Scoring in the NBA in the 2000s didn’t come easy. Statistically, it was the slowest-paced era of basketball aside from the 1950s. Teams in the 2000s were attempting anywhere from 13.0 to 18.0 three-pointers per game. Since 2020, teams have been averaging 34.0 to 35.0 three-point attempts per game. Again, aside from the 1950s, teams were also scoring the least amount of PPG in history. Despite all of this, the 2000s produced some of the most talented scorers in league history.
The Top 10 is filled with immense talent but I would like to give an honorable mention to spots 11-15. Coming in at No.11 despite his pure dominance of the early 2000s is Shaquille O’Neal with 15,276 points in the decade. At No.12 from the 2004 NBA Champion Detroit Pistons is Richard Hamilton with 13,284. Right behind him with just 30 points less is the two-way star, Shawn Marion. At 14 is Sonics and Orlando Magic sniper Rashard Lewis and rounding it out at No.15 despite playing just 472 games in the decade is LeBron James.
Now, without any further ado are the 10 players who scored the most total points from the 1999-2000 season through the 2008-2009 season.
10. Antawn Jamison - 15,434 Points
Total Games: 751
Points Per Game: 20.6
Antawn Jamison was a talented stretch forward who spent the 2000s with the Warriors, Mavericks, and Wizards. Jamison’s offensive game could be considered unorthodox yet effective nonetheless. He had a knack for knocking down baseline jumpers and the occasional 3-pointer but his bread and butter was a funky one-legged runner/floater that was dead on a majority of the time. What he lacked on defense, he made up for ten-fold on offense.
Jamison’s teams were never very productive but he certainly was. In just his 3rd season, Jamison averaged 24.9 PPG for the Warriors, good for 9th in the NBA, and a career-high. He won Sixth Man Of The Year in his only season with the Mavericks, averaging 14.8 PPG off the bench. Jamison was the modicum of consistency, capable of rolling out of bed with 20 points up his sleeve. He averaged 20.0 PPG or better for six different seasons in his career.
9. Ray Allen - 16,101 Points
Total Games: 728
Points Per Game: 22.1
Ray Allen is mostly known for being one of the greatest 3-point shooters to have ever lived. Rightfully so, he held the NBA’s record for three-pointers made until earlier this year when Steph Curry took the crown. During the 2000s with the Bucks, Supersonics, and Celtics, Ray Allen was so much more than that. Allen was as versatile as it gets, able to create a bucket by any means necessary. He could create off the dribble, get to the rim and throw down over defenders, and was lethal from the mid-range and beyond the arc. In his days in Milwaukee especially, he was at his best off the ball and slashing to the basket.
Allen was one of the best scoring wings in the league from the day the 2000s started. In 2000, he averaged 22.1 PPG, the first of 8 consecutive seasons with 21.0 PPG or better. He poured in a career-high 26.4 PPG in 2007 with Seattle after averaging 25.1 PPG the year before. After his stints in Seattle and Milwaukee, Ray Allen joined Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in Boston with the Celtics. In his first season with the team, Allen averaged 17.4 PPG and won his first NBA championship.
8. Tracy McGrady - 16,380 Points
Total Games: 671
Points Per Game: 24.4
To be honest I was a bit surprised to see T-Mac’s name so low on this list. Then I am quickly reminded of all the things that could have been had he been able to remain healthy. Tracy McGrady was as an explosive scorer as it gets. We all remember his iconic 13 points in 33 seconds against the Spurs. His athleticism, point guard-like handles, and incredibly high basketball IQ combined for arguably the most talented three-level scorer of the 2000s.
2001 was the season that we finally saw T-Mac on his own in Orlando and he truly delivered a show. In his 4 seasons with the Magic, he averaged 28.1 PPG and won back-to-back scoring titles in 2003 and 2004. He averaged a career-high 32.1 PPG in 2003. The scoring frenzy continued for most of 6 seasons in Houston with the Rockets. He averaged 24.0 PPG or better in his first 3 seasons with the team and 22.7 PPG over his full six years. Although playoff success eluded him, his offensive display wowed NBA fans around the globe
7. Tim Duncan - 16,431 Points
Total Games: 767
Points Per Game: 21.4
The greatest power forward of all time has his name stamped all over the 2000s. With 3 championships in the 2000s, Duncan led the Spurs to new heights as an organization. Duncan’s offensive game was not topping season leaderboards in his prime, but his consistency and dominance are as underrated as he is as a whole. Duncan could change the course of a game with his defense and rebounding, but he could also dominate it in the paint on offense and especially cleaning up the glass. He often reserved his best all-around performances for the biggest stages like his incredible 21-point, 20 rebounds, 10 assists, and 8 block game against the Nets to close out the 2003 Finals.
As stated earlier, consistency was the key for Duncan as a scorer. He averaged 20.0 PPG or better for the first 11 seasons of his career, including 9 straight in the 2000s. He peaked scoring-wise in 2002 when he averaged a career-high 27.6 PPG. He again approached that number in 2006 averaging 25.8 PPG. Duncan was never one to win you a scoring title, but who cares when you’re winning actual titles?
6. Kevin Garnett - 16,638 Points
Total Games: 769
Points Per Game: 21.6
Kevin Garnett is one of the most versatile bigs ever, becoming a stretch big before the term was mainstream. Drafted out of high school in 1996, Garnett was raw but undoubtedly talented. With his wide array of post moves paired with impeccable footwork, he became a two-way machine in the 2000s. Garnett also had quite the mid-range game and soft touch for a man his size. He led the league 4 times in rebounding but never won a scoring title.
Garnett had the best year of his career in 2004. He would go on to win the MVP award and lead Minnesota to the Western Conference Finals. During the season, Garnett averaged a career-high 24.2 PPG. Garnett was a 20.0 PPG scorer or better for the first 8 seasons of the 2000s with the Timberwolves. When he moved on to the Boston Celtics in 2008, he won Defensive Player Of The Year while averaging 18.8 PPG and helping the Celtics win their first championship since the 80s.
5. Vince Carter - 17,341 Points
Total Games: 727
Points Per Game: 23.9
Widely regarded as the best in-game dunker of all time, Vince Carter was must-watch TV during the 2000s. As much as he could violently put his opponent on a poster, he could also put the ball through the hoop in several other ways. Carter lived off of the 16-foot to the 3-point range during his career. He shot 29% of his total shot attempts from that area, knocking them down at a steady efficiency. He also was one of the best tough shot makers of the decade next to Kobe and knew how to stretch defenses without the ball and find his spots.
The decade started in Toronto with the Raptors as he would win the Slam-Dunk Contest and average a career-high 27.6 PPG. Carter would stay with the Raptors until 2005 and in his 7 seasons with the team, averaged 23.4 PPG. His scoring didn’t slow down when he moved onto New Jersey where he spent 5 seasons and averaged 23.6 PPG. Carter would average at least 20.0 PPG for every season of the 2000s.
4. Paul Pierce - 17,812 Points
Total Games: 765
Points Per Game: 23.3
Paul Pierce has to be considered one of the most underrated scorers of his era. Contrary to popular belief, The Truth was one of the best scorers of the 2000s era. Pierce was relentless in his offensive efforts, seemingly having a never-ending amount of tricks up his sleeve. His best move was his abnormal perimeter jumper that looked like it should be sent 10 rows back, yet never was and hit efficiently. He was also effective in using his size and frame on smaller defenders with his back to the basket in post-up situations.
From 2001 to 2007, Pierce was Boston’s primary offensive option and the numbers reflect it. He averaged at least 21.0 PPG in each of those seasons and at least 25.0 PPG four times. He was named an All-Star 8 times while peaking offensively in 2006 with 26.8 PPG. In 2008, his scoring numbers dropped slightly but with good reason. Pierce’s touches went down, sharing the ball with Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, but it paid off in the form of an NBA championship.
3. Dirk Nowitzki - 18,699 Points
Total Games: 792
Points Per Game: 23.6
With the most games played in the 2000s out of anyone in the top 10, Dirk Nowitzki comes in at No.3. Dirk was an unusual threat for his day, standing at 7’0 with a jump shot that was money and nearly impossible to defend. While he mastered the one-legged fade away, he also added a variety of moves that made him offensively dangerous. He used to trail fast breaks for open shots to perfection. He also was highly capable of putting the ball on the floor and driving to the basket or pulling up for a jumper.
While he never won a scoring title, Dirk never had a season from 2001 to the end of the decade where he averaged less than 21.0 PPG. In 2006 and 2007, he had back-to-back seasons of over 26.0 PPG and in 2007 won the MVP award with 26.6 PPG. His numbers in the playoffs rose during this time as well with Nowitzki averaging anywhere from 26.0 PPG to 28.0 PPG in a postseason. Seven-footers who can shoot like Dirk are a rarity, even in today’s game but do not be mistaken, Dirk was a pure bucket.
2. Allen Iverson - 19,154 Points
Total Games: 682
Points Per Game: 28.1
Allen Iverson was a 6’0 guard who put the ball in the hoop at the rate of a big dominating the paint. Iverson was a one-of-a-kind shot creator with the best handles I have ever laid eyes on. Not only could he get up and shoot the ball, but the way he got to the rim at such an amazing rate was poetic. It didn’t matter if he was going left, right, or stepping back, Iverson could get his shot off wherever and whenever he wanted.
During the 2000s, Iverson won 3 scoring titles while averaging 30.0 PPG or better. In 2001, he led the Sixers to the NBA Finals after putting up 31.1 PPG and winning league MVP. In the playoffs, he averaged 32.9 PPG and was able to help steal a game from the Lakers in the Finals. Ironically in 2006 he put up a career-high 33.0 PPG but didn’t take home the scoring title. In his 5 playoff trips with the Sixers in the 2000s, Iverson averaged 30.6 PPG and made them a perennial contender.
1. Kobe Bryant - 21,065 Points
Total Games: 748
Points Per Game: 28.2
Pick your poison with Kobe Bryant on the offensive side of the ball. He could shoot the 3 and if that wasn’t hitting, he could control the game from the mid-range. If he couldn’t find his shot, he would punish you in the post. If he couldn’t get by you in the post, a turnaround fadeaway jumper reminiscent of MJ was coming your way. If all else fails, blow right by them on the perimeter and pray for the defender who decides to step up to help. He truly was a swiss army knife who dominated the 2000s from start to finish.
Despite the haters who like to discredit Kobe for his “inefficiency”, Kobe has the 4th highest FG% of anyone in the top 10 of this list, and the other 3 are power forwards who dominated the paint at points in time. Kobe, Shaq, and the Lakers won the first 3 titles of the decade and even though Shaq’s dominance was the driving force, Kobe’s finesse made them unstoppable. Kobe claimed 2 scoring titles in the 2000s, going back-to-back in 2006 (35.4 PPG) and 2007 (31.6 PPG). He averaged 30.0 PPG or better 3 times during the decade and 25.0 PPG or better 8 times. Bryant would lead the Lakers to the finals title of the 2000s in 2009 with 26.8 PPG in the regular season and 30.2 PPG in the playoffs.