Holding record-breaking scoring stats over a player’s career is an extraordinary achievement, and only the best players of all time manage to achieve records that have truly stood the test of time. We have compiled a list of the highest-scorers in NBA history, where offensive players were offensive juggernauts on the court over their careers en route to spectacular showings on the stat sheets year after year. However, only the players without championships are considered to get an indication of the best players who are ringless.
By gathering stats of the greatest scorers in NBA history, we have collected the best offensive players ever based on their total points scored in both the playoffs and the regular season while also taking into account that they have not won a single championship among them. Some of these names will be easily recognizable because they are regarded as some of the greatest offensive players to ever play basketball.
There might be some other names that are very surprising, because even if they have retired without championships, perhaps it is shocking to see how many points they scored in their careers. Here are the greatest scorers in NBA history in terms of total points scored for players without an NBA championship to their names.
10. Charles Barkley - 26,590 Points
Total Games: 1,196
Points Per Game: 22.2
Charles Barkley is one of the greatest players of all time and occupies most of the top-30 lists ever. The power forward was a force on the court, mainly on the offensive end, as he managed to average a career 22.2 PPG over his illustrious career. A rather undersized forward at 6’6”, Barkley overcame his lack of height with tremendous aggression and basketball IQ. Of course, Barkley never won a championship either.
That was the only thing missing from Barkley’s career because he won an MVP award and made a total of 11 All-Star Team appearances. The championship eludes him, mainly due to Michael Jordan’s dominance in the NBA Finals, but that should not be held against Charles that much. In the end, he is currently ranked 10th all-time in points scored in NBA history for players without championships.
9. Elgin Baylor - 26,772 Points
Total Games: 980
Points Per Game: 27.3
Legendary forward Elgin Baylor has one of the best resumes for an offensive player ever because he is ranked 3rd all-time in regular-season PPG average and had seasons of posting 38.3 PPG, 34.8 PPG, and 34.0 PPG as a member of the Lakers franchise. A powerful scorer with a capable jumper, Baylor terrorized defenses for years during the 1960s. Unfortunately, he could never win a title.
Elgin and his teammate Jerry West never could capitalize on their Finals opportunities, although West would eventually win one without Baylor on the squad. But Elgin was a powerhouse on the offensive side of the floor, as showcased by his very impressive 26,772 points scored in only 980 games. In terms of the all-time rankings, Baylor has to be among the best ever, mainly due to his scoring ability. Had he played a little longer, he could have scored closer to 30,000 points in his career.
8. James Harden - 26,891 Points
Total Games: 1,091
Points Per Game: 24.7
It is amazing to see James Harden on the list, mainly because his career is far from being over as things stand. The All-Star shooting guard is still only 32 years old, and while he has certainly slowed down in terms of athleticism, he is still capable of averaging 20 PPG in his sleep. Not to mention, The Beard was one of the most devastating perimeter players we had ever seen when he was in his prime as a member of the Houston Rockets.
James was an offensive machine in his prime, capable of carrying his team to victories through his scoring alone. He was so great that analysts and pundits even began to utter Harden in the same breath as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant in terms of pure scoring power. With over 26,000 career points and counting, Harden could realistically crack the top 3 by the time his career is up. What an achievement that would be even if he never wins a championship.
7. Alex English - 27,274 Points
Total Games: 1,261
Points Per Game: 21.6
Alex English was a smooth operator, and even if he never won an NBA title, there is no doubt he was always going to end up a Hall of Famer. The 8-time All-Star was a great small forward for the Denver Nuggets, carrying the offense for most of his career and finishing with a career average of 21.6 PPG. English was known for his wonderful finishes around the rim, and even until today, his name is being honored.
English played in over 1,200 games in his career and finished with a scoring average of 21.6 PPG, which ranks 7th all-time among players without a championship. Many old heads will rave about English, but perhaps much of the younger generation will be surprised to see his name so high. But English did win a scoring title in his career (28.4 PPG in 1983) and had 8 seasons of posting at least 25 PPG over his Hall of Fame career.
6. Vince Carter - 27,321 Points
Total Games: 1,629
Points Per Game: 16.8
The best dunker in the modern era, Vince Carter was truly a fan favorite who was actually an All-Star offensive player for much of his career. Carter averaged 16.8 PPG over his career, which included over 1,600 games played. An elite perimeter scorer and powerful dunker, Vince was able to get to his spots when he wanted and never made it look too difficult. After placing the Toronto Raptors on the map, Carter went on to make more All-Star Teams with the New Jersey Nets.
Of course, Carter never won an NBA title in his career. That was mainly because he was never placed in many positions to succeed, other than the stint with the Nets when he had Jason Kidd and Richard Jefferson beside him. He played for the Orlando Magic led by Dwight Howard as well, but he was clearly past his prime and the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat were in the process of dominating the league.
5. Patrick Ewing - 27,628 Points
Total Games: 1,322
Points Per Game: 20.9
Patrick Ewing never won an NBA championship because of Michael Jordan, make no mistake about it. The All-Star center made the most of his talent, adding in aggression and nastiness to be a paint enforcer for much of his career. With over 1,300 games played, Ewing averaged 20.9 PPG over his career. The big man is one of the best players to ever play for the famous New York Knicks franchise as well.
Ewing was a consistent scorer on the block, using a hook shot to get easy points and also battling down low for rebounds. Again, Ewing was often outshone by other elite players such as Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, and David Robinson in his era, but he held his own when it came to being a consistent scorer for the New York Knicks. Unfortunately, Ewing never quite made it over the hump to retire as a champion.
4. Dominique Wilkins - 28,091 Points
Total Games: 1,130
Points Per Game: 24.9
One of the game’s greatest dunkers and a player who helped elevate the NBA to incredible heights in the 1980s, Dominique Wilkins was a sensational offensive player over his career. An explosive mid-range shooter with an innate ability to attack the rim, Wilkins was often unstoppable when he went ahead of steam. Of course, he often put opposing players on posters and it was certainly enjoyable to watch it happen.
Over his career, which spanned 1,130 games, Dominique Wilkins averaged 24.9 PPG in total, which eventually led him to score over 28,000 points in his career. It is widely understood that the Los Angeles Lakers were deciding which player to draft between James Worthy and Dominique Wilkins in the 1982 NBA Draft, and had they taken Wilkins, it is likely the Atlanta Hawks legend would have retired a multiple-time NBA champion.
3. Reggie Miller - 28,251 Points
Total Games: 1,533
Points Per Game: 18.4
Miller is one of the greatest shooters of all time and is currently ranked 3rd all-time in three-pointers made. Had Reggie played in today’s game, he would have likely had double the number of threes made over his career because he was the cream of the crop as a shooter. With elite marksmanship, Reggie could get his points rather easily and especially when he started feeling a rhythm. His regular-season average of 18.2 PPG was nice, but his overall scoring average of 18.4 PPG is an indication of how consistent he was over his 18-year career.
Miller was a fantastic shooter, and his shots became more likely to fall whenever his team needed him most. Thanks to Reggie’s consistency as a shooter and all-around scorer, the Indiana Pacers had multiple playoff runs, which is why the shooting guard ranks 1st all-time in playoff points for the franchise. But like other all-time greats on this list, Miller fell victim to Michael Jordan and retired without an NBA title. But having over 28,000 points scored as a three-point shooter in the older era was certainly impressive.
2. Carmelo Anthony - 30,203 Points
Total Games: 1,343
Points Per Game: 22.5
No doubt about it, Carmelo Anthony overachieved after getting drafted No. 3 overall. Anthony was expected to be a superstar, but he achieved that in just a few years. The forward made All-Rookie Team by averaging 21.0 PPG and would go on to have 14 straight seasons averaging over 20 PPG. An elite scorer from the perimeter and in the post, Carmelo also made the NBA 75th Anniversary Team due to his naturally gifted offensive ability. Unfortunately for him, Anthony also never won an NBA title.
Anthony is averaging 22.5 PPG on 44.7% from the field, 35.5% from three, and 81.4% from the line over his career so far. In the playoffs, Carmelo is averaging 23.1 PPG on 41.4% FG, 32.4% 3-PT FG, and 82.6% FT. It was always exciting to watch Carmelo go off on the offensive end when the games were tight because he was one of the most clutch players we have ever seen. He is also ranked 2nd ever behind one player for the most points scored in a career without a championship.
1. Karl Malone - 41,689 Points
Total Games: 1,669
Points Per Game: 25.0
Unsurprisingly, Karl Malone headlines the list of all the great scorers in NBA history who did not win at least a single championship. The superstar power forward was one of the most unstoppable scorers ever. In 1,669 total games played, The Mailman scored over 41,000 points which is ahead of a ton of all-time great players including Carmelo Anthony and Reggie Miller who are a distant second and third. Somehow, Karl Malone could not win an NBA title despite being an all-time great scorer and having arguably the best assist man ever in John Stockton by his side. Of course, that was mainly because of Michael Jordan.
Nonetheless, The Mailman was a powerhouse in the paint, and his mid-range shooting was also exceptional. The pick-n-roll with John Stockton was devastating, and Malone was often the recipient of countless passes leading to buckets. Malone had a very long career spanning 19 seasons, so his consistency as a scoring presence truly set him apart from almost every other player. An elite scorer who ranks 1st all-time in total points scored for players without a title, it is hard to see him ever getting surpassed.