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Dirk Nowitzki, One of the NBA's Best Scorers

Last night Dirk Nowitzki became the sixth player in NBA history to cross the 30,000 points in the regular season threshold. Of course, Dirk has also been a very efficient scorer across his NBA career, so let's run down how he look on the all-time list when we factor in missed shots.

A reminder, the metric we are using is "Net Points," which just factors in missed shots and missed free throws. The exact formula is

[Net Points] = [Points] - [Field Goal Attempts] - 0.44 * [Free Throw Attempts]

Here's how the top 20 players in NBA history in regards to Net Points look.

Name Points Net Points
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 38,387 5,986.2
Karl Malone 36,928 4,915.3
Reggie Miller 25,279 4,688.6
Charles Barkley 23,757 4,349.1
Shaquille O'Neal 28,596 4,188.1
Adrian Dantley 21,613 4,119.6
Dirk Nowitzki 30,005 4,082.9
LeBron James 28,316 4,036.3
Michael Jordan 32,292 3,895.3
John Stockton 19,711 3,502.8
Artis Gilmore 15,579 3,471.1
Kevin Durant 17,873 3,392.0
Ray Allen 24,505 3,385.2
Moses Malone 27,409 3,304.4
Magic Johnson 17,707 3,182.0
Paul Pierce 26,316 3,155.0
Kobe Bryant 33,643 3,038.2
Steve Nash 17,387 3,006.0
Kevin McHale 17,335 2,997.2
David Robinson 20,790 2,960.6

Dirk will likely finish his career 7th in Net Points right in front of Michael Jordan! In regards to the 30,000 club, which has Kareem, Malone, MJ, Kobe, and Wilt, it turns out Dirk is actually the third highest in Net Points! In a sad note, Wilt doesn't even make top 20 in Net Points despite being an incredible scorer because he was that bad at free throws! Regardless, in a shock to no one, Dirk has been a damned good scorer. One more note. Let's look at the top players regarding Net Points from threes.

Player Position Points from Threes Net Points from Threes
Ray Allen 2.0 8,919 1,490
Kyle Korver 2.5 6,078 1,372
Stephen Curry 1.0 5,517 1,311
Reggie Miller 2.0 7,680 1,194
Steve Nash 1.1 5,055 1,116
Dale Ellis 2.4 5,157 891
Peja Stojakovic 2.9 5,280 888
Mike Miller 2.5 4,764 862
Jason Terry 1.5 6,660 813
Glen Rice 3.1 4,677 781
Chauncey Billups 1.2 5,490 765
Klay Thompson 2.3 3,777 762
Brent Barry 2.0 4,185 743
Rashard Lewis 3.6 5,361 736
J.J. Redick 1.9 3,663 702
Wesley Person 2.4 3,450 696
Allan Houston 2.1 3,915 668
Dirk Nowitzki 4.2 5,115 661
Dell Curry 2.0 3,735 637
Vince Carter 2.6 6,057 646

Dirk is 18th overall on the Net Points from threes list, which is a bit less impressive. However, a huge thing to note is he is the only player on this list that is classified entirely as a big. Dirk is the only power forward/center to crack the top 20 in terms of three-point prowess! The basic point is not only is Dirk one of the best scorers in NBA history; he has been one of the most efficient and most versatile! Good on ya Dirk!

Do you have some year cut-off for your data? I'm pretty sure Kareem scored about twice as many points as you have him listed for and there are several others that have the same issue (e.g. Artis Gilmore). If there is a cut-off, maybe they should be excluded from your sample.

Thanks for the catch! I fixed Artis/Moses and Kareem's Net Points but forgot to correct his points. Updated.
Off topic, but I'm curious--how much of the Warriors' 4th quarter problems is that they go to all small ball for the last ~6-9 minutes? They rest of the game they normally have Pachulia, McGee, or West in, but they almost never do towards the end. (I'm talking both with and without Durant). How of of the problem has to do with the centers?
I am just wondering how Wilt does not crack the top 20 yet Shaq is relatively high up there. Wasn't Shaq just as bad at free throws as Wilt was?

Shaq was ridiculous in efficiency. Hence while his FT shooting percentage was terrible (like Wilts) he is much more efficient. Completely different eras. And Wilt played in an era where a 10 year career was very impressive while Shaq played many more years than Wilt (though Wilt played more total minutes which is kind of shocking due to less number of years). Still it was common in Wilt's day for Centers to shoot under 50% (though he didn't except for his rookie year and one year where he shot 0.499). Shaq never shot under 50%.
Wilt did shoot .499 for the Warriors in '64-'65--before he was traded to the '76ers at the All-Star break; he finished the season at .513. It is surprising to me that a difference of Shaq's .582 to Wilt's .540 FG% is enough to drop Wilt out of the top 20, especially when the FT% difference was even less (.527 to .511).

I also love the radical differences in how many total points each player needed to produce their net points totals. Have the numbers for Artis Gilmore been double-checked? Wow!
Great article 'Dre!

Yes, Artis Gilmore was an elite scoring threat. If you incorporate his ABA career he is second all-time in Points Above Average.

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