Tuesday, January 26

Leadership, Cavalier-style

Can I interest you in a look at the NBA's league leaders in various statistical categories? What if I told you there were lots of Cavaliers there - how about then? I thought so. We never get to do this during Browns season, because Browns players have long been regarded as Fantasy Football poison, and we usually have an Indian leading the league in ERA who gets summarily traded, so that's no fun. But, focus: NBA leaders! Cavs!

It's 'Melo and LeBron in a dead heat at the top at 29.7 ppg. The King shoots a higher percentage (.510 to .469), though Anthony hits more foul shots (.861 to .781). I've never been a big Carmelo fan, but I think it's time I appreciated his game a little more. As for LeBron's scoring - I love that he can put the ball in the basket, but I think the Cavs are at their best when he's putting up 20/10/10 numbers instead of having to hit for 30+ every night. As I write this, LeBron just made two ridiculous threes at the end of the half to put the Cavs up 13 on the Thunder.

A few surprises at the top: Monta Ellis in 6th, Gilbert Arenas 10th (I'm too lazy to make a "shooting" joke), hopefully-future-Cav Antawn Jamison in 11th, and Tyreke Evans leading all rookies in 14th at 20.9 ppg. Other than LeBron, no Clevelander cracks the top 40, with Mo Williams 42nd at 16.9. Speaking of Mo, I sprained my shoulder once, and man did that ever hurt. I couldn't sleep on it for six months. I hope Mo didn't do it as badly as I did.

Dwight Howard leading here, whatever. But who saw this great season from Crazy Zach Randolph (11.5 rpg) coming? For what it's worth, I love the nickname Z-Bo for him. A neat NBA story this year is Charlotte's Gerald Wallace suddenly grabbing four more boards a game to crack the top 5 at 11.3 rpg. He's only 6'7"!

The Cavs are an interesting study here. They're a tough rebounding club though they're just 14th overall in total rebounds. More importantly, their excellent +4.4 rebounding differential trails only Memphis. (Golden State is far, far and away worst at a preposterous -8.9. How do you expect to win any games like that?). Yet the Cavs owe their rebounding prowess to solid teamwork, fundamentals, and the limited shots they allow opponents rather than a single dominant rebounding force; Anderson Varejao leads the club at 8.1, just 29th in the Association. Below that you have LeBron (7.1, 34th) and Shaq (6.7, 41st).

You already know the Cavalier offense isn't one driven by a great point guard like Chris Paul (11.3, 1st) or Steve Nash (11.2, 2nd). But we do have this guy who's pretty good at passing named LeBron James, whose 7.8 per game places him 7th in the NBA. You may be interested to learn that everyone else in the top 30 is a guard (Hedo Turkoglu at 4.5 is the next-highest big man). LeBron James is talented.

Kendrick Perkins leads the league at an astounding .638 clip. Wow. He would certainly be a scoring option on the NBA's all-ugly team (along with Turkoglu, Rajon Rondo, Chris Kaman, and Joakim Noah). Second place is Gasol at .608. That would be Marc Gasol of the Grizzlies - brother Pau is 14th at .540. Shaq leads the Cavs at .529 (19th), followed by, yep, LeBron, at a highly efficient .510 (25th). Dunking all the time will do that for a fellow's numbers. Varejao is at .519 but apparently doesn't qualify.

Mo Williams' 89.7% paces the Cleveland club and is good for 5th in the NBA. Steve Nash is hitting a preposterous 94.3% of his foul shots. Color me impressed. Of course, Toronto's Jose Calderon set the league mark last year at 98.1% (!!!), but I think fell short of enough attempts to qualify. He's at a pedestrian 81.8% this season.

No other Cav makes the league's top 50. Did I mention we're not a guard-driven team?

3-point %
Or maybe we are! Cavalier guards Daniel Gibson (.483) and Anthony Parker (.477) are 1-2 in the league, with Williams in 8th at .429. That's Mo, not Jawad Williams. Jawad's is roughly half of that. Of course, he doesn't have too many attempts, so the Cavs as a team still lead the league in 3-point percentage.

LeBron, 16th at 1.57, Mo 35th at 1.21. Does this have any bearing on team success?

Howard leads the league, but should have an asterisk for how many of his end up in the stands rather than the hands of teammates. Shaq (1.08), LeBron (1.01), and Varejao (1.00) clock in at 33rd, 38th, and 39th for Cleveland.

If Shaq (3.1) and Z (2.9) were one big man, they would foul out every game. Thought you might want to know that.

Chasedown blocks
I assume LeBron is tops in this. Can someone get Elias on the horn?

Repeat previous comment with Varejao.

Uh-oh, LeBron has a little bit of a chink in his armor, turning the ball over 3.6 times a game, 5th in the league. I suppose when you play 1-on-5 as much as the King does, you'll lose the ball here and there.

Hammer Throwing-Downs
I don't need to tell you who's #1 here.

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