Friday, January 1, 2010

NBA All-Stars As of January 1

Just for fun, I track the performance of individual NBA players strictly on the basis of the numbers in the official box scores. I mean, it's easy enough to track the teams just by looking at the standings. But if you want to forecast what's going to happen between now and May, it helps to know how well or poorly key individuals are playing, not to mention who those key individuals are.

So I score every player in every NBA game. I simply add together their positive contributions (Points + Rebounds + Assists + Steals + Blocks) minus their negative accomplishments (Fouls + Turnovers + Blocked Shots Against). But there's a catch. Only the game-high total for each team, plus any game score of 30 or more, counts. So in each NBA game there are at least 2 players who qualify, but you could and sometimes do have as many as 4 or 5. Here are the leaders as of January 1.

Point Guards (1s)

1. Steve Nash, Phoenix 572
2. Chris Paul, New Orleans 571
3. Gilbert Arenas, Washington 558
4. Deron Williams, Utah 499
5. Tyreque Evans, Sacramento 471
6-10. Brandon Jennings, Aaron Brooks, Derrick Rose, Baron Davis, Rajon Rondo

Shooting Guards (2s)

1. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers 898
2. Dwayne Wade, Miami 871
3. Monta Ellis, Golden State 614
4. Ike Iguodola, Philadelphia 538
5. Joe Johnson, Atlanta 527
6. Jamal Crawford, Brandon Roy, Vince Carter, Trevor Ariza, Kevin Martin

Small Forwards (3s)

1. LeBron James, Cleveland 1,210
2. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City 860
3. Carmelo Anthony, Denver 813
4. Gerald Wallace, Charlotte 562
5. Luol Deng, Chicago 450
6-10. Rudy Gay, Danny Granger, Paul Pierce, Richard Jefferson, Caron Butler

Power Forwards (4s)

1. Chris Bosh, Toronto 977
2. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas 767
3. Tim Duncan, San Antonio 736
4. Zack Randolph, Memphis 534
5. Carlos Boozer, Utah 523
6-10. Amare Stoudamire, LeMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol, Antoine Jamison, Marcus Camby

Centers (5s)

1. Dwight Howard, Orlando 661
2. Brooke Lopez, New Jersey 614
3. Chris Kaman, Los Angeles Clippers 547
4. David Lee, New York 516
5. Al Jefferson, Minnesota 418
6-10. Andrew Bogut, Marc Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Al Horford, Joachim Noah

Among the top teams:

1. LA Lakers--Kobe Bryant 1, Andrew Bynum 8, Pau Gasol 8. What's unusual in the Lakers case is that Bynum excelled early while Gasol was injured, and hasn't done squat since Gasol came back. So, apparently, they only need one or the other, but not both, to win. Is Kobe really that good? It sure looks like it.

2. Boston Celtics--Paul Pierce 8, Rajon Rondo 10. And Pierce has been hurt. But, where is Kevin Garnett? Sliding toward retirement? How do the Celtics win without Pierce and without the real KG?

3. Cleveland Cavaliers--LeBron James 1. I guess LeBron is that good.

4. Orlando Magic--Dwight Howard 1, Vince Carter 8. Who knew Carter still had it in him.

5. Dallas Mavericks--Dirk Nowitzki 2. Jason Kidd not even top 10 anymore. I guess Nowitzki is that good.

6. Atlanta Hawks--Joe Johnson 5, Jamal Crawford 6, Al Horford 9. The Hawks' off-guard is the only position in the NBA where the starter and back-up are both top 10.

7. Denver--Carmelo Anthony 3. Chauncey Billups hasn't been a big factor this year.

8. Phoenix--Steve Nash 1, Amare Stoudamire 6. And still only #8 as a team. Still not tough enough for the West?

9. San Antonio--Tim Duncan 3, Richard Jefferson 9. What happened to Tony Parker?

10. Portland--Brandon Roy 7, LaMarcus Aldridge 7.

One of the surprises is the point guards who do not appear on this list--Chauncey Billups and Tony Parker, to name two. There's something of a changing of the guard going on there with Evens, Jennings, Rose and Rondo making the top 10. The up-and-coming-stars would be Brooke Lopez, Aldridge, Rudy Gay, and the young point guards.

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