NBA Leaderboard, Part IIIThe season is nearly a fourth over for most teams and we are starting to get an idea of who the contenders and pretenders are in various statistical categories. For instance, Paul Pierce had 52 rebounds in his first four games but has had exactly one double figure rebounding game since then and currently ranks 36th in the league in that category. On the other hand, current leaders Utah, Iverson, Howard and Nash have been at or near the top right from the beginning and it is reasonable to assume at this point that they will be at or near the top at the end of the season--barring injuries, of course (or a lengthy period on the inactive list for Iverson).
Best Five Records
1) Utah Jazz, 16-5
2) San Antonio Spurs, 15-6
3-5) L.A. Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, 14-6
Dallas is just behind this group at 14-7. Orlando, the best team in the East (15-8), would be the seventh seed in the Western Conference. As Charles Barkley would say, Julius Erving, Larry Bird, Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan are rolling over in their graves...
Top Five Scorers (and a few other notables)
1) Allen Iverson, PHI 31.2 ppg
2) Carmelo Anthony, DEN 30.9 ppg
3) Michael Redd, MIL 29.2 ppg
4) Joe Johnson, ATL 28.7 ppg
5) Gilbert Arenas, WSH 27.8 ppg
6) Dwyane Wade, MIA 27.5 ppg
7) LeBron James, CLE 27.3 ppg
8) Vince Carter, NJN 27.0 ppg
9) Kobe Bryant, LAL 26.4 ppg
Iverson passed Anthony but is now on the inactive list and probably won't play again until the Sixers are able to trade him. If he is out for too long then he will not meet the minimum standard for games played or points scored and will no longer be listed among the official leaders by the NBA. Arenas vaulted back into the top five after some big performances. Bryant started off the season slowly as he recovered from knee surgery and he recently suffered a sprained ankle but his average continues to inch up. It's highly doubtful that he will match his scoring average from last year but certainly not out of the question that he could average 35 ppg over a 10-15 game stretch and take over the number one spot.
Top Five Rebounders (and a few other notables)
1) Dwight Howard, ORL 13.0 rpg
2) Carlos Boozer, UTA 12.3 rpg
3) Chris Bosh, TOR 12.2 rpg
4) Tyson Chandler, NOK 12.1 rpg
5) Kevin Garnett, MIN 12.0 rpg
7) Tim Duncan, SAS 10.7 rpg
15-16) Yao Ming, HOU and Rasheed Wallace, Det 9.5 rpg
20) Ben Wallace, CHI 9.0 rpg
23) Jason Kidd, NJN 8.6 rpg
Howard maintains the top spot, but his average dropped a bit, tightening the race. Duncan stayed at seventh, but his average also dropped a little. Yao's average has been going down slowly for a while. Rasheed Wallace has never been a great rebounder for his size/athletic ability and his current average is by far the best of his career. If he stays ahead of Ben Wallace (which I doubt will happen) it will be the first time since '98 that he averaged more rpg than his ex-teammate. Kidd is a 6-4 point guard who will be 34 in March and has had the dreaded microfracture procedure that has turned Chris Webber into a statue and Jamal Mashburn into an ESPN analyst while cutting short Lil Penny's promising TV career--yet Kidd is having the best rebounding season of his career and ranks among the league leaders.
Top Five Playmakers
1) Steve Nash, PHX 11.6 apg
2) Andre Miller, DEN, 9.5 apg
3) Jason Kidd, NJN 9.4 apg
4) Deron Williams, UTA, 9.1 apg
5) Chris Paul, NOK 8.9 apg
Membership in the top five has been the same for most of the season, but Nash is running away from the pack. "Starbury" moved up to 26th, just edging Boris Diaw.
Note: All statistics are from ESPN.com.
posted by David Friedman @ 3:25 AM