Welcome back to the NBA Star Index -- a weekly gauge of the players who are most controlling the buzz around the league. Reminder: Inclusion on this list isn't necessarily a good thing. It simply means that you're capturing the NBA world's attention. Also, this is not a ranking. The players listed are in no particular order as it pertains to the buzz they're generating. This column will run every week through the end of the regular season.

Chris Paul
SA • PG • #3
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If you haven't been paying attention -- or if you were driving the "Chris Paul is done" bus this past offseason and now just refuse to pull over and reconsider your position -- Paul has been flat-out balling. The Thunder, the West's No. 7 seed with an 18-15 record entering play on Thursday, have won seven of their last eight. 

In July, when everyone was writing the Thunder off as a certain rebuild after trading Paul George and Russell Westbrook, I picked them to make the playoffs and suggested they were actually better with Paul than they were with Russell Westbrook. People had a field day with that on Twitter, and yet, it remains true. 

In OKC's win over Dallas on New Year's Eve, Paul scored 13 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, where he has been phenomenal all season. How phenomenal? Entering Thursday, Paul's 91 points in the clutch -- five-point game within final five minutes -- lead the NBA. He is also shooting 50-40-90 in the fourth quarter and overtime. 

The Thunder play a lot of close games, and Paul is the biggest reason they are winning them. On Tuesday, OKC erased a seven-point deficit with less that three minutes to play against Dallas. Watch Paul go to work in the final possessions:

Luka Doncic
DAL • SF • #77
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The first returns of All-Star fan voting have been released, and Doncic is the leading vote-getter across both conferences with 1,073,957 votes, edging Giannis Antetokounmpo at 1,073,358. Here are the rest of the returns:

Last Saturday, Doncic put up 31 points, 15 assists and 12 rebounds in a win over the Warrior. Per Mavs PR, Doncic is the first player in history to post a game with at least 30 points, 15 assists and 12 rebounds in 30 or fewer minutes. He is also the only player in history to record multiple 30-point triple-doubles in 30 or fewer minutes. 

In other words, something LeBron, Magic, Jordan, Kareem, Oscar, Wilt -- nobody! -- has ever accomplished over hundreds of years of combined careers, Doncic has done less than halfway through his second season. This guy's good. 

LeBron James
LAL • SF • #23
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The Lakers have answered their blip-on-the-radar three-game losing streak with three straight wins to get right back on track, and they hold a three-game lead in the loss column for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. In a 117-107 victory over Phoenix on Wednesday, LeBron posted his eighth triple-double of the season with 31 points, 13 rebound and 12 assists. 

James continues to lead the league at 10.9 assists a game. 

Oh, and LeBron was also named AP Male Athlete of the Decade, besting runner-up Tom Brady and Usain Bolt, who finished in third place. All LeBron did in the 2010s was make it to eight straight NBA Finals, win three championships, four league MVPs and three Finals MVPs while being named the All-NBA first team nine consecutive seasons. 

Joel Embiid
PHI • C • #21
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Embiid was front and center for one of the wildest finishes of the NBA season last Saturday. The Sixers were up two against the Heat with 16 seconds to play. Embiid had the ball, but he was effectively being triple-teamed. Trey Burke and Tobias Harris were wide open. All he had to do was pass to one of them, force the Heat to foul, and the game likely would've been over. Instead, Embiid hung on to the ball. Jimmy Butler eventually took it away. And Tyler Herro did this:

The Sixers wound up losing the game in overtime, ruining Embiid's 35-point, 11-rebound performance as the Sixers continue to be an offensive mess in fourth quarters