NBA Leaderboard, Part VIThe first Leaderboard of 2007 finds Dallas and Phoenix riding high, the Lakers and Cavs moving up and a new/old name appearing among the scoring leaders.
Best Five Records
1) Dallas Mavericks, 28-8
2) Phoenix Suns, 26-8
3) San Antonio Spurs, 25-11
4) Utah Jazz, 24-11
5) L.A. Lakers, 23-12
The Lakers moved ahead of the Detroit Pistons, meaning that no Eastern Conference team cracks the top five. Detroit does not even have the best record in the East anymore; the Cleveland Cavaliers (22-12), winners of five straight and eight out of 10, now have the best record in the East, but will have to weather a tough Western Conference road trip to maintain that position.
Top Five Scorers (and a few other notables)
1) Carmelo Anthony, DEN 31.6 ppg
2) Gilbert Arenas, WSH 30.5 ppg
3) Allen Iverson, DEN 29.3 ppg
4) Kobe Bryant, LAL 28.4 ppg
5) Dwyane Wade, MIA 27.7 ppg
8) LeBron James, CLE 26.4 ppg
9) Yao Ming, HOU 25.9 ppg
11) Vince Carter, NJN 25.0 ppg
17) Tracy McGrady, HOU 22.4 ppg
Carmelo Anthony is still locked into the number one spot as he finishes his suspension. Allen Iverson, his new Denver teammate, has already seen his average drop and that trend figures to continue when Anthony returns to action. Meanwhile, Agent Zero moved into second position even though his average actually went down slightly since Leaderboard V. There is a new/old name that bears watching: Tracy McGrady, the two-time scoring champion who has had a string of 30-plus point games with Yao Ming out of the lineup, boosted his average from below 20 ppg to over 22 ppg. He now ranks 17th in the NBA and could conceivably move into the top ten by the end of the season if his balky back does not fail him.
Top Five Rebounders (and a few other notables)
1) Dwight Howard, ORL 12.5 rpg
2) Kevin Garnett, MIN 12.4 rpg
3) Carlos Boozer, UTA 11.8 rpg
4) Tyson Chandler, NOK 11.4 rpg
5) Emeka Okafor, CHA 11.2 rpg
8-9) Ben Wallace, CHI 10.1 rpg
8-9) Tim Duncan, SAS 10.1 rpg
17) Rasheed Wallace, DET 8.7 rpg
21) Jason Kidd, NJN 8.2 rpg
Chris Bosh drops off the list because he is not on pace to reach the qualifying minimum number of total rebounds; otherwise, he would rank third. In Leaderboard V, I predicted that Howard, who has topped this list all season long, would not be the leader by the end of the year; Garnett is now within one good game of passing him. Ben Wallace and Tim Duncan each have 353 rebounds in 35 games. Like Bosh, Yao Ming has dropped off the qualifying pace; he would otherwise rank 16th. Sheed moved up to 17th, in part because some of the guys who are ahead of him no longer qualify for the list, but his average dipped slightly and figures to drop more.
Top Five Playmakers
1) Steve Nash, PHX 11.0 apg
2) Jason Kidd, NJN 9.0 apg
3) Chris Paul, NOK 9.0 apg
4) Andre Miller, PHI 8.9 apg
5) Deron Williams, UTA 8.8 apg
Deron Williams moved past Baron Davis and back into the top five, but the top four players remained the same. "Starbury" now ranks 23rd; his average moved up slightly to 5.4 apg.
Note: All statistics are from ESPN.com
posted by David Friedman @ 3:05 AM