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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

NBA Leaderboard, Part XIII

Kobe Bryant scored 115 points in two games to take the lead in the race for the 2007 scoring title. The Mavericks stumbled versus Phoenix but the Suns dropped two straight after that game and will not likely catch Dallas and capture the number one seed in the West.

Best Five Records

1) Dallas Mavericks, 54-11
2) Phoenix Suns, 50-16
3) San Antonio Spurs, 46-20
4) Utah Jazz, 43-23
5) Detroit Pistons, 42-23

The top five remained the same but only Detroit played well overall, going 4-1 since the previous leaderboard. Dallas went 3-2, Phoenix went 2-2, San Antonio went 2-2 and Utah went 1-4. Cleveland has the league's best current winning streak--eight games--and has moved to within striking distance of Detroit. Miami will not make it into the top five but the Heat are 9-1 over their last 10 games and have welcomed Shaq's return a lot more than they have lamented Wade's loss--as predicted in this space.

Top Five Scorers (and a few other notables)

1) Kobe Bryant, LAL 30.0 ppg
2) Carmelo Anthony, DEN 29.8 ppg
3) Gilbert Arenas, WSH 28.9 ppg
4) Dwyane Wade, MIA 28.8 ppg
5) Allen Iverson, DEN 28.0 ppg
6) LeBron James, CLE 27.4 ppg

9) Dirk Nowitzki, DAL 25.2 ppg

11) Vince Carter, NJN 24.7 ppg
12) Tracy McGrady, HOU 24.4 ppg

In Leaderboard IX, I raised the possibility that Kobe Bryant would pass Carmelo Anthony for the top spot. At that time, Bryant still trailed by more than 2 ppg, which would seem to be a big margin with more than half the season spent, but Anthony's numbers have been heading south and the Lakers need Bryant's scoring more than ever. Not only did Bryant pass Anthony this weekend, he did so in record breaking fashion, scoring 65 points versus Portland and then 50 points against Minnesota, becoming the only player other than Wilt Chamberlain to ever follow a 60 point game with a 50 point game. James is a couple big games away from cracking the top five. He raised expectations to such a high level last year that his perceived slump this year has largely removed his name from MVP conversation. What if Cleveland passes Detroit's group of All-Stars and posts the best record in the East? Would James be any less MVP-worthy than he was last year, when he finished second to Steve Nash? I had James fifth last year and would probably have him fourth or fifth this year but if James drops from second to fifth in the official balloting I'd be interested to hear why, since he is basically doing the same things this year that he did in 2006 and his team is contending for the number one seed in the East.

Top Five Rebounders (and a few other notables)

1) Kevin Garnett, MIN 12.6 rpg
2) Tyson Chandler, NOK 12.4 rpg
3) Dwight Howard, ORL 12.1 rpg
4) Emeka Okafor, CHA 11.7 rpg
5) Marcus Camby, DEN 11.6 rpg
6) Carlos Boozer, UTA 11.6 rpg

8) Tim Duncan, SAS 10.8 rpg
9) Ben Wallace, CHI 10.5 rpg
10) Shawn Marion, PHX 10.2 rpg

24) Jason Kidd, NJN 8.0 rpg

26) Rasheed Wallace, DET 7.8 rpg

Camby and Boozer are basically in a dead heat. The Garnett-Chandler battle may be decided in the final game. The .2 rpg margin equals roughly 16 rebounds, so we could see a Moses Malone-like tap fest as one player tries to get 25 or 30 rebounds in his last game.

Top Five Playmakers

1) Steve Nash, PHX 11.6 apg
2) Deron Williams, UTA 9.3 apg
3) Jason Kidd, NJN 9.1 apg
4) Chris Paul, NOK 8.8 apg
5) Baron Davis, GSW 8.2 apg

Is it live or is it Memorex? The playmaking leaderboard rarely changes this year.

Starbury has cracked the top 20, ranking 19th (5.6 apg).

Note: All statistics are from ESPN.com

posted by David Friedman @ 4:36 AM



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