NBA Regular Season Stats 2013-14: Tracking Scoring Leaders and More
With the NBA's 2013-14 regular-season schedule coming to a close, that can only mean one thing—debate season is just around the corner.
From award chatter to playoff matchups, there are so many intriguing storylines worth following. By the way, there are none that anyone knows an answer to, regardless of how convincing the argument may sound.
There's a season's worth of objective data to be subjectively interpreted, most of which can be molded as needed to reinforce someone's prior beliefs. That's what makes sports debates so much fun: Stats aren't always a part of the equation.
Amid the chaos, though, clarity is needed. Conclusions need to be reached and not ones that force us to think too hard.
Enter statistical races. From scoring titles to assist crowns, these awards are handed down fingerprint-free. These are purely performance-based, achievements that can't be diminished by passionate debaters or stat-bending talking heads.
It's just all about the numbers. These are the players with the best of them. There's no arguing that.
Points Per Game
1. Kevin Durant, SF, OKC (31.9)
2. Carmelo Anthony, SF, NYK (27.4)
3. LeBron James, SF/PF, MIA (27.1)
4. Kevin Love, PF, MIN (26.2)
5. James Harden, SG, HOU (25.4)
We've all heard how the NBA season is a marathon, not a sprint.
That apparently doesn't apply to Oklahoma City Thunder scoring savant Kevin Durant. He's had both sides of the coin—a fully sprinted marathon.
It's been a while since KD was racing any of his peers. He's been battling the history books instead. He surpassed Michael Jordan for the longest streak of 25-plus points in the past 50 years and didn't buy any of his own hype.
Ice cold, just like one of his countless game-winners.
Picking up the fourth scoring crown of his seven-year career probably won't get him any more excited, but at least the rest of us can watch just how his number goes.
Assists Per Game
1. Chris Paul, PG, LAC (10.7)
2. John Wall, PG, WAS (8.8)
3. Ty Lawson, PG, DEN (8.8)
4. Ricky Rubio, PG, MIN (8.6)
5. Stephen Curry, PG, GSW (8.5)
Notable Exclusion: Rajon Rondo, PG BOS (9.7)
Best point guard in the game and most assists in the NBA? Yeah, that sounds about right.
With Rajon Rondo having to pull out of the race due to a torn ACL that ended his 2012-13 campaign and delayed the start of this one, Chris Paul has found himself pacing a category he hasn't won since 2008-09. The Los Angeles Clippers floor general has thrived in his first year under Doc Rivers and is on track for his first double-digit assist average since coming to Hollywood.
Paul could hand the keys over completely to Blake Griffin, and he'd still likely comfortably cruise to the third assist crown of his career.
Yet, this is still a fascinating category to watch, if for nothing more than the changing faces on the leaderboard. Paul is the only player in the top five who was also a top-five finisher last season.
Rebounds Per Game
1. DeAndre Jordan, C, LAC (13.8)
2. Andre Drummond, C, DET (13.2)
3. Kevin Love, PF, MIN (12.5)
4. Dwight Howard, C, HOU (12.3)
5. DeMarcus Cousins, C, SAC (11.7)
Doc Rivers placed Defensive Player of the Year expectations on DeAndre Jordan's shoulders last summer. Some of us chuckled at the time, but the big man is the only one laughing now.
"You talk about so many different awards for so many different people," Chris Paul said, via Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com. "I think D.J. is a guy who should be up for most improved, who should be up for defensive player of the year, all that type of stuff. He's got to get something."
Well, how about the first rebounding crown of his career? That'd be a start at least, right?
The 25-year-old doesn't have the title yet, but he's in a really good spot. Not only does he have a fairly substantial lead, but the Clippers also have games remaining with the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers.
All three of them like to run, but only one does it effectively. Jordan should have plenty of rebounding opportunities over these final three contests.
Side note on the No. 2 man on this list, Andre Drummond. Remember his crazy per-36-minute stats from his rookie season (13.8 points and 13.2 rebounds)? They've been even crazier in his sophomore campaign (14.9 points and 14.6 rebounds).
Steals Per Game
1. Chris Paul, PG, LAC (2.5)
2. Ricky Rubio, PG, MIN (2.3)
3. Thaddeus Young, PF, PHI (2.1)
4. Paul George, SF, IND (1.9)
5. Michael Carter-Williams, PG, PHI (1.9)
Just once, it would be nice to hear Paul say he's gunning for a steals crown.
That would at least explain why the 28-year-old has been collecting them like rare coins over the years. If CP3 maintains his lead over the pesky Ricky Rubio, this would be the sixth steals title of his nine-year career and fourth in a row.
But Rubio isn't likely to go without a fight.
He pushed Paul until the final game of 2012-13 and hasn't let up this time around. He's had 35 games with three or more steals. With the Utah Jazz still on the Minnesota Timberwolves' schedule, Rubio could have another one of those larcenous efforts.
Blocks Per Game
1. Anthony Davis, PF, NOP (2.8)
2. Serge Ibaka, PF, OKC (2.7)
3. DeAndre Jordan, C, LAC (2.5)
4. Roy Hibbert, C, IND (2.3)
5. Tim Duncan, PF/C, SAS (1.9)
It's a bummer to write this, but New Orleans Pelicans superstar sophomore Anthony Davis is officially the category's clubhouse leader.
Thanks to back spasms—and the fact that the Pelicans have long been eliminated from the playoff race—the 21-year-old is done dominating the paint for this season, per John Reid of the New Orleans Times Picayune.
Assuming these standings don't change, this is a title Davis could own for a long time. He's averaged 2.6 blocks per 36 minutes over the course of his career and left Kentucky as the NCAA's all-time leader in blocks by a freshman.
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka is the only one with a chance to unseat Davis, but it's a slim one at best.
Statistics used courtesy of NBA.com and updated through April 14, 2014.