Ranking the NBA Players Who Could Possibly Score 100 Points in One Game

Ben Shapiro@benshapironyc1 Analyst IIIApril 9, 2012

Ranking the NBA Players Who Could Possibly Score 100 Points in One Game

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    This is not a prediction that someone is going to score 100 points in a game. It's extremely unlikely to happen. 

    That being the case, if someone sent you a text or gave you a phone call that said; " Did you see who just scored 100 points in an NBA game!" Who are the most likely candidates to be that guy?

    On March 2, 1962 Wilt Chamberlain hit the century club. His Philadelphia Warriors beat the New York Knicks 162-147 in what was ultimately a preview of Mike D'Antoni's defense 50 years later. 

    All kidding aside, Chamberlain was unstoppable that night. He was unstoppable that season actually. It was the 1961-1962 season in which Chamberlain averaged 50.4 points and 25.7 rebounds per game. 

    The above statistic is even more unlikely to be matched than the 100 point game. Single game records are more approachable than season long ones. Especially when one considers that the highest single season points per game average since the 1962-1963 season is Michael Jordan's 1986-1987 mark of 37.1 points per game. 

    Still this is what makes sports fun. Who might possibly (on the right night, under the right set of circumstances, with the hot hand) be able to match Wilt's mark? 

    Four of the top five single game scoring marks of all-time are Wilt's. Kobe Bryant, who scored 81 points on January 22, 2006, has the second-highest single game in NBA history.  

1. Kobe Bryant

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    There will be those that say Kobe is past his prime, too old or had his shot and didn't make it. 

    They might be right, but then again, since he's already hit for 81 in a game, and the only other active NBA players to score 60 points in a game are Tracy McGrady and Gilbert Arenas, Kobe has to be given some leeway here.

    No one is going to score 100 points without nailing a ton of free throws and knocking down a bunch of three-pointers. Even Wilt, who was a career 51.1 percent free throw shooter, hit 28 of 32 the night he scored 100.

    Kobe is a career 83.8 percent free throw shooter. Those aren't Ray Allen, Larry Bird or Mark Price types of numbers, but they're plenty good enough to hit a ton of free throws on any night. Add in Kobe's all around versatile scoring package.Bryant can hit three-point shots, he can drive, he can finish, he can dunk and in recent years he's added a turnaround jumper and a nice array of low-post moves.

    His window is getting increasingly narrow and it appears that in the coming seasons his averages could start to drop off, but for one night, one game scoring heroics, he remains the league's premier 100-point candidate.  

2. Kevin Durant

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    Odds are if this is being written in a year or two then the number one guy is named Kevin Durant. 

    For a guy who is only 23 years old, he has already averaged over 30 points per game once. He accomplished that when he was 21; Kobe was 24 when he first pulled it off. 

    Durant's size allows him to shoot over even the most aggressive defenders. He can already play effective low-post offense and is an elite athlete as far as finishing at (or above) the rim. 

    His lanky, long build makes him slightly less effective at navigating heavy traffic on his way to the hoop when compared to Kobe, but it also adds a dimension to his scoring. Those long arms can stretch above defenses and get him to the rim without much effort.

    His single game high sits at 51 points, but his youth and athleticism coupled with his skill set make him an easy choice at number two. 

3. LeBron James

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    While guys like Kobe and Durant both have lanky builds, LeBron James offers a different type of challenge to would be defenders. 

    Built like an NFL tight end, James is an extremely physical and strong scoring threat. He can literally bully his way to the basket, and on nights when his outside shot is failing, he is about as unstoppable as any player in the league.

    The issue for LeBron has always been one of when and how to best attack his opponent. At times he shoots when it seems logical to drive, he passes when he should be aggressive and he barrels down the lane when it appears most advantageous for him to demonstrate patience.

    LeBron has as many if not more critics as anyone in basketball, but it's worth noting that after nearly nine NBA seasons, James is still only 27 years of age. That's not young by NBA standards, but it's not old to the point where he can't further refine and continue to enhance his game from both a physical and mental standpoint.

    Even James most ardent critics would have to begrudgingly admit that he's a tough guy to defend and a prolific scorer. 

4. Kevin Love

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    If you think Dirk Nowitzki is good then ask yourself how good he'd be if he were younger, a better rebounder and especially a better offensive rebounder.

    That's what Kevin Love is.

    Love is the league's second best rebounder and the league's second best offensive rebounder as well. At the young age of 23, he is averaging more rebounds per game and more offensive rebounds per game than Dirk Nowitzki has at any point in his 15-year NBA career.

    Love is also over 82 percent from the free throw line and 37.2 percent from three-point range.

    Not only can Love score from both inside and out, but his offensive rebounding skills allow him to generate points even on those occasions when he's not involved in an offensive possession.

    His low-post skills allow him to convert from numerous positions on the floor. Unlike other big men such as Blake Griffin or Dwight Howard, Love can't be defended by simply fouling him.

    Add in that he's the reigning NBA Three Point Shootout champ and you've got a serious scorer who can hurt an opponent regardless of where a team's defensive strengths lie.

    Love seems like a mix of Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin McHale. One is already in the Hall of Fame and the other has a spot waiting for him.   

5. Russell Westbrook

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    Russell Westbrook has his critics when it comes to his point guard skills. 

    Point guards are of course tasked with leading their teams on the court and distributing the basketball to their teammates.

    Westbrook who has a dazzling array of offensive skills is often criticized for utilizing them in lieu of passing the ball to his teammates. He does, after all, play the point guard position. Forget about the position or the team for a moment and then stop and think about Westbrook's accomplishments from a scoring perspective.

    On a team in which he is the second option, in a league with more talent at the point guard position than at any other time in its long glamorous history, Westbrook is a serious scoring threat. That's not to say it's what's best for his team, it's simply a matter of fact.

    Westbrook is in his fourth season and is only 23 years old. He is averaging 24.7 points per game and shooting 46.7 percent from the field. He also knocks down free throws with regularity (81.8 percent for his career). 

    Westbrook's greatest obstacles to ever putting up prolific points are his teammate Kevin Durant and his size which prevents him from being a consistent low-post scorer.  

    Nonetheless, Westbrook is an explosive athlete and he has an extremely aggressive scoring posture on the court. He's a very easy choice as a threat to drop 50 points, the next 50 would be a bit tougher though.