While writing my Step In The Lane Weekly article yesterday, I came across a new way to figure the top scorers in basketball, statistically. Specifically I figured looking at True Shooting Percentage (TS%) was the best way to judge an individual player’s scoring efficiency. I explain why this is the most effective scoring efficiency statistic here, but the gist of the statistic is to estimate points per scoring try and cut that number in half (so it looks more like a “percentage”). The statistic is extremely accurate (again more on that in the link above), and a statistic that literally measures the amount of points you score per scoring attempt seems like the best route to go when judging who the best scorer’s in the NBA are.
The only shortcoming is that, as a per possession type of statistic, TS% can fall prey to small sample sizes. For example, Samuel Dalembert and Tiago Splitter both rank top ten in TS% because they are not necessarily high usage player’s in their respective offenses. To combat this shortcoming I have decided to rank the top 25 scorers in basketball so far this season by taking the top ten TS% players that play at least 20 minutes per game, at least half of the most games played this season, and have a usage rate higher than 20% — which essentially means a player that takes up at least one-fifth of his team’s possession while he is on the court. So this narrows the amount of efficient scorers to players who either fit the role of a first, second, or high usage third option on offense, and high usage sixth men that are go to guys when they are on the court. Essentially these players are the top 25 scorer’s of player’s who are responsible for a large part of their team’s offense. So without further ado, here are the top scorer’s in the NBA heading into last night’s games:
Noteworthy Players: Ryan Anderson would have ranked third if he had played enough games — he missed a large chunk of Pelicans games to open the season — and Wesley Matthews actually ranks first of players who meet both the games and minutes requirements. Matthews’ usage rate is only 17.3 percent (all stats from Basketball-Reference, by the way).
Final Note: If this is something readers would like to see weekly, let me know in the comments (even if you are a HoopsHabit/Fansided writer who would like to see). If I get enough of a response or in general if this article gets a lot of views I will probably do a weekly update of the top scorers.