The Houston Rockets have never been great in the playoffs, and their best season might be when they won 54 games. But the most significant player for that team was not on the court but rather out of it. Karl Malone led the NBA with 38 points per game during his time with Houston, but he only had one other season north of 33 minutes played a piece (33).
Wilt Chamberlain, who played for the Philadelphia Warriors and San Francisco Warriors, is considered to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Chamberlain was a force on offense and defense with his abilities to score from anywhere on the court. He scored 100 points in a single game against the New York Knicks in 1962, which is still an NBA record today.
We’ve seen some incredible individual players in the NBA since its inception. There are just a few players in the league’s history who can switch it on and score at any moment. Steph Curry and Kevin Durant are examples of this in today’s NBA. It dates back to the 1950s and has been going on for quite some time.
A decade was claimed by several athletes. They were fortunate in that their career started at the start of the decade, and their golden years spanned all ten seasons. Some athletes, including as Michael Jordan, began their careers in the midst of a decade, which disadvantaged them.
We looked at the top scorers from each decade. We used the following template to measure:
From 1950-1951 until 1959-1960, there was a period of transition.
During the years 1960-1961 to 1969-1970,
From 1970-1971 to 1979-1980, there was a period of transition.
During the years 1980-1981 and 1989-1990,
Between 1990-1991 and 1999-2000,
From the years 2000-2001 to 2009-2010,
Between 2010-2011 and 2019-2020,
From 2020-2021 until Now
Let’s look at the top scorers from each decade.
Dolph Schayes – 13,915 points – 1950s
Bob Cousy came in second with 13,399 points.
Paul Arizin came in third with 12,728 points.
In the BAA Draft in 1948, the New York Knicks selected Schayes, as well as the Tri-Cities Blackhawks in the NBL Draft. He played in the NPL for one season before joining the newly established National Basketball Association. Despite his 6-foot-7 stature, Schayes was most renowned for his devastating outside set shot with a high arc. His friends dubbed his shot Sputnik because it was so high.
Schayes led the league in rebounding in the 1950s, averaging 16.1 per game. He was consistently in the top five in both rebounds and scoring throughout the year. In 1957-1958, he had his greatest season, averaging a career-high 24.9 points per game, which was second in the league.
Schayes was also a regular at the free-throw line, where he led the league three times, including two outside of the decade. Schayes had 12 All-Star appearances throughout his career and was a six-time All-NBA First Team pick as well as a six-time All-NBA Second Team selection. He held NBA records for games played, free throws made, free throws attempted, personal fouls, and was second in scoring to Bob Pettit when he retired in 1964. If Pettit’s career had not begun in 1954 and ended in the middle of the 1960s, he may have made this list.
Wilt Chamberlain – 24,719 points – 1960s
Oscar Robertson came in second with 22,009 points.
Elgin Baylor came in third with 19,207 points.
Chamberlain is regarded as one of his generation’s most dominating players. Chamberlain set multiple records in scoring, rebounding, and field goal % throughout his career. Seven times he led the NBA in scoring, nine times in field goal percentage, and eight times in minutes played. There are also 11 rebonding titles and one assist title on the list.
Because of Chamberlain’s dominance, the NBA had to make a few rule modifications. The lane was widened from 12 to 16 feet, and new regulations for inbounds plays and free throw shooting were implemented.
His 100-point performance was most certainly his crowning feat. Chamberlain’s free throw shooting was his Achilles’ heel, with a career percentage of 51.1 percent ranking third-worst. This margin would have been higher if he had been able to connect more at the line. When it came to scoring and rebounding, Chamberlain was ahead of his time.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – Karee
Elvin Hayes came in second with 18,525 points.
Pete Maravich came in third with 15,948 points.
Given that Abdul-Jabbar concluded his career as the all-time top scorer with 38,387 points, it should come as no surprise that he dominated at least one decade. He won six NBA titles, two Finals MVPs, and was named to 15 All-NBA teams. While he won the majority of his titles in the 1980s, he had his best scoring years with the Bucks and Lakers in the 1970s.
He was tall, slim, and big, and he could move really well. He was regarded as one of the finest centers of all time. Because of how swiftly he could execute his signature skyhook shot and his towering stature, it was almost unguardable. When it comes to players you’d like to start your organization with, Abdul-Jabbar is one of the most often mentioned names.
Abdul-Jabbar averaged over 30 points per game in four of his six seasons in Milwaukee. He was near to 25 points per game when he joined the Lakers, but he was surrounded by greater quality. In any case, he was the most-watched scorer of the decade, which is why he outscored Elvin Hayes by by 3,000 points.
Alex English – Alex English – Alex English – Alex English – Alex English – Alex English – Alex English – Alex English
ESPN is to thank for this.
Moses Malone came in second with 18,491 points.
Larry Bird came in third place with 17,974 points.
English was dealt to the Nuggets from the Pacers midway through the 1979-1980 season for George McGinnis. McGinnis had retired from the NBA by 1982, making this deal a significant disappointment for the Indiana Pacers. English rose to prominence with the Nuggets and led the league in scoring in the 1980s.
English averaged 23.8 points per game in his first full season with the Nuggets, a career best at the time. Following that, he continued to build on his accomplishment. He averaged 25.4 points the next year, and in his third season, he claimed the league scoring championship with 28.4 points per game.
Following a fourth-place finish in scoring in 1983-1984, English improved to 27.9 points per game the following year. His finest season was 1985-1986, when he averaged 29.8 points per game, third only to Dominique Wilkins and Adrian Dantley. Two more great were just behind English, but Michael Jordan would have likely won this decade if he had been given more opportunity. Despite beginning his career during the 1984-1985 season, Jordan scored over 14,000 points in the 1980s.
Karl Malone – 20,925 points – 1990s
GEORGE FREY/AFP/Getty Images/GEORGE FREY/AFP/Getty Images/GEORGE FREY/AFP/Getty Images
Mitch Richmond came in second with 16,178 points.
David Robinson came in third place with 16,149 points.
During this decade, Michael Jordan only participated in six complete seasons. He retired for the whole 1993-1994 season, then missed virtually all of the 1994-1995 season before returning to full health the following season. He then departed the NBA after the Bulls won the 1998 title and didn’t return until the 2001-2002 season. Jordan was unable to make the top three as a result of his sabbatical.
In terms of the winner, Karl Malone was the most prolific scorer of the 1990s decade. Malone topped the NBA in free throws made and set a league record seven times throughout his career. He was a strong defender and rebounder who could also put the ball in the basket on a consistent basis. When Malone retired, he was second in all-time scoring to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a position he holds for the time being.
It was fun to play with John Stockton. He excelled in pick-and-roll situations, converting fastbreak dunks and layups off Stockton’s passes. He was also very durable, missing just 10 games in entire Jazz career, three of which were due to suspension. Malone has lost a lot of ground to Jordan in terms of overall performance, but there is one area where he has the upper hand.
Kobe Bryant – 21,550 points in the 2000s
Dirk Nowitzki is in second place with 19,291 points.
Paul Pierce finished in third place with 17,681 points.
There has only been one Kobe Bryant in the history of the game. Bryant gives Jordan a run for his money when it comes to becoming the best shooting guard of all time. Those who faced Bryant in the 2000s referred to him as “their Jordan.” Bryant completed his career as the Lakers’ all-time top scorer, with five titles to his credit.
Bryant was a champion in the 2000s, winning titles in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, and 2010. In 2004 and 2008, he also appeared in the NBA Finals. Shaquille O’Neal dominated most box scores in the first half of the 2000s, but Bryant took up the slack when he departed, capturing two scoring championships of his own. Bryant had one of the finest individual scoring seasons since Wilt Chamberlain in 2006, averaging 35.4 points per game.
Bryant’s 81 points are the closest a player has been to Wilt Chamberlain’s record of 100 points in a game. In his career, he scored at least 50 points 24 times, third only to Jordan (31) and Chamberlain (24). (119). Bryant scored 60 points six times throughout his career and is just the third player in NBA history to average 40 points per game in a calendar month.
James Harden – 20,209 points in the 2010s
(Image courtesy of Hoops Habit)
LeBron James is in second place with 18,990 points.
Russell Westbrook is in third place with 17,834 points.
Harden, who is left-handed, is presently the game’s all-time leading lefty. He is regarded as one of the NBA’s most versatile and dangerous scorers. His attacking repertoire includes the Euro step and the step-back jumper. Harden was also known in the 2010s for his ability to attract contact, which brought him to the free-throw line, where he was very effective at converting, with a career rate of over 85%.
Harden is also the all-time leader in four-point plays completed. His playmaking abilities extend beyond scoring, as he has twice led the league in assists. His scoring is one of his strongest abilities. From 2018 through 2020, Harden averaged more over 30 points per game with Mike D’Antoni’s system, including 36.1 points per game during his MVP season.
Harden was the Rockets’ all-time top scorer when he departed the franchise. He also had two seasons in which he averaged over 29 points per game, on top of his 30-point seasons. Four times he topped the league in total points, but his high number of shots led to recklessness. During this decade, Harden has also topped the NBA in total turnovers six times.
Steph Curry has 3,096 points in the 2020s.
Nikola Jokic is in second place with 2,883 points.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (2,803 points) is in third place.
Due to a strong season last year, Curry is now the leader of the 2020s decade. Curry’s scoring was a commonly discussed issue among league members. On January 3, 2021, he set a career best with 62 points to ring in the new year. He also had a 50-point game in April, when his 53 points helped him eclipse Wilt Chamberlain as the Golden State Warriors’ all-time top scorer.
April was a genuinely momentous month for him. Curry’s 53 points were part of an 11-game streak in which he averaged 30 points per game. For a player aged 33 or older, this broke Kobe Bryant’s prior record. During that time, he also made 78 three-pointers, which was the most in NBA history over 11 games. He became the first NBA player to average 35 points and shoot 50-40-90 at the conclusion of the month. His 96 three-pointers in April established a new record, surpassing James Harden’s 82 from November 2019.
Curry was able to fend off Bradley Beal and earn his second scoring championship. Curry is seventh in overall points this season, but he has more than 1,000 points. Curry is 33 years old, so it will be interesting to see whether he can keep this position at the decade’s conclusion. Trae Young has almost 2,700 points in the last ten years and is the league’s highest scorer. Eight years from now, this may be Young’s decade.
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