunson has 78 points, 10 assists and one turnover. He had 40 in a win over the Nets on Monday, making 15 of his 21 shots including 6 of 9 from 3.