The last few days have been marked by XXL performances in scoring, from Jayson Tatum to Devin Booker via Kevin Durant, Luka Doncic and a few others. Suffice it to say that the biggest offensive talents in the NBA are super hot, enough to launch this 2022-23 campaign on a purely historical basis.
They are 7. Yes, 7 players to score at least 30 points since the start of the season: Luka Doncic (33.6), Jayson Tatum (31.6), Stephen Curry (31.4), Giannis Antetokounmpo (31, 3), Shai Gilgeous – Alexander (31.1), Joel Embiid (31.1) and Kevin Durant (30.4).
In the not-so-distant past, like before the start of the 2020s, it was truly an achievement to shoot at an average of 30 pawns over a season. We had maybe one or two players who reached this benchmark, sometimes three or four in the best years, but no more. And if you look season by season since the NBA’s inception, there’s really only one real campaign that manages to match the one we’re seeing now in terms of individual scoring: the famous 1961-62 season, that of almost all records.
That year, six players reached 30 points per game, with the legendary Wilt Chamberlain leading the way (50.4 points), followed by scoring machine Elgin Baylor (38.3), Walt Bellamy (31, 6), Bob Pettit (31,1) , Logo Jerry West (30.8) and mr. Triple-Double Oscar Robertson (30.8). An absolutely legendary season then, which may well be surpassed by the one we’re experiencing, even if Joel Embiid is theoretically not counted in the averages for the moment due to an insufficient number of games, but that should be settled quickly as Jojo now back on the court.
JT vs. WOUND
It was one of the flagship duels of the night 🔥
☘️ Jayson Tatum: 37 PTS, 13 REB, 5 AST
🪄 Luka Doncic: 42 PTS, 8 REB, 9 AST
— NBA France (@NBAFRANCE) 24 November 2022
This deluge of offensive cards is part of An NBA that may have focused on offense more than ever. 113 points scored per team every night across the league is the highest average since 1970, and the offensive rating has never been as high in history as this season (112.8 points per 100 possessions, just ahead of the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons). We know it, we are in the era of 3-pointers, where it is played fast, where there is a lot of space, where we rarely see two big insides squatting the racket, and where the forwards have great freedom of movement against defenses. not really helped by the evolution of certain rules in recent years. All of this necessarily favors the offensive explosions we find night after night today.
It is nevertheless clear that the level of talent we find in the NBA right now is enormous. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant are still at their individual best despite their 34 sweeps, Jayson Tatum and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander have changed dimensions, Luka Doncic is a monster, Giannis Antetokounmpo is a Freak, and Joel Embiid is one of the pivots most skilled in the history of the League. So hey, we’re not talking about just anyone anyway, huh.
It now remains to be seen whether that will last throughout the 2022-23 campaign. Because it’s one thing to shoot 30 pawns a night over 20 games, it’s another thing to do it over 70, 75 or 80 games. So we’ll have to redo the bills next April when the regular schedule ends, but something tells us the phenoms mentioned above have what it takes to maintain this frenetic pace.
Source Stats: NBA.com, Basket-Reference