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10 Highest Scoring NBA Teams In The Regular Season: 1982 Nuggets Still Hold The Record With 126.5 PPG

10 Highest Scoring NBA Teams In The Regular Season: 1982 Nuggets Still Hold The Record With 126.5 PPG

At least over the past five seasons, we have been seeing unbelievable scoring performances from some of the league's best players. The NBA's paradigm shift to free-flowing offense has been a positive for the league's best scorers because they can get buckets without worrying too much about defensive resistance.

It is no wonder teams are scoring a ton of points, as the lowest-scoring team in the league right now averages 100.6 PPG (Oklahoma City Thunder). The highest-scoring team right now is the Charlotte Hornets (114.9 PPG) and there are 12 teams putting up over 110 PPG this year. But not a single team over the last 38 years has been able to make a top-10 list of the highest-scoring teams in NBA history, despite the (seemingly) lack of focus on defense in the modern NBA. Here is the list of the 10 highest scoring teams in regular-season history, starting with the 1970 Philadelphia 76ers.

10. 1970 Philadelphia 76ers - 121.9 PPG

The 1970 76ers kick off the list as one of the best offensive teams of all time. Led by Hall of Famers Billy Cunningham and Hal Greer, the team was sensational on the offensive end of the ball. Cunningham averaged 26.1 PPG on 46.9% shooting, while Greer chipped in 22.0 PPG on 45.5% shooting. The duo were All-Star talents on offense, but they had some help with Archie Clark (19.7 PPG on 49.6% shooting).

The 1970 Philadelphia 76ers team finished 1st in PPG, 3rd in pace, and 4th in offensive rating. The squad also proved their worth on defense, ranking 5th in defensive rating and 9th in OPPG. Despite their talent on both ends of the floor, especially on offense, the 76ers did not have the success they anticipated in the postseason as they lost in the first round to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the Milwaukee Bucks.

9. 1967 San Francisco Warriors - 122.4 PPG

There is no surprise that the 1967 scoring champion Rick Barry created one of the best scoring teams in NBA history. Barry was a superstar by the second season of his career, averaging 35.6 PPG on 45.1% shooting from the field. Thanks to his rim drives, shooting, and powerhouse scoring ability; Barry was excellent on offense. Alongside him was All-Star big man Nate Thurmond, who averaged 18.7 PPG and 21.3 RPG.

The Warriors ranked 2nd in PPG, 1st in pace, and 2nd in defensive rating. With their ability to score with the best offensive player in the league and also defend thanks to Thurmond’s rim protection, San Francisco finished 1st in the West and made it to the Finals in a losing effort to the Philadelphia 76ers in 6 games.

8. 1968 Philadelphia 76ers - 122.6 PPG

Wilt Chamberlain averaged 24.3 PPG and 23.8 RPG during the 1968 season, extraordinary but typical numbers for the legendary center. In his final season with the 76ers, before he departed for the Lakers the following season, Wilt helped Philadelphia have the 4th ranked offense and 1st ranked defense. Wilt was proficient from the field (59.5%), but he also had plenty of help.

Hal Greer averaged 24.1 PPG, Billy Cunningham averaged 18.9 PPG, and Chet Walker put up 17.9 PPG. With 4 guys averaging over 17 PPG, the 76ers were fantastic at defending at an elite level before moving up the floor with quickness and pace. Losing to the Boston Celtics in 7 games before the Finals hurt the team because Wilt would depart to the Lakers (1968 finalist) the following year.

7. 1962 Cincinnati Royals - 123.1 PPG

Anytime Oscar Robertson is on the roster at only 23 years of age, there will be no problems for a team to score on offense. The Royals were extremely lucky to have Oscar playing at an elite level (30.8 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 11.4 APG) because the guard guided the franchise to 1st in offensive rating, 5th in pace, and 2nd in PPG (behind Wilt Chamberlain and the Philadelphia Warriors).

Other than Oscar, Jack Twyman was effective as he averaged 22.9 PPG and Wayne Embry chipped in 19.8 PPG as well. That trio was certainly dominant together, even if the Royals did not experience championship success. Until now, Robertson’s legendary season is remembered because he created an all-time great offense.

6. 1983 Denver Nuggets - 123.2 PPG

The 1983 Denver Nuggets were quite successful during the season, as they finished 45-37 and made it to the second round of the playoffs. They ran into the San Antonio Spurs which ended their run at 5 games, but it was still a positive run considering they lost in the first round the previous season. A trio of names was at the core: Alex English, Kiki Vandeweghe, and Dan Issel. These names will appear a few more times on this list.

English was sensational, averaging 28.4 PPG and 7.3 RPG while Vandeweghe put up 26.7 PPG. Issel was aging but was still effective as he averaged 21.6 PPG on 51.0% shooting from the field. The Nuggets ranked 1st in PPG but also dead last in OPPG, a major reason why the English-led Nuggets never won a championship.

5. 1984 Denver Nuggets - 123.7 PPG

The 1984 Denver Nuggets were part of NBA history for most points in a game as they lost to the Detroit Pistons 186-184. Even if the Pistons scored 186 points to break the all-time record, the Nuggets came second with their 184 points. Clearly, Denver was onto something with a core of Kiki Vandeweghe, Alex English, and Dan Issel. Kiki averaged his career-high 29.4 PPG during the season, while English scored 26.4 PPG. Issel, at age 35, was still able to average 19.8 PPG.

That trio would go on to make more history only 2 years later as they led an amazing Denver offense, although their defense was very underwhelming. The Nuggets finished 3rd in the Midwest Division with a 38-44 record, ranking 22nd out of 23 teams in defense and 2nd in offensive rating.

4. 1960 Boston Celtics - 124.5 PPG

Anytime a team is led by Bill Russell, there is more than a safety for being a proficient offense. The 11-time NBA champion was not a prolific scorer, but his defensive impact gave the Celtics enough juice to go after teams on the offensive end. With Russell manning the middle (18.2 PPG and 24.0 RPG), Boston led the league in points and pace. The highest scorer was Tom Heinsohn, a big man who dropped 21.7 PPG on 42.3% shooting from the field.

Alongside Heinsohn were 2 Hall of Fame talents in Bob Cousy and Bill Sharman, each averaging over 19 PPG. With a dynamic trio to pair with Russell, the Celtics finished 1st in the East before winning the NBA championship in 7 games against the St. Louis Hawks. The 1960 season would also deliver Russell’s 3rd championship.

3. 1967 Philadelphia 76ers - 125.2 PPG

The 1967 champions, the Philadelphia 76ers were dominant all season long. Led by Wilt Chamberlain and Hal Greer, the squad finished 1st in the East with a 68-13 record and led the league in PPG. Wilt was at his usual dominant self, finishing with averages of 24.1 PPG and 24.2 RPG to go along with 7.8 APG. Hall of Famer Hal Greer was also sensational on offense as the second option.

Greer averaged 22.1 PPG on 45.9% shooting, giving Wilt a go-to sidekick on the perimeter. Chet Walker also contributed on offense, averaging 19.3 PPG while Billy Cunningham averaged 18.5 PPG. An incredible core group, the 76ers finished 4th in pace and 1st in offensive rating. As expected, the 76ers made it to the Finals before defeating the San Francisco Warriors in 6 games.

2. 1962 Philadelphia Warriors - 125.4 PPG

The 1962 Philadelphia Warriors had an unstoppable offense because of one name: Wilt Chamberlain. The legendary big man famously scored 100 points during the season and finished with an average of 50.4 PPG on 50.6% field-goal shooting. Clearly, we will never see the likes of Wilt again. The dominant center was spectacular at scoring around the basket, using his athleticism and size to destroy anyone in his way. Other than Shaquille O’Neal much later, there has never been a more dominant player than Chamberlain.

The Warriors also had Hall of Famer Paul Arizin, a small forward who would end his career with 10 All-Star appearances and 2 scoring titles. In the 1962 season, Arizin averaged 21.9 PPG (his 4th worst scoring season) to take a duo average of 72.3 PPG. With such a spectacular duo led by the most unstoppable force ever, the 1962 Warriors were still not the best offensive side ever.

1. 1982 Denver Nuggets - 126.5 PPG

It is interesting that the Denver Nuggets scored an NBA-record 186 points during the 1983-84 season, but the team 2 years prior lead all teams in PPG for a season. Even if the squad finished with a 46-36 record and lost in the first round of the playoffs, the Nuggets were a well-oiled machine on offense. Clearly, the issue with the highest-scoring team in NBA history is their lack of defensive prowess. Nonetheless, the Nuggets offense was spearheaded by a trio of Alex English, Kiki Vandeweghe, and Dan Issel.

English averaged 25.4 PPG, Vandeweghe put up 21.5 PPG, and Issel averaged 22.9 PPG for the Denver Nuggets. Denver played at a ridiculously fast pace, allowing the team to lead the NBA in field goals made, field goals attempted free throws made, free throws attempted, and points. With a star offensive trio that only focused on offense, the 1982 Nuggets squad is the greatest offensive squad ever.


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