Predicting the Next 50-Point Game
Scoring 50 points is - usually - a pretty rare accomplishment for an NBA player. And yet somehow we’ve seen three already in this young season.Blake Griffin, Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson all notched 50-point games, with Klay turning in an unfathomable 14 threes in the process.
Perhaps this is a symptom of the crazy offensive clip teams have been operating at. Or maybe it's simply a fun and exciting anomaly. Either way, we can have some fun predicting who might turn in the next 50-pointer.
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After an awkward year of trade rumors and failed expectations, Kemba Walker has been having himself quite a season. Now in his 7th year in the league, he’s a seasoned veteran and a true leader.
More importantly for our purposes, Kemba is averaging 31.7 points per game, including 4.6 threes a contest. He also has the third highest usage rate of any player in the Association at the time of this writing.
To further sweeten the deal, Kemba already has a 50-point game on his resume. He dropped 52 against the Jazz in January of 2016.
The Hornets aren’t exactly bursting at the seams with offensive talent and personality. He’s the alpha of the team, and he certainly knows how to take over games. I can imagine a game against the Hawks or Knicks or any club with a young point guard where Kemba simply goes off.
Ok, I’m showing a bit of Boston bias here, but there’s some reason behind this choice.
We know Tatum can score with the best of them. At just 20 years old, he’s proven a lethal offensive weapon. Taco Jay can drive to the rim just as happily as he can bury a three. This is critical when pursuing a 50-point outing.
Here’s Tatum a few nights ago where he simply eviscerated the Knicks. An interesting thing happens at the end. A team full of multi-time All-Stars in Al Horford, Gordon Hayward, and Kyrie Irving are quite content to give the second-year player the final shot.
Tatum, of course, delivered down the stretch in New York. It’s why he’s another player to keep an eye on. He has the talent and he’ll apparently get the opportunity if he gets hot enough.
The Beard has nine 50-point games already, so this is maybe a safe pick. That said, the Rockets are a confusing 1-4 right now, so maybe it’s not so simple.
Therein lies my reasoning for selecting Harden. Houston is probably a very frustrated team. Harden himself is working his way back from a hamstring injury.
The Rockets don’t need to conquer the West this season, and their defense is decidedly underrated. All the same, things begin and end with Harden.
Perhaps a cathartic offensive explosion is just what the doctor ordered. It’d be perfect for helping re-establish the mojo that fueled Houston’s 65 win regular season campaign next year. A mojo that hinged on Harden’s MVP-level scoring.
Harden has nine 50-point games on his resume, the ninth most in NBA history. But the next guy on our list? He has 11 such games.
Another team that needs a swift kick in the butt would be the Los Angeles Lakers. Just how good - or how bad - this team can be is a little unclear. Even more than the Rockets, the fate of the Lakers ultimately resides in one singular player.
LeBron is a winner, a champion. I’m not sure how long he’ll be able to put up with such a messy and disjointed Lakers team. Even if the plan is to punt on this season, so much disorganized losing is sure to irk the King.
As such, it’s not hard to imagine LeBron going absolutely ballistic in a fit of rage. As he recently noted, James isn’t a pure “scorer” by most definitions, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t dominate his way to 50-points.
The Lakers have a pretty manageable schedule in the coming weeks, but if LA continues to struggle, LeBron could be due for a big night.
Any of the Warriors
Were I a betting man, I’d put my faith in Golden State to produce the next 50-point game. Maybe Kevin Durant will be jealous of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, both of whom have already netted such a big outing. At the same time, either Splash Brother is just as likely to get hot yet again.
Guarding the Warriors is next to impossible. Double-teams result in a punishingly open shooter, while there’s immense talent when scoring one-on-one. During the long NBA season, it feels inevitable that Golden State will meet a defense wholey unready for the task at hand.
On those nights, the Dubs usually turn in something special. That includes incredible team efforts as well as individual showcases. And how can you stop a potential 50-point performance when half the team is capable of such a feat?
The other guys on this list, as well as many unnamed players could surely explode for the next 50-point game in the NBA. However as has been the case for many years, when in doubt, pick the Warriors.