The NBA’s playoff scoring top 10 is slowly changing with LeBron James moving up the list, now making to number four overall and first among active players. Still above him on the list? Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Jordan. Tony Parker and Tim Duncan are the two other active players on the list.
10. Tony Parker, 3885 Points
The French point guard has been in the NBA for 15 seasons. In all of them he’s been to the postseason, making the NBA finals five times, ending up with a championship on four of those occasions, including the Finals MVP in 2007 after the Spurs swept the Cavaliers. His career playoff average is 18.2 points, but over the last two seasons he’s averaging just 10.6 points in the playoffs (17 games).
9. Larry Bird, 3897
Like Parker, Bird played his entire career for just one team, the Boston Celtics. Out of 13 NBA seasons, he was in the postseason 12 times, averaging 23.8 points per game, winning the Finals MVP twice. With the Celtics, he made five NBA finals, playing on the winning side three times.
8. Jerry West, 4457 Points
West played his entire career for the Los Angeles Lakers (1960-1974), playing in the playoffs during 13 of them. His postseason average of 29.1 points is third best all-time. He was on the winning side in the finals just once (1972), actually winning the Finals MVP on a losing effort against the Boston Celtics in 1969. He averaged over 30 points per game in the postseason seven times, including 40.6 in 1965.
7. Karl Malone, 4761
Malone played 19 seasons in the NBA, all but one of them with the Utah Jazz. In all of them he also got to experience playoff basketball, making the finals twice, twice losing to the Chicago Bulls. He is the only player in the top 14 of the greatest playoff scorers without a title ring. He averaged 24.7 points through his postseason career, 15th best all-time. He twice average more than 30 points in a postseason, but both came on first round exits.
6. Tim Duncan, 5172
Duncan just completed his 19th NBA season, being part of the playoffs in all of them. That includes making the NBA finals six times and winning the championship three times. Duncan is a 3-time NBA Finals MVP. He has a postseason career average of 21.2 points, although he hasn’t averaged over 20 in his last eight postseason campaigns.
5. Shaquille O’Neal, 5250
O’Neal has been with a lot of teams in his NBA career, beginning with the Orlando Magic, followed up by his most successful stint at Los Angeles with the Lakers and then the Miami Heat, his last truly dominant stop before his twilight basketball years. He is a four-time NBA champion, playing in six NBA finals. He’s a 3-time Finals MVP, and his playoff scoring average of 24.3 is 18th on the all-time list. He averaged over 30 points in a postseason three times, all with the Lakers.
4. LeBron James, 5255
James is above every other active player now that Bryant has retired, averaging 28 points per game throughout his playoff career. He’s been to the NBA Finals six times, winning twice during his time with the Miami Heat, and is trying to make it back there for a sixth time in a row. He’s averaging above 30 points per game in a postseason four times, never losing a first round series.
3. Kobe Bryant, 5640
A Laker for life, Bryant has played 20 seasons in the NBA, playing in the playoffs in 15 of them. He is a five-time NBA champion (on seven visits to the finals) and a two-time Finals MVP. His playoff scoring average of 25.6 points is 10th on the all-time list, and he has averaged over 30 points in a postseason five times. He hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2012. He missed the playoffs on the last four seasons of his career, with the Lakers making it without him one of those times.
2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 5762
Abdul-Jabbar holds a lot of records in the NBA, but playoff points isn’t one of them. He is a six-time NBA champions (one with the Bucks, five with the Lakers) and made the NBA finals three more times, winner of two Finals MVP awards. He averaged 24.3 points per game in the playoffs, and averaged more than 30 points per game in a postseason four times. At 38, in 1986, he averaged an incredible 25.6 points per game.
1. Michael Jordan, 5987
Jordan played in the postseason “just” 13 times out of his 15 NBA seasons, never missing a playoff while being a Bulls member. He’s a six-time NBA champion with six Finals MVPs, and has a playoff scoring average of 33.5 points, the only player above 30. He averaged under 30 points in a postseason just once, in his rookie year (29.3 points per game). He averaged over 40 (43.7) in his second season, but the Bulls lost in the first round.