Scoring the ball is a facet of the game that is most attractive and most sought after. Especially in today’s NBA, the game is all about getting buckets. But which player does that best, when looking at each team’s greatest scoring leader?
By going through all 30 franchises and picking out the highest PPG average by a single player, we can determine who the most dominant offensive player was for every team. Here are the rankings starting with the Memphis Grizzlies and ending with the Golden State Warriors.
30. Shareef Abdur-Rahim
23.0 PPG (1999 Memphis Grizzlies)
Memphis have had some great players in franchise history, but Shareef Abdur-Rahim was their best scorer. He averaged 23.0 PPG during the 1999 season, where he only managed to stay healthy for 50 games. Still, it was enough.
Abdur-Rahim was a unique player at that time because he was a power forward who had a consistent jumper from mid-range and even from the three. He shot 43.2% from the field and 30.6% from three in the best scoring season in Grizzlies history.
29. Karl-Anthony Towns
26.5 PPG (2020 Minnesota Timberwolves)
Karl-Anthony Towns has incredible God-given talent at his size. He affects the game on every level and is most effective at getting buckets on the offensive end. Despite playing for a very average team, Towns had the greatest offensive season ever for a Timberwolves player, even usurping the great Kevin Garnett.
Towns averaged 26.5 PPG, a respectable number for a big man in today’s NBA, and did it in a variety of ways. He shot 50.8% from the field, 79.6% from the free-throw line, and 41.2% from three. Towns can be unstoppable and he proved it last season.
28. Billy Knight
26.6 PPG (1977 Indiana Pacers)
No Pacer has had a better scoring season than the 1977 season by Billy Knight. Knight dropped 26.6 PPG on 49.3% shooting in only his 3rd NBA season, making his second straight All-Star Team.
Knight was a talented small forward who stood 6’6″, but played 40.0 minutes per game. It is no wonder he managed to have the highest-scoring season in Pacers history because he showed up for his team every night and got buckets.
27. Glen Rice
26.8 PPG (1997 Charlotte Hornets)
Glen Rice is one of the greatest shooters in NBA history. Holding a career average of 40.0% shooting from deep, Rice was a special shooter. The best season for Glen Rice came in 1997, where he averaged 26.8 PPG on an incredible 47.0% shooting from deep.
This season was the best in Hornets history, usurping Kemba Walker’s 25.6 PPG season in 2019. Walker would soon depart to Boston the next season, and looking at the current Hornets roster, it might be difficult for any player to break Rice’s record unless LaMelo Ball can help it.
26. Tom Chambers
27.2 PPG (1990 Phoenix Suns)
Phoenix have had some dominant players throughout their history, although scorers didn’t come as often as players who dominated in other areas. Even the great Charles Barkley couldn’t usurp the 1990 season by Tom Chambers, where he put up 27.2 PPG to lead the team.
Chambers would have a special season by making his 3rd All-Star Team and also the All-NBA Team. Chambers doesn’t get enough credit for being a dominant big man but he certainly got the recognition in 1990.
25. Vince Carter
27.6 PPG (2001 Toronto Raptors)
Vince Carter doesn’t get enough credit for the greatness he showed while being a member of the Toronto Raptors. With Toronto seemingly off the radar of NBA fans as the league’s only Canadian team, Carter made them relevant.
The game’s greatest ever dunker, Carter was also an offensive machine in 2001. He averaged 27.6 PPG, the most in Raptors history, and did it with a mix of flair and skill. Carter was a walking highlight reel and he had a complete offensive game that is reflected in scoring statistics.