The league has seen a lot of great scores go through its courts since its very dawn. Regardless of the era, the pace, or even the rules; dominant scorers have always stood out from the rest thanks to their abilities to put the ball on the basket. It's as simple as that.
But even among the all-time greats, those who really stand out and write their names on history books are those who average a lot of points per game throughout their entire career. I mean, it's very tough to keep on high points-per-game averages for over a decade in basketball's most competitive league.
Thus, we've put together a list featuring just the creme of the crop, the greatest scorers this game has ever seen, and the most dominating offensive players of all time. So, stay tuned while we walk you through the top 20 players with the highest points-per-game average in the history of the NBA:
20. Damian Lillard - 24.0 PPG
It didn't take long before Damian Lillard put the league on notice. He embraced the challenge of turning the Portland Trail Blazers' franchise around and became their leader right out of the gate. Now, he's finally getting the praise he deserves.
Lillard is a cold-blood assassin. He'll take no prisoners when it comes to scoring in the clutch, especially come playoffs time. He's put a lot of work on his game and added a lot of range, so know he can efficiently score from all three levels almost in Stephen Curryish fashion.
19. Anthony Davis - 24.0 PPG
When Anthony Davis made it to the league scouts mostly pointed out his post game but clearly his biggest strength was rim protection. There were some concerns regarding his ability to deal with stronger big men in the league early on but it's pretty safe to state that those concerns are far behind him.
Davis has developed an elite offensive skill set for big men. He's not your average rim-runner, pick-and-roll threat, above-the-rim finisher. He can put the ball on the court, knock down threes, and has some of the smoothest moves and handles you'll see on a guy his size.
18. Pete Maravich - 24.2 PPG
'Pistol' Pete Maravich was one of the first dominating scorers in the history of basketball. His game would be perfectly suited for today's basketball, as he scored countless would-have-been three-pointers back in the day, long before the three-point line era.
In fact, Maravich's game resembles a lot to Stephen Curry's. He was crafty and fast and had a never-ending bag of tricks to put defenders on skates. He also had a never-seen range for basketball. If they had a three-point line back then, he'd average close to 30 points per game.
17. Adrian Dantley - 24.2 PPG
We don't mention Adrian Dantley as often as we should when talking about the best scorers in the league. He was one of the most dominant forces of the '80s and could have won multiple championships if it wasn't for the Celtics and Lakers.
Dantley had four seasons averaging over 30 points per game and won two Scoring championships in his prime. He was an efficient scorer from all over the court and was savvier and stronger than most shooting guards back in the day.
16. Larry Bird - 24.2 PPG
Larry Bird is a legend. He was Kevin Durant before Kevin Durant and his game would fit perfectly in today's basketball. He was way ahead of his time and became the first efficient scorer from three-point range on an era most offenses didn't favor shooting.
Bird could do it all. He was the ultimate point forward. He could put the ball on the floor, lead the break, and his fadeaway shot was just unstoppable. He was so good that he decided to play lefty once to 'save his right hand for the Lakers' and ended up scoring 47 points anyway.
15. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - 24.6 PPG
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA's all-time leading scorer. He scored 38,387 career points over his 20-year career. So, how is him only 15th in the all-time highest point-per-game average list? We've got one word to answer that: Consistency.
Kareem played professional basketball for two decades, yet he only led the NBA in scoring twice, both of them during his tenure with the Milwaukee Bucks. However, he only averaged fewer than 21.5 points per game over the final three seasons of his career, and never averaged fewer than 10.1 points.
14. Dominique Wilkins - 24.8 PPG
We don't talk about him enough but Dominique Wilkins was a problem in his prime. He was so good that he even took his talents overseas for a couple of seasons and came back as prolific and dominant as if he had never left in the first place.
Wilkins was a marquee player in the NBA but his Atlanta Hawks struggled to get past their competition, especially in the playoffs. Still, he'll go down as the greatest player in Hawks history and one of the most explosive dunkers this game has ever seen.
13. Kobe Bryant - 24.9 PPG
Kobe Bryant always played with a chip on his shoulder. He constantly wanted to prove that he was the best player on the court and more often than not, he succeeded. He was the most unstoppable scorer in the league during the mid-2000s.
Kobe led the league in scoring in back-to-back seasons but the Lakers weren't suited to contend those seasons. He was the closest thing we ever saw to Michael Jordan and pretty much replicated his moves and made them even better. His turnaround fadeaway shot was money all the time.
12. Karl Malone - 25.0 PPG
When he was in his prime, Karl Malone was only second to Michael Jordan in terms of dominant scorers. His post game was elite and he was just too strong, too big, and too physical to be stopped by any big man in the game. He was a cheat code.
Malone lacked any kind of range whatsoever. His game was somewhat limited and predictable, yet he was so talented and strong that no one could ever do anything about it. He never won a ring because of Jordan and his legendary Bulls.
11. James Harden - 25.1 PPG
James Harden has quickly climbed the ladder of the greatest scorers in NBA history. It seems like he continues to evolve and find new ways to hurt opposing defenses, and he's currently on pace to win his third straight Scoring champion award.
Harden is the most unstoppable scorer in the world right now. His moves are borderline travels most of the time but hey if they don't call them, why change? He's a master at drawing contact and like it or not, he continues to put up huge numbers in the stat sheet.
10. Oscar Robertson - 25.6 PPG
Oscar Robertson was something like the beta version of Russell Westbrook. He could fill the stat sheet like the best of them, rebound like a big man, score like a shooting guard, and hand out dimes like the best playmakers in the history of the game.
Robertson was incredibly productive on both ends of the floor throughout his entire career. He was just so strong, fast, and athletic, that no gameplan was enough to keep him in check. He was the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a full season.
9. George Gervin - 26.1 PPG
George 'The Iceman' Gervin was a walking bucket throughout his entire career. He spent 10 years in the NBA, 4 in the ABA, and even took his talents overseas for a couple of seasons, showcasing his dynamic scoring all over the planet.
Gervin had multiple 30+ point per game seasons over his career. He's arguably the first great player in San Antonio Spurs history. To put it in context, he scored 20,708 career points in just 10 seasons in the league. He also won 4 Scoring titles.
8. Bob Pettit - 26.3 PPG
Bob Pettit was one of the first all-time great players. In fact, he was the first baller to ever win the Most Valuable Player award in NBA history. Up to this day, there are still some people that argue that he was the first great center of basketball.
Pettit took the league by assault right out of the gate. He never averaged fewer than 20.4 points per game (his rookie season) and even averaged 31.1 points per game once. Unlike most big men, he was also an efficient and proficient scorer from the free-throw line.
7. Allen Iverson - 26.6 PPG
Allen Iverson is the most talented player - and arguably the greatest - never to win an NBA Championship. He could easily average 35+ points per game in today's NBA. He was just so incredibly crafty that no one could ever keep him in check.
Iverson put a subpar Philadelphia 76ers team on his back and led them to the 2001 NBA Finals. He led the league in scoring 4 times and had arguably the greatest crossover and handles this game has ever seen. They don't make him like that anymore.
6. Kevin Durant - 27.0 PPG
Kevin Durant is the ultimate cheat code. He's got the size, strength, and wingspan of a center combined with the handles, moves, skills, and shooting of a guard. He's the kind of player we create on NBA 2K and his career is a great resemblance to that.
Durant could lead the league in scoring all years if he were up to it. I mean, he's already done it four times. He's also one of the few members of the 50/40/90 club, which tells you just enough about how efficient he is as a volume scorer.
5. Jerry West - 27.0 PPG
Jerry West had a bad reputation in the league because of how many Finals he lost but you just can't put that on him. In fact, he's the only player in NBA history to be named Finals MVP despite being on the losing side, that's just how good he was.
West was simply unstoppable on both ends of the floor. He always came huge in the clutch, especially in the playoffs, and his skill set was just way ahead of his time. Most young fans don't give him the credit he's due but hey, there's a reason why he's 'The Logo'.
4. LeBron James - 27.1 PPG
It's funny that most people don't often refer to LeBron James as a great scorer despite the fact that he holds the 4th highest points-per-game average in NBA history, has 1 Scoring title under his belt, and has never averaged fewer than 20.9 points (his rookie season).
That's just how incredibly dominant LeBron is. He impacts the game in all areas, not just the scoreboard. That's why people take him for granted and ignore his 27.1 points per game because he's also a top-tier rebounder, playmaker, and even defender (from time to time).
3. Elgin Baylor - 27.3 PPG
Elgin Baylor is the unluckiest player in NBA history. He constantly led the Lakers to the playoffs but could never win an NBA Championship, and they won the very same year he was forced to retire 9 games into the season because of a knee injury.
Even so, no one ever holds his losing record in the Finals against him because he was - unanimously - the first great small forward in the history of basketball. He paved the way for those who came after him and was the deadliest scorer in the league throughout his career.
2. Wilt Chamberlain - 30.0 PPG
Wilt Chamberlain has a strong case for being the most athletic player in the history of basketball. He was so dominant that the league had to change the rules to prevent him from having an unfair advantage over his rivals. Needless to say, that didn't work out.
Wilt 'The Stilt' is the only player to ever score 100 points in an NBA game. He also holds the record for the highest-scoring season (50.4 points per game) and the most points scored in one season (4,029). Also, he holds 7 Scoring titles. He was just unfair.
1. Michael Jordan - 30.1 PPG
And, obviously, Michael Jordan sits on a tier of his own. He's the greatest and most dominant scorer - and player - in the history of basketball, and holds the highest points-per-game average ever at 30.1. Shockingly, that average went up in the playoffs (33.4).
Jordan never backed down from the moment. Once he got that look on his face, there was just no stopping him. Not even hacking him or physically hurting him was enough to stop him from getting what he wanted. Also, he did all this while averaging just 0.5 three-pointers per game. He has an NBA-record 10 Scoring titles.