The NBA has provided entertainment throughout its existence by exhibiting tremendous players who have a knack for scoring the basketball. Some of the greatest individual performances have come by way of scoring the basketball, and there are a select few who could score over 50 points on any given night. Wilt Chamberlain's 100 point performance is one of the most iconic individual performances this league has ever seen. Michael Jordan’s incredible 60 plus point performance on the Boston Celtics in the NBA playoffs had many viewers eyes glued to the TV, and who can forget Kobe Bryant’s 81 point night against the Toronto Raptors. Some of the best the NBA has ever seen had an ability to score 50 plus points on multiple occasions.
There also are former and current NBA players who only scored 50 points once, and some of these players were average and mediocre players at best who had a lucky day. Some of these players happened to be playing for really bad teams which made their teams more dependent on them for offense than other teams in the NBA. There were also players who played horrendous defensive teams, and this allowed for them to score 50 or more points. Some of the members of the 50 point club could not compare their career numbers to the likes of Allen Iverson, LeBron James, and even Carmelo Anthony.
Here are the 15 worst players to score 50 or more points in an NBA game:
15 Clifford Robinson
Clifford Robison was never an elite NBA player, but he was able to stick around for 18 seasons from 1989 to 2007. His best years came as a Portland Trail Blazer as he was able to average over 20 points a game for a few seasons with the team. On January 16, 2000, as a member of the Phoenix Suns, Robinson put together an incredible performance by becoming the oldest player to score 50 points for the first time at the age of 33 against the Denver Nuggets. During the 1999-00 season Robinson would average an impressive 18 points a game. After his impressive year where Robinson was able to score 50 points in a game his scoring totals declined every year until he retired in 2007.
14 Andre Miller
Andre Miller was always a very durable NBA player who rarely missed a game during his 17 year NBA career. He also only missed three games during his entire tenure in the NBA, and his style of play was a factor in preserving his body through the grind of an NBA season. Miller was never named an all-star but he has racked up impressive career numbers of over 16,000 total points and over 8,000 total assists. The playmaker moniker seemed to be an accurate description of how Miller played, and he was a fantastic ball distributor while in the league. After signing a three year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers in 2009, Miller in his first year with the team scored a career high 52 points on January 30, 2010 against the Dallas Mavericks despite only having a career points per game average of 12.
13 Tony Delk
Tony Delk was a star at the University of Kentucky, but this did not translate into stardom in the NBA. The leap from college basketball to NBA stardom is not easy to accomplish. Delk was never a star in the NBA but he managed to stay in the league for 10 plus seasons, and he played for eight different teams during his tenure.
As a member of the Phoenix Suns Delk broke out for one game when he hit 20 of his 27 shots and scored a career high 53 points on January 2, 2001 against the Sacramento Kings. This performance was improbable because Delk never was thought of as a big time scorer, and his career average of nine points per game proved he was not much of a threat offensively scoring the basketball.
12 Willie Burton
Willie Burton had a largely underwhelming career after being a lottery pick in the 1990 NBA draft by the Miami Heat. In his eight year NBA career he possessed mediocre averages of 10 points and three rebounds a game, and his lone 50 point game in his career was the highlight of an otherwise unsuccessful NBA tenure. Burton spent his first four seasons with the Miami Heat. Afterwards he went on to play a season for the struggling Philadelphia 76ers in the 1994-95 season, and had by far the best game of his professional career against his former team.
On December 13, 1994, Burton scored 53 points against the Heat which was remarkable considering he had only attempted 19 field goals the entire game.
11 Charles Smith
Charles Smith was never much of a star at the NBA level, but the Los Angeles Clippers heavily invested in him when they drafted him number three overall. He averaged twenty or more points a game two of his first three seasons. After his early success his scoring output dipped, and he ended up averaging 14 points a game for his career. Charles Smith scored 52 points on the Denver Nuggets during the 1990-91 season. The Nuggets were historically bad on defense that season, and they gave up a record 130 points a night to opposing teams.
Smith made 17 field goals and 18 free throws to secure his 50 plus point performance. This large scoring night from Smith was likely more of a product of the Nuggets defense being so poor, and Smith would never have a game as impressive again in his NBA career.
10 Dana Barros
Dana Barros was a career role player who only averaged 10 points a game for his career, but somehow he managed to score 50 points on the Houston Rockets on March 14, 1995. The Philadelphia 76ers had been in turmoil ever since the team traded away star player Charles Barkley. The 1994-1995 season was no different for the Sixers as they only managed to win 24 games, but Dana Barros was able to average 20 points a game on the season.
Despite Barros's unlikely 50 point outburst the Houston Rockets still slaughtered the 76ers by nearly 30 points. Barros made 21 of his 26 shots and only made two free throws in the game, and after his surprising offensive year Barros never averaged more than 13 points a game for a season.
9 Tracy Murray
Tracy Murray spent the majority of his career as a player who started games sitting on the bench. He only had scoring averages of above 10 points a game in four seasons, and no one could have predicted that he would score 50 points in a game. The Wizards were not a great team during the 1997-98 NBA season, and Murray’s 50 point night may have been the highlight of the season for the team as a whole. Murray was never a volume shooter but against the Golden State Warriors he shot the ball 29 times en route to getting a career high in points. The scoring of Murray was an entertaining feat, but his teammate Rod Strickland arguably had a better game by dishing 20 assists in the game.
8 Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf
Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf was the third overall pick in the 1990 NBA draft, and the Denver Nuggets thought they were getting a superstar to help resurrect their team to contender status. Sure, 14 points a game is a decent career scoring average, but Abdul-Rauf never managed to average over 20 points a game in a season throughout his nine years in the NBA.
On December 8, 1995 Abdul-Rauf scored a career-high 51 points. The shocking part about his 51 point game was that he did it against a great Utah Jazz team who had superstars in John Stockton and Karl Malone. Disappointingly Abdul-Rauf only played in 147 more NBA games after the 1995-96 season, and he never could get over the hump of being an elite NBA player.
7 Rashard Lewis
Rashard Lewis was mostly known for his ability to hit the three pointer during his time in the NBA, and he was good enough to be named an All-Star twice. He was never the best player on any of the teams he played for. His career average of 15 points a game is slightly above average, and on October 31, 2003 Rashard Lewis was scary good against the Los Angeles Clippers. Lewis accumulated 50 points in a Halloween night win in Saitama, Japan. Most of his scoring came from behind the three point line, and still to this day Rashard Lewis holds the record for the most three pointers made in Seattle SuperSonics history. Lewis was always a second or third fiddle on the teams he played on, but on October 31, 2003 he was the number one option.
6 Walt Wesley
Walt Wesley had a bit of an underwhelming career. The Cincinnati Royals drafted Wesley with the sixth pick overall in the 1966 draft, and thought they were getting a starting caliber center. The Royals did not expect that they would be getting a backup this high in the draft, and it took him five years to crack the starting lineup for an NBA team. That NBA team was the Cleveland Cavaliers, and he would go on to have his best season as a professional in his first year on the team.
On February 19, 1971, Wesley scored 50 points against the Cincinnati Royals his former team. Wesley went on to be a bit of a journeyman for the rest of his NBA career only posting career averages of eight points and five rebounds per game.
5 Corey Brewer
Corey Brewer has carved out a career in the NBA as a role player. The expectations were never high for him despite coming from a dominant University of Florida team that won back to back NCAA titles in 2006 and 2007, and his career average of less than 10 points per game show why he was not expected to be a dominant NBA player.
On April 11, 2014, Brewer showed signs of dominance by scoring 51 points for a Minnesota Timberwolves team that was bound for another year without the postseason. This was especially surprising due to the fact that Brewer only averaged 12 points a game on the season, and his 51 point performance tied him for the Timberwolves franchise scoring record in a game at the time.
4 Freeman Williams
Freeman Williams had an above average scoring average of over 14 points per game, but he only played in the NBA for six seasons because his production in his final two years had diminished greatly. On January 19, 1980 Williams was able to score 51 points as a member of the San Diego Clippers. Williams was accustomed to scoring coming out of college where he led the NCAA in scoring for two consecutive years in 1977 and 1978. After Williams was traded away by the Clippers in 1982 he struggled to score in double digits for the three other teams he played for, and after the 1985-86 NBA season with the Washington Bullets he never made it back to the NBA. Williams played in minor leagues in the United States and also played abroad in the Philippines.
3 Brandon Jennings
Brandon Jennings seemed poised to become a star in the NBA after a highly successful rookie season. In his first game of his NBA career he nearly accumulated a triple double falling one rebound and one assist short of the feat, and his most impressive performance came in a game against the Golden State Warriors two weeks into his NBA career when he scored 55 points. Jennings broke the Bucks rookie scoring record which was previously held by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
A 29 point third quarter propelled Jennings to this first and only 50 plus point game, and the 55 points he scored all came in the final three quarters after Jennings went scoreless in the first quarter. The past two seasons have been rough for the once thought of future star in the league. His scoring average has dipped below 10 points per game, and now he has been relegated to a bench player.
2 Vernon Maxwell
Vernon Maxwell had a somewhat successful career after being drafted late in the second round and winning two NBA championships with the Houston Rockets. Maxwell only averaged slightly under 13 points a game for his career, but he accomplished something that only eight players have done in NBA history when he scored over 30 points in a quarter en route to 51 points total against the Cleveland Cavaliers on January 26, 1991. Maxwell was a volume three point shooter throughout his lengthy tenure in the NBA. His shooting allowed him to stay in the NBA for over 10 years, and from 1991 to 1993 he held the NBA record for most three pointers made in a season. After Maxwell’s successful run with the Houston Rockets he became a journeyman and played for eight teams total during his time in the league.
1 Terrence Ross
Terrence Ross had so much potential coming into the NBA, and his game had a lot of similar features of his former teammate DeMar DeRozan. Sadly his two biggest accomplishments in the NBA have been winning the slam dunk contest in 2013 and scoring 50 plus points in a game the following season. Ross scored 51 points against the Los Angeles Clippers, and tied Vince Carter for the franchise record for most points in a single game. The 10 three pointers made by Ross are what allowed him to get to 51 points, and he became the first player in NBA history to score 50 plus points after averaging less than 10 points per game on the season. The Toronto Raptors just recently gave up on Ross ever reaching his full potential by trading him away to the Orlando Magic.