The 2005-2006 season featured a few firsts. Kobe Bryant won his first scoring title, Dwyane Wade won his first championship, and Chris Paul was new to the NBA, where he won Rookie of the Year. There was some redundancy as Kevin Garnett was a rebounding champion, while Steve Nash won his second straight MVP.
What stood out the most was that this season’s scoring took off. Making the top-10 was an exclusive club as the bare minimum requirement was scoring at least 25 points per game. The top-3 scorers on this list were in the 30s, so there were plenty of shots falling during this year.
Here are the top-10 scorers from the 2005-2006 season.
10. Ray Allen - 25.1 PPG
The season featured many individual accomplishments for Allen, which included scoring his 15,000th career point. Just under two weeks after moving into second place on the all-time three-point lists, he broke a 10-year old NBA record for three-point field goals made in a single game.
By the end of the season, Allen led the league with three-point field goals made with 269. There was nobody even close to him in that regard. Gilbert Arenas finished second with 199. Allen also led the league in three-point field goal attempts with 653, taking 113 more than runner-up Arenas.
9. Michael Redd - 25.4 PPG
After the 2004-2005 season, Redd signed a new contract extension with the Bucks. Redd agreed to a six-year, $91 million deal. He chose to stay with the Bucks over leaving for his home state team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was given the chance to play with LeBron James, but he would have had to take less money.
Who knows what would have happened in Cleveland had Redd joined the Cavaliers. What we do know is that Redd averaged 25.4 points per game and was one of nine players to score over 2,000 points on the season. Milwaukee finished the season 40-42 and lost to the Pistons in the first round of the playoffs.
8. Carmelo Anthony - 26.5 PPG
Anthony finished eighth in the scoring race, which was the highest finish for a Nuggets player since Michael Adams placed sixth in 1990-1991. His career-high for the season was 45 points. It was one of the best seasons for Denver at the time as the Nuggets placed third in the Western Conference and won the Northwest Division for the first time in Anthony’s career. It was also the first time Anthony made an All-NBA Team.
During the season, Anthony was a clutch player, making five-game winning shots within the last five seconds. The success didn’t carry over in the playoffs as the Clippers eliminated the Nuggets in the first round. For his efforts, Anthony was given a five-year extension at the end of the season.
7. Dirk Nowitzki - 26.6 PPG
It was the third season that Nowitzki scored over 2,000 points in a season. He also set the mark for most points per game by a European player in the NBA. He also set career highs in field goal percentage, three-point field goal percentage, and free throw percentage. If he shot two-percent better from the field, he would have made the 50-40-90 Club.
The Mavericks won 60 games as a franchise and finished with the third-best record in the league. The Spurs and Pistons had better records. With that said, the Mavericks marched to the NBA Finals before falling to the Heat in the championship series. That included scoring 50 points in the Conference Finals over his former teammate and MVP Steve Nash.
6. Paul Pierce - 26.8 PPG
Pierce finished seventh in the league in total points. He finished with a stat line of 26.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.4 steals, and shot 47.1% from the field. Despite a strong season from Pierce, the Celtics finished 33-49 and missed the playoffs.
At the time, Pierce was the main driver of the team offensively. The team did not have very many offensive weapons. After a 24-win season in 2006-2007, the team would change their course of the franchise forever. All it took was a few years to show what the team had with Pierce on the roster.
5. Dwyane Wade - 27.2 PPG
Wade finished the season as an All-Star with a line of 27.2, 5.7 rebounds, and 6.7 assists. The regular season saw him finish in the top-5 of the scoring race. With the acquisitions of Jason Williams, James Posey, Antoine Walker, and Gary Payton, the Heat used Wade’s breakthrough season with Shaquille O’Neal to win 52 games.
During the season, head coach San Van Gundy resigned with Pat Riley taking over. Despite the coaching change, Wade played at a high level, which included leading the Heat to the NBA Finals and championship, where he won Finals MVP. By winning, he became the fifth-youngest Finals MVP in the history of the league.
4. Gilbert Arenas - 29.3 PPG
The 2005-2006 season was when “Agent Zero” was technically born. It was the season that Arenas received the nickname because of his high-volume scoring. Arenas lived up to the nickname all season long, nearly scoring 30 points per game. Arenas was selected as an All-Star replacement and finished runner-up at the Three-Point Shooting Contest.
As for the season, Arenas led the Wizards to the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. However, the team lost to the Cavaliers in the first round. The 29.3 points per game was a career-high for Arenas. Looking back, the Wizards hadn’t had a player score like Arenas until Bradley Beal scored over 30 points per game the last two seasons.
3. LeBron James - 31.4 PPG
James may not have won regular-season MVP, but he was the All-Star MVP when he led the East to a victory with 29 points. Along with his 31.4 points, James also contributed 7.0 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game. In the regular season, James finished with the second-most total points of 2,478. He finished second in the MVP voting to Nash. With James leading the way, the Cavaliers made their first postseason since 1998. The 31.4 points per game remain a career-high for James.
In his postseason debut, James recorded a triple-double in a Game 1 win over the Wizards. He made his first game-winning shot of his career in Game 3 as the Cavaliers won the series in six games. However, his first run at the Finals was cut short by the Pistons in the second round.
2. Allen Iverson - 33.0 PPG
The season saw Iverson do something he had never done before. Iverson averaged a career-high 33.0 points per game. Iverson finished the season with the third-most total points with 2,377. He also finished with the third-most field goals made. However, he was in a close race with James for the most shots taken. Iverson finished third in field goal attempts with 1,822, taking one less shot than James (1,823) on the season.
The 76ers missed the playoffs and had a few dramatic sequences. There was a run-in with Iverson and Chris Webber showing up late to fan appreciation night. Iverson then requested a trade. Despite a very successful season, the sour taste of the end is all everyone remembers.
1. Kobe Bryant - 35.4 PPG
Despite a tenuous relationship between Bryant and Phil Jackson, the two pushed past their differences and saw Bryant have one of the best individual scoring seasons since Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain. Bryant scored 62 points in three quarters against the Mavericks, which was more than the team’s 61 points at the time. The season also saw him score the second-most points in a game with a career-high 81. It broke the Lakers franchise record for points in a game of 71 set by Elgin Baylor.
The 81-point outburst was the most the world saw in a game since Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in 1962. It was part of January when Bryant averaged 43.4 points per game. At the end of the season, he set a single-season record of 2,832 points, which included 27 games of 40 points or more. Despite winning the scoring title and setting history, he finished fourth in the MVP voting because the team finished 45-37 and seventh in the Western Conference standings.