The NBA is where amazing happens. You never know what you’re about to witness and that’s one of the many reasons why it’s become such a worldwide massive success throughout its history. It features just the top-tier athletes all across the globe.
But even among the best, there are still some players that find the way to stand out from the rest of the pack, players whose impact on the court goes beyond measure, players that are just too good to be contained or even compared to some of their peers.
The NBA is a scorers’ league now more than ever. A well round-up offensive package can almost guarantee you success in the Association. That’s why today, we’re going to talk about the top 20 NBA players with the most points per game in the history of the league:
20. Damian Lillard – 24.0 PPG
Damian Lillard hasn’t been around the league for that long but he’s already paved his way to elite status thanks to the way his offensive expertise has constantly led the Portland Trail Blazers to playoffs contention. He’s finally getting the praise he was longly due.
Lillard has put a lot of work on his craft and has expanded his range all the way to the halfcourt. He can consistently knock down shots from all three levels and is an aggressive driver that won’t hesitate to draw contact and go to the line.
19. Anthony Davis – 24.0 PPG
Anthony Davis is one of the most talented players I’ve ever seen. It was clear that his offense was above what you’d expect from the average big man as he had the handles and dribbling skills of a guard but he was still highly coveted mostly because of his rim protection.
Davis developed a consistent jump shot and can even knock down shots from beyond the arc at an efficient rate nowadays. He can torch the best rim protectors in the post and then go back on defense and swat back-to-back shots with ease.
18. Pete Maravich – 24.2 PPG
Pete Maravich would have been the NBA’s all-time leading scorer if he had played during the three-point line era. He had an unlimited range and the green light to fire from all over the court, as well as being a crafty player with some unprecedented handles.
Maravich’s game resembles a lot to Stephen Curry’s. In fact, he holds the highest scoring average in NCAA history (44.2) and that total could have gone up to 57 points per game if they had a three-point line back then. He was that good.
17. Adrian Dantley – 24.2 PPG
Adrian Dantley is one of the biggest superstars we never seem to talk about. There was a time when he was the league’s most dominant scorer. He could put the moves on the best defenders on earth and even won a couple of Scoring titles throughout his career.
Dantley scored 23,177 career points and was a merciless gunslinger from all over the court. Sadly, he could never lead any of his teams to an NBA Championship and that’s why he tends to be forgotten even among old school NBA fans.
16. Larry Bird – 24.2 PPG
Larry Bird may have been a top-3 offensive player in the history of the game. It just came too natural for him. He can knock down shots from three-point land as if they were layups, had the playmaking ability of a point guard, and could finish with both hands with ease.
Bird’s shot was unblockable. He also had elite footwork that got defenders dizzy every time they tried to hold him back below the rim. He was so freaking good that he decided to play lefty one game to ‘save his right hand for the Lakers’ and ended up scoring 47 points anyway.
15. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – 24.6 PPG
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has always been a synonym for consistency and durability. The guy had one of the most impressive and successful careers in all major sports and simply never had a down year. He was an elite athlete who took great care of his body.
Kareem never averaged fewer than 10.6 points per game (his final season) and even led the league in scoring twice. His skyhook became one of the most influential shots in the history of the game. He changed the way big men were supposed to score.
14. Dominique Wilkins – 28.4 PPG
Dominique Wilkins had a career that resembles pretty much Carmelo Anthony’s. He was always considered an elite scorer and one of the best offensive players in the league but it seemed like he could never get his team past the dynasties of the moment.
Wilkins was an incredibly crafty and prolific scorer and one of the most athletic players to ever live. He’s one of the best dunkers in the history of the game and was just too good of a finisher below the rim. He even left the league to play in Europe and came back to dominate defenders as if he had never left.
13. Kobe Bryant – 24.9 PPG
Plenty of people have said that Kobe Bryant is the closest thing to Michael Jordan we’ve ever seen and they couldn’t be more right. He took every move out of Jordan’s book and made them better, made them their own, and took it up a notch.
Kobe’s competitiveness, drive, and passion often made him a tough teammate to deal with. But when you’re such a gifted scorer with that kind of skill set, it’s difficult to pass on the chance to score when you see a mismatch. Kobe was a cold-blooded assassin.
12. Karl Malone – 25.0 PPG
Karl Malone isn’t talked about enough because of his off-court issues. But make no mistake, the Mailman always delivered. He was the strongest, most physical power forward in the league during his prime and there wasn’t much anybody could do against him.
Malone scored 36,928 career points (2nd most ever). Also, he never averaged fewer than 13.6 points per game (his final year) and had 16 straight seasons of at least 21.7 points a night. He did that while shooting 51.6% from the floor per his career.
11. James Harden – 25.1 PPG
James Harden will be ranked way higher in this list once it’s all said and done. He’s become the NBA’s most unstoppable scorer – by a long stretch – and has a big case for being one of the greatest offensive players of all time already.
Harden is en route to leading the league in scoring for the 3rd straight year. He’s posting the highest-scoring seasons we’ve seen since Michael Jordan and continues to bend the rules in his favor every single year. Love him or hate him, he just can’t be stopped.
10. Oscar Robertson – 25.6 PPG
Oscar Robertson is one of the greatest athletes in the history of sports. He made the most of his offensive traits night and night out to make a huge impact and fill the stat sheet. He was the first player to average a triple-double for a full season.
Robertson was a scoring machine for most of his career. Even so, he was so good at that many things that people don’t often think of him as a scorer, even though he still holds the 10th highest scoring average in the history of the league.
9. George Gervin – 26.1 PPG
George Gervin was a problem for opposing defenses throughout his entire career. He was one of the league’s craftiest, most athletics, and more agile players the league had seen back then and his game could still translate to today’s game.
Gervin led the league in scoring 4 times (3 consecutive) throughout the course of his career, including a couple of seasons of 30+ points per game and never averaged fewer than 14.1 points per game, which came during his rookie season.
8. Bob Pettit – 26.3 PPG
Bob Pettit was one of the first dominant scorers in the history of basketball. His numbers may be looked at with a grain of salt considering the – lack of – competition he faced but experts claim he could still be a productive player in today’s game.
Pettit’s career only lasted 10 years but it was more than enough time to help him write his name in history books. He led the league in scoring (25.7 and 29.2 PPG) two times and never averaged fewer than 20.4 points per game over his career.
7. Allen Iverson – 26.6 PPG
Allen Iverson is perhaps the most talented player never to win an NBA Championship in basketball history. Everybody was rooting for him, he was just so good, so crafty, so electrifying and fun to watch. Not many players had what he had.
Iverson single-handedly led the Philadelphia 76rs to the NBA Finals in 2001. He’s one of the craftiest scorers in the history of the game and has arguably the best handles ever. He led the league in scoring four times and had 4 30+ PPG seasons.
6. Kevin Durant – 27.0 PPG
It didn’t take long before Kevin Durant proved that he was one of the most talented offensive players in the history of the game. In fact, he became the NBA’s youngest scoring champion ever at just 21 years. He did that in just his third season.
Durant has the most complete offensive skill set we’ve seen. He’s got the handles and shooting skills of a guard but is a 7-f00ter. He’s also a member of the 50/40/90 club and some already consider him the greatest scorer in the history of basketball.
5. Jerry West – 27.0 PPG
Jerry West didn’t find much success with the Los Angeles Lakers throughout his career and has an NBA-worst record of 9 lost Finals. But in terms of individual performances, he’s got to be considered one of the greatest players to ever live.
Besides playing lockdown defense, West had a way of torching his rivals with moves that were unprecedented back in the day. He also had a strong feel for knocking down clutch shots, especially in the playoffs but had the tough luck to coexist with the Celtics’ dynasty.
4. LeBron James – 27.1 PPG
It’s crazy to think that LeBron James holds the 4th highest career points-per-game average in the history of the league and yet people don’t refer to him as a pure scorer. I mean, he’s been around for 17 years and his average is still 27.1 points per game.
That’s just how good LeBron is and one of the countless reasons why we should never take him for granted. Moreover, the fact that he’s a career 50.9% shooter makes it even more impressive for a small forward. All hail the King.
3. Elgin Baylor – 27.3 PPG
Elgin Baylor has a strong case for being the unluckiest player ever. He could never win an NBA Championship and was forced to retire early in the season the Lakers finally won in the Finals, thus not being eligible for getting a ring with that team.
Even so, Baylor was an offensive juggernaut like no other during his prime. He just couldn’t be stopped. He never averaged fewer than double-digits over his 13-year career and had seven straight seasons of at least 24.9 points per game.
2. Wilt Chamberlain – 30.0 PPG
Wilt Chamberlain may be the most athletic human being to ever live. He had Hall of Fame careers in both basketball and volleyball and the Nets tried to convince him to come back from retirement at age 51. He was the most dominant on-court performer ever.
Chamberlain holds 72 NBA record (68 by himself), including the highest scoring average in one season (50.4 points per game), most points in one season (4,029), and most points scored in one game (100). Neither of those records is ever going to be topped.
1. Michael Jordan – 30.1 PPG
And, obviously, this list wouldn’t be completed without the greatest player of all time sitting at the top of it. Michael Jordan, the ultimate competitor, the most dominant player ever, the offensive force that drove the league nuts from start to finish.
Jordan holds the record for most Scoring titles (10) ever. More impressively, he led the league in points per game 7 straight years before retiring, came back for a short stretch, and then led the league in scoring 3 more straight times when he played a full season again. Simply the GOAT.