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Players with all-time highest scoring averages in NBA history
When I was a kid a local school used to sponsor bus trips down to the RAC (Rutgers Athletic Center) for New Jersey Nets games. We used to love to go to those games because the Nets had a young kid playing for them who was an incredible fast-break player and scorer by the name of Bernard King. King averaged 24.2 points per game as a rookie with Nets in 1977-78.
Of course the Nets being the Nets they traded King away in 1979 because they were fed up with his drinking. Bernard King would go on to lead the league in scoring in 1984-85 with the New York Knicks and currently has the 25th highest scoring average in NBA history at 22.49 point per game.
During the 2004-05 season the Nets acquired Vince Carter(notes) who was another great scorer for us who averaged 23.62 points per game as a Net and is currently the 24th best scorer in NBA history with a 22.62 average. When you've got a great scorer on your team appreciate it because when you don't watching your team play is just not as much fun.
Listed here are the top 11 players with the highest scoring averages in NBA history. What's exciting about this list is it includes three current players. Not far from making the list are current players Carmelo Anthony(notes) (14th with 24.65 point per game), Shaquille O'Neal(notes) (19th with 23.78 ppg) who keeps dropping as he ages and Dirk Nowitzki(notes) (22nd with 22.96 ppg).
1. Michael Jordan - 30.12 points per game
Michael Jordan is the greatest scorer in NBA history. He lead the league 10 times in scoring per game and 11 times in total points.Statistically I believe only about half his points were scored with his tongue curled up on his cheek.
2. Wilt Chamberlain - 30.07
Wilt Chamberlain once scored 100 points in a game. He lead the league seven times in scoring and averaged an incredible and all time best 50.4 points per game during the 1961-62 season.
LeBron James is of course still active and his impressive scoring totals are likely to go down a bit playing alongside Dewayne Wade who we will see in a minute. LeBron lead the league in scoring in 2007-08 with 30.0 points per game while with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
4. Elgin Baylor - 27.36
When Wilt averaged 50.4 points per game in 1961-62 Elgin Baylor averaged a career best 38.3 points per game for the Los Angeles Lakers. Despite having the 4th best all time scoring average per game in NBA history Elgin Baylor never lead the league in scoring mainly because of Wilt Chamberlain.
5. Jerry West - 27.03
Jerry West lead the league in scoring just once in 1969-1970 when he averaged 31.2 points per game. From 1960 to 1972 the Lakers had the 4th and 5th best all time scorers per game on their team. And from 1968 to 1972 also had Wilt Chamberlain on the team. During the 1969-70 season West lead the league with 31.2 ppg while Wilt scored 27.3 ppg and Baylor averaged 24.0 ppg. That's 82.5 ppg from three players!
Allen Iverson was a great scorer and is easily the shortest player on this list at 6 feet. He was a head case but a great scorer and lead the league four times in scoring. He played in 2010 in Turkey.
7. Bob Pettit - 26.36
Bob Pettit was the first great scorer in NBA history and lead the league twice in scoring while playing in the 1950's and 60's mainly with the St. Louis Hawks.
8. George Gervin - 26.18
George Gervin was a great scorer who mastered the art of the 3-point play by always shooting the ball every time he was fouled. He lead the league four times in scoring all with the San Antonio Spurs in the late 1970's and early 1980's.
9. Oscar Robertson - 25.7
Oscar Robertson lead the league once in scoring in his great career in 1967-68 with 29.2 points per game.
10. Dwayne Wade - 25.38
Dewayne Wade lead the league in scoring in 2008-09 with 30.2 points per game. One would think his totals will go down playing alongside LeBron but looking at what the Lakers did in 1969-70 that might not be true. Loved what he did to Kentucky (29 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists) while playing for Marquette during the 2003 NCAA's to get the Golden Eagles to the Final Four.
Kobe Bryant is just a great scorer. He lead the league twice in scoring back-to-back during the 2005-06 (35.4 ppg) and 2006-07 (31.6 ppg) seasons. Kobe once scored 81 points in a game which is the 2nd highest total behind Wilt Chamberlain's 100 point game in NBA history.
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