The Knicks have been playing much better lately, thanks to the growth of All-Star Julius Randle and the coaching acquisition of Tom Thibodeau. They have become a playoff team in the East right now, and are bringing back positive memories of the good old days. New York is a city that misses winning, and there have been some key steps the franchise have completed to create one of the most competitive teams in the East.
But the current Knicks have a lot to achieve before they reach the level of past Knicks’ sides that were truly great. Mainly, the past Knicks teams were fantastic due to exceptional players that were among the top superstars in the league at that time. A lot of these players were fantastic offensive players, using their skill and talent to get buckets with ease. But who were the greatest New York Knicks players ever in terms of offense?
We have collected the 10 greatest scorers in Knicks history, in PPG, to uncover which players had the most impact when they were with the team. Longevity does not come into play here, because pure scoring power in the time each player played with the team is the only statistic that will be shown. By the end of this article, it will be clear which Knicks stars are the most dominant in their time with the famed New York franchise.
10. Walt Bellamy - 18.9 PPG
(4 Seasons, 1966-1969)
An offensive force with dominant defensive skills, Walt Bellamy is one of the greatest big men of all time. Luckily for the Knicks, Bellamy was a steady contributor to the franchise during the 4 seasons he played in New York. Walt was destined for greatness after he captured the Rookie of the Year (averaging 31.6 PPG and 19.0 RPG) and made 4 straight All-Star Teams, so New York were lucky to acquire him mid-way through his prime.
Bellamy was acquired by the Knicks in the 1966 season, as the big man completed 72 games with the team and averaged 23.2 PPG and 16.0 RPG. Over the next 3 seasons, Bellamy averaged a monster double-double and was effective enough to end his career as a top-10 scorer for the Knicks. Walt Bellamy’s presence as a paint scorer and suffocating defender also earned him a place in the Hall of Fame.
9. Al Harrington - 19.2 PPG
(2 Seasons, 2009-2010)
Despite only playing 2 seasons, Al Harrington’s versatility as a scorer made him one of the most effective scorers in New York Knicks history. After getting traded 5 games into the 2009 season by the Golden State Warriors, Harrington was immediately effective as a scorer, dropping 20.7 PPG over 68 games which included 51 starts. The power forward could score inside and outside, averaging 36.2% from three and 80.4% from the free-throw line.
The following season, Harrington played in 72 games and averaged 17.7 PPG on 43.5% shooting from the field. The big man does a lot of good things on offense, whether it is posting up against smaller defenders or spotting up for shots. The Knicks were not very successful despite Harrington’s scoring presence, but they were able to remain competitive whenever their offense flowed.
8. Willie Naulls - 19.3 PPG
(7 Seasons, 1957-1963)
A 3-time NBA champion with the Celtics, the late Willie Naulls made 4 All-Star Teams with the Knicks during his career. As an individual talent, Naulls had his best moments as a member of the Knicks as he put up 19.3 PPG over 7 seasons with the franchise. Willie Naulls was a 6’6” forward who went No. 10 overall to the St. Louis Hawks in the 1956 NBA Draft.
Willie Naulls averaged 18.1 PPG in his first season with the Knicks, in which he made his first All-Star Team. It took two seasons before Naulls would make 3 straight All-Star Teams with the Knicks, averaging over 21 PPG during that span. Following a decline in his production, Naulls was moved to the San Francisco Warriors but still finished top-10 in scorers for the Knicks.
7. Walt Frazier - 19.3 PPG
(10 Seasons, 1968-1977)
An all-time great player for the Knicks, Walt Frazier brought two championships to the city of New York and made 7 All-Star Teams with the Knicks. Known for his flashy style of play (and attire), “Mr. Cool” made the game of basketball look so gracious whenever he had the ball. Known for his inspirational play during the 1970 Finals in Game 7 against the Lakers, Frazier was a winner for a franchise that has had plenty of them over their history.
Walt Frazier was a great scorer, and his offense was a major reason New York won 2 championships in 1970 and later in 1973. Frazier was explosive when he attacked the rim, and never feared a single defender. Not to mention, he made it look cool in the process. “Clyde” was effortless in his play, and made winning look as cool as it could be. Out of all the great players that played for the Knicks, Walt Frazier has to rank among the top because of his pure offensive firepower.
6. Richie Guerin - 20.1 PPG
(8 Seasons, 1957-1964)
A Hall of Famer, Richie Guerin made 6 All-Star Teams 3 All-NBA Teams as a member of the esteemed New York Knicks franchise. Guerin had a slow rookie season, before blossoming into a great scorer as he averaged over 18 PPG for 5 straight seasons between 1959 and 1963. In the 1962 season, Guerin put up 29.5 PPG in 42.9 MPG.
The 6’4” shooting guard had a jump shot that was deadly and had that edge of toughness that most players did not have. Thanks to his blue-collar style of play, Guerin was immediately a fan-favorite in New York as he started dominating the offensive side of the game. The Hall of Famer played hard, never backed down, and used his offense to be one of the best players of the 1950s.
5. Julius Randle - 21.9 PPG
(3 Seasons, 2020-2022)
It is amazing to see how Julius Randle progressed with the New York franchise. After being basically given away by the Los Angeles Lakers, Randle developed into one of the best power forwards in the NBA thanks to his excellent all-around play. Julius was a low-post scorer to start his career but has literally improved every facet of his game. From stepback threes to above-average playmaking, Julius Randle is reaching new heights as a player.
That is why, as things stand, Randle is the 5th greatest scorer in Knicks’ history. He started his career with the Knicks averaging 19.5 PPG, before taking his scoring to 24.1 PPG last year. As expected, Randle won Most Improved Player and also made his first All-Star Team. This year, Randle is back at it by averaging 21.9 9 PPG, 11.3 RPG, and 5.7 APG. Randle is only 26 years old, so there could be more to come from the former No. 7 overall pick.
4. Patrick Ewing - 22.8 PPG
(15 Seasons, 1986-2000)
The greatest player to ever play for the Knicks, Patrick Ewing had the full package as a superstar with a winning mentality. The Knicks have Ewing to thank for their last NBA Finals appearance, and the big man always delivered in the biggest moments for his team. As a powerful big man in the post, Ewing had no problem scoring the ball and that is why he ranks 4th all-time in PPG for the Knicks franchise.
Patrick played 15 out of his 17 seasons with the Knicks, which is why he had plenty of time to dominate their scoring charts (ranks number 1 all-time in total points scored). The Jamaican-born superstar was one of the best players to never win a championship, and he achieved everything else as an 11-time All-Star and 7-time All-NBA performer. Patrick Ewing is also one of the top-50 players ever and there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that his offense was the main reason why.
3. Carmelo Anthony - 24.7 PPG
(6 Seasons, 2011-2017)
Carmelo Anthony was simply sensational with the Knicks, even if he never brought the amount of postseason success he wanted to deliver to his city. The native New Yorker got his wish in 2011 when he was traded from Denver to New York to join Amar’e Stoudemire. Anthony put up 26.3 PPG in 27 games in his first stint with the team, before dropping 28.7 PPG to lead the NBA in scoring only two seasons later.
Anthony’s scoring on the block was the best in the league, and he was one of the most clutch performers in the game. Carmelo had countless clutch shots with the Knicks and was widely regarded as a top-5 player in the game by most pundits at that time. Carmelo was powerful, explosive, and very confident as he carried the franchise for years until he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2018.
2. Bernard King - 26.5 PPG
(4 Seasons, 1983-1987) **DNP 1986 due to injury
The great Bernard King is one of the greatest players in Knicks history and managed to win a scoring title in 1985 with New York. What Bernard King as a star for New York was legendary because he excited the crowds of Madison Square Garden almost every time he played. For Knicks fans, the Hall of Famer will always have a place in their hearts.
King averaged 21.9 PPG with the Knicks in his first season, before averaging 26.3 PPG in his second season with the team while making his second overall All-Star Team. In his third season, King led the NBA in scoring at 32.9 PPG although he would miss the entire 1984 season with an injury. Once he returned, King put up 22.7 PPG which helped him complete 4 seasons as a superstar and New York’s second greatest scorer.
1. Bob McAdoo - 26.7 PPG
(3 Seasons, 1977-1979)
One of the greatest scorers of all time, Bob McAdoo seems to get the love he deserves from the contemporaries that played alongside him or against him. The Hall of Fame scorer was simply unstoppable in his prime, whether starting or coming off the bench and has a track record that is undeniably great. McAdoo won 3 straight scoring titles as a member of the Buffalo Braves starting in his second season, indicating how special he was as an offensive star.
McAdoo continued his offensive greatness with the Knicks, after joining the team from Buffalo in the 1977 season. Dropping 26.7 PPG in 52 games with New York, McAddo averaged 26.5 PPG the following season. He did this without the presence of the three-point shot, meaning the big man was as skilled a player as the greats of his era. McAdoo was averaging 26.9 PPG for the Knicks before he was traded to the Boston Celtics, yet still remained the greatest scorer in Knicks history.
Most Points In New York Knicks History
Here are the ten players with the most total points in New York Knicks history:
1. Patrick Ewing - 23,665
2. Walt Frazier - 14,617
3. Willis Reed - 12,183
4. Allan Houston - 11,165
5. Carl Braun - 10,449
6. Richie Guerin - 10,392
7. Carmelo Anthony - 10,186
8. Earl Monroe - 9,679
9. Dick Barnett - 9,442
10. Bill Bradley - 9,217