For as great as these players were at scoring, they never led the league in per game average at any time in their career. The players on this list are surprising.
5. David Thompson
One of the games early high flyers, Thompson could really fill it up. In his lone ABA season he averaged 26.0 ppg (third best) before moving to the NBA and averaging 25.9 in 1976-77 (fourth most) and 27.1 in 1977-78 (second most).
4. Carmelo Anthony
With a 2012-13 average of 28.7, Anthony is currently second in the league in scoring behind Kevin Durant by a mere .4 points per game. Anthony has been one of the most consistent scorers in the league since he was drafted nine years ago. Melo’s his career average is 24.9 and he has finished second in scoring once with 28.9 in 2006-07 and third in 2009-10.
3. Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk and his gaudy 22.7 career average has never been higher in a single season than it was in 2005-06 when he scored 26.6 a game, but that was only seventh best in the league. He has finished in fourth a couple of times, but other than that, he has never finished higher that sixth in any single season, which is also where he ranks amongst current players in terms of highest ppg.
2. Karl Malone
If he wanted to lead the league in scoring, Malone picked the wrong time to be a productive scorer. The Mailman finished second an amazing five times, third three times, fourth twice and fifth three times. All of those were over a span of 13 consecutive years. His career average of 25.0 is 12th best in NBA history.
1. Elgin Baylor
Even though Baylor is fourth all-time in per game scoring average (27.3) he never lead the league in scoring. He finished second in scoring two separate times (both behind Wilt Chamberlain) with impressive averages of 34.8 in 1960-61 and 34.0 in 1962-63. He also finished third twice and fourth four separate times. For as prolific as Baylor was in all aspects of the game (13.5 rpg, 4.3 apg), his scoring production is incredible.