Will There Be Movement on the All-Time Leaderboards During the 2014-15 NBA Season?
It’s still another month until most training camps start and almost two until the first regular season game kicks off the 2014-15 season.
Depressing, I know.
There are plenty of ways to kill time during the slowest period of the NBA news cycle and here’s one of them:
Let’s look at which players will have a chance to move up the all-time leaderboards this season and how likely are they to do it. For our purposes, we’ll stick mostly to movement within the top 10, although we’ll make note of those creeping up the top 20.
9. Kevin Garnett (1,377)
This season, Garnett will have the chance to reach fifth in games played by passing Clifford Robinson (1380), Reggie Miller (1,389), Jason Kidd (1,391), and Kevin Willis (1,424). In order to pass Willis for fifth all-time, Garnett will only need to play in 48 games. Garnett’s career may be losing steam, but he played in 54 contests last season and will surely have the chance to do so again.
14. Ray Allen (13,000)
5. Kevin Garnett (48,910)
Naturally, being an all-time leader in games played means that Garnett is on the board for minutes played as well. If he matches his minute total from last season (1,109, achieved at 20.5 per game over 54), that would put him at 50,019 and ahead of Elvin Hayes (50,000). He’d also be fairly close to Jason Kidd (50,111) at third place. If he can finish the season having played 60 games at roughly 20.0 minutes per, he has a shot to make that mark this year.
Field Goals Made
6. Kobe Bryant (11,055)
There’s no chance Kobe reaches Michael Jordan at fourth this season (12,192), but he’s only 276 makes away from climbing over former teammate Shaquille O’Neal for fifth place. If he makes his return to the court still hitting roughly 10 shots a game, he could reach this milestone early in the new year (approximately 28 games at 10 made shots per contest).
11. Kevin Garnett (10,308)
14. Tim Duncan (9,651)
18. Dirk Nowitzki (9,407)
Three-Point Field Goals Made
There are currently six active players in the top 10 for most three-pointers made all-time in the NBA.
1. Ray Allen (2,973)
Allen sits at the top of this list by a fairly wide margin. To give you an idea of how long his mark will take to be broken, Stephen Curry set the single-season record in threes made with 272 in 2012-13 and he would still need eight complete seasons at that peak level to reach Allen.
4. Jason Terry (1,950)
Jet isn’t likely to see much time for the Rockets this season, but he could pass Jason Kidd (1,988) for third place on the list if he hits just 39 long balls.
5. Paul Pierce (1,935)
Pierce is close behind Terry and more likely to be moving up this year. He hit 112 shots from deep last season and will have the chance to leapfrog Terry and Kidd for third place if he manages to hit around the same number with the Wizards this year and at least 16 more than Terry.
6. Chauncey Billups (1,830)
Billups is attempting to play for the Cavaliers next season, but he’s unlikely to move up this list. He's currently 105 treys behind Pierce, a number which he hasn’t hit in a single season since 2010-11.
7. Vince Carter (1,809)
Vinsanity, on the other hand, is just behind Billups and could very well surpass him in his first year with the Grizzlies. In fact, if Carter hits close to the 146 treys he did last year, and Terry and Billups don’t do too much, he has a chance to move up into the top five.
8. Rashard Lewis (1,787)
Lewis probably won’t change positions this season. He recently had a one-year deal with Dallas voided due to a knee surgery and his likelihood of playing this season at all is in question.
Free Throws Made
3. Kobe Bryant (7,950)
Kobe isn’t likely to surpass Moses Malone for second (8,531) on this list this season. The difference of 581 free throws is a number Kobe hasn’t hit since 2007-08.
10. Paul Pierce (6,690)
If Pierce hits 256 free throws again like he did last season, he would move into seventh here, ahead of Adrian Dantley (6,832), Dolph Shayes (6,712), and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (6,712).
11. Dirk Nowitzki (6,501)
10. Kevin Garnett (14,201)
Garnett only needs 41 more boards to pass Walt Bellamy (14,241) for ninth and 264 to pass Nate Thurmond (14,464) for eighth. He grabbed 358 boards last season, so that’s the most likely peak for this year. Beyond that, he’ll need 515 to pass Robert Parrish (14,715) for seventh and 768 to pass Karl Malone (14,968) for sixth. Garnett's Hall-of-Fame career is grinding to a halt, so even passing Parrish and Malone is starting to looking unlikely at this point. Even more untouchable is Moses Malone at fifth with 16,212 rebounds. That’s a difference of over 2,000 boards - roughly about as many as Garnett has totalled in his last four seasons combined.
11. Tim Duncan (13,940)
3. Steve Nash (10,335)
Nash is likely to finish his career in this position. He would need 1,757 more dimes to pass Jason Kidd for second, which would basically require him putting up career highs over the next two seasons. Considering that this is almost certainly his last season and his effectiveness at age 40 is highly in question, that is not likely to happen.
9. Andre Miller (8,153)
Miller is also likely to stay put here, considering Gary Payton (8,966) is a full 813 helpers away; a total that’s comparable to Miller’s last four seasons combined.
No one in the top 10.
15. Kobe Bryant (1,835)
16. Kevin Garnett (1,785)
17. Shawn Marion (1,732)
7. Tim Duncan
If Duncan can swat 104 or more shots this season, he would pass Patrick Ewing for sixth (2,894). If he can turn away 164 shots, he’d climb over former teammate David Robinson for fifth (2,954). Considering he totalled 139 blocks last year and 183 the year before, both of those achievements should be within reach this season.
18. Kevin Garnett (2,010)
20. Jermaine O’Neal (1,820)
4. Kobe Bryant (31,700)
Kobe is a mere 592 points away from the measuring stick which he has spent his whole career held up against; Michael Jordan (32,292). Coming off two major leg-related injuries, Kobe’s not likely to reach the same scoring heights he’s been known for, but even at 20.0 points per game, he’d reach this milestone in roughly 30 games. If he manages to maintain any semblance of health this year, third place is his for the taking. Reaching Karl Malone at second (36,928), however, might take more resolve than what even Kobe has left in the twilight of his career.
10. Dirk Nowitzki (26,786)
The 1,735 that Dirk posted last year was his highest total in four seasons and a repeat performance close to that level could lead to him passing Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946), Elvin Hayes (27,313), and Moses Malone (27,409) for seventh place. Even Shaquille O’Neal at sixth (28,596) is within striking distance this season and certainly over the next two. Dirk may never reach Wilt Chamberlain levels at fifth(31,419), but the chance at sixth place on the all-time scoring list will only lend credence to Nowitzki being considered the best NBA player ever born outside the USA.
14. Kevin Garnett (25,626)
18. Paul Pierce (25,031)
19. Tim Duncan (24,904)