The time for the 2021 NBA playoffs has finally come. Most teams expect their best players to deliver big performances over the coming days, when it matters the most. Defending NBA champions the LA Lakers fought their way to the playoffs after defeating Stephen Curry’s Golden State Warriors. Highlights of the game included LeBron James rising above Curry to score a clutch 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.
Now in his 18th season, James has failed to make it to the playoffs only once since 2006, and has won the championship 4 times. During this run he has amassed an enormous number of points. It is not hard to guess that he is in the top 5, but in whose company does LeBron remain, in the top 5 of the list? Let's have a look:
NBA players with most points in the playoffs
The play-in tournament ended with the Memphis Grizzlies producing a shock win over the Warriors to clinch the 8th seed from the West. Later today, the Miami Heat will take on the Milwaukee Bucks to kick off the playoffs this year. In this article, we look at the five players who have registered the most points during the playoffs in the history of the NBA.
#5 Shaquille O’Neal
The LA Lakers’ legend won a total of 4 NBA championships and was the finals MVP 3 times. He was a 2-time scoring champion and came second multiple times in some of the closest races to scoring a title ever seen. Shaquille O’Neal played in the playoffs in 17 of the 20 seasons that he was in the NBA for, and finished with 5250 points in 216 NBA matches.
O’Neal’s prolific scoring can be estimated from the fact that he only got around 52% of the total free throws he attempted on target throughout his career. He was the Orlando Magic’s first pick in the 1992 NBA draft and had his best years playing for the Lakers.
#4 Kobe Bryant
Late Lakers legend and Shaquille O’Neal’s long-term teammate Kobe Bryant makes the list for 4th spot. The mercurial shooting-guard was a huge influence on both ends of the court and led the Lakers to a total of 5 championships.
Bryant played a total of 220 playoff games throughout his career and scored a total of 5640 points. Kobe was in truth picked by the Charlotte Hornets as the 13th overall pick of the 1996 NBA draft, and was then traded to the Lakers. Mamba ended up building one of the best-remembered legacies of the NBA, and averaged 25.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1,4 steals per game in the playoffs.
#3 Kareem-Abdul Jabbar
Another LA Lakers legend, Kareem-Abdul Jabbar won 5 of his 6 NBA championships playing for the LA Lakers. He played six seasons for the Milwaukee Bucks before being traded to the LA Lakers, and only failed to feature in the playoffs 3 times in 20 seasons.
Kareem-Abdul Jabbar finished his NBA career with 5762 points in 237 matches. The commanding center averaged a double-double throughout his career and had 24.3 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.4 blocks, a steal and 3.2 assists per game in the playoffs.
#2 Michael Jordan
One of the greatest players of all time, Michael Jordan follows LeBron James on the list for the most points during the NBA playoffs. The 6-time champion and 14-time All-Star played in the NBA for a total of 15 seasons. Jordan led the Bulls to the playoffs 13 times in 13 seasons and played a total of 179 playoff matches.
He averaged a whopping 33.4 points in the playoffs and finished with a career total of 5987 playoff points. Jordan played the least number of playoff matches among the players on the list, won most NBA titles, and also produced 6.4 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.1 steals per game in the playoffs.
#1 LeBron James
Much has been said about LeBron James’ scoring record of late, with the NBA superstar himself claiming that he is often underestimated for his scoring proficiency. Regardless, James is the only active player on the list and has already produced 7491 points during the playoffs.
That record will only get better as the 2021 NBA playoffs begin later today. As far as statistics are concerned, LeBron is at his very best during the playoffs and has averaged 28.8 points in the 260 playoff games he has featured in. James has also been the best playmaker on his teams, and might as well become the first player to breach the 10,000-point mark in the NBA playoffs.