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Last 10 NBA Small Forwards Who Won A Scoring Title

Last 10 NBA Small Forwards Who Won A Scoring Title

LeBron James averaged 30.3 points per game this season and was on pace to win his first scoring title since 2007-08. It was also the only other time that James averaged over 30 points per game. Unfortunately, James missed significant time due to injuries, while Joel Embiid held onto winning the title instead.

Had James won the scoring title, it would have been an incredible feat for the small forward position. Since 1981, only 10 small forwards have won a scoring title. Since 1986, only two players in the modern era playing the small forward position have won a scoring title. Both are future Hall of Famers, but it makes for an interesting trip down the historical lane of the position and its scoring talents.

These are the last 10 small forwards who won a scoring title.


2013-14 NBA Season

Kevin Durant - 32.0 PPG

Kevin Durant 2014

The last small forward to lead the league in scoring is Kevin Durant. Had Durant not suffered injuries the last few seasons, we could be talking about him even more and more frequently. Instead, we look at his earlier seasons with the OKC Thunder, where he was a lethal scorer in the league.

Durant went on a tear at one point, leading the league in scoring four times, but his last appearance at the top was his best. This season saw Durant average 35.9 points per game throughout 12 games. He also broke Michael Jordan’s record for consecutive games scoring 25 points or more with 41. He won the MVP Award at the end of the season and led the Thunder to 59 wins.


2011-12 NBA Season

Kevin Durant - 28.0 PPG

Kevin Durant 2012

During the season, Durant scored 50 points for the first time in his career with 51 against the Nuggets. Durant’s scoring was on the grand stage at the All-Star Game with 36 points to claim MVP. Durant finished the season with 28.0 points per game, securing his third straight scoring title.

The Thunder won 47 games in the abbreviated season and made the NBA Finals. The Thunder came up short to a veteran-laden Miami Heat squad, but Durant led all scorers in those five games with 30.6 points per game.


2010-11 NBA Season

Kevin Durant - 27.7 PPG

Kevin Durant 2011

Before the season, Durant signed a five-year contract extension with the Thunder worth around $86million. In response, Durant led the league in total points and won the scoring race. Durant also tied Kevin Martin for the most free throws made. He was the best at getting to the line and finishing from the field. His 711 field goals were fifth-best in the league, while his 1,538 attempts were fourth-most.

The Thunder won 55 games and earned the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference. The Thunder made the Conference Finals but was defeated by the eventual champion Dallas Mavericks. Out of all his scoring titles, this was Durant’s lowest average.


2009-10 NBA Season

Kevin Durant - 30.1 PPG

Kevin Durant

Durant broke into the league this season and was selected for his first All-Star Game. The Thunder improved dramatically, going from 27 wins from the previous year to defying all expectations and making the NBA playoffs. Durant became the youngest NBA scoring champion in NBA history.

Durant was selected to his first All-NBA team and continued to impress by scoring 24 points in his first playoff game a loss to the Lakers. The Thunder pushed the series to six games, but it gave fans hope that this team could be a title contender. More impressively, he became the second player since the 80s to play the small forward position and lead the league in scoring.


2007-08 NBA Season

LeBron James - 30.0 PPG

LeBron James 2008

For the first time in his career, James scored at least 30.0 points per game. James nearly scored the most points but came up just short of Kobe Bryant. However, he led the league in scoring as his average beat the 28.3 points per game Bryant. He also scored the most field goals with 794 made field goals.

The advanced stats backed up James was the best player on offense, but it was Bryant that won the MVP Award. James finished with the highest player efficiency rating and with the highest value above a replacement player. His 33.5% usage percentage also led the league. With his scoring title, he became the first small forward to lead the league in scoring in 22 years.


1985-86 NBA Season

Dominique Wilkins - 30.3 PPG

Dominique Wilkins

There was a stretch during the 80s where a small forward led the league in scoring for four straight years. Granted, Michael Jordan took up 10 titles during the later 80s and 90s, so there was not a lot of room for a small forward to lead. With Jordan not playing like his superstar status, it allowed other players to lead the way.

The last player before the modern era was Wilkins, who scored 30.3 points per game. Wilkins finished runner-up to Alex English in total points but won the scoring title as the only player to average over 30 points per game. Wilkins led the league in field goal attempts and misses, but did enough to win the title. His 32.9% usage rate led the league, so it proves he was heavily relied upon.


1984-85 NBA Season

Bernard King - 32.9 PPG

Bernard King

In Michael Jordan’s rookie season, he led the league in total points and probably should have won the scoring title by playing in all 82 games. King played 55 games this season and wound up winning the title. In the end, it is what it is as King remains the top scorer from this season. With that said, King scored the 12th most points in the season despite missing time.

King was used a league-high 35.1% of the time on offense, which mathematically proves that every one out of three shots featured King involved. King shot 53% from the field, which is pretty impressive given how often he was used. All in all, the Kings would have been lost without him.


1983-84 NBA Season

Adrian Dantley - 30.6 PPG

Adrian Dantley

Dantley was a monster this season, leading the league in total points and points per game. He was the most important player as his 14.6 win shares topped the league as well. Dantley took and made the most free throws in the league, so that helped his overall case for the scoring title. His 13.6 offensive win shares led the league and he also led the league in offensive rating.

Dantley, along with Durant, is the only player on this list to win the scoring title multiple times as a small forward since 1981. This season was not his best either, but with his help, the Jazz won 45 games and the Midwest Division. Despite Dantley leading the league in points, the team finished fifth as a team.


1982-83 NBA Season

Alex English - 28.4 PPG

Alex English

Dantley and Alex English were premier small forwards during this era when it came to scoring. The two seemed to always be at the top of the scoring race, but it was English that secured this title during this season. English led the league in points and the outright scoring title to take the double victory. English also led the league in field goals, two-point field goals, attempts, and two-point field goal attempts.

English also missed 898 shots as well, which led the league, but when you are asked to score in high volume, that is going to happen. English nearly won the player efficiency rating title but was just 1.0 off from Moses Malone, who was the MVP this season.


1980-81 NBA Season

Adrian Dantley - 30.7 PPG

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The 30.7 points per game are the third-best total on this list, where Dantley was the only player in the league to make over 900 field goals. Dantley led the league in that department, but also pulled off the double win of leading the league in total points and the scoring title. The 907 made field goals inside the arc and also led the league as well.

Dantley worked to earn his points as his 3,417 total minutes led the league, where he averaged 42.7 per game. Dantley also did a great job of converting at the line as his 632 made free throws led the league. His best-advanced stat was his 12.3 offensive win shares that led the league, cementing him as the top offensive player in the NBA at this time. 

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