As recently as a decade ago, the NBA rarely produced even half as many 50-point games as it does now, as the graph below shows:
It isn’t just that more 50-point games are happening, though. Yes, its 18 total 50-point games were monumental at the time, but that total said little about the game at large because Kobe Bryant had 10 of them by himself. After all, require a degree of efficiency that is system-proof, so it is not as though players are taking more shots in those games than they used. For a single game, under all of the conditions we’ve detailed, they can be reasonable facsimiles of their more famous teammates, and without anyone to fill in their supporting roles once they’ve ascended to temporary superstar status, they occasionally even manage to take more shots than the superior teammates they are replacing.