NBA Leaderboard, Part XIITwo of the big questions down the stretch are "Will the Mavs win 70 games?" and "Will Steve Nash join Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Larry Bird as winners of three straight MVPs?" My answers are "No" and "Maybe, but Dirk Nowitzki will probably get the award this year."
Best Five Records
1) Dallas Mavericks, 51-9
2) Phoenix Suns, 48-14
3) San Antonio Spurs, 44-18
4) Utah Jazz, 42-19
5) Detroit Pistons, 38-22
None of the top four teams lost a game since the previous leaderboard. The Mavericks became the first team to clinch a playoff berth. Detroit went just 2-3 but still has the best record in the East.
Top Five Scorers (and a few other notables)
1) Carmelo Anthony, DEN 29.9 ppg
2) Kobe Bryant, LAL 29.2 ppg
3) Dwyane Wade, MIA 28.8 ppg
4) Gilbert Arenas, WSH 28.7 ppg
5) Allen Iverson, DEN 27.9 ppg
6) LeBron James, CLE 27.4 ppg
9) Dirk Nowitzki, DAL 25.3 ppg
10) Vince Carter, NJN 25.0 ppg
12) Tracy McGrady, HOU 24.7 ppg
Kobe Bryant is now one big game away from being the NBA's leading scorer. In a little over a week he has moved up to second place and cut Carmelo Anthony's lead from 1.6 ppg to just .7 ppg--the equivalent of about 42 points. In other words, if Bryant has a 71 point game--or a couple 50 point games--then he will pass Anthony. Given the lack of production from the rest of the Lakers' injury-depleted roster even if Bryant scores at that rate it might not be enough to reverse the team's slide. Wade actually moved up a spot despite not playing but if he does not return before the end of the season the NBA will drop him from the list because he will not have scored enough points or played in enough games to meet the minimum qualification standards. Nowitzki's average is lower than it has been the previous two seasons but he is still in the top ten and probably has the inside track for MVP honors based on his all-around game and the tremendous success that the Mavericks are enjoying.
Top Five Rebounders (and a few other notables)
1) Kevin Garnett, MIN 12.7 rpg
2) Tyson Chandler, NOK 12.6 rpg
3) Dwight Howard, ORL 12.1 rpg
4) Emeka Okafor, CHA 11.7 rpg
5) Carlos Boozer, UTA 11.6 rpg
8) Tim Duncan, SAS 10.7 rpg
9) Ben Wallace, CHI 10.4 rpg
10) Shawn Marion, PHX 10.3 rpg
24) Rasheed Wallace, DET 8.1 rpg
25) Jason Kidd, NJN 8.0 rpg
The top five remained exactly the same but Chandler inched closer to Garnett, so we may have a photo finish for the title in this category. Marion moved back into the top ten.
Top Five Playmakers
1) Steve Nash, PHX 11.7 apg
2) Deron Williams, UTA 9.1 apg
3) Jason Kidd, NJN 8.9 apg
4) Chris Paul, NOK 8.7 apg
5) Baron Davis, GSW 8.5 apg
Davis and Paul again switched spots and the rest of the top five again stayed the same, as it has for most of the season. Starbury just missed the cut for top 20 status, ranking 21st (5.5 apg).
Note: All statistics are from ESPN.com
posted by David Friedman @ 8:34 PM