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Monday, January 29, 2007

NBA Leaderboard, Part VIII

The Washington Wizards (26-17, .605) are the only Eastern Conference team that currently has a record of .600 or better. You know what that would get you in the West? The seventh seed. Cleveland had the best record in the East for about a minute and a half but the Cavs are now seeded fifth. In the East, you can move up by having a day off while other teams lose--wouldn't it be strange if, somehow, in June, one of these teams gets hot or rides a superstar to a Finals victory?

Best Five Records
-------------------

1) Phoenix Suns, 36-8
2) Dallas Mavericks, 36-9
3) San Antonio Spurs, 32-14
4) Utah Jazz, 29-16
5) Houston Rockets, 27-16

We have a new leader. The Phoenix Suns have ridden a 17 game (and counting) winning streak into the pole position on the leaderboard--but previous leader Dallas is only a half game behind. A pair of overtime losses dropped the Lakers to a half game behind the Rockets and cost them an appearance on the leaderboard. The Utah Jazz have not recaptured their early season form but did enough to stay in the top five.

Top Five Scorers (and a few other notables)
------------------

1) Carmelo Anthony, DEN 31.5 ppg
2) Gilbert Arenas, WSH 29.4 ppg
3) Allen Iverson, DEN 28.8 ppg
4) Kobe Bryant, LAL 28.4 ppg
5) Dwyane Wade, MIA 28.4 ppg

7) LeBron James, CLE 27.2 ppg

10) Vince Carter, NJN 25.1 ppg

16) Tracy McGrady, HOU 23.3 ppg

Yao Ming has been out of action long enough that he no longer meets the points scored or games played minimums; otherwise, he would rank ninth. Melo is back on the court and still ranks number one. Iverson's average has been declining since he arrived in Denver. Arenas' average has also been going down. Bryant started the season slowly--for him, anyway--but he has been locked into the fourth position with about 28 ppg for quite some time now. It does not seem that he will repeat as scoring champion unless the averages of the three players ahead of him continue to march downward, because 28 ppg seems to be about what the Lakers need from Kobe this year.

Top Five Rebounders (and a few other notables)
----------------------

1) Kevin Garnett, MIN 12.5 rpg
2) Marcus Camby, DEN 12.4 rpg
3) Dwight Howard, ORL 12.3 rpg
4) Carlos Boozer, UTA 11.8 rpg
5) Emeka Okafor, CHA 11.4 rpg

8) Tim Duncan, SAS 10.5 rpg

10-11) Ben Wallace, CHI 10.1 rpg
10-11) Shawn Marion, PHX 10.1 rpg

21) Jason Kidd, 8.4 rpg
22) Rasheed Wallace, DET 8.3 rpg

Howard led for most of the season but has now dropped to third; admittedly the top three are in a virtual dead heat. Shawn Marion is short and skinny compared to most of the other leading rebounders but that does not stop him from getting 10 rebounds a night. Kidd is a master of positioning and reading the flight of the ball. The next time you watch a Nets game, pry your eyes away from the ball and follow Kidd's movements as he guards his man but is prepared to dart into the lane to get a rebound as soon as the shot goes up.

Top Five Playmakers
----------------------

1) Steve Nash, PHX 11.8 apg
2) Deron Williams, UTA 9.2 apg
3) Chris Paul, NOK 9.0 apg
4) Jason Kidd, 9.0 ppg
5) Andre Miller, PHI 8.7 apg

This quintet has been the same for most of the season. Kidd's average stayed about the same, but Williams and Paul had great games to slip past him into the second and third spots respectively. "Starbury" now ranks 17th with a 5.7 apg average.

Note: All statistics are from ESPN.com

posted by David Friedman @ 5:52 AM

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