Pure scorers are players who were not only born to score but do it as naturally as possible. Players like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant were special offensive players because they were unstoppable on offense and did not need much to get going. Even guys like Karl Malone and Elgin Baylor were able to accumulate points rapidly because of their consistency.
There are a couple of players of that same mold in today's NBA, and they are certainly fun to watch. With the wide-open nature of offensive play, scorers are catered to nowadays. Here are the top ten purest scorers in the NBA right now, and there might be some surprising inclusions and exclusions.
10. Zach LaVine
Scoring Statistics: 27.4 PPG, 50.7% FG, 41.9% 3-PT FG, 84.9% FT
Zach LaVine is getting better and better. He has jumped his scoring average from 16.7 PPG to 23.7 PPG, and then from 25.5 PPG to 27.4 PPG. The shooting guard has added a three-point sniper to his arsenal along with his athleticism because he can score from anywhere on the court at his own pace.
LaVine's scoring was good enough to rank 7th in the NBA, and he seems to be on an upward trajectory. With Nikola Vucevic by his side in Chicago, LaVine may finally showcase his scoring ability in the playoffs. For the budding superstar, this is where his real tests will lie.
9. Luka Doncic
Scoring Statistics: 27.7 PPG, 47.9% FG, 35.0% 3-PT FG, 73.0% FT
Luka Doncic might very well be the second coming of the great Larry Bird. The Slovenian is an offensive machine already in his third season, and he is one of the most unstoppable players in the league right now. Doncic is a handful because his playmaking is so good, which takes away from his perception as a scorer. But there is no doubt he is a pure scorer.
Luka was born to play basketball and is a pure offensive player. Even if his shooting percentages are low for a player of his talent, he scores so effortlessly. Luka has the size to hold of defenders, ball-handling to create space, and a high arcing jumper. Luka will most likely be one of the players to become the face of the NBA.
8. Devin Booker
Scoring Statistics: 25.6 PPG, 48.4% FG, 34.0% 3-PT FG, 86.7% FT
Devin Booker is scary good on offense, and he is only getting better. Booker has improved his ball-handling and shooting to an extent that he needs to be doubled on every possession. After all, he was the leading scorer for the Phoenix Suns squad that finished 2nd in the Western Conference.
Devin Booker has averaged over 25 PPG for 3 straight seasons and already has a 70-point game to his name. With Booker leading the way for Phoenix, the franchise is in very good hands because the young shooting guard will one day become the most feared shooting guard in the league.
7. Kyrie Irving
Scoring Statistics: 26.9 PPG, 50.6% FG, 40.2% 3-PT FG, 92.2% FT
Kyrie Irving is must-see tv. He breaks ankles left and right, cannot be defended by any player, and has a beautiful jumper. In terms of looking as smooth as possible, Kyrie might be the best in the league. He can embarrass people on any possession and there isn't anything a coach can game plan against it.
The only issue with Kyrie Irving has been his availability but he seems to be locked in this playoffs which is a good sign for the Brooklyn Nets. A 50-40-90 season places Irving in the special company of all-time greats and he also makes the top-10 list as one of the purest scorers in the game.
6. Bradley Beal
Scoring Statistics: 31.3 PPG, 48.5% FG, 34.9% 3-PT FG, 88.9% FT
Bradley Beal is just a non-stop scorer. He can keep getting shots up and nails them at a very good percentage. In terms of pure offense, Beal is a top-2 scorer at his position in the league. Without Bradley Beal, the Washington Wizards would be in the lottery and he knows it.
Beal has improved dramatically since the start of last season, and he is easily one of the best guards in the NBA. Beal averaged over 30 PPG during each of the past 2 seasons and he looks to be getting better. He is as explosive as ever, and when it comes to carrying an offense, he is a top-10 talent.
5. Jayson Tatum
Scoring Statistics: 26.4 PPG, 45.9% FG, 38.6% 3-PT FG, 86.8% FT
Jayson Tatum is so methodical in the way he scores, to the point that he resembles Kobe Bryant sometimes. Tatum is a fantastic ball-handler and has a ton of counter moves when a defender cuts him off. His most recent 50-point explosion against the Brooklyn Nets was the exact indication of what Tatum can do on the floor.
Tatum had his career-high in scoring this year so an improvement is lurking for next season. Tatum does a ton of things well on the court and as he begins to see double and triple teams, he will become an even more explosive offensive player.
4. Damian Lillard
Scoring Statistics: 28.8 PPG, 45.1% FG, 39.1% 3-PT FG, 92.8% FT
Damian Lillard is scary good, especially when the game gets tighter in crunch time. Lillard has a knack for getting any look he wants from anywhere on the floor, and he has the ultimate green light. When Lillard wants to score, he often does with ease.
Lillard loves taking three-point shots and that's why he is a tad below 40% otherwise he would shoot a higher percentage. But considering his volume, Lillard is a sensational scorer. Lillard doesn't have a weakness on offense and that alone places him in the top-5.
3. James Harden
Scoring Statistics: 24.6 PPG, 46.6% FG, 36.2% 3-PT FG, 86.1% FT
James Harden is the best shooting guard in the NBA by a mile and he is also the best isolation scorer in the NBA. He gets all his points at the rim, from the free-throw line, and also from three. He hardly, if ever, takes mid-range shots. But when Harden scores as he does, it doesn't matter.
Harden's scoring is down this year due to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving but that doesn't mean he can't average 40 if he wanted to. The Beard is stronger and more explosive than almost every NBA defender at his position so he checks in at #3.
2. Stephen Curry
Scoring Statistics: 32.0 PPG, 48.2% FG, 42.1% 3-PT FG, 91.6% FT
Stephen Curry won the scoring title this year by singlehandedly carrying the Golden State Warriors into the play-in games this year. In terms of pure shooting, Curry is the best ever. He didn't shoot his usual 40+% from three but that is because he had to take a ton of low percentage shots for his team without Klay Thompson.
Curry is also a terrific free throw shooter as he led the league with his 91.6% efficiency. When he drives to the basket, he has an assortment of flip layups and has a terrific touch at the rim. Even though Curry won the scoring title, only one man is ahead of him.
1. Kevin Durant
Scoring Statistics: 26.9 PPG, 53.7% FG, 45.0% 3-PT FG, 88.2% FT
Kevin Durant is absolutely unstoppable. There is nothing anyone can do if Durant gets into a rhythm because he can just simply shoot right over you. In terms of the mid-range, Durant is the best in the world right now.
But KD is also money from the free-throw line and from three. He just missed out on a 50-40-90 season but the forward cannot be defended in one on one situations by even the best defenders. At a lanky 6'10" with an incredible wingspan, Durant is the best scorer in the NBA.