‘Fill it up’, ‘pour it in’, ‘GET BUCKETS’! We love little more than watching our favorite NBA stars score in massive quantities. Forget the other 9 players on the court, we just want to watch our favorite artists work. When Kobe takes over in the fourth or ‘Melo goes for 45, we cannot get enough. Just look at your twitter timelines, with major sporting accounts constantly tweeting players’ insane scoring totals. If we love individual scoring this much it can only be good for our teams…right?
The last player to score the most in an NBA season and win a Championship? Shaquille O’Neal and his 2000 Lakers squad over a decade ago. How can that be if scoring is our favorite statistic? It must be the most important? Recent history tells us that’s just not the case. The NBA’s scoring leader may get a nice shoe deal and a few SportsCenter interviews, but they rarely get basketball’s greatest award.
Kevin Durant knows this, so when most called for him to try and go for 70 points in the last game of the season to claim the scoring title for his own he simply sat, saving himself for the playoffs. Durant didn’t need to ‘make it rain’ in a meaningless end of season game to validate his season. He knows as do many other fans of the game that his higher FG %, RPG, APG, and PER more than show he’s superior to Anthony on the court in just about every way (and I’m not even going to bring up defense).
The scoring title is the sports biggest and most artificial pat on the back from a wide eyed fan base that doesn’t seem to grasp how much more important efficiency and team chemistry are than ‘dropping 30’. Carmelo Anthony, this years scoring champion, however seems to eat it up, but waiting to eat him up are the games he’s going to be playing in a few short days. Playoff games where players don’t take defensive nights off and double teams are a nightly occurrence for proficient scorers.
In each of his 3 and what’s looking to be 4 MVP seasons LeBron James has never been the scoring champion. Why? because championship level players know that points per game is one statistic, and while you can’t win without scoring you sure as hell can’t do it with out a healthy combination of blocks, steals, assists, and rebounds. Efficiency is what we need to put stock in, not scoring because as of late the scoring title is as irrelevant in June as the player who owns it.