For some franchises, one man fills up the stat sheet. Players like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant are icons for their respective franchises. However, when maneuvering through the career ranks, there is a player that slides into the top standings under the radar. Sometimes, history goes by and we forget about all-time greats.
When browsing through the all-time leaders, some recognizable names are No. 1 in a major statistical category. Some of these names might come to you as a shock. With that said, here are the most surprising record holders for each NBA franchise.
Atlanta Hawks – Mookie Blaylock (1,050 Three-Pointers)
When you think of the best shooters from downtown in Atlanta, you might think of Joe Johnson or Kyle Korver. However, it is Blaylock that is the only player in franchise history to make over 1,000 threes in his career. Blaylock was known as a lethal weapon from outside, but also made six All-Defensive teams too.
In 1997, Blaylock led the league in three-point attempts and was second in three-point field goals. He is also the franchise leader in three-point attempts (3,023) and steals (1,321). During the 1995-1996 season, he set the single-season record for three-point attempts (623) and makes (231. Trae Young is currently No. 10 on the three-point list. If he stays in town, he could be the No. 1 contender for the record.
Boston Celtics – Kendrick Perkins (56.3% Field Goal Percentage)
In Celtics history, Perkins owns the best field goal percentage, beating out the likes of Kevin McHale. Perkins played eight seasons for the franchise and was the starting center for the 2008 NBA Championship team. Perkins didn’t take a lot of shots in his career, averaging 2.6 makes out of 4.6 attempts, so the playing field could be uneven.
However, Perkins is a fan favorite. He was the team’s “enforcer” and known for not backing down from anybody. If anyone was going to hang around in the paint and get the job done, it was Perkins.
Brooklyn Nets – Brook Lopez (10,444 Points)
Lopez played for the Nets until 2017 and left as the all-time leading scorer. What makes the matter even more impressive is that he beat out Buck Williams by a mere four points. Williams finished his Nets career with 10,440 points.
While in Brooklyn, Lopez averaged over 20 points four times and over 19 points six times. He has since played for the Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks. Lopez has made just one All-Star (2013) team in his career.
Charlotte Hornets – Anthony Mason (7 Triple-Doubles)
Mason is the franchise leader with seven triple-doubles from 1996-2000. His best season came during the 1996-1997 season where he had career-highs in minutes (43.1), points (16.2), rebounds (11.2), and assists (5.4). That year he led the league in minutes and was an All-NBA Third Team selection.
LaMelo Ball recently picked up his first triple-double of his career at the age of 19. Could he one day take over this record?
Chicago Bulls – Kirk Hinrich (1,049 Three-Pointers)
Not even Michael Jordan could headline this record. Granted, Jordan ranks fourth all-time in this category but Hinrich is the only Bulls player to ever record over 1,000 three-pointers for the franchise. Hinrich played for the Bulls from 2003 to 2010 and 2012 to 2016.
Hinrich beat out the likes of Ben Gordon, Scottie Pippen, and Jordan for this title. He finished his career with a shooting percentage of 37.5%. During his first two seasons in the league, he averaged over 20 points in the playoffs.
Cleveland Cavaliers – Larry Nance (2.5 Blocks Per Game)
Nance played seven seasons for the Cavaliers and is one of three players to record over 1,000 blocks for the franchise. From 1986 to 1993, Nance averaged over 2.0 blocks, while in his 1991 season he averaged over 3.0 blocks for the franchise.
By the end of his Cavaliers career, Nance finished with 1,087 career blocks. The name you likely thought would have held this record, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, owns the second most. In the end, it was difficult finding a record that LeBron James didn’t own.
Dallas Mavericks – Michael Finley (39.7 Minutes Per Game)
Finley was one of the most durable players to ever set foot on a basketball court. Finley led the league in minutes played three times, all of which he did during his nine-year career in Dallas. He once finished with a stretch of 41.4, 42.2, and 42.0 minutes per game.
During that stretch, he averaged point totals of 21.5, 22.6, and 21.5. He played over 80 games eight times and over 69 games 12 times in his 15-year career. Considering Dirk Nowitzki owns nearly every career record, Finley earned this one.
Denver Nuggets – Nikola Jokic (46 Triple-Doubles)
Jokic is 25 years old and owns 46 triple-doubles in his career. It’s not the amount that should surprise you, it’s his age and the production that comes with it. Remember, Jokic was a second-round pick and took No. 41 overall.
Fat Lever played six seasons for the team and originally owned the record with 43 before this season. Jokic is going to be in Denver for a long time. This number could be 100 before he turns 30 years old.
Detroit Pistons – Joe Dumars (1,018 Games)
Remember the great names from the 1980s in Isiah Thomas and Bill Laimbeer? What about Chauncey Billups, Ben Wallace, and Rip Hamilton during the 2000s? None of those names accomplished what Dumars did during his Pistons career. Dumars is the only Piston ever to record over 1,000 games.
In 1,018 games, Dumars started 944 of them. He was a two-time NBA champion and played in 67 games in a season or more in all but his final season in the league. He averaged 16.1 points and 4.5 assists per game during that time.
Golden State Warriors – Chris Mullin (1,360 Steals)
Mullin played for the Warriors from 1985 to 1997 and 2000 to 2001. He was a five-time All-Star, First-Team All-NBA selection in 1992, and led the league in minutes in 1991 and 1992. He averaged 2.1 steals three different seasons, and amassed over 1,360 steals.
When it comes to the ’Warriors’ all-time leaders, Wilt Chamberlain or Stephen Curry fill up those slots. For now, it’s surprising that somebody not named them is leading the charge. However, Curry owns 1,218 steals in his career and is just 32 years old. Mullin’s name could be going down real soon.
Houston Rockets – Steve Francis (39.1 Minutes Per Game)
Let’s get one thing straight. Technically, Jim Jackson leads this category with an average of 39.5 minutes per game, but he only played 1 ½ seasons with the Rockets. Francis played 375 career games, so we are going to take this moment to honor him.
Francis was a three-time All-Star and had a stretch of three-straight seasons in Houston where he recorded 40 minutes or more. It should have been four straight seasons but he finished the 2000-2001 season with 39.9 minutes per game. Hakeem Olajuwon and James Harden lead just about every other category out there, but nobody could take Francis off the court while he was in Houston.
Indiana Pacers – Mel Daniels (7,643 Rebounds)
Daniels is one of four NBA players that own a retired jersey with the Pacers. The three-time ABA champion and two-time ABA MVP is a Pacers legend. He played from 1968 to 1974. As time has passed, we have seen some pretty great bigs with the Pacers. From Jermaine O’Neal to Roy Hibbert, nobody matched the play from Daniels.
Daniels once averaged 21.0 points and 18.0 rebounds during one of his MVP seasons, which included an ABA Finals of 19.2 points and 16.4 rebounds. If a rebound was in sight, he was going to get it. Don’t ever forget about the great Mel Daniels.
Los Angeles Clippers – Corey Maggette (3,122 Free Throws)
When you think of some of the best players in team history, you think of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. However, it was Maggette that got to the line more than either of them. From 2000 to 2008, Maggette was the stud sensation for an underperforming franchise. The Clippers made the playoffs just once (2006) during his tenure, but he left his mark on the franchise.
Maggette could create his shot, draw contact, and convert at the line. He owns a career 82.2% free throw percentage. He scored over 20 points per game three times in his career. Maggette also owns the record for free throws attempted.
Los Angeles Lakers – Nick Young (7.2% Turnover Rate)
“Swaggy P” was known for his lethal three-point shot during his career. He played four seasons for the Lakers, averaged 13.1 points per game in his best year, and won an NBA Championship with the Golden State Warriors. What many may not know is that Young was good at taking care of the ball.
During his time with the Lakers, Young was used 22.7% of the time. He averaged 1.0 turnover per game. Considering that the ball was in Young’s hands quite a bit, that’s a highly impressive number. In the end, Young is not the name we expected to see here given all the great names in Laker history.
Memphis Grizzlies – Zach Randolph (1,895 Offensive Rebounds)
Let’s make something clear first. Nearly all the major records are held by Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. We can’t forget about Z-Bo though. Randolph was an integral part of the 2013 Grizzlies team that made the Western Conference Finals. Known for his ability as a “bruiser,” Randolph’s offensive rebound total beats Gasol by over 500.
Randolph played for the Grizzlies from 2009 to 2017. He was a two-time All-Star, an All-NBA selection in 2011, and remains beloved by Memphis fans. If there was a miss from one of his teammates, he was going to do everything he could to give the team a second chance.
Miami Heat – Tim Hardaway (806 Three-Pointers)
Try finding a stat that either Dwyane Wade or Alonzo Mourning doesn’t own. Hardaway played for the Heat from 1995 to 2000 and remains the record holder for three-point attempts and field goals. His best season came in 1995 when he finished with 17.2 points and 10.0 assists in 28 games after being traded by the Warriors. That year he was fourth in the MVP voting.
Hardaway battled with the Michael Jordan-led Bulls teams during the late 90s but the Heat was never able to make it out of the second round. In the end, Hardway remains in the record books with some of the best in the business.
Milwaukee Bucks – Alton Lister (804 Blocks)
Lister falls in the category of lost in history surprise. Lister played for the Bucks from 1981 to 1986 and 1994 to 1995. Lister was such a well-respected defensive player that he once earned five points in the MVP voting after averaging 8.4 points and 7.1 rebounds during the 1981-1982 season. The 7-foot-0, 240-pound big man averaged 6.6 points and 6.3 rebounds in his career.
Minnesota Timberwolves – Terrell Brandon (89.5% Free Throw Percentage)
This was a pretty difficult team to find a stunning player. Kevin Garnett was the Minnesota Timberwolves and owns records for points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. In the end, Brandon gets the nod with his high free throw percentage during his four-year run with the team.
It’s a small sample size though. Brandon played in 202 games and made 2.5 free throws out of 2.8 attempts during his Minnesota career. He averaged 15.6 points per game.
New Orleans Pelicans – David West (530 Games)
Back to the real surprises. Did you know that neither Chris Paul nor Anthony Davis owns the record for career games for the Pelicans? David West is the only 500-game man and owns the record for minutes played (17,160). Davis and Paul are second and third respectively.
As for West, he was a multi-All-Star with the Pelicans. He teamed up with Paul to help lead the Pelicans to new heights, including a second-round playoff appearance. In the end, West left New Orleans for similar reasons that Davis and Paul did. They wanted to win a championship.
New York Knicks – John Starks (982 Three-Pointers)
For those who do not know about John Starks, let’s fill you in. Starks owns the record for three-point attempts and three-point field goals during his time from 1990-1998. For those of you wondering where Carmelo Anthony is on this list, he ranks third with 762 three-point field goals.
Starks was known for his physical play with Anthony Mason and Charles Oakley. He was a Slam Dunk Contest participant and a natural athlete. However, he is also known for fouling Hakeem Olajuwon during Game 3 of the NBA Finals on a three-point attempt that allowed Olajuwon to sink free throws to lead to a 93-89 victory.
Oklahoma City Thunder – Serge Ibaka (1,300 Blocks)
For those that watched basketball in OKC, seeing Ibaka is not a surprise. The number of blocks should be shocking to the common fan. “I-Blocka” was a force for the Thunder from 2009-2016. He was a three-time All-Defensive First Team member. In 2012 and 2013, he led the league in blocks per game with 3.7 in 2012 and 3.0 in 2013.
Ibaka eventually was traded to the Orlando Magic and the Toronto Raptors. He won an NBA title with Toronto in 2019 and now plays for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Orlando Magic – Elfrid Payton (8 Triple Doubles)
Dwight Howard remains the franchise record holder in many categories but the most shocking name to see on the records was Elfrid Payton. From 2014 to 2018, Payton recorded eight triple-doubles, which is the most in Magic history. The former record-holder was Hedo Turkoglu with three.
During his rookie season, Payton became the first rookie to record back-to-back triple-doubles since Antoine Walker did with the Celtics in 1997. Payton was eventually traded to the Phoenix Suns in 2018. Now, the 26-year old plays for the New York Knicks.
Philadelphia 76ers – Dolph Schayes (142.4 Win Shares)
When you think of Philly greats, Hal Greer, Julius Erving, Charles Barkley, and Allen Iverson come to mind. In the end, it was Dolph Schayes that led the team in win shares. Not only does he hold the record, but he holds a large lead over the runner-up in Erving (106.2).
Schayes was a 12-time All-Star, 12-time All-NBA selection, and the 1951 rebounding leader. Schayes is pure old school, playing for the franchise when they were named the Syracuse Nationals. His career spanned from 1948 to 1964.
Phoenix Suns – Shawn Marion (4,927 Defensive Rebounds)
Alvan Adams is the all-time leading rebounder, but Marion clipped the big man barely by the end of his Son’s career. Marion teamed up with Steve Nash and Amare’ Stoudemire to form a “Big 3” during the mid-2000s. From 1999 to 2008, Marrion amassed 4,927 defensive rebounds and beat Adams by five boards. Adams is right behind Marion with 4,922 defensive boards.
During the 2004-2005 season, Marion became the first player to rank in the top-25 in scoring, rebounds, steals, blocks, and minutes. He followed that season in 2005-2006 as the only player to rank in the top-5 in rebounds and steals. In 2007, he once pulled down 24 rebounds against the Heat. Marion eventually won an NBA title with the Dallas Mavericks in 2010.
Portland Trail Blazers – Terry Porter (5,319 Assists)
This selection was based on two principles. For starters, Clyde Drexler owns nearly every record, while Damian Lillard owns the rest. Second, many of you probably expected to see Lillard’s name right here. Instead, the former two-time All-Star remains supreme.
Porter, who coaches the Trail Blazers as an assistant now, gets to hold onto this record for just a bit longer. Lillard has 4,086 career assists and remains the No. 1 contender to take down Porter.
Sacramento Kings – DeMarcus Cousins (1,624 Turnovers)
Even Michael Jordan turned the ball over. When you think of the record holder for turnovers, one thinks that a guard would hold onto this record. Instead, it’s Cousins that holds this title.
From 2010-2017, Cousins qualified for four All-Star games and averaged 21.1 points and 10.8 rebounds. He averaged 3.5 turnovers for his Kings career, and once averaged 4.3 turnovers per game in 2015. Cousins has suffered quite a few injuries since he left the Kings, so it feels awful pointing out the bad in his career.
San Antonio Spurs – David Robinson (6,035 Free Throws)
Is David Robinson owning a record surprising? Absolutely not. Is Robinson owning the free throws record over the likes of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, or Manu Ginobili shocking? A little bit.
Robinson played his entire NBA career with the Spurs from 1989 to 2003. He was a two-time MVP and helped the Spurs win an NBA title in 1999. During the 1993-1994 season, Robinson averaged 29.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 3.3 blocks. Needless to say, he was a great basketball player. It’s just shocking that he was able to make more at the line than Tim Duncan.
Toronto Raptors – Damon Stoudamire (41.0 Minutes Per Game)
The Raptors record sheets are headlines by DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, and Chris Bosh but Damon Stoudamire deserves some love. The Raptors drafted Stoudamire in 1995 and he flourished with his team. In three seasons, he averaged 40.9, 40.9, and 41.5 minutes per game. What is even more impressive is that he averaged 19.0 and 20.2 points per game during his first two seasons.
When he averaged 41.5 minutes per game in 1997, he was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers. After that, he never averaged over 40 minutes of gameplay ever again.
Utah Jazz – Mark Eaton (3,064 Blocks)
Andrei Kirilenko is the runner-up in this category with 1,380 blocks. Most bigs would kill for a number like that, but that’s just how great Eaton was. From 1982 to 1994, Eaton made just one All-Star team. He was a two-time Defensive Player of the Year (1985 and 1989) and led the league in blocks four times.
Eaton remains fourth in league history career blocks. Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutombo, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Eaton, and Tim Duncan are the only players to have over 3,000 blocks in their career. What’s even more shocking is that Eaton is the only player in that group that is not a Hall of Famer.
Washington Wizards – Walt Bellamy (27.6 Points-Per-Game Career Average)
Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld own the Wizards records. Bradley Beal is in the middle of writing his own story. Out of all the players in Wizards history, Bellamy owns the best points average in team history.
Bellamy played from 1961 to 1966 when the team bounced around from being the Chicago Packers, Zephyrs, and Baltimore Bullets. He was the No. 1 overall pick in 1961. He once had a game with 30 points and 37 rebounds. Gilbert Arenas nearly broke that record with a 25.0 average during his tenure. In the end, this record will likely never be broken.