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The 10 NBA Players Who Scored The Most Points In The 2010s: LeBron James Scored Just 105 Points More Than Kevin Durant

The 10 NBA Players Who Scored The Most Points In The 2010s: LeBron James Scored Just 105 Points More Than Kevin Durant

Scoring in the 2010s was the beginning of scoring as we know it today. For the first time since the early 90s, teams finally crept their team averages above 100.0 PPG regularly. Much of that has to do with a man named Stephen Curry and the three-point revolution that continues today. At the start of the decade in 2010, teams were still averaging 18.0 three-point attempts per game. By the end of the decade in 2019, teams were launching over 32.0 three-point attempts per game. Teams were more efficient in the 2010s, with some of the highest team eFG% and highest team TS% ever recorded.

The ten players you will see today were scoring machines during the decade of the 2010s. Before we get to them, as I always do, I'd like to give some recognition to some guys who just missed the cut. Coming in at No.11 is Damian Lillard, who, despite missing 3 seasons in the decade, still managed to pour in over 12,990 points. At No.13 is Kemba Walker, who quietly scored 12,009 points in the decade while being a part of many underperforming Hornets teams. Also deserving some mention here is Klay Thompson at No.15 with 11,995 points while being a 2nd and 3rd option most of the decade.

Enough about the ones who just missed the list. These are the Top 10 total points scorers from the 2009-10 season to the 2018-19 season:

10. Blake Griffin - 13,200 Points

Blake Griffin

Total Games: 604

Points Per Game: 21.9

Blake Griffin took the NBA world by storm during the 2010s with his incredible highlight-reel dunks powered by his freakish athleticism and constant motor. From the get-go, Griffin had high expectations, and although things started a tad rough, Griffin finished the 2010s as one of the best offensive weapons in the league. After sitting out his draft season in 2010 due to a knee injury, Griffin wowed audiences in his first full season. Griffin averaged 22.5 PPG and 12.1 RPG taking home the Rookie of the Year award in the process.

Griffin would go on to average 20.0 PPG or better for 7 of the next 8 seasons for both the Clippers and Detroit Pistons. Of all the names on our list today, Griffin played the least amount of games out of all of them due to his constant battle with injuries. Griffin thrived off of playing alongside Chris Paul in LA, with whom he ran a beautiful pick and roll game that helped bolster his point total. As much recognition as Griffin gets for his powerful dunks and aggression, Blake also had a knack for knocking down his long-range shots from 16 to 23 feet. Believe it or not, Griffin's highest-scoring season came in 2018-19, his first full season with the Pistons after being traded from LA. Griffin averaged 24.5 PPG in 2018-19 in 75 games with Detroit, a career-high.

9. Dwyane Wade - 13,243 Points

Dwyane Wade

Total Games: 660

Points Per Game: 20.1

Dwyane Wade’s placement on this list is impressive when you consider he was out of the NBA by the 2017-18 season; he was riding the bench for the Chicago Bulls as a shell of himself. Wade began the 2010s fresh off of a scoring title in 2009 and averaging 26.6 PPG in 2010, good for 5th in the league. He followed up in 2011 with 25.5 PPG and averaged over 20.0 PPG the two seasons following that when LeBron James came to town with Chris Bosh. Following the Big 3 era in Miami, Wade returned to form averaging 21.5 PPG in 2015.

Despite struggles with injuries and having trouble finding his rhythm because of it, Wade still managed to score 19.0 PPG in 2016 and 18.3 PPG in 2017. Wade got his buckets in a variety of ways during the decade. Wade is an absolute nightmare in isolation coverage as he can create off the dribble from virtually anywhere on the floor and get to the rim. He also feasted heavily in the pick and roll offense, slicing defense with no problem as he made his way to a finish at the hoop or just a nice and easy pull-up jumper. This wasn’t the Wade of the 2000s, but he was still an effective scorer in the 2010s. 

8. Carmelo Anthony - 14,783 Points

Carmelo Anthony

Total Games: 619

Points Per Game: 23.9

Carmelo Anthony is one of only 8 players in the 2010s to eclipse 14,000 total points, and it should be a shock to no one. Anthony kicked off the decade with a bang when he averaged 28.2 PPG in 2009-10 and finished 6th in MVP voting on the season. Anthony was easily one of the most versatile scorers of his generation. With a 6’8 frame, Carmelo could do it all on the floor. With his back to the basket, he was strong enough to back anyone at his position down. On taller defenders, he could operate around them and get crafty with his moves. On shorter defenders, forget about it, Melo's too much of a mismatch.

As a member of the New York Knicks for most of the decade, all of this was on full display. In 7 seasons with the Knicks, he averaged 24.7 PPG and shot 36.9% from beyond the arc. He became much more of s shooter in New York, and it made for some crazy moments at Madison Square Garden. In 2013 with New York, Melo had his best season of the decade when he led the league in scoring with 28.7 PPG and finished 3rd in the MVP race. Anthony currently ranks 9th all-time in points scored with 28,289 points.

7. DeMar DeRozan - 14,931 Points

DeMar DeRozan

Total Games: 752

Points Per Game: 19.9

DeMar DeRozan began his career right as the 2010s started in the 2009-10 season. He appeared in 72 games in his rookie season and averaged just 8.6 PPG on the year. Any doubt about his scoring would soon change. DeRozan became one of the purest scorers in the league, using his ability to create his shot and make them with a defender smothering him. Pull-up and step-back jumpers became an art form for DeRozan as he was yet another scorer who dominated out of the pick and roll. Even without a reliable three-point shot, DeRozan was a mismatch for most defenders in the league.

DeRozan peaked in 2017 when he averaged 27.3 PPG in 74 games played. His scoring average was ranked 5th in the NBA that season. He was able to do this despite shooting only 26.6% from three and 46.7% overall. How, you might ask? DeRozan was one of the best in the business at forcing his way to the foul line, and in 2017, he got to the line a career-high 8.7 times per game. From 2014 through 2019, DeRozan poured in a minimum of 20.0 PPG every year, catapulting him to the No.7 spot on our list.

6. LaMarcus Aldridge - 15,213 Points

LaMarcus Aldridge

Total Games: 730

Points Per Game: 20.8

Just the 2nd and last “big” to appear on our list is LaMarcus Aldridge. For most of the decade, Aldridge was a 20.0 PPG scorer or better, doing so 7 seasons out of 10. Aldridge became feared league-wide for his dominant post play, and his high-release jumper that seemed like it never missed once he got going. His offensive peak came in 2013 and 2014 when he averaged over 23.0 PPG in back-to-back seasons for the only time in his career. He also eclipsed 23.0 PPG for the Spurs in 2018. His two-way play earned him 5 All-NBA Team selections as well.

The 2013 and 2014 seasons were special scoring-wise for Aldridge besides what he accomplished in the regular season. During the 2014 NBA playoffs, Aldridge made his mark in Trail Blazers history when he broke out with back-to-back 40-point performances against the Rockets in the 1st round. Aldridge led all scorers in the series (including James Harden) with 29.8 PPG for the series, and Portland took down Houston in 6 games. Aldridge is one of the most talented paint scorers of the 2010s, and his presence at No.6 on our list proves it.

5. Stephen Curry - 16,315 Points

Stephen Curry 2016-17

Total Games: 694

Points Per Game: 23.5 PPG

As the greatest shooter of all time and the leader of the three-point revolution in the NBA, you would figure Stephen Curry would be at a higher spot on this list. Well, Curry is 1 of only 4 players in this top 10 to play under 700 games, and to be fair, he didn’t break out until the 2013-2014 season. From that moment on, though, he went nuclear. Curry started to hit shots only seen in video games and the movies up to that point. His ridiculous shooting displays of over 40% for the 2010s led to 3 championships and 2 MVPs for the point guard.

Stephen Curry is not rattled by the big moments either. He has averaged 28.0 PPG on 3 separate playoff runs, with two of them resulting in championships. His 2016 unanimous MVP season, though, was on an entirely different level. Curry led the league in scoring with 30.1 PPG while shooting 45.4% from 3 and 50.4% overall, both career-highs. One of the more underrated parts of Curry’s game is the ability to create and get to the basket on drives. For his career, Curry is a 64.5% finisher at the rim, with his best seasons coming in the late 2010s.

4. Russell Westbrook - 17,603 Points

Russell Westbrook

Total Games: 739

Points Per Game: 23.8

As one of the most underappreciated players in recent memory, Russell Westbrook has somehow become underrated. Yes, his triple-double records and accomplishments are certainly celebrated, but the scoring aspect of his game has been overlooked. What separated him from others was his supersonic speed, athleticism, and energy. He played with such ferocity, and it’s a wonder he never passed out from over-exertion. He could beat defenders on the regular off the dribble and deliver a nightly emphatic drive and slam that he made look easier than most.

Westbrook led the league in scoring in 2015 with 28.1 PPG and again during his 2017 MVP season with 31.6 PPG. From 2012 to 209, Russ never put up less than 22.0 PPG, even when playing alongside the likes of Kevin Durant and Paul George in Oklahoma City. Westbrook is one of those players who seems he won’t be fully appreciated until after he is long retired from the game. They can say all they want to discredit him, but his talent, the history he had made, and the statistics tell the story of an all-time great.

3. James Harden - 18,627 Points

James Harden

Total Games: 765

Points Per Game: 24.3 PPG

As 1 of only 3 players to score at least 18,000 points in the 2010s, James Harden was one of the most prolific scorers in the 2010s. During the decade, he broke scoring records, won scoring titles, and went on historic scoring runs. As he began the decade as one of the best bench players in basketball with the Thunder, it was with the Rockets that Harden’s offensive game evolved. In his first season with Houston, he averaged 25.9 PPG. He became a sniper from long-range, shooting at least 34.0% from three for the entire decade. He also established an unstoppable attack on the rim and either finished it there or earned himself a trip to the foul line regularly.

In his 9 seasons with Houston during the 2010s, Harden averaged a staggering 29.6 PPG. He finished 2nd in MVP voting in both 2015 when he averaged 27.4 PPG and in 2019 when he averaged 36.1 PPG. He won the award in 2018, averaging 30.4 PPG, 6.0 RPG, and 7.7 APG. He wrapped up the 2010s with back-to-back scoring titles in 2018 and 2019. He would also win his 3rd straight scoring title in 2020 with 34.3 PPG. Harden’s torrid scoring in the 2010s will never be forgotten, especially the streak that saw him go for 30 or more points in a whopping 32 straight games, the longest such streak since Wilt Chamberlain. Any time your scoring is being mentioned with WIlt, you know it is in the history books forever.

2. Kevin Durant - 19,445 Points

Kevin Durant

Total Games: 695

Points Per Game: 28.0

If this list were on a per-game basis, Kevin Durant would be our clear No.1 atop the leaderboard. One of the top 3 greatest scorers in the history of the game, Kevin Durant lit up the scoreboard during the 2010s. During the decade, he won 4 scoring titles, 2 championships, and 2 Finals MVPs between his time with the Thunder and Warriors. Durant’s slender and long build affords him the opportunities that many do not have the luxury of. He can create his shot with ease when he gets even an inch of space with the ability to rise over his defenders from anywhere on the floor and knock down a shot.

Durant’s scoring and shooting numbers are absurd for the 2010s. He averaged 25.0 PPG or better in a season for the entire decade. The playoffs were no different, as he led the postseason in scoring 5 different times during the 2010s and averaged 29.4 PPG for his career. Durant averaged a career-high 32.0 PPG during his 2014 MVP campaign as well. In his two Finals MVP performances, Durant averaged 35.2 PPG in 2017 and 28.8 PPG in 2018, both against the man who sits at No.1 on our list and the Cleveland Cavaliers. When his career is all said and done, Durant will be considered one of the best scorers to ever touch a basketball, and to be honest, he already is.

1. LeBron James - 19,550 Points

LeBron James Miami Heat

Total Games: 726

Points Per Game: 26.9 PPG

LeBron James isn’t a scorer, right? Wrong. I think the reason that LeBron barely gets the credit he deserves as a scorer is probably because of the one hundred other things he was asked to do in the 2010s. Is it the number of games played? No, LeBron sits right in the middle of the top 10 here today with 726 games played. Well, then he must be a shot chucker and inefficient? Also, no, LeBron shot 50.0% or better from the field in 9 out of 10 seasons in the 2010s, mainly as a small forward/hybrid who can play everywhere.

LeBron did not win a scoring title during the decade, but he did lead the playoffs in scoring twice. If you name a way to score, James can do it. It doesn’t matter if your team needs a clutch three or a drive and finish at the rim; LeBron is going to get it done for you. LeBron also averaged 25.0 PPG or better for the entire decade while taking home 3 championships, 3 MVPs, and 3 Finals MVP awards with both the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers. As we approach 2023, LeBron James is set to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. Maybe it will be at that moment that we truly come to appreciate his scoring gifts. 


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