Milestone NBA Watch: LeBron James Set to Make History in 2023; Who else will go up in the record books?
It’s easy to lose sight of the NBA record book. In most cases, we’re dealing with huge four- and five-digit numbers, and unlike a sport like baseball, where raw numbers tend to dominate, basketball statistics are mostly based on averages. I can’t tell you how many points Michael Jordan scored in his leading career… but I can tell you that he averaged around 30 points per game.
So, to make the process a bit easier, let’s dig into the NBA record book ahead of the new year. Who will make history in 2023? One player stands out, but there are many milestones to be reached in the near future.
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In case you’ve been living under a rock, LeBron James is very, very close to breaking the all-time NBA scoring record. As of this writing, he is 629 points behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time record of 38,387. At his current pace of 27.8 points per game, he is 23 games away from making history. Barring injuries, that would allow him to break the record on February 9 against the milwaukee dollars.
That’s the biggest record LeBron is going to break this season, but he’s going to move up the ladder in several other key areas. James currently ranks sixth in NBA history with 10,211 assists. At the end of the season, he will likely rank fourth, passing Mark Jackson (10,334) and Steve Nash (10,335). He also ranks 10th in steals, but has a good chance to catch ninth-place Clyde Drexler, who is 43 steals ahead of him.
If you’re taking the longer view here, the biggest record James has left for chasing points is the all-time winning record. So far in his career, he has won 904 regular season games. Abdul-Jabbar is the current record holder with 1,074. James has a ways to go to catch up, but he needs just 13 wins to pass Dirk Nowitzki for sixth. If you include the playoffs, James already ranks fourth with 1,078 wins. Abdul-Jabbar has 1,228, so James also has a ways to go to catch up with him, and probably won’t reach third-place Robert Parish (1,121) this season.
Everyone else: Points
We probably won’t see any new top 10 scorers this season… but there’s a slim chance we can. Carmelo Anthony is just 307 points behind Shaquille O’Neal for 10th place in NBA history. The problem, as you probably guessed, is that Anthony is not currently employed. Maybe that will change. If not, Anthony is stuck in 11th place.
Anyone not stuck? Kevin Durant. With 26,484 points, he ranks 19th in NBA history. An achievable target for this season would be Dan Issel with 27,482. He is ranked 12th with his ABA points included. Durant’s networks He has 49 games left this season. Durant would need to average roughly 20.4 points per game if he played in all of them to get to Issel. Even with a few game losses built into the average, he should get there comfortably as long as he stays relatively healthy. Then, in future seasons, he will move up the rankings.
Things get slimmer after Durant. James Harden and Russell Westbrook are making top-30 runs. Chris Paul, Stephen Curry and DeMar DeRozan are all in their 40s. Curry has a chance to rank much higher on this list, but for now, Durant and James are the players to watch.
Everyone else: Assists
James is trying to get into the top five in assists. Paul is already there. He currently ranks third with 11,159 assists, but he’ll likely stay there this season. Eventually he’ll catch up with Jason Kidd at 12,091, but for now, he’ll sit in third place, and depending on how long the two play, he’ll likely compete with James for the position for years to come. No one is catching up to John Stockton with a ridiculous 15,806 assists.
Westbrook is just 130 assists out of the top 10, and it’s likely he’ll pass Gary Payton sometime in the next month or two. Harden is 44 assists out of the top 25, but the problem is he’s chasing an active player in Kyle Lowry. Both can guarantee entry into the top 25 by beating Kevin Johnson with 6,711. Both are likely to do this at some point during the season. No other active player is in the top 40.
Everyone else: rebounds
Remember when the center position was dealing with such a drought that DeAndre Jordan was named to an All-NBA team? Well, that drought had a pretty pronounced effect on the record books. Right now, LeBron James ranks 40th in history with 10,412 career rebounds from him. He is the highest ranked active player in the rebounding rankings. Jordan himself is right behind him at 43rd. The only exception to this historic rebounding drought is Dwight Howard, who currently sits at 11th, but since he’s playing in Taiwan right now, he’ll probably never make it to the top. 10.
The boston celtics they have the fewest losses in the NBA, but have already lost their 10th game this season, guaranteeing a 73-9 Warriors he will hold the record for regular season wins for another year. One record that Boston could break, however, is the offensive efficiency record. At 117.2 points per 100 possessions, the Celtics trail just behind the 2021 Nets at 117.3 as 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 a record set just a year earlier by 2020. Mavericks.
Similarly, the Golden State Warriors are on pace to break the record for most 3-pointers in a season. They are on pace to make 1,327 this season. The record is 1,323, which was set by the 2019 rockets. However, with Stephen Curry now injured, the Warriors probably won’t touch Houston’s record. They will only have to wait a year or two until they can stay healthy.
If you’re looking for a shooting record that will actually be broken this season, I encourage you to check out the greatest mid-range shooting team in NBA history: the Brooklyn Nets. With nearly half the season on the books, the Nets are shooting a staggering 51.3 percent at midrange. The NBA record is 47.4 percent for 2021 phoenix suns. The Celtics, at 47.9 percent, also have a chance to break Phoenix’s record, but it will all be for naught if the Nets keep shooting as well as they have.