One constant in the NBA has always been the benefit of a guy who can put points on the board in bunches. Last season, at one end of the list, we had the greybeards: Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki. At the other end, we have teenagers Devin Booker and D’Angelo Russell.
Last season, there were 77 players who tallied 1,000 or more points in the NBA. Eight were 21 or younger as of February 1. Those eight: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee), Devin Booker (Phoenix), Zach LaVine (Minnesota), Jabari Parker (Milwaukee), Kristaps Porzingis (New York), D’Angelo Russell (L.A. Lakers), Karl-Anthony Towns (Minnesota) and Andrew Wiggins (Minnesota).
Eight players age 21 or younger scoring 1,000 or more points in a season was the most since 2009-10 when 11 players did it. What this tells us is that the young guns are becoming more and more of an impact on the NBA game… but then you knew that!
Let’s break it down a little further. In the last 10 NBA seasons, 57 players age 21 or younger scored 1,000 points in a season. Twenty-one of the 30 NBA franchises had at least one player 21 years or younger reach this milestone in a season in the past 10 years; nine did not have one player that age reach the 1,000-point mark in a campaign. The nine teams: Boston, Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Indiana, Portland, San Antonio and Utah.
Of the 21 that had at least one player 21 years of age or younger reach that points total in a season in the past 10 years, the Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder each had five players do it in a season in the last decade.
The Bucks had Brandon Jennings (twice), Antetokounmpo (twice) and Parker (once); the T’Wolves had Jonny Flynn (once), Zach LaVine (once), Towns (once) and Wiggins (twice); the Thunder had Kevin Durant do it three times and Russell Westbrook twice.
Here’s a look at all the kids who did it over the past 10 years for each of the 30 NBA teams.
5: Milwaukee, Minnesota, Oklahoma City
4: Detroit, Sacramento
3: Chicago, L.A. Clippers, New Orleans, New York, Washington
2: Atlanta, Cleveland, Golden State, Memphis, Miami, Brooklyn, Orlando, Philadelphia
1: L.A. Lakers, Phoenix, Toronto
0: Boston, Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Indiana, Portland, San Antonio and Utah
In the history of the NBA, there have been four players age 21 or younger who scored 1,000 or more points in a season three times: Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Stephon Marbury.
Let’s look at the players who scored the most points in an NBA career before they reached their 22nd birthday. LeBron James tops this list with 7,067 points before his 22nd birthday. Here are the Top 10 in this category:
LeBron James, 7,067
Kevin Durant, 5,967
Carmelo Anthony, 5,405
Kobe Bryant, 4,240
Dwight Howard, 4,210
Tracy McGrady, 4,187
Chris Bosh, 3,773
Kevin Garnett, 3,662
Kyrie Irving, 3,623
Anthony Davis, 3,558
One final stat: Let’s go back to last season. Of the 77 players who scored 1,000 or more points last year, 32 of them (41.6 percent) were in the age range of 25 to 27. Here’s a by-age breakdown of the 77 players: