Scoring is Trendy Again in the NBA

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The NBA game changes and evolves. The way it’s played, and the way it’s been viewed by the professionals and the amateurs. An interesting trend and change this season has been individual scoring. Not just Kevin Durant reaching new heights and achievements by LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. A lot more players are suddenly scoring 20 points or more.

For years there seemed to be a very steep decline in 20-point scorers in the league. Last season seemed to be something of a low point with only nine players averaging more than 20 points per game, and no one even reaching the 29-point mark. But this season is different.

How many? At the moment, 20:

1. Kevin Durant-OKC 31.6
2. Carmelo Anthony-NYK 28.0
3. LeBron James-MIA 27.5
4. Kevin Love-MIN 26.6
5. James Harden-HOU 24.5
6. Blake Griffin-LAC 24.2
7. Stephen Curry-GSW 24.1
8. LaMarcus Aldridge-POR 23.7
9. DeMar DeRozan-TOR 22.9
10. Paul George-IND 22.6
11. DeMarcus Cousins-SAC 22.3
12. Dirk Nowitzki-DAL 21.5
13. Kyrie Irving-CLE 21.5
14. Damian Lillard-POR 21.1
15. Al Jefferson-CHA 20.9
16. Isaiah Thomas-SAC 20.6
17. Goran Dragic-PHO 20.6
18. Rudy Gay-TOT 20.3
19. Anthony Davis-NOP 20.1
20. John Wall-WAS 20.0

Compare that with last season:

1. Carmelo Anthony-NYK 28.7
2. Kevin Durant-OKC 28.1
3. Kobe Bryant-LAL 27.3
4. LeBron James-MIA 26.8
5. James Harden-HOU 25.9
6. Russell Westbrook-OKC 23.2
7. Stephen Curry-GSW 22.9
8. Dwyane Wade-MIA 21.2
9. LaMarcus Aldridge-POR 21.1

So even though Kobe Bryant isn’t playing (only six games this season), the NBA is suddenly filled with players focued on scoring, while Russell Westbrook hasn’t played enough games to qualify and Dwyane Wade has taken another step back in his career.

But there have been plenty who are making up for it: Kevin Love missed most of last season and is putting up MVP-worthy numbers this year; Blake Griffin putting himself in line with the best power forwards in the game by becoming a lot more than just a dunking machine, and stepping up when Chris Paul was injured.

There’s DeMar DeRozan who probably enjoys more than anyone else to be playing without Rudy Gay on his side, while naturally improving as a player; Rudy Gay himself is also on this list, playing for the Kings, not doing well as a team there as well.

And the list goes on: Paul George is close to superstar level. DeMarcus Cousins would be there if he was playing for a decent team. Dirk Nowitzki isn’t injured, Kyrie Irving hasn’t missed too many games and isn’t too fond of passing, Damian Lillard is better as a sophomore than as a rookie, Al Jefferson likes the life in Charlotte, Isaiah Thomas is another high scoring Kings player, Goran Dragic is exploding with Bledsoe, Anthony Davis has greatly improved as an offensive player and John Wall is showing he can lead the Wizards.

The NBA is about more than analytics and advances stats, trying to find who is really winning games for teams besides those scoring most of the points. But players are more into stats than before as well. LeBron James and Kevin Durant aren’t obsessed, but they’re very aware of their production each night. They probably aren’t the only ones.

Images: Source / Stats

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