How common is a 30 PPG season in the NBA?

MVP favorite James Harden finished the 2017-18 season averaging over 30 points-per-game (PPG). This poses the question, how common a feat has this been throughout NBA history? The information in this article was all compiled using Pro Basketball Reference’s player season finder and only counts qualified players (those who played a minimum number of games).

The first season where a player averaged at least 30 PPG in a season took place in 1959-60. That year saw Wilt Chamberlain (37.6) and Jack Twyman (31.2) be the first to accomplish the milestone. Since then it has happened 65 more times, with Harden being the latest.

A history of 30 PPG seasons 

Below is a timeline of how many players have averaged at least 30 PPG in a season since the first occurrence back in the 1959-60 season.

Seasons with 30 PPG

Below is a chart of the players with the most 30 PPG seasons. As you can see, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, and Oscar Robertson combined have accounted for 21 of the 67 times a player has averaged at least 30 PPG in a season.

Players 30 PPG

*Dominique is Dominique Wilkens.

The average age of a player when they have reached the 30 PPG milestone is 25.88. The two youngest players to average 30 PPG are LeBron James and Kevin Durant. The only players to average 30 PPG being 30 or older are Rick Barry (30), Allen Iverson (30), Jerry West (31) and Michael Jordan (32).

30 PPG age

Best statistical numbers for 30 PPG seasons

Finally, let’s take a look at the best statistical numbers put up in a season where a player has averaged at least 30 PPG.

Most points per game Wilt Chamberlain: 50.4 1961-62
Most made 2pt field goals per game Wilt Chamberlain: 20.0 1961-62
Most made 3pt field goals Stephen Curry: 5.1 2015-16
Most made free throws per game Jerry West: 10.6 1965-66
Most rebounds per game Wilt Chamberlian: 27.2 1960-61
Most assists per game Oscar Robertson: 11.5 1964-65
Most steals per game Michael Jordan: 3.2 1987-88
Most blocks per game Bob McAdoo: 3.3 1973-74
Least turnovers per game Michael Jordan: 3.0 1989-90
Least personal fouls per game Wilt Chamberlian: 1.5 1961-62
Highest field goal percentage Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 57.7% 1970-71
Highest three-point percentage Stephen Curry: 45.4% 2015-16
Highest free throw percentage Stephen Curry: 90.8% 2015-16
Highest effective field-goal percentage Stephen Curry: 63.0% 2015-16
Highest true shooting percentage Stephen Curry: 66.9% 2015-16

*Three-pointers were not implemented in the NBA until the 1979-80 season
*Blocks and steals were not kept track of until the 1973-74 season

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Notes and Info:

Featured Image: “Michael Jordan” by Kip-koech is licensed under CC BY-2.0

All info is from Pro Basketball Reference

Charts and graphs made using Google Spreadsheet on Google Docs

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