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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

NBA Leaderboard, Part IV

Boston is still on top of the standings but without fanfare San Antonio has moved into a virtual tie with the Celtics. LeBron James' quest to win his first scoring title--and prevent Kobe Bryant from becoming the first player to win three straight since Michael Jordan--has been briefly put on hold by a finger injury.

Best Five Records
-------------------

1) Boston Celtics, 14-2
2) San Antonio Spurs, 15-3
3) Orlando Magic, 15-4
4) Phoenix Suns, 13-4
5) Utah Jazz, 13-5

The San Antonio Spurs have won there straight and eight of their past 10 and have almost caught up with the Boston Celtics. The Spurs received a bit of a scare this weekend when Tim Duncan sprained his knee and his ankle but MRI results revealed no significant damage. Orlando's hot start has deservedly fueled MVP talk about Dwight Howard; Orlando actually started almost as well last year (14-5) before fading to a 40-42 record but Howard's improvement and the team's added depth (Rashard Lewis, a healthy Hedo Turkoglu) will prevent that from happening this season.

Top Ten Scorers (and a few other notables)
------------------

1) LeBron James, CLE 30.7 ppg
2) Kobe Bryant, LAL 27.6 ppg
3) Tracy McGrady, HOU 25.9 ppg
4) Carlos Boozer, UTA 25.4 ppg
5) Carmelo Anthony, DEN 25.3 ppg
6) Richard Jefferson, NJN 24.8 ppg
7) Kevin Martin, SAC 24.5 ppg
8) Baron Davis, GSW 23.6 ppg
9) Allen Iverson, DEN 23.5 ppg
10) Dwight Howard, ORL 23.5 ppg

14) Yao Ming, HOU 22.1 ppg

16) Paul Pierce, BOS 21.1 ppg
17) Dirk Nowitzki, DAL 20.9 ppg

20) Ray Allen, BOS 20.1 ppg

22) Kevin Durant, SEA 19.6 ppg

25) Kevin Garnett, BOS 19.4 ppg

This leaderboard has somewhat stabilized at the top. James remains in command, though Bryant is just two 50 point games away from catching up; in any case, it definitely looks like this will be a two man race. Howard looks like he could average 25 ppg this season and then do so for years to come. Nowitzki got off to a slow start but has recently picked up the pace, scoring at least 25 points in three of his last five games.

Top Ten Rebounders (and a few other notables)
----------------------

1) Marcus Camby, DEN 14.7 rpg
2) Dwight Howard, ORL 14.6 rpg
3) Chris Kaman, LAC 14.1 rpg
4) Emeka Okafor, CHA 12.0 rpg
5) Kevin Garnett, BOS 11.6 rpg
6) Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Cle 11.3 rpg
7) Carlos Boozer, UTA 11.2 rpg
8) Shawn Marion, PHX 11.1 rpg
9) Al Jefferson, MIN 10.9 rpg
10) Drew Gooden, CLE 10.3 rpg

12) Al Horford, ATL 10.2 rpg

15) Yao Ming, HOU 10.1 rpg
16) Andrew Bynum, LAL 10.1 rpg

19) Tim Duncan, SAS, 8.9 rpg

22) Jason Kidd, NJN 8.6 rpg
23) Ben Wallace, CHI 8.6 rpg

27) Dirk Nowitzki, DAL 8.2 rpg

33) Shaquille O'Neal, MIA 7.7 rpg
34) LeBron James, CLE 7.6 rpg

48) Kobe Bryant, LAL 6.1 rpg

Kaman is the surprise member of the top ten and it looks like he plans on staying there all season long. People like to suggest that LeBron James is a one man team but the other two members of Cleveland's frontcourt, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Drew Gooden, are both in the top ten in rebounding; defense, rebounding and James' brilliance is the proven recipe for Cleveland to be successful. Rookie Al Horford is a more productive player right now than the more celebrated Kevin Durant but, unfortunately, he has no shot at winning the Rookie of the Year award unless he can boost his scoring to at least the 13-15 ppg range. Ben Wallace had a season-high 19 rebounds on Saturday as he moved closer to the top 20.

Top Ten Playmakers
----------------------

1) Steve Nash, PHX 11.1 apg
2) Jason Kidd, NJN 10.7 apg
3) Chris Paul, NOH 10.1 apg
4) Deron Williams, UTA 8.7 apg
5) Baron Davis, GSW 8.6 apg
6) Jamaal Tinsley, IND 8.4 apg
7) LeBron James, CLE 8.1 apg
8) Chauncey Billups, DET 7.9 apg
9) Jose Calderon, TOR 7.8 apg
10) T.J. Ford, TOR 7.4 apg

Maybe Jason Kidd will actually push Steve Nash for the assists title after all, though I suspect that Nash will get some separation by putting up some 18 or 20 assist games, particularly when some weaker Eastern Conference teams venture west and arrive in Phoenix to play their fourth game in five days. Paul and Williams will always be linked together and not too long from now they may very well be annually fighting for the top two spots. How about that point guard rotation in Toronto, with both players ranking in the top ten in the league in assists? Calderon and Ford are playing virtually the same number of minutes.

Note: All statistics are from ESPN.com

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posted by David Friedman @ 1:28 AM

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