After a successful NBA season, the league will enter its 76th season for the 2022-23 campaign. Several active players are entering new stages of their careers but are pushing new records. Most of these players have solidified their careers as Hall of Fame selections. What most of these players are looking at now is where their place in history will be.
Among the major statistical categories, we could see some record-breaking moments next season. Among others, they will look to move their way up the ladder. Points, rebounds, assists, and more, there will be accomplishments from the active players next year. The matter is who will be trending for making their way up the historical ladder.
These are the active career leaders in the major NBA statistical categories.
Points - LeBron James
1. LeBron James - 37,062 Points
2. Carmelo Anthony - 28,289 Points
3. Kevin Durant - 25,526 Points
Assuming that LeBron James stays healthy next season, he is on pace to become the all-time leading scorer next year. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar owns 38,387 career points. James needs just over 1,300 points with the Lakers next year. That is a realistic monument given that James scored 1,695 points last season. In the last two seasons, James has sustained injuries that have hampered him to 45 and 56 games respectively. Assuming he can play at least 60 games in a season, he will break the all-time scoring mark.
Carmelo Anthony is on pace to crack the top 10 next season. Shaquille O’Neal owns 28,596 points and Anthony could push him outside the top 10 if he plays enough games. Anthony would need to score over 1,300 points to pass Moses Malone for 9th place. As for Durant, he ranks 24th on the all-time list. If he were to score over 1,000 points, he would pass Alex English, Vince Carter, Kevin Garnett, John Havlicek, Paul Pierce, and Tim Duncan. Scoring 1,300 points would mean that Durant would place in the top 15 on the all-time scoring list.
Rebounds - Dwight Howard
1. Dwight Howard - 14,627 Rebounds
2. LeBron James - 10,210 Rebounds
3. DeAndre Jordan - 10,142 Rebounds
There are 46 players in the history of the league that owns at least 10,000 career rebounds or more. Among active players, these three players are the only ones that have met that mark. Two of the three are former rebounding champions. Starting with Howard, he has an opportunity to sneak into the top 10 this upcoming season. Howard is 35 rebounds away from Kevin Garnett for 10th place. In 60 games, Howard recorded 356 rebounds last season. If he can secure that number again, he would also pass Robert Parish and Karl Malone to reach the eighth place.
James is ranked 42nd on the all-time list. James recorded 459 rebounds with the Lakers last year. Assuming he can record about 450 rebounds this year, James could move as high as 35th on the rankings. Some notable players would include Ben Wallace, David Robinson, and Julius Erving. As for Jordan, he recorded 264 rebounds last season, which was his lowest output since his rookie season. Even if he recorded that number again, that would put him around 40th place.
Assists - Chris Paul
1. Chris Paul - 10,977 Assists
2. LeBron James - 10,045 Assists
3. Russell Westbrook - 8,611 Assists
Seven players own more than 10,000 career assists. James joined that group this past season, while Westbrook is chasing that mark. There are four active players in the top 15 of the career assists rankings. Rajon Rondo is 14th all-time with 7,584 career assists. Nobody is likely to catch John Stockton’s career record of 15,806 assists, but Paul could pass Jason Kidd for second place after next season. Kidd owns 12,091 career assists.
Paul is coming off a season where he recorded 702 assists. Paul trails Kidd by just a little over 1,000 assists. The highest total he recorded was 925 assists in the 2007-08 season. As for James, he is ranked seventh. He needs 97 assists to pass Magic Johnson for sixth all-time. Westbrook can break into the top-10 this season. If he can record 356 assists or more, he will pass Gary Payton for 10th.
Steals - Chris Paul
1. Chris Paul - 2,453 Steals
2. LeBron James - 2,136 Steals
3. Andre Iguodala - 1,761 Steals
Assuming that Iguodala is saved a roster spot by the Warriors, he will remain active next season. Iguodala is ranked 21st and that is probably a spot he will stay in given his lack of playing time. If he is not active, the next active player would be Russell Westbrook and his 1,699 steals which puts him 27th all time. James is the next highest player and is ranked 11th. He needs 37 assists to pass Hakeem Olajuwon for 10th place.
Paul is ranked fourth and could break into the top 3 this season. He recorded 121 steals with the Suns last season. Paul needs 62 steals to pass Michael Jordan for third place. After that, Paul would be chasing Jason Kidd (2,684) and John Stockton (3,265).
Blocks - Dwight Howard
1. Dwight Howard - 2,228 Blocks
2. Serge Ibaka - 1,752 Blocks
3. Brook Lopez - 1,530 Blocks
There were two years that Howard led the league in total blocks. Both times he recorded over 200 blocks for the season. That was part of a streak where Howard recorded 100 blocks 12 times in 14 seasons. Howard has not recorded 100 blocks in a season since 2018. Last year, he recorded 36 blocks, which was a career-low. That total would not put him past Caldwell Jones (2,297) for 14th place.
Ibaka has a chance to move up the ladder this season. He is ranked 29th and trails Elvin Hayes by 19 blocks. To make the top 25, Ibaka likely needs two seasons. He currently trails Hayes, Jermaine O’Neal (1,820), Elton Brand (1,828), and Moses Malone (1,889). As for Lopez, he holds a 28-block lead over DeAndre Jordan for 38th place. Lopez could move up to 35th place if he can record his 1,600th career block.
Turnovers - LeBron James
1. LeBron James - 4,788 Turnovers
2. Russell Westbrook - 4,188 Turnovers
3. James Harden - 3,539 Turnovers
James is not just the leader among active players. James leads the entire NBA all-time list in turnovers by over 200 turnovers. Karl Malone once held that record with 4,524 turnovers. By the time Westbrook's career is over, he could surpass Malone too. Westbrook is ranked fifth all-time and is notorious for many turnovers. The players in front of him are John Stockton (4,244) and Moses Malone (4,264), as well as Malone and James.
Harden will eventually sneak into the top 10. Ranked 12th, Harden trails Hakeem Olajuwon’s 3,667 turnovers and Isiah Thomas’ 3,682 turnovers. Harden recorded 284 turnovers with the Nets and 76ers last season. If he does that again, he will be guaranteed to be in the top 10 after next season.
3-PT Field Goals - Stephen Curry
1. Stephen Curry - 3,117 Three-Point Field Goals
2. James Harden - 2,593 Three-Point Field Goals
3. Damian Lillard - 2,143 Three-Point Field Goals
The last decade has seen the three-point line used more than it ever has been used. That is why there were eight active players in the top 20. There are three players ranked in the top 10 right now. Lillard is tied with Paul Pierce for ninth place. His next two targets would be Jamal Crawford (2,221), Jason Terry (2,282), and Vince Carter (2,290). To make the top-5, he will probably need a season after next year to reach the 2,450 threes from Kyle Korver.
Harden could be the second player to eventually break the old three-point record. Ray Allen owns 2,973 three-point field goals. Harden will probably pass that later in his career to finish second. The current active and NBA record holder is Stephen Curry, the only player to ever surpass 3,000 career threes. Curry is not slowing down anytime soon. He could eventually make 4,000 threes in his career by the time he retires.
Field Goals - LeBron James
1. LeBron James - 13,543 Field Goals
2. Carmelo Anthony - 10,119 Field Goals
3. Kevin Durant - 8,716 Field Goals
There are 19 players in the history of the league that owns more than 10,000 career field goals. Two active players in the league have done that and we will eventually see Durant join that group down the line. We will also see James break the NBA record for field goals in a career next season if he stays healthy. James recorded 640 field goals with the Lakers last season. The record is 15,837 field goals by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Anthony is ranked 19th all-time. In a limited role, Anthony recorded 319 field goals last season. If he can do a similar number, he would pass Moses Malone (10,277), Tim Duncan (10,285), George Gervin (10,368), and Dan Issell (10,431) for 15th place. As for Durant, he is ranked 28th and is coming off a season where he recorded 578 field goals. Durant needs at least three seasons to reach 10,000, which would crack the top 20. If he records around 600 field goals next season, he will pass Jerry West (9,016) and Vince Carter (9,293) for 26th place.
Free Throws - LeBron James
1. LeBron James - 7,836 Free Throws
2. James Harden - 7,044 Free Throws
3. Kevin Durant - 6,324 Free Throws
Durant was once a lethal player at the free throw line. When he played for the Thunder, Durant led the league in free throws for five straight seasons from 2010 to 2014, once making as many as 756 free throws. That number has been slashed in half. He is coming off a season where he recorded 372 free throws. A similar number would help Durant pass Charles Barkley (6,349), Allen Iverson (6,375), and Dan Issel (6,591) for 14th place.
Harden was another lethal free-throw shooter. From 2015 to 2020, Harden led the league in made free throws, once topping 754 free throws. However, when the new league rules about drawing contact, Harden’s stops at the free throw line were cut. He made 470 free throws last year. Another year like that could see Harden pass Jerry West (7,160), Dirk Nowitzki (7,240), and Michael Jordan (7,327) for sixth place. As for James, he is ranked fourth and could pass Kobe Bryant’s 8,378 free throws in a few years. James is coming off a season where he made 254 at the line.