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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

NBA Leaderboard, Part VII

The Boston Celtics lost a game, retained the best record but still must weather an upcoming West Coast road trip to stay ahead of perennial contenders Detroit, San Antonio, Phoenix and Dallas. LeBron James continues to put up good numbers but his Cavs are not playing the kind of defense that they did last year. Quick quiz: who is averaging more ppg and rpg this year, Kevin Garnett or Al Jefferson? Don't scroll down until you take a guess.

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

1) Boston Celtics, 22-3
2) Detroit Pistons, 20-7
3) San Antonio Spurs, 19-7
4) Phoenix Suns, 19-8
5) Dallas Mavericks, 19-9

The Boston Celtics have been on top all season but the Detroit Pistons won the first head to head encounter between the teams and now have the league's second best record. Of course, the Pistons have a recent history of doing very well in the regular season only to fail to meet expectations in the playoffs, so their early success is neither surprising nor is it necessarily a portent of things to come in the postseason. Last week, I mentioned that the Orlando Magic have been playing well on the road and poorly at home, suggesting that one of those two things will prove to be a fluke. We may be starting to get an answer about that, as the Magic are fading fast, just like they did last season after a good start; they have gone just 3-7 in their past 10 games and Coach Stan Van Gundy has publicly called them soft and said that if he were a Magic fan he'd boo even louder than the actual fans have been booing. The Dallas Mavericks have "quietly" won five in a row to grab the fifth spot on the leaderboard ("quietly" means that the national media has not yet realized this and is still talking about how this team needs to be blown up because things are allegedly not working).

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

1) LeBron James, CLE 29.5 ppg
2) Kobe Bryant, LAL 26.8 ppg
3) Allen Iverson, DEN 26.4 ppg
4) Carmelo Anthony, DEN 25.4 ppg
5) Richard Jefferson, NJN 25.3 ppg
6) Carlos Boozer, UTA 24.7 ppg
7) Dwyane Wade, MIA 24.3 ppg
8) Michael Redd, MIL 23.9 ppg
9) Dwight Howard, ORL 23.4 ppg
10) Tracy McGrady, HOU 22.8 ppg

13) Dirk Nowitzki, DAL 21.9 ppg

17) Yao Ming, HOU 21.4 ppg

21) Paul Pierce, BOS 20.7 ppg

24) Kevin Durant, SEA 19.9 ppg

26) Ray Allen, BOS 19.4 ppg

31) Kevin Garnett, BOS 18.9 ppg

LeBron James still has a comfortable lead, though Allen Iverson's average is steadily increasing and he is now threatening to make this a three horse race. Dwyane Wade has now played enough games to be listed among the leaders. Dirk Nowitzki has scored at least 30 points in three straight games. Kevin Durant's field goal percentage finally inched above .400 but the only players who rank in the top 50 in scoring and have a lower field goal percentage are Ben Gordon and Jamal Crawford. As Utah Coach Jerry Sloan would say, those guys are "shooting" guards but their teams would prefer for them to be "making" guards.

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

1) Dwight Howard, ORL 15.0 rpg
2) Marcus Camby, DEN 14.3 rpg
3) Chris Kaman, LAC 14.0 rpg
4) Al Jefferson, MIN 12.0 rpg
5) Tyson Chandler, NOH 11.9 rpg
6) Carlos Boozer, UTA 11.7 rpg
7) Emeka Okafor, CHA 10.8 rpg
8) Antawn Jamison, WAS 10.7 rpg
9) Yao Ming, HOU 10.6 rpg
10) Shawn Marion, PHX 10.5 rpg
11) Kevin Garnett, BOS 10.4 rpg

13) Andrew Bynum, LAL 10.0 rpg

17) Al Horford, ATL 9.6 rpg

22) Jason Kidd, NJN 8.8 rpg

24) Ben Wallace, CHI 8.5 rpg

28) Dirk Nowitzki, DAL 8.3 rpg

33) Shaquille O'Neal, MIA 7.7 rpg

44) Kobe Bryant, LAL 6.3 rpg

Tim Duncan (9.7 rpg) dropped off the list after missing some games due to injury (and therefore falling below the minimum required number of games/rebounds) but he has put up monster scoring and rebounding numbers in his last three games (36-17, 16-4, 34-18) so he will no doubt be on the next leaderboard--possibly even in the top 10. Al Jefferson, Kevin Garnett's young replacement in Minnesota, is outscoring and outrebounding Garnett while blocking almost as many shots.

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

1) Steve Nash, PHX 12.4 apg
2) Jason Kidd, NJN 10.3 apg
3) Chris Paul, NOH 10.0 apg
4) Jamaal Tinsley, IND 8.8 apg
5) Deron Williams, UTA 8.7 apg
6) Jose Calderon, TOR 8.0 apg
7) Baron Davis, GSW 8.0 apg
8) Chauncey Billups, DET 7.6 apg
9) LeBron James, CLE 7.5 apg
10) Allen Iverson, DEN 7.3 apg

As usual, this leaderboard is the most stable one. Chris Paul has joined Steve Nash and Jason Kidd as the only players who are averaging 10 apg but other than that there have not been many changes recently. There is a .5 apg drop from 10th place to 11th, so the list will probably look like this for a while.

Note: All statistics are from ESPN.com

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posted by David Friedman @ 6:11 AM

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