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The Most Points Per Game By Point Guards In The Last 40 Years: Only Three Players Averaged More Than 30 Points

The Most Points Per Game By Point Guards In The Last 40 Years: Only Three Players Averaged More Than 30 Points

The scoring rate in the NBA these days is at an all-time high, as teams are focusing on efficient ways of scoring a ton of points. Of course, we have some of the most spectacular offensive players in the game today including Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry playing at MVP levels. For the best scorers, winning scoring titles and averaging a high number of points per game comes naturally to them because of how effortlessly they get buckets.

But we have seen a shift over the past decade where point guards are often the leading scorers on their teams. Thanks to the new wave of incredible athletes and skilled players at the point guard spot, some of the best offensive players are often the primary ball-handlers. While point guards are still required to lead the offense, gone are the days when being pass-first is the priority.

Looking back at the last 40 years, here are the leading scorers at the point guard position from 1981 until the 2021 season. Some names will appear more than once, and some other players managed to take offense to an entirely different level by dominating the scoring charts every year. Without further ado, here are the last 40 scoring champions at the point guard spot in the NBA.

1981-82 - Gus Williams - 23.4 PPG (Seattle SuperSonics)

In his 6th NBA season, Gus Williams averaged a career-high 23.4 PPG for the Seattle SuperSonics. Standing 6’2” and weighing 175 lbs, Williams had to rely on quickness and natural basketball skill to lead all point guards in scoring. Scoring at a 48.6% clip, Gus would also make his first of two straight All-Star Teams in 1982.

1982-83 - Reggie Theus - 23.8 PPG (Chicago Bulls)

In his 5th NBA season, Reggie Theus averaged his career-high 23.8 PPG during 1983. The 6’7” point guard was an elite offensive player during the year, posting 23.8 PPG on 47.8% from the field and 23.1% from three, while also nailing 80.1% from the foul line. Thanks to his tremendous length, Theus had a memorable year for Bulls fans.

1983-84 - Isiah Thomas - 21.3 PPG (Detroit Pistons)

In his 3rd NBA season with his 3rd straight All-Star appearance, Isiah Thomas was the best offensive point guard in the NBA. The competitive guard made a knack for making others around him better but was more than capable of getting buckets. Putting up 21.3 PPG on 46.2% from the field is nothing to sniff at, to say the least.

1984-85 - Sidney Moncrief - 21.7 PPG (Milwaukee Bucks)

One of the best defensive players of all time and a Hall of Famer, Sidney Moncrief averaged an excellent 21.7 PPG for the Milwaukee Bucks. The point guard shot 48.3% from the field, 27.3% from three, and 82.8% from the free-throw line. Standing 6’3” and with some of the best hands in NBA history, Moncrief was an All-Star-caliber point guard in his prime.

1985-86 - Isiah Thomas - 20.9 PPG (Detroit Pistons)

When one thinks of the Detroit Pistons, 2-time NBA champion and Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas immediately comes to mind. Beyond his aggressive style of play and explosive moves to the basket, Thomas was an All-Star on the offensive side of the floor. In his 5th season and 5th All-Star year, the floor general dropped 20.9 PPG on 48.8% from the field and 79.0% from the free-throw line.

1986-87 - Magic Johnson - 23.9 PPG (Los Angeles Lakers)

For the first of three straight seasons in leading all point guard’s in scoring, Magic Johnson put up an excellent 23.9 PPG despite being a pass-first player with some of the best intangibles in NBA history. Magic brought size, flash, and high IQ to the game better than any point guard before him. He was simply special on the offensive side of the court, whether it came to scoring or passing.

1987-88 - Magic Johnson - 19.6 PPG (Los Angeles Lakers)

A 28-year-old Magic Johnson was the best point guard in the world because his passing and rebounding ability were absolutely elite for a man at his position. But Magic does not receive credit for being an elite offensive player, despite the fact he put up 19.6 PPG on 49.2% from the field. Armed with the ability to score in the lane with ease, Johnson led all point guards in scoring in 1988.

1988-89 - Magic Johnson - 22.5 PPG (Los Angeles Lakers)

As expected, Magic Johnson led all point guards in scoring at age 29 for the Los Angeles Lakers. While there is no doubt that the legendary point guard was a much better passer than a scorer, he was still unstoppable in all facets of the game. He stood 6’9” and had extremely broad shoulders, making it easy for Magic to score against smaller defenders in the post and in the lane.

1989-90 - Kevin Johnson - 22.5 PPG (Phoenix Suns)

A talented scorer at the point guard spot, Kevin Johnson became an All-Star in his third season by putting up 22.5 PPG on 49.9% from the field and 83.8% from the free-throw line. The 6’1” point guard was not quite a superstar, but he was an excellent point guard with scoring and also strong passing ability (11.4 APG). It would not be long before the Johnson and Charles Barkley duo would bring the highs for Suns fans.

1990-91 - Michael Adams - 26.5 PPG (Denver Nuggets)

Somehow, Michael Adams did not make the All-Star Team in the West despite putting up 26.5 PPG for the Denver Nuggets. A 5’10” point guard with sublime handles and scoring ability, Adams put up his career-high during the 1991 season on 21.5 FGA per game. The miniature point guard knew he had to get his shots up, which is why he shot 39.4% from the field and 29.6% from three.

1991-92 - Tim Hardaway - 23.4 PPG (Golden State Warriors)

Tim Hardaway is a Hall of Famer for good reason, and he made his name known in the early 1990s as an iconic ball-handler and scorer. The point guard was 25 years old in his third season and made his second-straight All-Star Team appearance. Playing 41.1 MPG and shooting 46.1% shooting from the field, Tim was becoming one of the best offensive point guards in the league.

1992-93 - Tim Hardaway - 21.5 PPG (Golden State Warriors)

At age 26 and in his prime, one of the game’s best ball-handlers put up 21.5 PPG for the Golden State Warriors while shooting 44.7% from the field and 33.0% from three. A fantastic offensive player with the ability to place his defenders on skates, Hardaway made the game look so easy and certainly earned himself some fan support with his stylish playstyle.

1993-94 - Kenny Anderson - 18.8 PPG (New Jersey Nets)

In his third NBA season, point guard Kenny Anderson put up 18.8 PPG on 41.7% from the field and 30.3% from three. It was clear that point guards were expected to pass the ball in favor of scoring because Anderson’s 18.8 PPG ranked first among point guards. The 1994 season also happened to be the No. 2 overall pick’s highest-scoring season.

1994-95 - Penny Hardaway - 20.9 PPG (Orlando Magic)

In 1995, Shaquille O’Neal became the second-best big man in the game behind Hakeem Olajuwon. Shaq led the NBA in scoring at 29.3 PPG, averaging 58.3% shooting from the field. But Penny was an excellent sidekick to the superstar big man, putting up 20.9 PPG on 51.2% from the field and also chipping in 7.2 APG.

1995-96 - Penny Hardaway - 21.7 PPG (Orlando Magic)

A talented point guard with excellent handles and passing ability, Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway was a joy to watch in 1996. He finished 11th in scoring in the NBA, and 1st at the point guard position with an average of 21.7 PPG on 51.3% from the field and 31.4% from three. Alongside a dominant Shaquille O’Neal, Penny helped make the Orlando Magic a team to beat in the East.

1996-97 - Allen Iverson - 23.5 PPG (Philadelphia 76ers)

A 21-year-old Allen Iverson was taken No. 1 overall in the 1996 NBA Draft, and his rookie season was certainly impressive as he dropped 23.5 PPG on 41.6% from the field and 34.1% from three. The young man was placed at point guard, and he answered the ball as a sensational scorer who went on to win Rookie of the Year.

1997-98 - Allen Iverson - 22.0 PPG (Philadelphia 76ers)

While Michael Jordan was taking all the recognition as the best scorer in the world, Allen Iverson was slowly building his case as an elite offensive player. At only age 22, a young Iverson was starting at point guard before taking over the shooting guard spot. He put up 22.0 PPG on 46.1% shooting, an indication of what to expect once the rail-thin guard gained more experience in the league.

1998-99 - Gary Payton - 21.7 PPG (Seattle SuperSonics)

Gary Payton was not known as an offensive star early on in his career, but he eventually became the 7th best scorer in the NBA during the 1999 season. While offense was not his best skill, defense was, Payton was still elite at putting the ball in the basket. An aggressive competitor, GP was never afraid of forcing the action when plays broke down on the court.

1999-00 - Gary Payton - 24.2 PPG (Seattle SuperSonics)

Playing all 82 games and competing at an elite two-way level for the Seattle SuperSonics, Gary Payton was simply a superstar in 2000. Known as “The Glove”, Payton could lock down most opposing point guards and also take the ball to the rack with ease. He also had a solid mid-range jumper, something he worked hard on during multiple offseasons.

2000-01 - Stephon Marbury - 23.9 PPG (New Jersey Nets)

At age 23, Stephon Marbury burst onto the scene as an All-Star performer with some elite ball-handling and passing skills. He was also a tremendous scorer thanks to his ability to beat defenders off the dribble and score at the rim with ease. Attempting 19 shots per game, Marbury would soon become an offensive stalwart known as “Starbury”.

2001-02 - Gary Payton - 22.1 PPG (Seattle SuperSonics)

It is amazing how Gary Payton was able to transform his game to become an All-Star quality scorer for the Seattle SuperSonics. The aggressive point guard came into the game as an elite defender, which placed him on the map. But it was his offensive growth that took him into the Hall of Fame, because he ended up being one of the best two-way point guards in NBA history.

2002-03 - Stephon Marbury - 22.3 PPG (Phoenix Suns)

In his second All-Star appearance, Stephon Marbury was exceptional at scoring the ball at the rim and also from the perimeter. Known as “Starbury”, the talented point guard would have his best season since his first All-Star season with the New Jersey Nets in 2001 (23.9 PPG). An elite offensive player, Marbury made it look easy on offense.

2003-04 - Baron Davis - 22.9 PPG (New Orleans Hornets)

Making his second All-Star Team, powerhouse point guard Baron Davis averaged his then career-high with 22.9 PPG as a member of the New Orleans Hornets. A powerful guard with the ability to score against most defenders, Baron made the game look easy on the offensive end by taking the ball to the basket as much as possible.

2004-05 - Gilbert Arenas - 25.5 PPG (Washington Wizards)

The first All-Star appearance for Gilbert Arenas came in 2005 when he put up monster shooting numbers in a time when point guards were mainly required to pass the ball as much as possible. A 23-year-old Arenas missed the memo because he found it too easy to create his own shots and he did consistently throughout the year.

2005-06 - Gilbert Arenas - 29.3 PPG (Washington Wizards)

A dominant offensive point guard with a high-scoring average in 2006, Gilbert Arenas was doing things that previous point guards were not capable of doing. Standing 6’4”, Arenas had the size to shoot over defenders and also the physical strength and speed to get past them as well. The point guard also had deep range and made it look easy when shooting long-range bombs.

2006-07 - Gilbert Arenas - 28.4 PPG (Washington Wizards)

A clutch shot-maker and talented offensive star, Gilbert Arenas averaged 28.4 PPG on 41.8% from the field and 35.1% from three for the Wizards. The point guard had every offensive trick in the book from jump shooting to basket drives, and there was not much any defender could do against him in 2007. Of course, we were given the chance to witness “Agent Zero” in clutch situations.

2007-08 - Baron Davis - 21.8 PPG (Golden State Warriors)

The leader of the “We Believe” Golden State Warriors from a year prior, Baron Davis was exceptional for his side once again. A powerful guard with insane explosiveness, Davis was capable of going off against most defenders and did it consistently in 2008 by averaging 21.8 PPG. He shot 42.6 % from the field and 33.0% from three, inefficient numbers but good enough for the point guard to lead all point guard’s in scoring.

2008-09 - Chris Paul - 22.8 PPG (New Orleans Hornets)

Chris Paul, at age 23, was already one of the best players in the league. The point guard was a natural leader, passer, and two-way superstar; because he was not only the highest-scoring point guard but the best playmaker during the season (11.0 APG). Paul averaged 22.8 PPG on 50.3% from the floor and 36.4% from three, while also nailing 86.8% of his foul shots in a very efficient All-Star season.

2009-10 - Gilbert Arenas - 22.6 PPG (Washington Wizards)

Agent Zero, one of the most talented point guards of his generation, put up a solid 22.6 PPG as the point guard for the Washington Wizards. An explosive and powerful guard, Arenas made the game look so easy and despite playing only 32 games, he managed to usurp an up-and-coming Derrick Rose (20.8 PPG in 78 games) as the most dominant offensive point guard in the NBA.

2010-11 - Derrick Rose - 25.0 PPG (Chicago Bulls)

The youngest MVP ever, Derrick Rose was on another level during the 2011 season. The explosive point guard averaged 25.0 PPG on 44.5% shooting from the field, excellent numbers for a score-first point guard. We started seeing a shift towards point guards looking for their offense first, as Rose (along with Russell Westbrook) started proving that success would follow that way. If only D-Rose could have kept healthy after this season to continue showcasing his dominance on the court.

2011-12 - Russell Westbrook - 23.6 PPG (Oklahoma City Thunder)

Even if Russell Westbrook played alongside Kevin Durant, a forward who would win his 3rd straight scoring title, the point guard added 23.6 PPG during the regular season on 45.7% from the field. The explosive guard was adept at attacking the basket and helped form an unstoppable duo with KD on the court. As expected, they led the Thunder to the NBA Finals at the end of the year in a losing effort to the Miami Heat.

2012-13 - Russell Westbrook - 23.2 PPG (Oklahoma City Thunder)

Russell Westbrook started becoming an All-Star shoo-in in 2013 because that marked his third straight appearance for the Western Conference. An incredible athlete with an impressive vertical and unstoppable explosiveness, Westbrook put up over 20 PPG for the third straight season and did it at 43.8% shooting. While not the most efficient, Russ was unstoppable when he had the ball with some space for him to get to the rim.

2013-14 - Stephen Curry - 24.0 PPG (Golden State Warriors)

Stephen Curry’s first All-Star season came in 2014, and that is when he began taking the league by storm with his sensational play on the court. The slender yet skilled point guard shot 47.1% from the field and 42.4% from three for the Warriors, and it would not be long before he would win league MVP and eventually win his first NBA championship.

2014-15 - Russell Westbrook - 28.1 PPG (Oklahoma City Thunder)

The 2015 season was a difficult one for the Oklahoma City Thunder, as Kevin Durant would only play 27 games in the entire year. That left Russell Westbrook alone to try to guide the team to the playoffs, which did not end up happening. Westbrook still led the league in scoring, averaging 28.1 PPG on 42.6% shooting from the field and 29.9% shooting from three. Westbrook was not very efficient, but he was still the best scorer in the NBA because he had free reign to take any shot he wanted.

2015-16 - Stephen Curry - 30.1 PPG (Golden State Warriors)

With Stephen Curry playing like the MVP of the league (which he won), the Golden State Warriors shattered the NBA record for most team wins as they finished 73-9. Curry averaged 30.1 PPG on 50.4% from the field, 45.4% from three, and 90.8% from the free-throw line. There was no doubt who the MVP was, but winning a scoring title to win 73 games added some more layers of icing to the cake.

2016-17 - Russell Westbrook - 31.6 PPG (Oklahoma City Thunder)

When Kevin Durant left the Oklahoma City Thunder, Russell Westbrook was left to fend for himself. The Thunder were not built to survive without 2 superstar players, leaving their point guard with very little help. Westbrook had one of the best regular seasons in NBA history, posting a triple-double (31.6 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 10.4 APG) and grabbing a playoff seeding. Westbrook was simply unstoppable in all areas of the floor, winning the scoring title and MVP in the same season.

2017-18 - Damian Lillard - 26.9 PPG (Portland Trail Blazers)

The undisputed best offensive point guard in the league in 2018, Damian Lillard was dominant by averaging 26.9 PPG on 36.1% from three. The Trail Blazers were improving as a team, and Lillard’s clutch ability and shooting were the main reason why. Steph Curry was second at 26.4 PPG, but he only played 51 games compared to Lillard’s 73 games played.

2018-19 - Stephen Curry - 27.3 PPG (Golden State Warriors)

Even if Stephen Curry could not win an NBA title with the superteam Warriors (thanks to injuries to Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson), he was phenomenal during the regular season. The greatest shooter of all time was at his best, scoring 27.3 PPG on 47.2% from the field and 43.7% from the three-point line. There is usually no answer for Steph on defense, and he was at his apex during the 2019 season.

2019-20 - Damian Lillard - 30.0 PPG (Portland Trail Blazers)

Damian Lillard, without another All-Star teammate by his side, has had to carry the Portland Trail Blazers offense by himself. The sharpshooting point guard is consistently leading his team to the playoffs and has occupied a position as a top-three point guard over the last two or three years. One of the greatest shooters and clutch players of his generation, Dame was also the best offensive point guard in the game in 2020.

2020-21 - Stephen Curry - 32.0 PPG (Golden State Warriors)

Stephen Curry, without the help from Klay Thompson, had to carry the Golden State Warriors offense by himself. The sharpshooting point guard almost led his team to the playoffs, falling in the play-in game. Still, the future Hall of Famer averaged 32.0 PPG on 42.1% shooting from three to win the scoring title while competing in the MVP race all season long. Curry also reminded everyone (with no reminder necessary) that he is the greatest shooter we have ever seen.


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