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Only 8 NBA Players Have Never Averaged Less Than 20 PPG In Their Career

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Only 8 NBA Players Have Never Averaged Less Than 20 PPG In Their Career

Think of some of the greatest players to score a basketball. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone rank one and two in the all-time scoring rankings. Their greatness did not include this particular attribute though. They were not able to average at least 20 points per game in every season of their career.

LeBron James is chasing down Malone for second and he will eventually chase down Kareem for the most points all-time if he stays healthy. LeBron has been able to accomplish this feat because he is one of eight players to average more than 20 points per game in every season of his career. Currently, there are six players on this list that are playing today, while only two are out of the league. How many of these active players have the best chance to stay on this list?

Donovan Mitchell - 23.7 PPG (Career)

Breaking: Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz Agree To Five-Year, $195M Extension

5 NBA Seasons:

2017-18 - 20.5 PPG

2018-19 - 23.8 PPG

2019-20 - 24.0 PPG

2020-21 - 26.4 PPG

2021-22 - 25.7 PPG

It feels like when we are talking about great players in the league, we sometimes forget about Donovan Mitchell. You can blame it on the market probably, but Mitchell has helped the Utah Jazz stay in the national conversation for a top team the last five years. Mitchell’s career season last year helped the Jazz earn the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

Moving forward, there are rumblings that market size could matter to Mitchell. Could that mean Utah could see him leave? Either way, whoever has Mitchell on the floor is going to get a dynamic scorer that continuously gets better. It would not surprise anyone if he notches a season where he scores 30 points per game.

Joel Embiid - 25.1 PPG (Career)


6 NBA Seasons:

2016-17 - 25.4 PPG

2017-18 - 22.9 PPG

2018 -19 - 27.5 PPG

2019-20 - 23.0 PPG

2020-21 - 28.5 PPG

2021-22 - 27.1 PPG

After missing the first two seasons of his career, Embiid looked like a potential bust. Embiid was taken with the No. 3 overall pick in 2014. He missed time due to multiple knee injuries, but since coming back healthy, he has never looked back. His worst season is when he averaged 22.9 points per game. Embiid’s ability to score inside, and even outside, has helped him rise to the MVP conversation.

Last year, Embiid’s career season of 28.5 points per game helped land him second in the MVP voting. Embiid is a rare center that can shoot beyond the three-point arc. He is continuously evolving his game. One day, we could be talking about Embiid as one of the greatest scorers in 76ers history.

Luka Doncic - 25.6 PPG (Career)

Luka Doncic

4 NBA Seasons:

2018-19 - 21.2 PPG

2019-20 - 28.8 PPG

2020-21 - 27.7 PPG

2021-22 - 24.7 PPG

Doncic has been the king of the triple-double since joining the league. Despite not averaging one for the entire season yet, he has impressed the world with his ability to score at such a high rate. If Doncic stays in Dallas for his entire career, he would be the only candidate in the foreseeable future to ever break Dirk Nowitzki’s all-time scoring record.

After a successful rookie season, Doncic lept to superstar bounds to earn All-NBA First Team by scoring 28.8 points per game. He followed that up with another appearance last year, which helped him earn supermax dollars. His five-year rookie supermax extension worth $207 million is the most in NBA history.

Zion Williamson - 25.7 PPG (Career)

Zion Williamson

2 NBA Seasons:

2019-20 - 27.8 PPG

2020-21 - 27.0 PPG

Williamson could easily drop from this list this year if he ever comes back to play. The season has not seen Williamson touch the floor due to injury setbacks. The Pelicans selected Williamson No. 1 overall in 2019 and he missed significant time that season as well. When he came back, he showcased skills that made him look like a future generational talent.

Last year, Williamson became one of the youngest players in NBA history to start in an All-Star Game. Williamson has drawn comparisons to LeBron James for what he brings to the table. If that is his ceiling, New Orleans has a lot to be excited about if he can stay healthy.

Bob Pettit - 26.4 PPG (Career)

Bob Pettit

11 NBA Seasons:

1954-55 - 20.4 PPG

1955-56 - 25.7 PPG

1956-57 - 24.7 PPG

1957-58 - 24.6 PPG

1958-59 - 29.2 PPG

1959-60 - 26.1 PPG

1960-61 - 27.9 PPG

1961-62 - 31.1 PPG

1962-63 - 28.4 PPG

1963-64 - 27.4 PPG

1964-65 - 22.5 PPG

Pettit was a man amongst boys when he played for the Hawks. Pettit won two regular-season MVPs. During those years, Pettit averaged 25.7 points and 29.2 points per game. When Pettit led the Hawks to the championship in 1958, Pettit averaged 24.6 points per game during the regular season.

At the beginning of his career, Pettit lacked ball handling and had an awkward frame. He eventually transitioned to being able to face the basket, while his rebounding as a signature helped to get two points on the second chance. Pettit’s career-high in a game was 57 points.

LeBron James - 27.0 PPG (Career)

LeBron James

19 NBA Seasons:

2003-04 - 20.9 PPG

2004-05 - 27.2 PPG

2005-06 - 31.4 PPG

2006-07 - 27.3 PPG

2007-08 - 30.0 PPG

2008-09 - 28.4 PPG

2009-10 - 29.7 PPG

2010-11 - 26.7 PPG

2011-12 - 27.1 PPG

2012-13 - 26.8 PPG

2013-14 - 27.1 PPG

2014-15 - 25.3 PPG

2015-16 - 25.3 PPG

2016-17 - 26.4 PPG

2017-18 - 27.2 PPG

2018-19 - 27.4 PPG

2019-20 - 25.3 PPG

2020-21 - 25.0 PPG

2021-22 - 29.1 PPG

You can love LeBron or hate him, but one thing we all need to do is respect what he has accomplished. He has never averaged less than 20 points per game. From 2004 to 2010, LeBron was the main scorer for those Cavaliers teams. He was playing with the likes of Mo Williams, Anderson Varejao, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. While all of those players were solid players in their own right, it proves that LeBron was the lone star on those teams.

Even when LeBron joined the Heat and played with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, he scored well above 25 points per game. That trend continued when he played with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love when he returned to Cleveland. He kept it up when he played with Anthony Davis these last three years. Now, he is averaging the most points in a season since the 2008-2009 season at the age of 37 years old. Again, this is all very impressive.

Kevin Durant - 27.1 PPG (Career)

Kevin Durant

14 NBA Seasons:

2007-08 - 20.3 PPG

2008-09 - 25.3 PPG

2009-10 - 30.1 PPG

2010-11 - 27.7 PPG

2011-12 - 28.0 PPG

2012-13 - 28.1 PPG

2013-14 - 32.0 PPG

2014-15 - 25.4 PPG

2015-16 - 28.2 PPG

2016-17 - 25.1 PPG

2017-18 - 26.4 PPG

2018-19 - 26.0 PPG

2020-21 - 26.9 PPG

2021-22 - 29.7 PPG

In 2007, the Portland Trail Blazers had a tough decision to make. The team was either going to use their No. 1 selection on Greg Oden or Kevin Durant. The team selected Oden, who became one of the biggest busts in NBA history. Meanwhile, Durant has rattled off 20 points per game or more in every season since entering the league.

Durant nearly missed the cut in his rookie season but has responded by scoring way over the mark every year since. Durant’s resume also includes winning scoring titles from 2010 to 2012, as well as in 2014. Durant is contending for a scoring title this year. The last time Durant won a scoring title he won an MVP. Durant could repeat history, while maybe creating history at the same time if he can lead Brooklyn to a championship.

Michael Jordan - 30.1 PPG (Career)

Michael Jordan Bulls

15 NBA Seasons:

1984-85 - 28.2 PPG

1985-86 - 22.7 PPG

1986-87 - 37.1 PPG

1987-88 - 35.0 PPG

1988-89 - 32.5 PPG

1989-90 - 33.6 PPG

1990-91 - 31.5 PPG

1991-92 - 30.0 PPG

1992-93 - 32.6 PPG

1994-95 - 26.9 PPG

1995-96 - 30.4 PPG

1996-97 - 29.6 PPG

1997-98 - 28.7 PPG

2001-02 - 22.9 PPG

2002-03 - 20.0 PPG

Jordan owns the highest scoring average in NBA history, so naturally, it should come as no shock that he never averaged less than 20 points per game in a season. Some of his seasons included averaging over 30 points per game, which is something that he did eight times. That also included a stretch of seven straight seasons of scoring 30 or more points.

Jordan won 10 scoring titles as well to solidify his spot as one of the best scorers of all time. Had Jordan not lost all of the 1994 season, part of the 1995 season, and then left for three seasons after his second three-peat, Jordan might have passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most points all-time. Then, the conversation between Jordan and LeBron would be even spicier. 


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