The NBA playoffs are coming to an end this season and NBA stars have already shown up for their teams. After all, NBA superstars have the most pressure to perform and their performances will dictate how the season ends for their teams. Superstars often show up and put forth fantastic performances to spearhead their squads to victory. We crown an NBA champion every year and getting through each playoff series is the most essential part of being in the playoffs.
The postseason is where the best NBA players are judged because performing on the brightest stage usurps what is done in the regular season. In almost all situations, the best player on a playoff team must score a ton of points to lead his team to victory. That will not change, and it will probably be even more pronounced in the modern NBA, where offensive sets are being prioritized more than ever. Of course, rule changes and the availability of analytics and technology are lending teams to be far more efficient in getting buckets.
Here are the players with the most total points scored per franchise history, where we might get a very interesting perspective on the careers of some of the greatest players ever. It is important to realize that players who stayed with one franchise for their entire careers have the edge over other stars who moved teams over their careers.
Bob Pettit - 2,240 Points (25.5 PPG)
Whenever one thinks of the Atlanta Hawks, one might think of Dominique Wilkins. That alone is something very rare in the NBA, where players constantly move around and rarely have an impact on a franchise the way Dominique did. But even Dominique could not usurp what the great Bob Pettit did on the court for the Hawks, one of the most dominant big men ever.
Pettit averaged 25.5 PPG for the Hawks over his postseason career, using his physical strength and soft touch around the rim to punish defenders. Winning the 1958 championship, Pettit also helped deliver the gold to the franchise that took him No. 2 overall in the 1954 NBA Draft. With 9 playoff appearances in 11 years, Pettit might be the greatest Hawk ever.
Larry Bird - 3,897 Points (23.8 PPG)
A 12-time All-Star and two-time Finals MVP winner, Bird’s scoring ability was truly exceptional, as he is one of the best to ever wear the Boston Celtics uniform. An impressive 3 NBA titles and two Finals MVPs place him in elite lore, but his offensive game might have been his greatest skill considering he was also a great passer and rebounder.
Bird scored over 3,800 points for the famous Boston Celtics franchise during the 12 years he made the playoffs out of 13 seasons played. Easily a top-two small forward of all time and one of the most clutch scorers in NBA history, Larry Legend leads the pack in terms of being an elite scorer for the Celtics franchise. In second place is 8-time NBA champion John Havlicek (3,776) who is also one of the all-time great forwards who competed for the Celtics.
Jason Kidd - 1,308 Points (16.8 PPG)
Jason Kidd meant a lot to the Nets franchise because he took them to two NBA Finals appearances, almost single-handedly at times. The powerhouse point guard was not an elite offensive player in terms of shot creation, but he knew how to score in transition and had the body to take smaller guards in the post.
Of course, Kidd worked on his outside jumper to where he was no longer a liability from the perimeter, but a threat when his shot started to fall. An all-time great passer and defensive guard, many might not remember how consistent Kidd was at getting buckets for the Nets when he led them into the playoffs year after year.
David Wesley - 446 Points (13.9 PPG)
David Wesley was never quite an All-Star-caliber guard because he was such a volume shooter. He still leads all players in Charlotte Hornets playoff history with only 446 points. The Hornets have not had the success they dreamed about in the postseason, as only Baron Davis, Alonzo Mourning, and Elden Campbell managed at least 300 playoff points for the franchise.
It is expected that star LaMelo Ball can become the man to usurp David Wesley because 446 points can be achieved by an offensive star in a few years' time. Until then, Wesley, with his 13.9 PPG playoff average, is the highest scorer in the Hornets’ playoff history.
Michael Jordan - 5,987 Points (33.4 PPG)
Who else would appear for the Chicago Bulls? Widely considered the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan was a dominant scorer for the Bulls dynasty that won 6 NBA championships in 6 Finals appearances. With so many deep playoff runs, it is no wonder MJ almost had 6,000 playoff points in his career with the Bulls.
In fact, his scoring numbers for the Bulls rank 1st all-time for an individual player on a particular franchise. No player dominated the scoring charts like MJ did because his mix of elite athleticism and offensive talent will stand the test of time. Second place is none other than Scottie Pippen, who accumulated 3,217 points.
LeBron James - 4,573 Points (30.1 PPG)
LeBron James is the greatest athlete in the history of Cleveland sports, and the man who did the unthinkable by delivering the franchise an NBA championship. The King is mainly considered a pass-first player but still managed to score over 4,000 points for the Cavaliers during his 9 playoff seasons with the franchise.
Amazingly, King James has a chance to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the greatest scorer of all time. But in the playoffs, James’ scoring ranks among the best ever for a particular franchise. Second is LeBron’s former teammate, Kyrie Irving, an All-Star point guard who spent six seasons with the Cleveland franchise and scored 1,243 playoff points.
Dirk Nowitzki - 3,663 Points (25.3 PPG)
Just like LeBron with the Cleveland Cavaliers or Michael Jordan with the Chicago Bulls, the player that comes to mind when thinking of the Dallas Mavericks is Dirk Nowitzki. The unstoppable German delivered the elusive NBA title to Dallas in 2011 and is regarded as one of the top-5 power forwards ever. Armed with his one-legged fadeaway, Dirk accumulated over 3,000 playoff points in an efficient manner for the franchise that took him No. 9 overall in the 1998 NBA Draft.
Dirk is one of the greatest shooters ever, nailing 36.5% of his playoff threes over his career, and also shooting over 89% from the stripe. Nowitzki made the playoffs 15 times with the Mavericks, giving him the opportunity to accumulate an incredible amount of points. Second is Jason Terry, a former teammate of Dirk who scored 1,466 points.
Alex English - 1,540 Points (26.1 PPG)
The honor of being the greatest scorer in Denver Nuggets playoff history goes to Alex English, a Hall of Fame superstar who played for the Nuggets between 1980 and 1990. Averaging 26.1 PPG in the playoffs over those years, English might be the most iconic player to ever play for the Nuggets because his offensive firepower was almost unparalleled at his position.
The man most likely to overtake English is none other than two-time MVP Nikola Jokic because he already has 1,269 playoff points and he has not even hit his stride yet. The fact that Jokic has even managed to surpass Carmelo Anthony (1,104) is amazing, and the only man in his way is Hall of Famer Alex English.
Richard Hamilton - 2,467 Points (20.6 PPG)
Interestingly, Richard “Rip” Hamilton is the all-time leading playoff scorer for the Detroit Pistons. A player who thrived on off-ball movement and coming off screens, Rip Hamilton was one of the most consistent mid-range shooters in NBA history. He had a quick release and knew how to get open, raising his efficiency.
In the playoffs, Hamilton averaged an impressive 20.6 PPG over 7 playoff seasons with the Pistons, with his most important production coming in 2004 when he was the starting shooting guard for the championship squad that somehow took down the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals.
Golden State Warriors
Stephen Curry - 3,477 Points (26.5 PPG)
Stephen Curry has been challenging for NBA titles for so long, that it is hard to remember how many times he has been in the playoffs. Curry, along with Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and head coach Steve Kerr, has changed the NBA with his unrivaled shooting ability. So far, Steph has accumulated over 3,400 playoff points and counting.
With an impressive playoff scoring average of 26.5 PPG, Curry has managed to usurp the likes of Wilt Chamberlain and Chris Mullin with his ability to score points for the franchise. He will be forever known as Mr. Warrior, because as long as the team keeps competing for championships, Curry will remain in Golden State for the rest of his career with a chance to continue to add to his points total.
Hakeem Olajuwon - 3,727 Points (26.6 PPG)
James Harden has the highest playoff PPG average in Rockets history with 28.4 PPG, but Hakeem Olajuwon scored the most total points for the franchise. Arguably the most unstoppable center in the post, The Dream had every move on the block from pump fakes to turnaround jumpers. That is the reason why he scored over 3,700 playoff points.
Of course, The Dream’s offensive prowess was the main reason the Houston Rockets won two straight NBA titles thanks to the big man’s leadership. With a whopping 140 playoff games played, Olajuwon will likely forever be the Rockets’ greatest player because James Harden is a distant second with 2,416 points scored in 85 appearances.
Reggie Miller - 2,972 Points (20.6 PPG)
One of the most clutch players of all time, Reggie Miller, is greatly synonymous with the Indiana Pacers franchise because of his incredible shooting ability. Had Reggie played in today’s game, he would have exceeded the 3,000 mark with ease and would have been somewhat of a challenge to Stephen Curry’s three-point records.
Miller was a fantastic shooter, and his shots became more likely to fall whenever his team needed him most. Thanks to Reggie’s consistency as a shooter and all-around scorer, the Pacers had multiple playoff runs which is why the shooting guard ranks 1st all-time in playoff points for the franchise that took him No. 11 overall in the 1987 NBA Draft.
Los Angeles Clippers
Chris Paul - 1,125 Points (21.2 PPG)
Even if Chris Paul has not suited up for the Los Angeles Clippers in five years, he is the greatest playoff scorer in franchise history. Known as an elite floor general, CP3 was a superstar scorer when he needed to be. Paul sacrificed his scoring numbers on most occasions because he knew the best way to win games was to be a facilitator.
Even so, the legendary point guard has scored over 1,200 playoff points for the Clippers and did so in an efficient manner. The future Hall of Famer averaged 21.2 PPG in the playoffs for Los Angeles, on 48.1% FG, 39.0% 3-PT FG, and 87.7% FT. With elite numbers, Paul is also one of the most important figures in the Clippers' history.
Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe Bryant - 5,640 Points (25.6 PPG)
Unsurprisingly, Kobe Bryant tops the charts for the iconic Los Angeles Lakers franchise. An obsessed competitor and all-time great scorer, The Black Mamba was in the playoffs for the Lakers as quickly as his rookie campaign. After a slow start to his career, Kobe became a playoff stalwart who made the postseason 15 years out of the 20 he played for the Purple and Gold.
Bryant, with his 5 championship rings and 2 Finals MVP awards, is one of the most iconic and respected basketball players ever. The closest to him in Lakers lore was Jerry West, the logo of the NBA, who accumulated 4,457 points. Just like Jordan with the Bulls, Kobe was a chart-topper with his offensive skills for one franchise.
Zach Randolph - 1,058 Points (17.1 PPG)
The Grit n’ Grind era of the Memphis Grizzlies greatly suited Zach Randolph, a power forward who prefers to slow the game down and play some bully ball on the block. Despite his lack of athleticism and below-the-rim capabilities, Zach scored over 1,000 points for the Grizzlies in 7 postseason appearances.
Randolph did not always make it look pretty, but he was effective in using his powerful lower body to shift defenders and get easy buckets. When needed, the big man was also capable of nailing mid-range shots and even three-pointers at times. Overall, Zach Randolph was an excellent offensive presence for the Grizzlies franchise.
Dwyane Wade - 3,864 Points (22.6 PPG)
Mr. Miami Heat himself, Dwyane Wade captured 3 NBA titles with the franchise that drafted him No. 5 overall in the 2003 Draft and did it thanks to his elite offensive ability. An unstoppable slasher to the basket, Wade was incredibly quick and slithery when he had the ball in his hands, a reason why he was so efficient.
Wade scored over 3,800 points for the iconic Miami Heat franchise, and he did it as the man early on in his career and also as a sidekick to LeBron James later in his career. An unselfish superstar that just wanted to win, Wade had no problem with Shaquille O’Neal and LeBron James stealing headlines when they decided to join forces with him at their respective times.
Giannis Antetokounmpo - 2,035 Points (26.8 PPG)
Giannis Antetokounmpo is on his way to becoming the greatest Milwaukee Bucks player ever if he hasn’t usurped Kareem Abdul-Jabbar already. The Greek Freak is a freakish athlete because he moves like a guard despite having the physical build of a center. Already, Giannis has scored over 2,000 points for the Bucks.
Despite not having a great jump shot, Giannis finds a way to score anytime he wants to. He is incredibly powerful, explosive, and fast, which is why he is an automatic bucket when he has a lane to the basket. With 76 playoff appearances to his name, Giannis has surpassed Kareem (1,692) as the greatest scorer in Bucks’ playoff history.
Kevin Garnett - 1,049 Points (22.3 PPG)
The Big Ticket, Kevin Garnett, had one of the most incredible runs with one franchise in NBA history. Despite not being surrounded by exceptional talent, Garnett consistently led the Timberwolves into the playoffs due to his superstar two-way play. In 47 postseason games, Garnett has scored over 1,000 points.
KG was never a powerhouse player because of his slim frame, but he could score inside through his aggression and also nail the mid-range jumper rather consistently. Garnett was not much of a three-point shooter, but he never needed to be because of his efficiency. Karl-Anthony Towns has only played in 11 playoff games, but he has the best shot at usurping Garnett’s top spot.
New Orleans Pelicans
Chris Paul - 504 Points Points (21.9 PPG)
For a second franchise, Chris Paul is the all-time playoff scorer. An elite point guard who opted to pass more than shoot, Paul was a superstar for the New Orleans Hornets teams that made the playoffs consistently. In 23 playoff games, CP3 scored over 500 points, even surpassing Anthony Davis (397 points in 13 games).
Paul has made a career out of making teams championship contenders, even though he has never won an NBA title. His ability to make others around him better and still score the ball at will at 6’0” has made CP3 a fan favorite and respected member of the league. Hopefully, Paul can add an NBA title to his resume because that is the only thing missing for him.
New York Knicks
Patrick Ewing - 2,787 Points (20.6 PPG)
Sure, Patrick Ewing was never on the level of other elite centers, including Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O’Neal, and David Robinson. But he was a superstar center in his prime for the New York Knicks and he proved it by consistently coming through for them on the offensive end. In an impressive 135 playoff games, Ewing scored over 2,700 points at an average of 20.6 PPG.
Armed with a post hook and the ability to hit on the block, Ewing was a go-to player for the Knicks teams that came close to winning an NBA title. New York would not have even had a chance to compete if not for the center’s ability to score the ball down low. Even if Patrick never got over the hump, he was a consistent scorer that deserves the recognition of being one of the greatest players in New York Knicks history, and that is quite an honor.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Kevin Durant - 2,620 Points (28.8 PPG)
The way Kevin Durant left the Oklahoma City Thunder still rubs people the wrong way until today, but there is no denying he is their greatest-ever talent. A 6’10” scorer with a wingspan extending to over 7 feet, we have not seen a more lethal offensive weapon than KD before. That is why, in 91 playoff games, Durant is their leading scorer with 2,620 playoff points.
Even score-first guard Russell Westbrook failed to score more than KD, a player who had three extra seasons with the Thunder franchise. Durant is truly a once-in-a-lifetime talent because his playoff averages of 28.8 PPG on 45.5% FG, 32.9% 3-PT FG, and 84.8% FT does not even do him justice because he could score the ball anytime he wanted.
Dwight Howard - 1,133 Points (19.9 PPG)
Even if Dwight Howard never won an NBA title with the Orlando Magic, he is one of their greatest players. A superstar in his prime, Howard was more of a defensive presence that lacked go-to moves on the block yet still scored over 1,000 playoff points for the franchise. A rim roller and alley-oop target, Dwight made use of his athleticism to the fullest.
In 57 playoff games, Howard scored 1,133 points, which was good for 19.9 PPG. Only Tracy McGrady, Shaquille O’Neal, and Penny Hardaway managed to have a higher PPG average for the Magic in their postseason history. Remember, Dwight came close to winning an NBA title in 2009 when he carried the Magic to the Finals before questionable coaching decisions hurt their chances.
Julius Erving - 3,088 Points (21.9 PPG)
Allen Iverson was a fantastic scorer for the Philadelphia 76ers, but he does not usurp Julius Erving as an elite go-to scorer for the franchise. In an amazing 141 playoff appearances, Dr. J scored over 3,000 points and made it look beautiful in doing so. By comparison, Iverson only appeared in 62 playoff games and scored 1,899 points.
Erving was truly a game-changer on the court because he was a walking highlight-reel when he played because of his offensive prowess. Whenever Dr. J drove to the rim, he would either pull out a pretty layup or a spectacular dunk to give fans their money’s worth. Of course, Erving was part of the 1983 team that won the NBA title at the expense of the Los Angeles Lakers. With over 3,000 playoff points, it seems hard for any player to be able to pass what Erving did for the Philadelphia 76ers franchise.
Kevin Johnson - 2,026 Points (19.3 PPG)
Interestingly, neither Steve Nash nor Charles Barkley ranks first all-time in playoff points for the Phoenix Suns. That honor belongs to Kevin Johnson, an elite offensive guard who was not only a scorer but a great passer as well. Armed with quickness and a natural ability to score, Johnson accumulated over 2,000 points for the Suns franchise in 105 games played.
Kevin’s shooting was solid, as he averaged 46.9% from the field and 83.3% from the foul line. He had a knack for drawing fouls, creating offense from the perimeter, and also attacking the basket to score inside. Steve Nash comes in second with 1,365 points scored, although he did it in 75 playoff appearances, a far cry from Johnson’s record.
Portland Trail Blazers
Clyde Drexler - 2,015 Points (21.4 PPG)
If not for Michael Jordan, we would probably be talking about Clyde Drexler just a little bit more. The superstar shooting guard was an exceptional scorer because he had a mix of athleticism, grace, and shooting ability from the perimeter. In 94 playoff games, Clyde scored over 2,000 points and did it through the spectacular on most occasions.
Interestingly, Damian Lillard is not that far off with 1,569 playoff points in 61 playoff games played. Time will tell if he gets the necessary roster around him to compete in deep playoff runs because he is getting older and the window for winning a championship is getting smaller and smaller. Until something changes, Clyde Drexler is the greatest scorer in Portland Trail Blazers' history.
Oscar Robertson - 1,159 Points (29.7 PPG)
Oscar Robertson occupies the top-10 list of all-time greats for some people, although he normally falls somewhere in the top-15 for the masses. Simply an incredible all-around player with natural scoring ability, Oscar is the leading playoff scorer in Kings’ history despite only playing in 39 playoff games.
Second is Chris Webber, who scored 1,148 points in 53 playoff games. Webber was an exceptional scoring power forward with a unique skill set, but even he could not accumulate the number of points that Robertson did in more games. Quite frankly, Oscar was a once-in-a-lifetime talent, and the way he scored looked so effortless. With an impressive 29.7 PPG playoff scoring average, Robertson has to go down as one of the all-time great playoff performers regardless of era.
San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan - 5,172 Points (20.6 PPG)
The greatest power forward of all time and the catalyst behind a San Antonio Spurs dynasty, Tim Duncan dominated the paint for years as a member of the Gregg Popovich-led squads that featured other Hall of Fame talents including David Robinson, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Kawhi Leonard. Without a doubt, Duncan was the most talented and most important player in the dynasty.
In a whopping 251 playoff appearances, Duncan scored over 5,000 points with his teammate Tony Parker coming in second with 4,045 points in 226 games. The Big Fundamental was known for his ability to use the backboard on his jumpers, and his lower body strength also gave him the option to get easy layups whenever he wanted to. Even if Duncan was a superstar defensive player, his offense was arguably just as great.
Kyle Lowry - 1,435 Points (17.1 PPG)
Kyle Lowry is a fan favorite in the city of Toronto because he helped spearhead two versions of title-contenders when he was the starting point guard for the Raptors. The first was the Lowry and DeMar DeRozan squads that consistently made the playoffs, and the second was the Kawhi Leonard-led squad that won the NBA title in 2019. Lowry was the constant, as both a defensive guard and shot-maker.
With a deep range and a pit bull-like attitude, Lowry knew how to score the ball and come up big in playoff games. In 84 playoff games, Kyle scored 1,435 points, which leads DeMar DeRozan who has 1,117 points in 51 games played. Lowry was never the most explosive or physically gifted player, but his shooting and aggressiveness at the rim made him a solid scorer for the Raptors.
Karl Malone - 4,519 (26.3 PPG)
Unsurprisingly, Karl Malone headlines the list of all the great playoff scorers in Utah Jazz history. A powerhouse power forward with broad shoulders and a statue-like physique, Karl Malone was one of the most unstoppable scorers ever. In 172 playoff games, The Mailman scored over 4,500 points, which is ahead of John Stockton, who scored 2,436 points in 182 games. Somehow, Malone could not win an NBA title, although that was mainly because of Michael Jordan.
Malone was a powerhouse in the paint, but his mid-range shooting was often underappreciated. He was automatic from that area when he received passes from John Stockton, and there was no way of slowing him down when he engaged in the pick-and-roll. An elite scorer who ranks 3rd all-time in regular-season points, Karl Malone will likely hold the Jazz’s top spot forever.
Elvin Hayes - 1,997 Points (23.0 PPG)
Elvin Hayes is one of the greatest big men of his generation, and arguably the best player in Wizards’ history alongside Wes Unseld. Hayes was a force on both ends of the floor, although he ranks first all-time in playoff points with 1,997 scored in 87 games played. Second is Phil Chenier, who scored 1,088 points in 60 playoff appearances.
Hayes knew how to use his body and his soft touch around the rim to score easy points, a reason why he almost managed 2,000 points scored in the postseason. His greatest achievement came in 1978 when he won the NBA title with the Washington Bullets at the expense of the Seattle SuperSonics.