Every NBA player is on the all-time scoring list, but the higher on the list you go, the more legendary the players become. The list shows a lot of the greatest players to ever step on the hardwood, but 20 years from now, the list will look different as it will reflect on the NBA careers of some of the superstars still playing in the league today. In this article, we will be predicting the top 15 NBA scorers of all-time 20 years from now.
This pretty much means that we will be determining which current NBA players will be able to crack the iconic top 15 scorers of all-time when their careers come to an end. Looking at factors such as playing years left, scoring ability, and volume, this is what the top 15 NBA scorers will look like 20 years from now. You may be surprised where we have players like LeBron James or Kevin Durant ranked, as this list is meant to cause some debate.
As always, feel free to leave any comments you have on these predictions, as we would love to hear your thoughts on this matter.
15 Carmelo Anthony
I may be taking a risk here, but I believe that Carmelo Anthony will end his career at number 15 on the all-time scoring list. At 32 years of age, Melo has five or six years left of averaging over 20 points per game, and with his already stellar numbers all he needs to do is sustain to make it into this conversation. While Melo doesn't get the respect he deserves in the NBA, he has had one of the most successful careers in NBA history, as he has been a dominant player in the league for over a decade. Now playing with the new "super-team" Knicks, Carmelo is looking to win his first NBA championship, something that has eluded him throughout his great NBA career.
14 Dominique Wilkins
Nicknamed “The Human Highlight Reel” due to his incredible in-game dunks and show dunks, Wilkins really was a walking highlight reel. He pulled off some incredible jams that were absolutely amazing. He is not just one of the greatest dunkers of all-time, but due to his immense success in the league, he is considered one of the greatest players of all-time. Wilkins is definitely one of those guys we would have loved to see win at least one championship over the course of his great career. Even without a ring, Wilkins was able to end up at number 13 on the all-time scoring list, but after 20 years and due to Kevin Durant passing him, he will be moved to a still extremely respectable number 14.
13 Oscar Robinson
Known as the “Big O” by many, Oscar Robertson had an amazing NBA career. He was the only player in NBA history to average a triple double at the end of a season, which just goes to show how good he was at every aspect of the game. A dominant scorer with great vision as a passer as well, any NBA team would have loved to have him on their team, as he even led his team all the way to winning an NBA championship in 1971. Go look up this guy’s stats, and you will understand how talented Oscar really was. Whether it be passing, shooting, or rebounding, Oscar did it all. Currently the 12th highest scorer in NBA history, Oscar will end up at number 13 after two decades.
12 Hakeem Olajuwon
Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon was easily one of the most skillful and talented big men in the league's storied history. Drafted first in the legendary 1984 NBA Draft in front of Michael Jordan, Hakeem lived up to the hype and had a great NBA career. Hakeem has an extensive list of accolades that range from the MVP to the Defensive Player of the Year(x2). Hakeem was excellent in the post, as his set of moves that he could pull out at any time made him one of the hardest big men to guard. His patented "dream shake" had a lot of defenders left in the dust as Hakeem finished at the rim. He is currently number #10 on the all-time scoring list, and will end up at number 12 when twenty NBA seasons come and go.
11 Elvin Hayes
Elvin Hayes was drafted with the first pick in the 1968 NBA Draft, and didn't disappoint, as he went on to have an excellent NBA career. Starting his career with the San Diego Rockets, Hayes averaged over 28 points per game in his rookie season, which had people realizing Hayes may be one of the best scorers to ever play the game. His prime ended up being pretty short and more towards the beginning of his career, but Hayes still managed to end up at number nine on the all-time scoring list. Hayes will ultimately end up being pushed out of the top 10 on the all-time scoring list, but his career was still incredibly successful and Hayes will go down as an NBA legend.
10 Moses Malone
Moses Malone is one of the most underrated players in the history of basketball, as he was a three-time NBA MVP, a 12-time all-star, and even brought home the championship to the city of Philadelphia in 1983. Moses was an impact player on both ends of the court, but considering he is the eighth highest scoring player in the league's history, offense was a big part of Moses' game. Moses played 20 seasons in the NBA, as his career point per game averages were over 20 points per game. After 20 years of playing time, Moses will still be in the top 10 greatest scorers of all-time, as his NBA career was one of the best that the association has ever seen. He will land at number 10 in 20 years.
9 Shaquille O'Neal
Shaquille O'Neal is one of the greatest centers of all time and is sometimes considered the most dominant player to ever step on the NBA hardwood. Shaq was a beast to put it simply, and his time with the Magic and with the Lakers were both extremely successful as he put up some seriously eye-opening numbers over the course of his career. Shaq is currently 7th on the all-time scoring list and will be pushed back to number nine after two decades roll around. While Shaq will most likely never be able to stay in the top 10 of this legendary list, his legacy on the basketball court is easily one of the most dominant and successful fans of the game has ever seen from a player.
8 Wilt Chamberlain
Wilt Chamberlain was an absolute man among boys during his playing days years ago, as he put up some of the most ridiculous stat lines the NBA has ever seen. Whether it was scoring 100 points in a game or averaging 50 points and 25 rebounds per game in one season, Wilt Chamberlain is one of the greatest centers to ever play the game of basketball. Nobody could stop him in the paint and he is revered for his excellent athleticism and talent in a time that seemed nobody matched up to him at all. Currently at number five on the all-time scoring list with a touch over 31 thousand points scored, Wilt will end up just three places behind that over the next two decades.
7 Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk Nowitzki is the greatest international player of all-time. The seven-footer from Germany has had continued success in the NBA for the last decade or more, and I believe he will end up at number seven after 2o years. He is number six right now on the all-time scoring list, and will probably move up one more spot until he is then surpassed by Durant and James. Dirk is an excellent shooter who has perfected the fade-away with his patented one-legged shot that has helped him achieve some of his immense success in the league. A one-time MVP and one-time NBA champion, Dirk has had a great NBA career and I believe will end up at number seven on the all-time scoring list after 20 years from now.
6 Michael Jordan
Jordan, Air Jordan, the G.O.A.T., or whatever you want to call him, is widely considered the greatest player to ever step on the NBA hardwood. While scoring was most likely the best part of Jordan's game, he was a lock-down defender and led the Chicago Bulls to five championships due to his excellent leadership on the court. Let's not forget that Jordan "retired" for some of his prime years to play baseball, so possibly if he stayed in the league, he would be higher on this list with another ring. Michael Jordan is one of the most respected and revered NBA players of all-time, and even though he will be pushed out of the top five all-time scorers in the next few decades, his legacy will still be considered one of the most accomplished in NBA history.
5 Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant's recent retirement shed light on how beloved and amazing his NBA career actually was, as he finished his career at number three on the all-time scoring list. Twenty years from now, however, Bryant will be pushed back to a still respectable number five of all-time. Kobe is one of the most dominant scorers the game of basketball has ever seen. Coming into the league as a young player straight out of Lower Merion High School, Kobe took the association by storm as he put up numbers that some NBA players have never achieved. His 81-point game against the Toronto Raptors is easily one of the greatest accomplishments in NBA history, as Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players to ever play the game.
4 Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant is already one of the most prolific scorers in all of the NBA's great history, and I expect him to even surpass the great Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan when his career comes to an end. A pure shooter and scorer at almost seven-feet tall, Kevin Durant was built to score, and he sure has done that over the course of his NBA career. He is a four-time NBA scoring champion, and now that he's playing with the Warriors, I believe that Durant will flourish alongside Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, as the team will be getting open shots every game. Kevin Durant will go down as one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball, and will end up at number four on the all-time scoring list when he retires.
3 Karl Malone
Even though Karl Malone was never able to bring home a championship to Utah, he still managed to have one of the greatest NBA careers, scoring wise. An absolute man among boys, Karl Malone was a beast in the paint. Pairing up with the amazing point guard in John Stockton with the Jazz, Karl Malone went on to score over 36 thousand points over the course of his career. Racking up multiple high achievement awards throughout his career, Karl Malone is one of the most decorated NBA players of all-time, even without having any rings to his name. Let's face it, rings do not define greatness, and Karl Malone is a spitting image of that, which is clearly reflected in his excellent talent on the court.
2 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was one of the best big men to ever play the game of basketball. He was as graceful as he was talented, and his amazing work in the post led him to having an extremely successful NBA career. His patented hook shot was one of the greatest moves known to the basketball world, as he scored a lot of his points finessing hook shots over his defenders. Whether dominating with the Bucks or winning championships with the Lakers, Kareem went on to score over 38 thousand points over the course of his career, something that no one has ever surpassed...yet! Yes, I do believe someone will knock Kareem off the number one spot on this list, but Kareem still had easily one of the greatest careers the game of basketball has ever seen.
1 LeBron James
That's right, when his career is all said and done, LeBron James will be the greatest NBA scorer of all-time. Considering he is already the 11th all-time right now with five or six strong seasons left, LeBron James will surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the highest NBA scorer. This is incredible when you really think about it because LeBron has always been a team player, and all of his points come with the flow and haven't been forced. LeBron could go out every night and drop 40 points if he wanted to, but he has continued to be one of the greatest overall players the game has ever seen. LeBron will finally get the respect he deserves when he decides to hang it up, as he will be sitting at the very top of the NBA scoring list.