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.
1982-83 - George Gervin - 26.2 PPG (San Antonio Spurs)
Even though Gervin would not win his 5th scoring title, Gervin managed to lead all shooting guards in scoring by posting an impressive 26.2 PPG on 48.7% from the field. The slender scoring machine, even at age 30, was unstoppable with the ball in his hands and already solidified himself as one of the best offensive players ever.
1983-84 - George Gervin - 25.9 PPG (San Antonio Spurs)
George Gervin has to be one of the best offensive players of all time because he continued to prove his worth as arguably the most elite scoring shooting guard in the league. It would not last much longer as Michael Jordan would enter the league in the following season, but Gervin certainly stamped his name among the all-time greatest scorers thanks to his impact during the 70s and 80s.
1984-85 - Michael Jordan - 28.2 PPG (Chicago Bulls)
One of the best scorers of all time and a Hall of Famer, Michael Jordan averaged an excellent 28.2 PPG for the Chicago Bulls to lead all shooting guards in scoring. Jordan shot 51.5% from the field, 17.3% from three, and 84.5% from the free-throw line. Standing 6’6” and with some of the best athleticism in NBA history, MJ already became the most impactful shooting guard in the NBA in his rookie season.
1985-86 - World B. Free - 23.4 PPG (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Only centers and small forwards remained ahead of World B. Free in terms of scoring output, because the shooting guard averaged 23.4 PPG on 45.5% from the field and 76.% from the line. World B. Free was a graceful scorer around the rim and also had a nice shooting touch, acting as one of the few bright spots for the Cleveland Cavaliers during the year.
1986-87 - Michael Jordan - 37.1 PPG (Chicago Bulls)
The 1987 season saw Jordan not only take his game from bonafide All-Star level to untouchable superstar level but a 37.1 PPG scoring average was also witnessed. Jordan shot 48.2% from the field while dropping over 37 PPG, something we might never see again. In only his 3rd season, Michael became the most unstoppable scorer in the league and he would just be getting started with the accolades.
1987-88 - Michael Jordan - 35.0 PPG (Chicago Bulls)
A year after winning his first scoring title, Michael Jordan led the NBA in scoring at 35.0 PPG while also winning Defensive Player of the Year. It will be hard to see any player accomplish a similar feat because the hunger and desire by Jordan to dominate all areas of the game was almost scary to watch. Simply the greatest.
1988-89 - Michael Jordan - 32.5 PPG (Chicago Bulls)
As expected, Michael Jordan won the scoring title by averaging 32.5 PPG on 53.8% shooting and leading the league in win shares. The shooting guard was simply unstoppable in all facets of the game, even if his team was not having any postseason success. Michael was getting his feet wet as possibly the greatest talent we had ever seen because he was nowhere near finished.
1989-90 - Michael Jordan - 33.6 PPG (Chicago Bulls)
Once again, Michael Jordan led the NBA in scoring by averaging well over 30 PPG. There is truly no comparison to him because he made it look so effortless. Playing 39.0 MPG, shooting 52.6% from the field, and averaging 33.6 PPG was a sight to behold. It was not even that Jordan was trying to be efficient, he just knew how to get buckets whenever he wanted.
1990-91 - Michael Jordan - 31.5 PPG (Chicago Bulls)
Michael Jordan won his first NBA title, led the NBA in scoring and win shares, and catapulted himself to all-time legendary status in 1991. That makes for an incredibly successful season, one that Jordan himself might admit was his greatest ever. Winning the first championship is always the hardest, and the GOAT would not be denied tasting glory in any fashion.
1991-92 - Michael Jordan - 30.1 PPG (Chicago Bulls)
A 2nd championship and a 6th straight scoring title sound perfect alongside each other, something The GOAT achieved in 1992. Jordan averaged over 30 PPG once again, nailing 51.9% of his shots. It is becoming hard to describe how great Michael was because he would not stop there.
1992-93 - Michael Jordan - 32.6 PPG (Chicago Bulls)
Jordan’s 7th straight scoring title came in spectacular fashion, as the Bulls would complete the 3-peat after defeating Charles Barkley and the Suns in the Finals. Jordan was spectacular all season, averaging 32.6 PPG on 49.5% shooting. The GOAT simply scored the ball better than anyone else and there was truly no comparison.
1993-94 - Mitch Richmond - 23.4 PPG (Sacramento Kings)
With Michael Jordan retired, it gave a chance for Mitch Richmond to showcase his elite offensive skills. Some of the younger generations might not be familiar with him, but Richmond was a fantastic shooter and scorer in his prime. At age 29 in his 4th season with the Kings, Richmond led all shooting guards in scoring output.
1994-95 - Mitch Richmond - 22.8 PPG (Sacramento Kings)
For the second straight year, Mitch Richmond led all shooting guards in scoring by posting 22.8 PPG on 44.6% from the field, 36.8% from three, and 84.3% from the line. The 8th ranked scorer in the league, only big men and forward Jamal Mashburn were ahead of him. It would be fair to say that Richmond was the best offensive guard in the world during the year.
1995-96 - Michael Jordan - 30.4 PPG (Chicago Bulls)
1997 marked the 9th scoring title by the Chicago Bulls superstar, an extraordinary feat. Michael won his second straight NBA title along with his second straight scoring title, once again confirming his status as the greatest player on the planet. Let us just say it: there will never be another Michael Jordan. Not to mention, this season was probably the best result of an offensive machine carrying an offense because it resulted in a ton of wins.
1996-97 - Michael Jordan - 29.6 PPG (Chicago Bulls)
The 1997 season marked the 9th scoring title by the Chicago Bulls superstar, an extraordinary feat. Michael won his second straight NBA title along with his second straight scoring title, once again confirming his status as the greatest player on the planet. Let us just say it: there will never be another Michael and he was not done winning scoring titles just yet.
1997-98 - Michael Jordan - 28.7 PPG (Chicago Bulls)
Jordan won his 10th scoring title in 1998, placing himself above every other scorer that has dominated the game. Michael was once again unbelievable in the regular season, leading the league en route to his 6th championship. It is only fitting that his last scoring title came with his last NBA title because the GOAT had to end his dominance in the best way possible.
1998-99 - Allen Iverson - 26.8 PPG (Philadelphia 76ers)
Allen Iverson’s first scoring title was won during the midst of Shaquille O’Neal’s dominance across the league. The guard dropped 26.8 PPG on an average of 22 shots per game, strong numbers for an offensive player that thrived with the ball in his hands. Thanks to Iverson’s presence, Philadelphia finished with a 28-22 record.
1999-00 - Allen Iverson - 28.4 PPG (Philadelphia 76ers)
Even though Shaquille O’Neal was dominant with a league-leading 29.7 PPG, Allen Iverson led all guards with 28.4 PPG average. The Answer got the job done with Philly, giving Philadelphia 49 wins on the season and also a berth in the second round of the playoffs. Allen finished second in scoring, but he would win the next two scoring titles.
2000-01 - Allen Iverson - 31.1 PPG (Philadelphia 76ers)
Allen Iverson was the undisputed MVP during the regular season because the shooting guard dropped a league-leading 31.1 PPG and carried the Philadelphia 76ers all year long. The Answer played much bigger than he actually was, putting up monster performances for a team that had no business making a deep playoff run.
2001-02 - Allen Iverson - 31.4 PPG (Philadelphia 76ers)
At age 26 and in the midst of his absolute prime, Allen Iverson was tearing defenses apart with incredible quickness and scoring ability from the perimeter. The Answer was fresh off making the Finals the previous year and followed it up with yet another (minimum) 30 PPG average during the regular season.
2002-03 - Tracy McGrady - 32.1 PPG (Orlando Magic)
Capturing his first scoring title, Tracy McGrady brought the only competition to the NBA in terms of being a competitor for Kobe Bryant at the king of the position. McGrady led Kobe by 2.1 PPG and was absolutely unstoppable with the Orlando Magic. T-Mac had every offensive move in the book, and we have not seen an offensive player compete for the Magic on his level since. Quite frankly, we might never will considering the trajectory of the franchise in recent years.
2003-04 - Tracy McGrady - 28.0 PPG (Orlando Magic)
Capturing his second straight scoring title, Tracy McGrady put up a monster 28.0 PPG which led the next-best scorer (Kevin Garnett with 24.2 PPG) by quite a margin. Kobe Bryant also had a shot but the presence of Shaquille O’Neal slightly hurt his scoring average. T-Mac was ultra-athletic with the Magic and still could rise over defenders with ease following his career-high PPG average the previous year.
2004-05 - Kobe Bryant - 27.6 PPG (Los Angeles Lakers)
Only Allen Iverson did a better job on the offensive end than Kobe Bryant because the 76ers star dropped 30.7 PPG. Still, Bryant was the most dominant shooting guard in the league as Iverson occupied the point guard spot. The Black Mamba competed on 40.7 MPG of play throughout the season, putting up monster performances for a side that lost Shaquille O’Neal.
2005-06 - Kobe Bryant - 35.4 PPG (Los Angeles Lakers)
A dominant offensive shooting guard with a high-scoring average in 2006, Kobe Bryant was doing things that other shooting guards were not capable of doing. Kobe was simply unstoppable with the ball in his hands, as evidenced by his monster 81-point performance during the year. Averaging 35.4 PPG, Kobe put on a show during the year.
2006-07 - Kobe Bryant - 31.6 PPG (Los Angeles Lakers)
A clutch shot-maker and talented offensive star, Kobe Bryant averaged 31.6 PPG on 46.3% from the field and 34.4% from three for the Lakers. The shooting 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 Bryant singlehandedly carry an average Lakers squad every night.
2007-08 - Kobe Bryant - 28.3 PPG (Los Angeles Lakers)
Kobe Bryant missed out on the scoring title thanks to LeBron James’ spectacular season (30.0 PPG), but he was still incredibly proficient in his only MVP season. The Black Mamba finally earned an MVP award, and he probably deserved it a few years ago. Still, Kobe was the best scorer on the best team in the West with the Lakers.
2008-09 - Dwyane Wade - 30.2 PPG (Miami Heat)
Three years removed from winning the NBA championship, Dwyane Wade led the NBA in scoring by posting 30.2 PPG for the Miami Heat. The shooting guard was challenging Kobe Bryant as the league’s best guard and was simply unstoppable when he slashed to the basket and ran on the fast break. Nailing 49.2% from the field, Wade was also extremely efficient from the field and that was because he was an elite driver of the basketball and was almost unguardable when he had a path to the lane.
2009-10 - Kobe Bryant - 27.0 PPG (Los Angeles Lakers)
Kobe Bryant was in his prime at age 31, and he would finish the year by winning his 5th NBA title. The Lakers shooting guard averaged 27.0 PPG on 45.6% from the field during the regular season and was the best player on a deep Lakers squad that would finish with an impressive 57-25 record which was good for the first seed in the West.
2010-11 - Dwyane Wade - 25.5 PPG (Miami Heat)
Dwyane Wade was beginning to experience some nagging injuries, but he was still in his absolute prime at age 29. The shooting guard got plenty of help in the offseason with LeBron James and Chris Bosh, but still put up an impressive 25.5 PPG while continuing to showcase his slashing skills and clutch shooting from mid-range.
2011-12 - Kobe Bryant - 27.9 PPG (Los Angeles Lakers)
Even if Bryant would be finished winning championships and LeBron James would start taking over the league by winning his first, the Lakers guard was still a top-3 player in the world. He dropped 27.9 PPG on 43.0% shooting from the field, attempting 23 shots per game and continuing to do what he does best: lead a team’s offense by taking the bulk of the shots.
2012-13 - Kobe Bryant - 27.3 PPG (Los Angeles Lakers)
At age 34, Kobe Bryant carried the Los Angeles Lakers on his back. He played 78 games at an average of 38.6 MPG and unfortunately suffered an Achilles injury that would ultimately spell the end of the Black Mamba’s career. Bryant was spectacular during the year, dropping 27.3 PPG on 20 attempts per game, doing everything he can to get a below-average squad into the playoffs.
2013-14 - James Harden - 25.4 PPG (Houston Rockets)
Following James Harden’s incredible first season with the Rockets, he averaged 25.4 PPG on 45.6% from the field and 36.6% from three. The Beard proved that his first season in Houston was no fluke and that he was a legitimate All-Star in the Western Conference. Making his second straight All-Star appearance, The Beard was looking comfortable leading a team and carrying the offense. He averaged 16.5 FGA per game, and that number would slowly climb as the seasons would go by.
2014-15 - James Harden - 27.4 PPG (Houston Rockets)
In his third season with the Rockets, James Harden officially became one of the most unstoppable players in the league. Averaging 27.4 PPG on 44.0% from the field and 37.5% from three, The Beard did not quite fall in love with the three-point shot that would take his game to the next level in just a few years. But he was still an elite scorer from deep and also an explosive attacker of the basketball.
2015-16 - James Harden - 29.0 PPG (Houston Rockets)
Playing at an impressive 38.1 MPG, James Harden was the undisputed man for the Houston Rockets. Armed with elite handles and a powerful physique that could handle beatings when he drove to the rim, Harden dropped 29.0 PPG on 43.9% shooting from the field. We were beginning to see The Beard become a bonafide superstar and he would win an MVP award in due time.
2016-17 - James Harden - 29.1 PPG (Houston Rockets)
For the 4th straight season, James Harden led the NBA in scoring as a shooting guard. The Beard was as unstoppable as ever when he attacked the rim, and the step-back three-point shot was becoming more useful as the weeks went by. Averaging 44.0% from the field and 34.7% from three, Harden attempted 19 shots per game and led the Houston Rockets to the third seed in the West behind the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs.
2017-18 - James Harden - 30.4 PPG (Houston Rockets)
James Harden’s MVP season in 2018 was certainly impressive because he led the NBA in scoring for his first scoring title and also led the Houston Rockets to the best record in the league. Alongside Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul, Harden was unstoppable on the court as he began to place his name among the top-5 players in the world.
2018-19 - James Harden - 36.1 PPG (Houston Rockets)
James Harden followed up his MVP season in 2018 with an incredible season in 2019, taking into account his scoring numbers. The Beard dropped his career-high 36.1 PPG for the Rockets, attempting over 24 shots per game including 13 three-point attempts. His usage rate was incredible, and so were his scoring numbers.
2019-20 - James Harden - 34.3 PPG (Houston Rockets)
The Beard captured his third straight scoring title with the Rockets, and he was as unstoppable as he ever was. Harden had another ball-dominant star beside him in Russell Westbrook, but he was still the number one option and faced consistent double and triple-teams on the court as a result. Still, Harden dropped an unbelievable 34.3 PPG.
2020-21 - Bradley Beal - 31.3 PPG (Washington Wizards)
Bradley Beal was one of the contenders for the scoring title in 2021 because the Wizards went as the shooting guard went. Beal dropped a career-high 31.3 PPG on 48.5% FG and 34.9% 3-PT FG, utilizing the playmaking of his teammate Russell Westbrook to get good looks on the offensive end.
2021-22 - Devin Booker - 26.8 PPG (Phoenix Suns)
Devin Booker was the most consistent scorer during the 2022 season for the Phoenix Suns. The All-Star shooting guard has started to grow into his own as a budding superstar, and he is truly an elite offensive player with deep range. Averaging 46.6% from the field and 38.3% 3-PT FG, Devin will soon be the best shooting guard in the world.