The name of the game in basketball? Getting the ball in the basket. There's a reason the best scorers garner most of the accolades. Even the best defenders can only slow these guys down. These are the top five pure scorers in the league, according to our NBA crew: Jovan Buha, D.J. Foster, Fred Katz, Michael Pina and Brett Pollakoff. Come back each weekday between now and the start of the NBA season for a new top five.
NBAE/Getty ImagesBill Baptist
5. Russell Westbrook, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder
This is not a criticism of Westbrook's playmaking ability. He's one of the best passers in the league, too. When he wants to be a scorer, though, there's hardly anyone in the league who can stop the Thunder point guard. The one hole in his offensive game is his 3-point shooting -- but that doesn't stop him from launching on the break if he feels so inclined. Perhaps Westbrook isn't always as efficient as he could be, but the unpredictability in his offensive game is what makes him so great overall.
Getty ImagesRocky Widner
4. Stephen Curry, PG, Golden State Warriors
How soon after Curry crosses halfcourt would you have your defense pick him up if you were a head coach? Immediately? Sooner? Curry bends opposing defenses in ways unseen in NBA history. The only real knock against the MVP as a scorer is that he doesn't get to the line very often -- although when he does, he's a career 90 percent shooter. There's no such thing as a bad shot for Curry. The only thing slowing him down when it comes to filling up the basket is his knack for getting teammates involved. If he wanted to knock down 10 3-pointers a game, there's no reason to think it'd be out of the question.
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3. LeBron James, SF, Cleveland Cavaliers
James is the smartest, most selfless megastar to play a position other than point guard since Larry Bird. That partly explains why he's the hardest forward to stop in NBA history. Another reason? The guy can put the ball in the basket wherever he wants, whenever he wants. No one has ever been so swift and strong. There's no shot he can't make, and no attempt that sits beyond the reach of his imagination. James is 30 and ostensibly should be in decline, but the 2015-16 scoring title would be his if he were interested.
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2. James Harden, SG, Houston Rockets
Harden was second in the league in scoring a season ago behind only Westbrook, but his 27.4 points per game doesn’t begin to tell the story of his dominance. Harden can score in every way imaginable, and he posted those numbers while plenty of his teammates, including Dwight Howard, missed significant time due to injury. Not only did he lead the league in free throw attempts by a wide margin, but his league-leading 715 makes were more than Westbrook, who finished second in attempts, even attempted.
1. Kevin Durant, SF, Oklahoma City Thunder
There's only one question when it comes to Durant's ability to score, and that's his return to health. But if he's back at 100 percent, then 29 defenses around the league will have their hands full in 2015-16. Durant is devastating from 3-point range, outstanding at the rim and one of the league's best at drawing fouls. He lacks LeBron's bulk, but his unique combination of height, touch and a smooth handle makes Durant the league's best scorer -- and an annual candidate for MVP.