The 2021-2022 NBA season was one of the most exciting in recent years because there were a ton of narratives to follow throughout the year. There was an iconic three-man race for the MVP race, a ton of talent improving on both ends of the floor, and some shocking admissions by some of the most renowned players in the league. Of course, there were some title-contending teams that have faltered under league-wide expectations.
But as usual, some players stand out as the greatest statistical performers over the year. That means a particular player(s) puts up a season-high performance in the main statistical categories including scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, blocks, turnovers, 3-point percentage, field-goal percentage, free-throw percentage, and minutes. Without further ado, here are the 2021-2022 NBA per-game leaders by NBA players this year.
Joel Embiid - 30.6 PPG
The race for the scoring title was almost as interesting as the race for the MVP award. The 3 main contenders for the scoring title were LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Joel Embiid. James would have won the scoring title had he played the last few remaining games of the season because he would have easily surpassed his average of 30.3 PPG. At age 37, this was an impressive year for The King.
Giannis Antetokounmpo also came close with his 29.9 PPG average, but he also missed some games and some chances to score more points. In the end, superstar Joel Embiid leads all players in scoring with an average of 30.6 PPG on 49.9% shooting. The Philadelphia 76ers star is the best scoring big man in the game because he can take defenders inside and outside (37.1% 3-PT FG). Cleverly drawing fouls, Embiid also went to the line with an average of 11.8 FTA, a major reason why he will win his first scoring title.
Rudy Gobert - 14.7 RPG
The man who leads the league in BPG is also the same player who is the rebounding leader. The Utah Jazz focus their entire success on the backs of their two stars, Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, and these players are required to get it done on both ends of the floor. Gobert is literally a wall in the paint because he stands 7’1” and weighs 258 lbs. The Frenchman also has extremely long limbs, and even if he isn’t a power player, he uses high defensive IQ and timing to get to the shots of his opponent. Critics of Gobert normally point to his finesse style of play, but there is no doubt he is effective at defending the rim and also hauling down rebounds. Of course, his natural size gives him an advantage at taking shots off the rim, but he has averaged over 13 RPG the last three years for a very good reason.
Chris Paul - 10.8 APG
Chris Paul, even when playing only 65 games, will finish the season as the assist leader. CP3 has had 2 performances during the season where he put up 19 assists and is still one of the best playmakers in the game. The legendary point guard is the leader of the Phoenix Suns, the best team in the Western Conference, and he has managed to make others around him better. Paul is putting up 10.8 APG this year and will earn his 5th Assist title. Paul keeps building his Hall of Fame resume, and if he can make the Finals or win his first championship, we are looking at a top-5 point guard ever.
Dejounte Murray - 2.0 SPG
First-time All-Star Dejounte Murray is a very good player on both ends of the floor, and he is only getting better. At age 25, Murray leads all players in steals with an average of 2.0 SPG. The San Antonio Spurs’ guard is a master at playing passing lanes and also poking the ball away from ball-handlers, the main reason why his team has somehow managed to earn a play-in spot. Murray stands at a lengthy 6’4”, so his build and natural defensive talent will hopefully make him a consistent All-Star going forward. It is clear Dejounte is growing under the presence of Gregg Popovich, and the point guard needs to absorb as much as he can before the legendary coach retires from the NBA.
Jaren Jackson Jr. - 2.3 BPG
Jaren Jackson Jr is one of the contenders for Defensive Player of the Year because he is a mobile big man with elite shot-blocking ability. Ja Morant is mainly responsible for the Memphis Grizzlies’ excellent season, but Jackson’s defense is arguably the second-most reason. The 22-year-old averaged 2.3 BPG, the most of all qualifying players. Myles Turner has an average of 2.8 BPG, but he only played 42 games this year. The future is bright in Memphis thanks to Morant, and Jackson adds another piece to a franchise that should be a contender every year.
Luka Doncic - 4.5 TOV
The most criticized player in the NBA this season, Russell Westbrook is not the leading player in terms of turnover average. Neither is Trae Young, the man who leads the NBA in total turnovers. Rather, Luka Doncic has averaged a career-high 4.5 TOV. Normally, a number this high is indicative of loose handles and inefficiency. But the Slovenian literally controls the ball on every possession and considering he averages 28.4 PPG and 8.7 APG, he gets a major pass. Expect Luka to tone down his turnovers as he gets more experience, but for now, this stat can be considered negligible until the Mavericks acquire another All-Star playmaker or offensive threat.
Pascal Siakam - 37.9 MPG
It is amazing how teams in the modern game try to minimize the playing time of their best players because gone are the days where the best players in the league usurp 40 MPG of action consistently. The player with the highest MPG average this year is Pascal Siakam, a current franchise player for the Toronto Raptors. The big man is playing 37.9 MPG and has done a good job in that amount of time in leading his team to wins. Siakam has managed to guide the Raptors to the 5th seed in the East, an impressive seeding for a team that was overlooked at the start of the year.
Rudy Gobert - 71.3%
In terms of being the most consistent scorer in the league, superstar players such as Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and LeBron James are often mentioned at the top. But Rudy Gobert has the most impressive field-goal percentage at 71.3%, an elite number for a player averaging 15.6 PPG. The Frenchman relies on his guards to get him the ball, but he normally answers the call with consistent shot-making around the basket. Thanks to his incredible size and soft touch around the rim, Gobert will always hover around the basket for easy dunks, layups, or put-back shots.
Luke Kennard - 44.9%
Once again, Stephen Curry would have been the name most likely to lead the league in three-point percentage at the start of the year. But the point guard did not have his best shooting season, nailing 38.0% from three this year. The best three-point shooter this year was Luka Kennard, the Los Angeles Clippers shooting guard who nailed 44.9% of his deep-range shots. Capable of moving off screens to get open and also capable of making contested threes, Kennard will be crucial to the Clippers’ postseason this year. Despite being surrounded by more talented all-around players, Kennard is one of the most capable players on the Clippers’ roster in crunch time because of his long-range accuracy.
Jordan Poole - 92.5%
Before the season, if anybody had a guess on which player would lead the league in free-throw percentage, the name most often mentioned would have been Stephen Curry. But it is not Curry but Curry’s teammate who has the best free-throw percentage, and it isn’t Klay Thompson either. Most Improved Player candidate Jordan Poole had a terrific season this year, posting 92.5% shooting from the stripe on 3.5 FTA per game. Averaging 18.5 PPG, Poole has burst onto the scene as a top shooter.