NBA Leaderboard, Part IXAll-Star Weekend is fast approaching and the 2006-07 NBA season is already well past its midpoint. The Dallas Mavericks, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Garnett and Steve Nash sit atop the leaderboard in wins, scoring, rebounding and assists respectively. Who will wear those crowns at the end of the season? Nash is the only sure bet at this point; the races for most wins and best rebounding average are too close to call and it is still possible that Anthony will fall back to the pack and/or one of his closest competitors will get hot for a sustained stretch of time.
Best Five Records
1) Dallas Mavericks, 39-9
2) Phoenix Suns, 39-10
3) San Antonio Spurs, 32-16
4) Utah Jazz, 32-17
5) Houston Rockets, 31-17
It has pretty much become a two horse race for the best record in the NBA. It will be interesting to see if Steve Nash's shoulder injury tips the balance in favor of Dallas; one of the few questions about Nash concerns his durability, both in terms of becoming worn out over the course of a long season and also in terms of getting injured. The Spurs, Jazz and Rockets are in an extremely tight race for the third spot; just behind them are the Lakers, who feasted on their early home games and will have to do well on the road the rest of the way in order to move up in the standings (they are currently 30-19). What about the East? Detroit is number one, for the moment, with Washington and Chicago not too far behind; the Pistons would be sixth in the West, barely ahead of the Lakers.
Top Five Scorers (and a few other notables)
1) Carmelo Anthony, DEN 31.0 ppg
2) Gilbert Arenas, WSH 29.4 ppg
3) Allen Iverson, DEN 28.9 ppg
4) Kobe Bryant, LAL 28.8 ppg
5) Dwyane Wade, MIA 28.8 ppg
8) LeBron James, CLE 26.6 ppg
10) Vince Carter, NJN 25.0 ppg
13) Tracy McGrady, HOU 23.8 ppg
The top five has not changed since the previous leaderboard, but Melo's average is going down while Bryant and Wade's are going up. Last week I expressed doubt that Kobe will repeat as the scoring champion but now he is only about 2 ppg back with about 30 games to go. If Melo drops below 30 ppg I think that Kobe will repeat as the scoring champion. LeBron's numbers are going down as he battles his toe injury. T-Mac should receive serious All-NBA consideration this year: the Rockets are 15-6 since Yao Ming got hurt and, laudable as Dikembe Mutombo's contributions have been, let's get real: without T-Mac's scoring and ability to draw defenders, the Rockets would be in big trouble. Last year they could barely win a game without T-Mac in the lineup, even when Yao played.
Top Five Rebounders (and a few other notables)
1) Kevin Garnett, MIN 12.4 rpg
2) Marcus Camby, DEN 12.2 rpg
3) Dwight Howard, ORL 12.0 rpg
4) Carlos Boozer, UTA 11.8 rpg
5) Tyson Chandler, NOK 11.5 rpg
8) Tim Duncan, SAS 10.8 rpg
11) Shawn Marion, PHX 10.1 rpg
12) Ben Wallace, CHI 10.0 rpg
22) Rasheed Wallace, DET 8.3 rpg
23) Jason Kidd, NJN 8.0 rpg
The likelihood of Howard becoming the youngest rebounding champion ever seems increasingly remote; early in the season he was ahead of everyone by more than 1 rpg but now KG has opened up a .4 rpg lead over him. Marion is within shouting distance of the top ten, which is pretty remarkable considering the listed heights and weights of the other leaders. Kidd has stayed steadily in the 8 rpg range throughout the season.
Top Five Playmakers
1) Steve Nash, PHX 11.8 apg
2) Deron Williams, UTA 9.1 apg
3) Jason Kidd, NJN 8.8 apg
4) Baron Davis, GSW 8.7 ppg
5) Chris Paul, NOK 8.6 apg
For the first time in quite a while we have a change in the top five. Davis moved up to fourth and Andre Miller slipped to sixth as Andre Iguodala assumed some of the playmaking duties for Philadelphia. "Starbury" dropped to 22nd and is averaging 5.4 apg.
Note: All statistics are from ESPN.com; also, the previous leaderboard should have been numbered "VIII," not "IX." This is in fact the ninth leaderboard that I have posted here.
posted by David Friedman @ 1:25 AM