We can talk all we want about the advanced metrics that have made their way into the NBA, but the game is still about who can put the ball in the hoop the most. These five guys can do it as well as anyone and are the favorites to lead the league in scoring this year:
5) Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
Westbrook won the league scoring title last year (28.1 ppg,) with Kevin Durant out for the rest of the season, and while KD is still OKC's top option, Westbrook is the one who has the ball in his hands the most. He's the most athletic player in NBA history (yes, I said it), and plays with unmatched ferocity and intensity. Critics point to the multitude of shots he takes as a point guard, but no one in the league can adequately defend him.
4) James Harden, Houston Rockets
Harden narrowly lost the NBA scoring title with 27.4 points per game, but also showed his all-around game last year with 7.0 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game. He single-handedly carried the Rockets to the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference as they played without star center Dwight Howard for most of the season. While Harden will still be the focal point of Houston's offense, the return of Howard and acquisition of Ty Lawson could hurt his numbers.
3) Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
The MVP hype at this point all centers around Davis despite Curry being the reigning winner. Davis had a historic season in 2014-15 (his third in the league), posting 24.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks per game with a league-leading 31.0 PER and 8.43 wins probability added. Davis already has a full developed post game, and spent all offseason expanding his range out to the three-point line.
Head coach Alvin Gentry is bringing a new up-tempo system to New Orleans, and without really any other versatile scoring options on the roster, Davis is going to get a LOT of shots.
2) Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Undoubtedly the biggest surprise on this list, Lillard has developed into a big-time player in just three years, and he also shows up when the lights are brightest. Lillard takes a lot of shots anyway, but with four new starters for the Blazers this season, the offense will center around the point guard. He'll have the ball in his hands more than anyone else in the league, and will probably lead the NBA in shot attempts.
1) Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
After an injury-riddled season, it's easy to forget just how dominant Durant can be. He shot 51 percent from the field in 27 games last season, and averaged 32 points per game in 2013-14 - his last full season in the league, in which he won MVP. Durant can score effortlessly anywhere on the court, and may be the best pure scorer in league history. If he's healthy, it's hard to bet against the 6'11" guy who can make a shot from anywhere on the court with a hand in his face and gets to the rim with ease.Back to the NBA Newsfeed