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NBA Top 30 Scorers: More than just first options, but huge pieces of total team scoring

A quick look at the Top 30 Scorers in the NBA

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

After looking at the history of the Utah Jazz first options and second options I had to look at this current season of the NBA. The Top 30 scorers this season don't all play for each of the 30 teams. There are a number of teams that skew towards two main guys. That wasn't the surprising thing. The surprising thing was to see how much of a proportion of total team points each of the Top 30 scorers were. It's one thing to be the top dog (or second banana) on a team. It's another thing entirely to be responsible for over 25% of your team's total points. For the record, the players used in this analysis are: Stephen Curry (GSW), James Harden (HOU), Kevin Durant (OKC), LeBron James (CLE), Paul George (IND), Russell Westbrook (OKC), Damian Lillard (POR), DeMarcus Cousins (SAC), Blake Griffin (LAC), Anthony Davis (NOP), DeMar DeRozan (TOR), Carmelo Anthony (NYK), Jimmy Butler (CHI), Eric Bledsoe (PHX), Andrew Wiggins (MIN), Kawhi Leonard (SAS), Kyle Lowry (TOR), Isaiah Thomas (BOS), Reggie Jackson (DET), C.J. McCollum (POR), Bradley Beal (WAS), Brandon Knight (PHX), John Wall (WAS), Brook Lopez (BKN), Klay Thompson (GSW), Gordon Hayward (UTA), Dwyane Wade (MIA), Andre Drummond (DET), Rudy Gay (SAC), and Kemba Walker (CHA).

Here are two graphs. The first shows each player's points per game (PPG) as a portion of their individual team's total average points per game. The second shows each player's points per game as a percentage of their individual team's total average points per game.

2015 2016 Top 30 Scorers - TABLE

Curiously there are five players averaging more than 25.0 ppg, and each of them (rounding up) account for 25.0% of their team's total points. That's tidy and funny. Sorry those graphs look so busy, there's a lot of data and I had the foolish idea of color coding each player's data with the team they play for.

If you are a Utah Jazz fan and you are looking for Gordon Hayward . . . he's #26 out of #30 on this list in average PPG. His 19+ ppg are still 19+% of the total team's offense. That's just not good enough if he was a pure scorer, like Harden. He's not. He also sets up the offense, gets assists, and tries to share the ball with a few other ball handlers. Hayward doesn't dominate. But he's still a Top 30 scorer in the NBA right now. Sure, a number of #2 guys on other teams are ahead of him (Wall, Thompson), but he's doing the best he can. After all, it's not like he's TRYING to be a bad first option. He's doing his best.