The NBA season is nearing its midway point and, despite many players entering health and safety protocols as of late, it’s been a pretty fun one to watch.
Of course, some players give fans more reasons to watch than others, more so the best scorers around. As such, this list takes a look at the top five scorers as things stand this season.
1. Kevin Durant
The Brooklyn Nets power forward has long been considered the best player in the NBA, though there are many arguments to be had on that front. Durant is certainly playing like it, averaging 29.7 points a game so far.
The Nets remain the favorites for the NBA Championship despite not having Kyrie Irving play a single game this season. The point guard has returned to the fold but has been moved to health and safety protocols, joining Durant and several other Nets. Brooklyn hasn't been getting the production from James Harden that the NBA community had become used to but are still the bookmakers’ favorites for the title as far as the NBA picks are concerned, with odds of 13/5 attached.
Durant’s former team, the Golden State Warriors are behind in such regard at 11/2. The current champion Milwaukee Bucks are the third favorite at 8/1 while the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers are next at 17/2 and 10/1 respectively.
The Nets’ good fortune in the face of adversity has more to do with Durant than anyone else. The former OKC and Golden State star resumed playing last season after sitting the previous one out and has shown little signs of having suffered an Achilles injury. If the Nets do go all the way this season, he will be a major part of their success.
2. Trae Young
Trae Young has grown into one of the most entertaining players to watch in the league. The point guard has garnered comparisons to Steph Curry as his shooting from long range is certainly reminiscent.
Young is averaging 27.3 points and 9.3 assists a night on 46 percent from the floor and 38 percent from three. The 23-year-old was the fifth overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft but is playing like a seasoned vet. He helped lead the Atlanta Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals last season.
The point guard became the latest NBA star to enter health and safety protocols after testing positive for COVID-19 on Sunday. He will miss 10 days should he fail to produce two negative tests 24 hours apart. Young is the Hawks' first major absentee to get ruled out due to said protocols this season.
He did not play against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday and whether he plays against the New York Knicks on Christmas Day remains to be determined.
3. Giannis Antetokounmpo
The 2019 and 2020 MVP is averaging 27.0 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game this season. The Greek Freak is shooting an impressive 52 percent from the floor as he attempts to help the Milwaukee Bucks successfully defend their NBA Championship.
Giannis is now the Bucks’ franchise leader in career blocked shots, having reached the milestone during his team’s 123-114 win over the Houston Rockets last Friday. He posted 41 points along with 17 rebounds, five assists, three steals, and two blocks. The pair of blocks saw him move past Alton Lister to become the team’s all-time blocks leader.
"It's big time. Great compliment to my career," he said after the game. "But I've got to keep getting better. Got to keep defending better. ... It's great to accomplish something like that in my career, but I've got to keep on moving forward, keep on getting better and keep helping my teammates win games."
The former MVP is averaging 1.7 blocks a game this season, his highest since the 2016/17 campaign.
4. Steph Curry
Steph Curry is having an MVP-type season and is the outright favorite to win the award at the end of the current term. Curry is also averaging 27.0 points a night, scoring 43 percent of his field-goal attempts, including 39 percent from three.
The Dubs point guard broke Ray Allen’s three-point record against the Knicks last week and is now the player who has scored the most threes in NBA history.
“There was definitely some divine intervention,” he said after his milestone game. “It's not like I didn't shoot enough over the last four games to try to get there a little faster. But everything happens as it should, and that's something that I've believed in my whole life.”
He added: “Hopefully, I can push it to a point that's untouchable.”
5. DeMar DeRozan
DeMar DeRozan’s arrival in Chicago has turned things around for the franchise. The former Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs star has helped the Bulls to an 18-10 record in the Eastern Conference that’s good enough for second therein.
The Compton native is averaging 26.3 points for the Bulls this season and has re-established himself as one of the most impactful players in the league. It will be interesting to see how the Bulls fare towards the business end of the campaign with DeRozan leading the charge.