Top 10 NBA Scorers of 2016-17
The following story was written by Bottom Line sports writer Kevin Parrish Jr., and it originally appeared on the website Fadeaway World.
The NBA today has a lot of great scorers. In fact, this generation of talent on the offensive end is one of best ever; we have great scorers in the Western conference and the Eastern conference.
Fans love to debate who’s the best player in the game–Is it Lebron James or Stephen Curry?
However, the question I don’t hear a lot is “who is the best scorer in the league right now?” I’m here to give you the top 10 scorers in the game right now.
Just watching Leonard play the four games during the regular season already has me convinced that he’s a top 10 scorer. He looks more aggressive this year on the offensive end; he simply destroyed the Warriors defense by knocking down jumpers and getting to the line and finishing inside.
He’s also one of the most efficient scorers in the NBA. Leonard’s reputation as basketball’s most feared defender is well deserved, but each dominant offensive outing adds another illustration to his case as one of the NBA’s most dangerous offensive threats.
Leonard has made the big “jump” last season, raising his scoring average from 16.5 to 20.9, while also developing from a league-average three-point shooter to one of its best. Leonard has become a scoring threat from every place on the court; this season should be a breakout year for Leonard scoring-wise. There is no doubt in my mind about that.
Thompson’s ability to catch and shoot three’s is what makes him dangerous, and when he gets hot you better look out. Remember when Thompson scored 37 points in the third quarter against the Sacramento Kings? That was one of the greatest scoring performances I’ve ever witnessed.
Thompson is capable of making guarded and unguarded shots with great efficiency. According to basketball-reference.com, it was Thompson, not Curry with the most three-point makes through his first five seasons in the league. Golden State is pretty much loaded with great scorers.
Paul George gets overlooked because he is coming off a serious injury, but he is definitely one of the best scorers in the league. George finished the season averaging 23.1 points, shooting 41 percent from the field.
However, don’t forget that George was phenomenal and looked even better than his pre-injury days in November when he averaged 29.5 points shooting on 47.5 percent from the field and 49 percent on three-pointers. George is one of the better scorers in this league.
DeMar DeRozan became the first player since Kobe Bryant to start the season with three straight games of 30 points or more without a three-pointer. At this moment, he has 35.0 points per game (three games), and he is one of the best shooting guards in the league. He has a weakness–the three-pointer–but he still finds a way to score 30-plus points per game this season.
10. DeMarcus Cousins
Cousins is the closest thing to Shaq as offensive talent when you look at the big men in today’s game. DeMarcus is great because of the total offensive package he brings to the table.
He has strength and toughness down in the post, and he can score whenever he pleases. Cousins has worked on extending his range as well, and can now step out and shoot from 16 and 17 feet. Sometimes when you watch him, you question, “what can’t he do offensively?” because he’s that dominate. The scary thing about Cousins is that he is only going to get better, and the rest of the NBA should be put on notice.
9. Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony may not be one of the most elite players anymore, but he is still one of the deadliest scorers out there.
His exceptional scoring ability is what makes NBA fans believe Anthony is a top 15 player in this league. Fans used to debate between Anthony and Kevin Durant on who was the better scorer. I can understand this debate because Anthony is the real-deal offensively. He can heat up from anywhere with the best that have played the game.
Do you remember his 62-point game against Charlotte? He is a career 24.9 points per-game scorer for a reason. Anthony can bully anyone in the post, scoring with ease; he can drive to the basket, he can shoot from the perimeter. He will always be known as one of the top scorers.
His scoring ability is a huge reason why he is so great. Anthony may not be a top 15 player overall, but I can’t even name 10 players that can score better than him.
8. LeBron James
LeBron James is already considered a top-five player of All-Time–he is that great. Even though James is known as an all-around type of player, that doesn’t take away from the fact that he is one of the best scorers out there. In fact, because of James’ all around greatness, his scoring ability can be overlooked at times. James is simply bigger than everybody else on the basketball court, and his strength and athleticism give him the ability to drive to the basket when he wants.
James can post up anybody just because of how strong he is. Don’t forget when James averaged 30.0 points during the 07-08 season and 31.4 points during the 2005-06 season. If James didn’t care about getting others involved and had more of that Kobe Bryant scoring mentality, James could easily lead the league in scoring anytime he chooses.
7. Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving’s ball handling and scoring ability is something remarkable. Irving has one of the best finishing abilities in the league. For the playoffs, he averaged 24.5 points on 47 percent shooting from the field and 43 percent from three-point land.
His elite ball handling skills give him the ability to get himself into any good position to knock down a jumper. Irving is one of the best isolation players in the league because of his handling and finishing ability. Irving has actually turned into one of the most efficient scorers in the league.
Do we remember the 2016 finals? Irving basically outplayed Steph Curry, a guy who had everybody claiming him as the best player in the league. It’s also the reason why James trusted Irving to take the game winning shot–he’s that lethal offensively.
6. Anthony Davis
Let me tell you guys something: Anthony Davis will be the best player in this league in the next two years. Have you seen his first two games this season? Davis dropped 50 points against the Denver Nuggets and 47 points the next night against the Golden State Warriors.
Last season, he averaged 24.4 points on 53% shooting. You know what’s scary? He is only 22 years old. Davis is actually my pick to lead the league in scoring this year. He has become one of the NBA’s best midrange shooters already. He was 12th in the NBA in field goal percentage from 10-14 feet among players who took at least 100 attempts, and he was tenth in the NBA from 15-19 feet among players that took at least 250 attempts. Ladies and gentlemen, Anthony Davis is coming.
5. James Harden
James Harden is a straight scorer. He is a great three-point shooter, free throw shooter, and mid-range shooter. Harden’s scoring average has increased each season he has been in the league. Last season he averaged 29.0 points.
Harden’s offensive game is versatile, efficient, maddening, and when he gets hot, there is nothing you can do against him. The fact that his basketball IQ on the offensive end is so high makes him even more dangerous.
Do you remember last year after the All-Star break when Harden averaged 30.1 points? What makes Harden special is his ability to score while doing it so efficiently. Harden hasn’t averaged less than 25 points since he arrived in Houston. He is the real deal offensively as a scorer.
4. Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard is one of the most dangerous scorers in the league. Lillard averaged 19.0 points during his rookie year. His scoring has increased every single season since then. Last year, he averaged 25.1 points.
I will never understand why Lillard never gets enough credit for scoring because when you look at his competition in the West, it’s no question he can score better than Chris Paul, and he’s right up there with Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook offensively.
This season is Lillard’s best chance to rise up the leader board and to lead the league in scoring for the first time in his career. Lillard ranked in the 60th percentile or greater in five different scoring categories last season. The only weakness we saw in Lillard was his transition scoring in which he ranked in the 16th percentile. Lillard has a real shot to lead the league in scoring this year, and his offensive numbers will only continue to increase.
3. Russell Westbrook
Although I question Westbrook’s shot attempts and decision making, his explosive ability and pull-up jumper make him one of the best scorers in the league.
Russell will attack the basket with a fearless mentality like no other. To be honest, it is his body control that makes him so great. Don’t believe me? Let me explain. When Westbrook goes hard to the basket, he can simply stop and pull-up for a jumper because of his body control. Westbrook can get 30 points on any given night with his athleticism and explosiveness alone.
His lightning first step allows him to blow by any defender. A midrange game as good as any, he’s now automatic from the elbow. If Westbrook is hitting the jumper you might as well go home.
If Westbrook never played with Durant, he could lead the league in scoring every year.
2. Stephen Curry
Curry is a top-two player in this league and the greatest shooter the world has ever seen. Yeah, that’s right, I said he’s the greatest shooter of all time. Curry averaged 30.1 points last season, shooting 50% from the field and 42% from the three-point line. That was the greatest scoring season of the modern-day era.
What gives Curry the ability to get any shot he wants is his ball handling skills. If the defender plays him tight, then he will put a move on you and go right past you. If you give him space, he will shoot the lights on you. The thing about Curry is is that he can score 30 points with taking less shots and playing fewer minutes.
When you look at the NBA today, you’ll notice how important the three-point shot has become. Curry’s remarkable shooting ability makes him the NBA’s most dangerous offensive weapon.
1. Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant’s scoring ability makes him a threat and a challenge to the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the NBA’s All-Time scoring record. Now maybe that possibility has left since he joined the Golden State Warriors, but he will still go down as one of the greatest scorers of all time.
Durant is capable of going off on a scoring uproar at any given moment. He can shoot the ball with great range, drive and finish at the bucket or pull up with floaters or jump shots, making him dangerous from just about anywhere.
Don’t forget that he’s 6’10 with the handles of a guard. Because of Durant’s versatile skill set, shooting range, ability to finish plays, and his use of athleticism, it shouldn’t be questioned that he is the best scorer in the league right now.