NBA Leaderboard, Part VIIThe Mavericks are pulling away from the rest of the league, the Lakers are moving up in the standings without Lamar Odom and the Utah Jazz are probably making their last appearance in the top five. Detroit is on pace to win 18 fewer games than last year; Chicago, after the annual slow start as a result of the "circus" road trip, is on pace to win six more games than last year and will probably do even better than that (the Bulls got off to a much worse start last year). Those things couldn't have anything to do with Ben Wallace, could they?
Best Five Records
1) Dallas Mavericks, 33-8
2) Phoenix Suns, 30-8
3) San Antonio Spurs, 27-13
4) L.A. Lakers, 26-14
5) Utah Jazz, 25-14
The Lakers moved ahead of the Utah Jazz and, even after their blowout loss to Dallas, have the fourth best record in the league. The Jazz are 4-6 in their last 10 games and figure to disappear from the top five pretty soon. The Cleveland Cavaliers (23-15) still have the best record in the Eastern Conference but six Western Conference teams have better records than they do. The Orlando Magic once had the second best record in the league but are now second in their division behind Washington.
Top Five Scorers (and a few other notables)
1) Carmelo Anthony, DEN 31.6 ppg
2) Gilbert Arenas, WSH 29.9 ppg
3) Allen Iverson, DEN 29.4 ppg
4) Kobe Bryant, LAL 28.1 ppg
5) Dwyane Wade, MIA 27.9 ppg
7) LeBron James, CLE 26.8 ppg
9) Yao Ming, HOU 25.9 ppg
11) Vince Carter, NJN 25.2 ppg
16) Tracy McGrady, HOU 22.8 ppg
Agent Zero's averaged dropped by .6 ppg but he maintained control over the second position. Allen Iverson's average seems to have stabilized for now but it will be interesting to see what happens after Carmelo Anthony returns to action. Tracy McGrady moved up another spot, largely on the strength of his recent 45 point performance against Dallas, but his balky back forced him to leave that game early and once again leaves his status in doubt.
Top Five Rebounders (and a few other notables)
1) Kevin Garnett, MIN 12.6 rpg
2) Dwight Howard, ORL 12.6 rpg
3) Marcus Camby, DEN 12.1 rpg
4) Carlos Boozer, UTA 11.7 rpg
5) Emeka Okafor, CHA 11.3 rpg
9) Tim Duncan, SAS 10.3 rpg
10) Ben Wallace, CHI 10.1 rpg
21) Rasheed Wallace, DET 8.6 rpg
22) Jason Kidd, NJN 8.3 rpg
As I predicted, Howard no longer mans the top spot; he is now in a dead heat with Kevin Garnett, but Garnett's numbers have been going up while Howard's have been declining. Marcus Camby is averaging 16.2 rpg in January. Tim Duncan and Ben Wallace are still neck and neck at the bottom of the top ten. Sheed dropped out of the top 20 as some non-qualifiers played in enough games to be listed again. He tied his season-high with 15 rebounds on December 1 but has reached double figures in boards just three times since then. By the way, Ben Wallace's replacement, Nazr Mohammed, ranks 30th--among centers. Mohammed also wants to be traded if newly acquired Chris Webber takes some of his minutes--but Detroit doesn't miss Ben Wallace, right? And they won't miss him even more in the playoffs when the game slows down and defense and rebounding become even more important, right?
Top Five Playmakers
1) Steve Nash, PHX 11.4 apg
2) Jason Kidd, NJN 9.2 apg
3) Chris Paul, NOK 9.0 apg
4) Deron Williams, UTA 8.7 apg
5) Andre Miller, PHI 8.7 apg
The five top players are still the same, although Williams and Miller switched spots. Baron Davis is just .1 apg behind them, though, so he may move into the top group soon. "Starbury" now ranks 24th with a 5.5 apg average.
Note: All statistics are from ESPN.com
posted by David Friedman @ 6:30 AM