It’s easy to lose track of the NBA record book. In most cases, we’re dealing with big four- and five-digit numbers, and unlike a game like baseball, where statistics tend to dominate, basketball numbers are more about averages. I can’t tell you how many points Michael Jordan scored in his career off the top of my head…but I can tell you he scored about 30 points per game.
So to make the process easier, let’s dive into the NBA record book before the new year. Who will make history in 2023? One player stands out, but there are many milestones to be achieved soon.
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In case you’ve been living under a rock, LeBron James is very close to breaking the all-time NBA record. As of this writing, he is 629 points behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time record of 38,387. At his current rate of 27.8 points per game, he is 23 games away from making history. Barring injuries, that would have allowed him to break the record on Feb. 9 against the Milwaukee Bucks.
This is the biggest record LeBron will break this season, but he will climb the ladder in several other important areas. James currently ranks sixth in NBA history with 10,211 assists. At the end of the season, he will be in fourth place, passing Mark Jackson (10,334) and Steve Nash (10,335). He’s also 10th in steals, but has a good chance of catching ninth-ranked Clyde Drexler, who is 43 years old in steals ahead of him.
If you look at the long term here, the greatest record left for James to chase is the all-time scoring record. So far in his career, he has won 904 regular season games. Abdul-Jabbar currently holds the record at 1,074. James has ways to catch him, but he needs just 13 wins to pass Dirk Nowitzki for sixth. If you include the playoffs, James is already fourth with 1,078 wins. Abdul-Jabbar has 1,228, so James has ways to catch him, and he probably won’t reach third place Robert Parish (1,121) this year.
All others: Details
We probably won’t see 10 new riches this year… but there’s a small chance we will. Carmelo Anthony is 307 points behind Shaquille O’Neal for 10th in NBA history. The problem, as you can imagine, is that Anthony is currently inactive. Maybe that is changing. If it doesn’t, Anthony remains the No. 11.
Who is unstable? Kevin Durant. With 26,484 points, he ranks 19th in NBA history. An achievable goal for this season would be Dan Issel at 27,482. He is ranked 12th and his ABA scores are included. Durant’s Nets have 49 games left this season. Durant will need to average 20.4 points per game if he plays in all of them to catch up to Issel. Although there are some modified games that are built for average, he should get there comfortably as long as he stays healthy. Then, in the coming seasons, you will climb the board.
Things get worse after Durant. James Harden and Russell Westbrook are both running above 30. Chris Paul, Stephen Curry and DeMar DeRozan are both in their 40s. Curry has a huge gap on this list, but for now, Durant and James are the players to watch.
Everyone else: Help
James tries to get to the top five to help. Paul is already there. He is currently third with 11,159 assists, but will probably stay there this year. He’ll eventually catch Jason Kidd at 12,091, but for now, third is where he’ll stay, and depending on how long they both play, he’ll be competing with James for of the next few years. No one caught John Stockton with a ridiculous 15,806 assists.
Westbrook is just 130 assists shy of the top 10, and will likely pass Gary Payton at some point in the next month or two. Harden is 44 assists shy of the top 25, but the problem is that he is chasing an active player in Kyle Lowry. Both can secure a spot in the top 25 by surpassing Kevin Johnson at 6,711. Both will do this at some point in the spring. No other active players are in the top 40.
All others: Rebounds
Remember when the center position was dealing with such a drought that DeAndre Jordan was named to the All-NBA Team? That drought had a huge impact on the record books. As of now, LeBron James is 40th in all-time with 10,412 rebounds. He is an active player who is at the highest level on the rising leaderboard. Jordan himself is behind 43rd. The exception to this historic drought is Dwight Howard, who currently ranks 11th, but while he’s currently playing in Taiwan, he probably won’t crack the top 10 again.
The Boston Celtics have the fewest losses in the NBA, but they have already lost their 10th game of the season, ensuring that the 73-9 Warriors will hold the regular season winning record. for another year. However, the record Boston can break is an offensive record. At 117.2 points per 100 possessions, the Celtics are behind the 2021 Nets at 117.3 for the most efficient offense in NBA history. However, it should be noted that this is a record that changes hands frequently. The Nets themselves broke the record set a year earlier by the 2020 Mavericks.
Likewise, the Golden State Warriors are on pace to break the record for most 3-pointers made in a season. They are on track to make 1,327 this year. The record is 1,323, set by the Rockets in 2019. However, with Stephen Curry now injured, the Warriors probably won’t touch Houston’s record. They will have to wait a year or two until they can stay healthy.
If you’re looking for a shooting record that will be broken this season, I invite you to watch the greatest mid-range team in NBA history: the Brooklyn Nets. With almost half of the season in the books, the Nets are shooting an astounding 51.3 percent from mid-range. The NBA record is 47.4 percent by the 2021 Phoenix Suns. The Celtics, at 47.9 percent, also have a chance to break Phoenix’s record, but it will be for naught if the Nets continue to shoot like they did.