10 players who set career high-scoring numbers

With league-wide goalscoring entertaining fans and a fearsome defence, what’s behind the recent uptick?

This season’s offensive explosion has been fueled by Superstars who have surpassed even their best previous seasons.

We’ve already seen the second 70-point game in six years…after seeing only two such performances in the nearly 40 years prior.

Six players currently average at least 30 points per game. If this continues, it would eclipse the record of five players to drop that many buckets in the 1961-62 season (Wilt Chamberlain, Walt Bellamy, Bob Pettit, Jerry West and Oscar Robertson, with Richie Guerin just missing out). would).

Here’s a look at 10 players wreaking more havoc on offense than ever:


Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

Thinking Basketball’s Ben Taylor breaks Luka Doncic’s 60-point triple-double

Points per game: 34.2

Career high so far: 28.8 (in 2019-20)

Current league leader Doncic is blowing away all the standards he’s set in his last three straight All-NBA First Team seasons. The free-throw line was his greatest ally. The 6-foot-7-point guard averages a career-best 11.4 attempts per contest, more than half the average of nine teams.

His overall offensive attack is more focused on color and restricted areas than he has been since his sophomore season. His 37.7% utilization rate leads the league, as large an offensive load as possible for a single player, and he’s delivering.

Joel Embid, Philadelphia 76ers

Points per game: 33.6

Career high so far: 30.6 (in 2021-22)

Output of the scoring title “The Process”. latest season would not finish in the top 5 in this absurd season. But Embiid has joined that surge by making a career-high 85.1% of his shots from inside the arc — an effective formula for a 7-foot center.

Add in the roughly 3% increase in shot percentage in this area and Embiid’s increased performance was a foregone conclusion. The 76ers superstar is devastating from the elbow, where he’s a paltry 6.7 points per game (Nikola Jokic is second with 5.1).

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo dominates with a career-high 55 points as Milwaukee ends Washington’s 5-game winning streak.

Points per game: 31.7

Career high so far: 29.9 (in 2021-22)

If anything, “The Greek Freak” could be underestimated as a goalscorer, having averaged more than 27 points per game over the past four seasons. His 1.8-point jump this year is his biggest since the 2018-19 season, and he owes it all to doubling down on what he does best: attacks on the rim, something he’s been doing more frequently since 2017-18.

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Antetokounmpo reduced his 3-point attempts by a sixth and increased his 2-point attempts by almost exactly the same rate (a bigger difference considering how many twos he takes). Overall, his usage has increased as Milwaukee leans on him more during Khris Middleton’s extended absence. His efficiency has taken a slight hit, but Antetokounmpo’s raw numbers are up rather than down under the extra weight.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder

Points per game: 8/30

Career high so far: 24.5 (in 2021-22)

Gilgeous-Alexander, the surprising member of the current top five scorers in the league, has made his leap by nearly halving his 3-point attempts. It’s true. His attempts from downtown are just 2.9 per game compared to a career-high 5.3 last season. The 6-foot-6 guard forfeited those shots in favor of attacking the basket, which he’s doing with a league-leading 24.4 drives per game.

The effect is devastating. Gilgeous-Alexander either shoots 51% of his driving shot attempts or saves 91% of his 10+ free throw attempts per game. It’s tempting to wonder what a healthy young core of Thunder (remember Chet Holmgren?) with his now dominant leading guard at the helm and possibly another lottery talent in the flock might do after next summer.

Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Points per game: 8/30

Career high so far: 26.9 (in 2021-22)

The Kia MVP Caliber season that everyone seemed to think was waiting for Tatum is finally here. The Celtics superstar has a true shot percentage above 60% for the first time in his career while his turnover rate is at its lowest since 2018-19 despite a career high of 32%.

A position switch was key to Tatum’s jump. Boston essentially traded its time between the front seats. Now Tatum is logging more than two-thirds of his minutes as a power forward as the Celtics have played smaller lineups (often out of necessity).

The result is a crucial distance from a third of his middle-distance shot attempts from last season. Most went to the paint, the rest to the 3-point line. Tatum is ranked 15th in Paint Points this season after placing 25th, 34th, and 54th respectively in the previous three seasons.

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Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers

Check out all 71 points of Donovan Mitchell’s historic performance.

Points per game: 29.3

Career high so far: 26.4 (in 2020-21)

Many wondered if Mitchell would enjoy equal share and attention on offense alongside established Cleveland All-Star Darius Garland. What many missed was how much easier the offensive would be next to his new backcourt teammate.

Context: Garland has assisted in 50 of Mitchell’s 371 field goals scored this season. The most supported Mitchell shots over a whole season in Utah: 60 (Joe Ingles 2018-19). Mitchell is Garland’s favorite target (just above Evan Mobley), and Mitchell drills 50.3% on shots directly from those passes, split fairly evenly between two- and three-point attempts.

As for the other 300 or so buckets without Garland support, Mitchell usually attacks the rim more frequently and more efficiently. When he doesn’t finish himself, he gets to the line and shoots a career-best 87.4%.

Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics

Points per game: 26.8

Career high so far: 24.7 (in 2020-21)

Boston’s other high-profile wing talent has taken what appears to be a common cue by slicing up bits of their long-distance game and donating it to the paint. Raw numbers, rate and results have skyrocketed in paint (and especially in the restricted area) for Brown, who joins Tatum in the league’s top 15 in paint points after finishing 28th, 29th and 49th place.

Part of that production is fed by Boston’s elite defense. Brown ranks fourth in the league in transition points, behind only Antetokounmpo, Gilgeous-Alexander and LeBron James. Brown’s 58.2% shooting clip on drives ranks eighth among the 56 players with at least 300 drives this season.

Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz

On another night Another great goal-scoring performance. Lauri Markkanen’s jewel helps Utah drop Houston and end a 5-game slip.

Points per game: 24.5

Career high so far: 18.7 (2018-19)

Perhaps the feel-good story of the season, Markkanen’s late jump shattered preconceived notions about what Utah was trying to do this season. “The Finnisher” obliterated all previous personal bests for odds and efficiency, culminating in an all-star season.

There is nothing that Markkanen improved or optimized. Everything has skyrocketed. His shot attempts are up to 16.1 per game compared to just 11.5 last season. He’s shooting 52.4% overall, just the second time in his career he’s eclipsed 45%. The long, enticing aspect of his long-range shooting is in full force, clipping 41.1% on over seven attempts from depth per game. His free-throw attempts (5.5 per game) have doubled from last year and are nearly a third better than his second season’s career-best.

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Perhaps most impressive is the way Markkanen has dominated the floor without dominating the ball. Of the 22 players averaging at least 24 points per game, the Jazz Forward’s usage rate is by far the lowest at 24.8%, ranking 75th overall in the league.

Anfernee Simons, Portland Trail Blazers

Points per game: 22.2

Career high so far: 17.3 (in 2021-22)

Simons is a far cry from an average of 7.8 ppg two seasons ago. Portland’s sky-high opinion of the former 24th overall winner’s talent was spot on. Now, with a full starting role and a healthy Damian Lillard to lead him, Simons is the latest backcourt talent to blossom at the Blazers.

Sheer volume and opportunity fueled Simons’ rise. His shot attempts have nearly tripled in two seasons, and his 3-point attempts have more than tripled since his sophomore season. The latter was helped by a solid 37.5% shooting clip from beyond the arc, from where Simons sits sixth in the league in terms of marks per game.

In the pick and roll game, too, the 23-year-old is a fast-growing option. Simons ranks 22nd in pick-and-roll possessions, each earning just over one point — more than other young guards like Ja Morant, Trae Young, LaMelo Ball, Darius Garland, De’Aaron Fox and Dejounte Murray.

Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks

Points per game: 21.6

Career high so far: 16.3 (in 2021-22)

It turns out that Brunson was right about putting himself on guard duty. The former Mavericks guard has holed up as the floor general of a Knicks team that’s back in the playoff mix since arriving as an unrestricted free agent last summer.

Brunson remains the second-best scorer on his team, but Julius Randle (28.2% usage) has allowed Brunson to burn much more often than Doncic (37.8% usage) at Dallas. Indeed, Randle has given up much of his front-runner role to make way for Brunson’s own style of play. Randle’s assists are down significantly, while Brunson is losing a career-best 6.5 assists per game.

This has forced opponents to consider two playmakers and New York has had great success overpowering Brunson and Randle’s minutes. Brunson’s interior has taken a hit, but his efficiency from beyond the arc (38.1%) and at the free-throw line (84.5% at a career-high 5.1 attempts per game) softened the overall blow. Between that and the sheer rise in Brunson’s role, his career year was never in question.

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