I think it’s safe to say that the NBA has transformed into a game of offense. The days of needing hard nosed defense to be a star in the league have long since passed us, as flashy moves to the bucket are by far more coveted than the ability to shut down an opposing player.
That has led to an increase of players around the league who are known for their elite scoring abilities, a lot of times deservedly so. Then there are those players who are known as scorers, but their reputation does not match their efficiency. Volume shooters, ball hogs, shot chuckers, these guys can light up the scoreboard, but at the expense of their team’s overall offensive efficiency.
This is not to take away from their abilities as scorers, as everyone on this list does have offensive talent and can be a real weapon when they get hot. But these players often overrated their ability to score, and are heavily responsible for most of their team’s cold streaks due to their need to take every shot possible. Here are the five most overrated scorers in the NBA, an NBA firing squad that should probably leave a few in the clip instead of spraying rounds in hopes of hitting something.
5. Monta Ellis, SG, Dallas Mavericks
At 20 points per game with 16 shots taken per game, Monta Ellis is the definition of a volume shooter. His field goal percentage is at a very respectable .469%, but the fact is he takes too many shots to get to his scoring totals. His shot total is down a bit from past seasons, but the fact remains that he puts the ball up too much to only be scoring 20 points a game.
4. JR Smith, SG, New York Knicks
The only reason JR Smith is not higher on this list is because he is the only non starter. JR Smith can do one thing, and that is score some points, which is why he has never been a trusted starter in the NBA.
Smith not only was awarded with a nice contract this offseason after scoring a career high 18 points per game, he also was able to get his brother a job in the NBA despite the younger Smith debatably not even being worthy of a D-League roster spot. Smith has thanked the Knicks with a career low .333 field goal percentage and only 11 points scored per game despite seeing the floor over 30 minutes a game.
The electrifying but streaky scorer’s reputation is far exceeding his production, and is continuing to show that his Sixth Man of the Year season may have been more of a flash in the pan than a step forward in the story of JR Smith.
3. Brandon Jennings, PG, Detroit Pistons
The best way to describe Brandon Jennings would be an enigma. The streaky pseudo star has gone on tears that have single handedly led his teams to major victories, followed by cold nights where he looks like a typical schoolyard ball hog.
His streaky shooting has led to a career field goal percentage of .394%, very pedestrian numbers for a point guard averaging a career 17 points per game compared to just six assists a game. His play has recently picked up in Detroit, but with Jennings it doesn’t seem to be a matter of if, but when his poor shot selection and ball hogging tendencies will come back to haunt him.
2. Rudy Gay, SF, Sacramento Kings
Everywhere Rudy Gay goes, he scores points. That’s a good thing, right? Not so fast. Even though the scorer puts up numbers when he is the focal point of the offense, every team he has left has been just as good on offense without him, perhaps even better. From the up and coming Memphis Grizzlies to the now surging Raptors, no team he’s been on seems to miss Gay’s scoring abilities.
While Gay’s talents as a scorer are undeniable, the offensive success teams have had without him is also undeniable. Gay is considered a star by many in the NBA primarily for his scoring abilities, and that label may be unwarranted given the trend of offensive success by teams he has left.
1. Carmelo Anthony, SF, New York Knicks
I know, I know. Carmelo Anthony is the best scorer in the NBA, a future Hall of Famer, and one of the top three players in the league. That’s fine and dandy. But let me ask you this, would you want a player with a field goal percentage of less than .450% putting up 20 shots a game? That is exactly what Anthony is doing this season, putting up over 20 shots a game and nailing a respectable but unspectacular .447% of them.
Anthony in the past may have been the best scorer in the NBA, but his production this season has left a bit to be desired. People still have him rated up there with Kevin Durants and Lebron James, and I don’t see it. Maybe Melo needs a change of scenery, or maybe he’s just not quite as good as we think he is.