Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce have been making most of the news around the NBA this week. Bryant made it to number 5 on the all time scoring lists, getting past Shaq and it’s really hard to see what will stop Bryant on his way moving past Jordan and Wilt, the way he’s ignoring teammates right now.
Paul Pierce moved past another legend, becoming the Celtics’ second all time leading scorer and leaving Larry Bird behind, but John Havlicek is still a couple of seasons, at least, safe at the top of the C’s charts.
Besides Havlicek and Bryant, we thought it would be a good opportunity to refresh memories around the NBA fandom about who leads each franchise’s scoring list, and do any of them have a chance of getting dethroned anytime soon.
Atlanta Hawks – Dominique Wilkins
Wilkins didn’t play his entire career for the Hawks,”only” 11.5 seasons before beginning his retirement which also included a year in Greece. His 23,292 career points for the Hawks put him ahead of Bob Pettit with 20,880, who played his entire career for the Milwaukee/St.Louis Hawks. Wilkins leads the franchise in games, minutes played among other categories.
Joe Johnson, with 9941, currently 7th’s all time for the franchise, is the closest to ‘Nique among active players, but hard to believe he’ll reach him.
Boston Celtics – John Havlicek
Ahead of Bird, Parrish, McHale, Cousy, Russell and more hall of fame players is John Havlicek, who played sixteen seasons for the Boston Celtics, winning 8 NBA titles during that time, finishing with a career average of 20.8 points, 3rd best for the franchise. Paul Pierce moving ahead to second place puts him in a position to pass Hondo, although he needs 4600 points to do that.
Charlotte Bobcats – Gerald Wallace
The young franchise has Gerald Wallace as its all time leading scorer, with 7437 points scored over 6 and some seasons before getting traded to Portland last season. Since then it hasn’t been very happy in Charlotte for Michael Jordan’s team. Boris Diaw, with 2946, fourth on the all time list, is the leader among active Bobcats players.
Chicago Bulls – Michael Jordan
Speaking of Michael Jordan… His 29,277 points scored for the Chicago Bulls came over a relatively short period of 13 season with the team, taking a Baseball break in between three-peats. His career average for the Bulls is 31.5, over 10 points better than the runner up, Jalen Rose. Scottie Pippen with just over 15,000 points follows Jordan with Luol Deng and his 8110 points lead the active Bulls players.
Cleveland Cavaliers – LeBron James
LeBron James didn’t need too much time to become the Cavs’ all time leading scorer, and his 15,251 points were achieved in seven seasons and 548 games, only 7th on the franchise’s games played list. His scoring average of 27.8 points per game is 4.8 higher than the runner up.
Dallas Mavericks – Dirk Nowitzki
Nowitzki led the Mavs to their first NBA title last June, and pretty much leads the Mavericks in every statistical category, or is damn right close to leading them. His 23,514 career points for the Mavs, the only team he has played for since coming to the NBA, best Rolando Blackman’s 16,643.
Denver Nuggets – Alex English
The 1983 NBA scoring champion spent the entire 1980’s with the Denver Nuggets, averaging 25.9 points per game in 837 games, both franchise records. His 21,645 points put him ahead of Dan Issel and Carmelo Anthony. Nene is the leader among active Nuggets players with 6758 points.
Detroit Pistons – Isiah Thomas
Isiah Thomas did play a bit less than Joe Dumars for the Pistons, with the current GM hanging around a bit longer before retiring. Still, Thomas, with 18,822 points leads the franchise, with his 19.2 points per game putting him 8th in franchise history.Tayshaun Prince, getting close to 9000 points, is the leader among active Pistons players, with both Richard Hamilton and Grant Hill above him in the rankings.
Golden State Warriors – Wilt Chamberlain
Chamberlain didn’t win any titles with the Philadelphia, later San Francisco Warriors, but he did set most of his amazing records, including the 100 point game and 50.4 season average with the team during his 1959-1965 time with them. He scored 17,783 points and averaged 41.5 points for the team. Monta Ellis, with 7750 points, should make it into the top 10 this season.
Houston Rockets – Hakeem Olajuwon
He didn’t stay his entire career with the Rockets, spending a useless retirement season in Toronto with the Raptors, but Olajuwon leads the Rockets’ all time lists in pretty much everything, most importantly points with 26,511, way ahead of Calvin Murphy at runner up position. His career average of 22.5 isn’t enough for number one though, with Moses Malone’s 24 points per game topping that chart.
Indiana Pacers – Reggie Miller
Reggie Miller didn’t do much but shoot three pointers and trash talk, but he did it well, maybe better than anyone else in NBA history. His 25,279 points are pretty much double that of his runner up Rik Smits (12,871). Miller averaged 18.2 points per game, good enough for 7th on the all time list for the franchise.
Los Angeles Clippers – Randy Smith
Who? Yeah, Randy Smith, ahead Bob McAdoo and Danny Manning and others. Smith played for the franchise before it moved to LA, during the Buffalo Braves and San Diego Clippers era. His 12,735 don’t make such an impressive mark and his career average isn’t even in the franchise’s top 10. Blake Griffin, with 22.2 per game so far, should enter the top 10 soon enough.
Los Angeles Lakers – Kobe Bryant
Bryant’s 28,601 points look even more impressive when you see who he’s left behind on the Lakers’ all time scoring list – Jerry West, Kareem, Magic, James Worthy, Elgin Baylor. His 25.4 points per game average is fourth best, but Bryant isn’t planning on stopping anytime soon, with 30,000 easily within his reach.
Memphis Grizzlies – Pau Gasol
Still the Grizzlies leading scorer with 8966 points despite being a Laker since 2008. Rudy Gay, with 7066 points, is third on the list, and should be on the top of it by 2013. Gasol’s average of 18.8 is good enough for third, with Zach Randolph (20.3) and Shareef Abdur-Rahim (20.8) above him
Miami Heat – Dwyane Wade
Into his ninth NBA season, all with the Miami Heat, there’s no doubt Wade is the franchise’s greatest player ever. Shaq did pass through, leaving his mark, but Wade was already the best player on that championship team. His 14,249 points so far make him the only 10000+ scorer in franchise history, with Glen Rice and Alonzo Mourning coming close. Wade’s 25.3 points per game put him behind LeBron James.
Milwaukee Bucks – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
It’s been over 30 years since Kareem last wore a Bucks jersey, but still no player in Milwaukee has broken his record, or led the Bucks to a title. They have to settle for Green Bay leftover glory I suppose. Kareem’s 14,211 points put him ahead of Glenn Robinson, Michael Redd and Ray Allen to name a few, with his 30.4 scoring average almost 10 points better than those behind him.
Minnesota Timberwolves – Kevin Garnett
Garnett leads the Timberwolves in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. No one else is even in close in any category. In points, his 19,041 are about 12,000 more than Sam Mitchell’s runner up number. Kevin Love, with 3818, recently broke into the franchise top 10.
New Jersey Nets – Buck Williams
Buck Williams, who is currently an assistant coach for the Portland Trail Blazers, is probably better remembered these days for his days as a player in the Northwest, reaching two NBA finals alongside Clyde Drexler. But Williams’ best days were during the early 1980’s with the Nets, making the playoffs a few time with the team. His 10,440 points and 7576 rebounds are still franchise records.
New Orleans Hornets – Dell Curry
Remember when the Charlotte Hornets were one of the coolest NBA teams around? The 1990’s? Larry Johnson, Alonzo Mourninh? Well, Dell Curry, despite bigger names that have played for the franchise over the years, including Chris Paul and David West who have both moved on, the sharpshooter out of Virginia Tech still leads the scoring list for the franchise with 9839 points and 40.5% from the three.
New York Knicks – Patrick Ewing
Patrick Ewing doesn’t have an NBA title, but he does lead the Knicks in points, games, minutes played, rebounds and blocks. His 23,665 points (22.8 per game) put him above Walt Frazier, Willis Reed and Earl Monroe, although he’ll always be remembered for not winning one.
Oklahoma City Thunder – Gary Payton
The Seattle Supersonics turned into the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008, but Kevin Durant has “only” made it up to eighth on the franchise’s all time scoring list. Shawn Kemp, Dale Ellis and above all Gary Payton, with 18,207 points and also the franchise best in steals and assists are still in Durant’s way to the top.
Orlando Magic – Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard didn’t want to play for the Magic when the season began, but things change quickly. Along the way, he passed Nick Anderson to become the franchise’s all time leading scorer with 10,869 points. His 18.3 points average puts him at fifth behind Penny, Shaq, McGrady and Steve Francis. In rebounds and blocks? No one is even close.
Philadelphia 76ers – Hal Greer
Maybe a bit surprising, but time makes you forget, even about great players like Greer. Not Charles Barkley or Iverson or even Dr. J, but Greer, who won the 1967 NBA title with the Sixers and was a 10 time All-Star leads the franchise’s scoring list with 21,586 points, averaging 19.2 points per game. He began playing in 1958, when they were still the Syracuse Nationals.
Phoenix Suns – Walter Davis
Another one of those Who? What? Oh him… Walter Davis played for the Phoenix Suns for 11 seasons, averaging 20.5 points per game. His 15,666 points put him ahead of Alvin Adams, Kevin Johnson, the Matrix, Amar’e and Steve Nash.
Portland Trail Blazers – Clyde Drexler
The greatest Blazer in history, despite winning his NBA title elsewhere, and despite being part of the reason Michael Jordan didn’t get drafted by the Blazers. Drexler’s 18,040 points put him way ahead of anyone else, with Terry Porter’s 11,330 coming closest. His 20.8 scoring average however is only good enough for fourth, with Kiki Vandeweghe’s 23.5 leading.
Sacramento Kings – Oscar Robertson
Oscar did win his NBA title with the Bucks, but his incredible years, including the triple double season, came during his time with the Royals, who later became the Kings. Robertson scored 22,009 points for the Cincinnati Royals, averaging 29.3 points per game. He still leads the franchise in assists and minutes played.
San Antonio Spurs – George Gervin
I swear that Duncan sticks around just so he can become the franchise’s all time leading scorer. Gervin led the NBA in scoring four times during his time with the Spurs, and his 23,602 points beat Tim Duncan’s 22,025 and David Robinson’s 20,790. His average of 26.3 points per game is also the highest in Spurs history.
Toronto Raptors – Chris Bosh
The two leading scorers for the Raptors all time are still playing, but both of them waited for the first opportunity to jump ship. At least Bosh didn’t leave too much of a bad taste when he bolted to Miami. Bosh’s 10,275 points beat Vince Carter’s 9420, but there’s a good chance Andrea Bargnani, pending he actually stays, makes it to the top of this list, with 6000 just around the corner for him.
Utah Jazz – Karl Malone
One of those easy ones, you could answer while sleeping. Malone scored 36,374 points for the Jazz. Plus his one season with the Lakers, and he’s second on the NBA’s all time scoring list. Behind him? Way way back, the man in charge of most of Malone’s points, John Stockton, with 19,711. Adrian Dantley actually has the best scoring average for the franchise with 29.6 points per game.
Washington Wizards – Elvin Hayes
Did you know the Washington Wizards began as the Chicago Packers? I guess that’s a topic for a different post. Hayes played for the Baltimore Bullets, Capital Bullets and Washington Bullets during his 10 season with the franchise, winning the NBA title in 1978. His 15,551 points put him ahead of Jeff Malone and Wes Unseld. Gilbert Arenas was on pace to reach those heights, but was stopped at 8930 by injuries and stupidity.