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Friday, April 20, 2007

NBA Leaderboard, Part XVI (final edition)

The Dallas Mavericks' 67 wins are the most by an NBA team since the L.A. Lakers matched that total in 1999-2000, the first of three championship years for the Shaquille O'Neal-Kobe Bryant L.A. Lakers. Bryant claimed his second consecutive scoring title, the first Laker to accomplish that since George Mikan won his third straight in 1951. Kevin Garnett took an even earlier vacation than his slumping Timberwolves did but he won his fourth straight rebounding title. Steve Nash seemingly had his third straight assists title wrapped up by the All-Star Break.

Best Five Records

1) Dallas Mavericks, 67-15
2) Phoenix Suns, 61-21
3) San Antonio Spurs, 58-24
4) Detroit Pistons, 53-29
5) Houston Rockets, 52-30

Houston has to be the "quietest" 50-plus win team that the NBA has seen in a while. Yao Ming missed more than 30 games and Tracy McGrady battled a balky back but the Rockets still finished with the fifth best record in the league. Five Western teams won at least 50 games (the Utah Jazz just missed the top five with a 51-31 record) while just two Eastern teams reached that plateau: Detroit and Cleveland (50-32). The bottom two playoff teams in the West, the Warriors and the Lakers, are each 42-40, while the East has one playoff team with a losing record and two that finished 41-41. Just 13 wins separate seeds one through eight in the East, while 25 wins separate Dallas from the Warriors and the Lakers.

Top Ten Scorers (and a few other notables)

1) Kobe Bryant, LAL 31.6 ppg
2) Carmelo Anthony, DEN 28.9 ppg
3) Gilbert Arenas, WSH 28.4 ppg
4) LeBron James, CLE 27.5 ppg
5) Ray Allen, SEA 26.4 ppg
6) Allen Iverson, DEN 26.3 ppg
7) Vince Carter, NJN 25.2 ppg
8) Joe Johnson, ATL 25.0 ppg
9) Tracy McGrady, HOU 24.6 ppg
10) Dirk Nowitzki, DAL 24.6 ppg

17) Amare Stoudemire, PHX 20.4 ppg

19) Tim Duncan, SAS 20.0 ppg

26) Steve Nash, PHX 18.6 ppg

Bryant's scoring explosion in the second half of the season is unlike anything the NBA has seen since Wilt Chamberlain was in his prime. Bryant went from fourth place (28.7 ppg) on Leaderboard X (February 15) to first place (30.0 ppg) in barely a month--and then he added another 1.6 ppg to his average by producing several 40 and 50 point games that enabled the Lakers to win just enough games to qualify for the playoffs.

If you have been following the Leaderboard throughout the season then you are probably wondering why Dwyane Wade is not listed. In order to be ranked among the league scoring leaders a player must score 1400 points or appear in at least 70 games. Wade scored 1397 points in 51 games (28.4 ppg), missing the cut by three points.

Top Ten Rebounders (and a few other notables)

1) Kevin Garnett, MIN 12.8 rpg
2) Tyson Chandler, NOK 12.4 rpg
3) Dwight Howard, ORL 12.3 rpg
4) Carlos Boozer, UTA 11.7 rpg
5) Marcus Camby, DEN 11.7 rpg
6) Ben Wallace, CHI 10.7 rpg
7) Tim Duncan, SAS 10.6 rpg
8) Shawn Marion, PHX 9.8 rpg
9) Amare Stoudemire, PHX 9.6 rpg
10) Elton Brand, LAC 9.3 rpg

13) Dirk Nowitzki, DAL 8.9 rpg

17) Jason Kidd, NJN 8.2 rpg

25) Rasheed Wallace, DET 7.2 rpg

Recently, Kevin Garnett has done two things: win rebounding titles and miss the playoffs. He now owns four straight rebounding titles and has not qualified for postseason play in three years. Has there ever been a former NBA MVP whose team missed the playoffs for three straight years after he won that award?

The supposedly "disappointing" Ben Wallace ranked sixth in rebounding with 10.7 rpg after ranking fourth with an 11.3 rpg average last year, when he won his fourth Defensive Player of the Year award. Wallace's old team, Detroit, fell from 64 wins to 53 while his new team, Chicago, improved from 41 wins to 49. Of course, the final verdict on Wallace's free agent signing with the Bulls will not be rendered until after the playoffs.

The Nets have been inconsistent this year but Jason Kidd turned in one of the best performances of his career. The 6-4 guard averaged nearly as many rpg as 7-0 Dirk Nowitzki, who will probably win his first MVP.

Rasheed Wallace, a multi-talented power forward, rebounds more like a small forward, finishing just ahead of Luol Deng, Josh Howard and LeBron James.

Top Ten Playmakers

1) Steve Nash, PHX 11.6 apg
2) Deron Williams, UTA 9.3 apg
3) Jason Kidd, NJN 9.2 apg
4) Chris Paul, NOK 8.9 apg
5) Baron Davis, GSW 8.1 apg
6) T.J. Ford, TOR 7.9 apg
7) Andre Miller, PHI 7.8 apg
8) Allen Iverson, DEN 7.2 apg
9) Chauncey Billups, DET 7.2 apg
10) Raymond Felton, CHA 7.0 apg

Nash has been the runaway leader all season long, while Williams, Kidd, Paul and Davis battled for spots two through five. T.J. Ford averaged just 29.9 mpg, significantly fewer than any of the other top ten players.

Starbury finished 20th (5.4 apg)--and undoubtedly still believes that he is the best point guard in the NBA.

Note: All statistics are from ESPN.com

posted by David Friedman @ 2:57 AM


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At Friday, April 20, 2007 6:12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While Dirk has had a great year, I can't help but feel that he should be getting a lot more than 8.9 rpg as a 7-foot power forward who is an MVP front-runner.

At Friday, April 20, 2007 8:21:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

In Dirk's defense, he is playing his fewest minutes since his second season in the league, in large part because Dallas has won some games fairly handily. Bump his minutes up a bit and his ppg and rpg would go up, too. Also, he is doing a good job on the defensive boards (7.3 rpg) but he does not get many offensive rebounds because he plays a face-up perimeter game for the most part. Dirk is shooting career high percentages from the field, three point range and the free throw line and is averaging a career-high in assists.


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