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Thursday, December 21, 2006

NBA Leaderboard, Part IV

In golf it is called "moving day"--the time when the contenders separate themselves from the pretenders. Several of the NBA's elite teams and players started off slowly but, as the fourth edition of the NBA Leaderboard shows, they have worked their way to the top. Utah and Orlando led the standings as recently as three weeks ago but now the Spurs and Suns have the two best records.

Best Five Records

1) San Antonio Spurs, 20-6
2) Phoenix Suns, 18-6
3-4) Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, 19-7
5) L.A. Lakers, 17-9

The Lakers have a better record than every team in the Eastern Conference. The Jazz have gone 6-4 in their last ten games and the Magic have gone 4-6. Two thirds of the season still remains to be played, plenty of time for the contenders to separate themselves even more from the pretenders. For those of you who are wondering, Denver is currently in the eighth spot. Iverson is scheduled to arrive on Friday and Melo will be back in a month.

Top Five Scorers (and a few other notables)

1) Carmelo Anthony, DEN 31.6 ppg
2) Allen Iverson, DEN 31.2 ppg
3) Gilbert Arenas, WSH 29.1 ppg
4) Kobe Bryant, LAL 28.7 ppg
5) Dwyane Wade, MIA 28.6 ppg

8) Yao Ming, HOU 26.7 ppg

10) LeBron James, CLE 26.3 ppg
11) Vince Carter, NJN 25.9 ppg

Bryant has moved up from 14th to 4th since November 23. Surprisingly, James' average and ranking have actually slipped slightly since then. Arenas' 60 point game helped him to move into third place. Carter started the season at a career-high pace but has been slipping during the past month. This race will really be fun to watch down the stretch.

Top Five Rebounders (and a few other notables)

1) Dwight Howard, ORL 12.7 rpg
2) Chris Bosh, TOR 12.2 rpg
3) Carlos Boozer, UTA 11.8 rpg
4) Kevin Garnett, MIN 11.8 rpg
5) Tyson Chandler, NOK 11.5 rpg

8) Ben Wallace, CHI 10.6 rpg

11) Tim Duncan, SAS 10.1 rpg

14) Yao Ming, HOU 9.8 rpg

18) Rasheed Wallace, DET 9.3 rpg

23) Jason Kidd, NJN 8.7 rpg

Howard has led all year, but his average continues to decline. Duncan's average dropped and he fell out of the top ten. As predicted here, Ben Wallace zoomed past former teammate Rasheed Wallace. Will Sheed rank ahead of the 6-4 Kidd by the end of the season? My guess is no. Will Detroit miss Ben Wallace's rebounding and defense a lot more in the playoffs than they will during the regular season? Yes.

Top Five Playmakers

1) Steve Nash, PHX 11.6 apg
2) Jason Kidd, NJN 9.5 apg
3) Andre Miller, PHI 9.1 apg
4) Chris Paul, NOK 9.1 apg
5) Deron Williams, UTA 8.8 apg

This top five does not figure to change much (barring injury). If this were an election, Nash would already be projected as the winner. "Starbury" moved up to 24th--and hit a game-winning shot this week, too.

Note: All statistics are from NBA.com.

posted by David Friedman @ 3:43 AM



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