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Monday, January 07, 2008

NBA Leaderboard, Part IX

The Boston Celtics keep right on rolling along. Their nine game winning streak is the league's longest active winning streak and their 92-85 win over Detroit means that they have now avenged each of their three defeats. LeBron James is still on course for his first scoring title, while Dwight Howard appears to be headed for his first rebounding crown.

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

1) Boston Celtics, 29-3
2) Detroit Pistons, 26-8
3) San Antonio Spurs, 23-9
4-5) Dallas Mavericks, New Orleans Hornets, 23-11

Most of the Eastern Conference is mired in mediocrity (or worse) but, ironically, the league's two best records also reside there. By the way, the defending champion San Antonio Spurs--the team seldom talked about until June--have overcome injuries to Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker to maintain a pace for 59 wins and the best record in the Western Conference.

The L.A. Lakers (21-11) just missed the cut for the top five, quite a turnaround for a team that supposedly was on the verge of trading Kobe Bryant and blowing up the whole roster. The Phoenix Suns (23-10) are also in the mix but there are questions about the team's focus and interior defense.

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

1) LeBron James, CLE 28.9 ppg
2) Kobe Bryant, LAL 26.7 ppg
3) Allen Iverson, DEN 26.6 ppg
4) Carmelo Anthony, DEN 25.4 ppg
5) Dwyane Wade, MIA 24.9 ppg
6) Richard Jefferson, NJN 24.5 ppg
7) Carlos Boozer, UTA 23.5 ppg
8) Michael Redd, MIL 23.4 ppg
9) Dwight Howard, ORL 22.4 ppg
10) Baron Davis, GSW 22.1 ppg

12) Dirk Nowitzki, DAL 22.0 ppg

16) Yao Ming, HOU 21.6 ppg

18) Paul Pierce, BOS 21.5 ppg

24) Kevin Durant, SEA 20.0 ppg

33) Kevin Garnett, BOS 19.1 ppg
34) Brandon Roy, POR 19.0 ppg

39) Ray Allen, BOS 18.0 ppg

Former scoring champions Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson are in a dead heat for second place. The Cavaliers are obviously very dependent on LeBron James' scoring, so his average is unlikely to decline very much; in other words, Bryant or Iverson will have to increase their output to catch him. Tracy McGrady dropped from the list because he no longer meets the minimum requirements in terms of point scored/games played.

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

1) Dwight Howard, ORL 15.2 rpg
2) Marcus Camby, DEN 14.3 rpg
3) Chris Kaman, LAC 14.0 rpg
4) Al Jefferson, MIN 12.3 rpg
5) Tyson Chandler, NOH 12.3 rpg
6) Carlos Boozer, UTA 11.3 rpg
7-8) Antawn Jamison, WAS 10.6 rpg
7-8) Emeka Okafor, CHA 10.6 rpg
9) Yao Ming, HOU 10.6 rpg
10) Zach Randolph, NYK 10.4 rpg
11) Tim Duncan, SAS 10.3 rpg
12) Kevin Garnett, BOS 10.1 rpg

15) Andrew Bynum, LAL 10.0 rpg

20) Al Horford, ATL 9.3 rpg

23) Ben Wallace, CHI 8.9 rpg

25) Jason Kidd, NJN 8.8 rpg

27) Dirk Nowitzki, DAL 8.7 rpg

36) Shaquille O'Neal, MIA 7.8 rpg

49) Kobe Bryant, LAL 6.2 rpg

The top nine spots remain exactly the same as last week, but Zach Randolph bumped Kevin Garnett out of the top ten. Anyone who thinks that a player's value can be determined just by looking at his statistics should keep in mind that Al Jefferson is averaging more points and more rebounds than Kevin Garnett but that Garnett is the key player on the team with the league's best record while Jefferson--the main player Minnesota acquired in the Garnett deal--is putting up numbers on a team that may threaten the all-time single season record for losses. I do not mean to say that Garnett is wholly responsible for Boston's success or that Jefferson is to blame for Minnesota's struggles; my point is simply that, because of the 24 second shot clock--which guarantees that each team will have certain number of possessions--no matter how bad a team is someone will be putting up points, rebounds and assists.

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

1) Steve Nash, PHX 12.3 apg
2) Jason Kidd, NJN 10.7 apg
3) Chris Paul, NOH 10.3 apg
4) Deron Williams, UTA 9.0 apg
5) Jamaal Tinsley, IND 8.7 apg
6) Jose Calderon, TOR 8.2 apg
7) Baron Davis, GSW 8.0 apg
8) LeBron James, CLE 7.6 apg
9) Chauncey Billups, DET 7.5 apg
10) Mo Williams, MIL 7.0 apg

The first seven players are in the exact same order that they were in last week. James and Billups swapped spots and we have some blood at number 10 as Mo Williams supplanted Allen Iverson.

Note: All statistics are from ESPN.com

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posted by David Friedman @ 5:16 AM

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