When you have longevity in the league, it’s only a matter of time before the stats pile up. For some players such as LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Dwight Howard, they are at the stages of their career where they are cementing the fact that they are all Hall of Famers. Meanwhile, you have Stephen Curry who could take down an all-time NBA record this season if the cards fall into place.
Some NBA records might be unattainable, but that doesn’t mean that you have to stop reaching for the stars. These players all have egos, so they are going to try and finish above as many players as possible. Take a look at the active players, who are the closest to reaching all-time records.
NBA All-Time Points Leaders
Leader: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 38,387 Points
3rd Place: LeBron James 35,516 Points
There is a theory that the 36-year old turning 37 LeBron James is going to hang around the league until he takes down Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record. Abdul-Jabbar played until he was 42 years old, which would give LeBron at least five more years in the league. There are other theories that LeBron is waiting for a chance to play in a game with his son, who has NBA potential. Either way, LeBron has a realistic shot to vault to No. 1 all-time in scoring by the time he retires.
If LeBron wanted to break the record over an 82-game span right now, he would have to average over 35.0 points per game. That is highly unlikely, so we are likely going to see LeBron take down this title next year. If we take the point difference and divide it throughout 164 games, which is two complete seasons, LeBron would need to average 17.6 points per game. If you factor in rest, games played, and the potential injury bug, LeBron could break this record when he is 38 or 39 years old.
NBA All-Time Rebounds Leaders
Leader: Wilt Chamberlain 23,924 Rebounds
11th Place: Dwight Howard 14,332 Rebounds
If Dwight Howard wanted to beat Wilt Chamberlains’ record, he would have to average 117.0 rebounds per game. Realistically, that is not going to happen, but that is okay. These days, Howard is used as a role player off the bench, but he has realistic opportunities to break into the top-10. Last year, Howard recorded 580 rebounds and he currently has 61 right now. If Howard can corral at least 500 more rebounds this year, he could finish as high as No. 8 on the all-time list.
Howard trails Nate Thurmond by about 132 rebounds to break into the top 10. After that, he would need about 200 more rebounds to reach Kevin Garnett and then 100 more to reach Robert Parish. An ambitious goal would be to record 650 more rebounds and go by Karl Malone, who has 14,968 career rebounds. Next year, Howard could pass Tim Duncan, who has over 15,000.
NBA All-Time Assists Leaders
Leader: John Stockton 15,806 Assists
3rd Place: Chris Paul 10,400 Assists
Last offseason, Chris Paul negotiated a deal that keeps him in Phoenix for the next four years. Over time, Paul has a chance to finish his career as second-best. The chances of Paul ever reaching John Stockton’s career mark is slim for a variety of reasons. For starters, he would probably have to play at least six more seasons. If you take four full seasons, 82 games in all, Paul would have to average over 16 assists per season. He doesn’t have that kind of time left.
With that said, Paul needs a little less than 1,700 career assists to pass Jason Kidd. That is more of a realistic goal over the next three seasons. Right now, Paul has not shown signs of slowing down. You can never predict injuries, but if Paul stays healthy, he could finish runner-up in the all-time rankings.
NBA All-Time Steals Leaders
Leader: John Stockton 3,265 Steals
5th Place: Chris Paul 2,365 Steals
For similar reasons, Paul is unlikely to catch Stockton, who owns 900 more steals in his career than Paul. That would require Paul to finish with 100 steals per season for nine straight years, which would have Paul playing into age 45. However, Paul could finish his contract in Phoenix as the runner-up.
Paul finished with 99 steals last year, so if Paul replicated something similar like that this year, he would remain fifth all-time. Next year, he could catch Gary Payton’s 2,445. The following year, he could catch Michael Jordan’s 2,514, and then by the end of his contract, he could catch Jason Kidd at No. 2 all-time, who owns 2,684 career steals.
NBA All-Time Blocks Leaders
Leader: Hakeem Olajuwon 3,830 Blocks
13th Place: Dwight Howard 2,200 Blocks
Howard is not the same shot-blocking Defensive Player of the Year he was in his prime but could crack the top-10 by the end of his career. It would take Howard to finish the year with about 62 blocks, which is what he did last year, and then for him to play an additional two seasons replicating that similar success. For now, Howard will remain 13th all-time because he trails Marcus Camby by over 100 blocks.
In the next two seasons, Howard could pass Camby (2,331), Alonzo Mourning (2,256), and Robert Parish (2,361) to break into the top ten. Finishing 10th is the true goal because Tree Rollins (2,542) is completely out of reach given where Howard is in age and how many minutes he provides each night.
NBA All-Time Turnovers Leaders
Leader: LeBron James 4,617 Turnovers
7th Place: Russell Westbrook 3,969
For Lakers fans, it might be a kick to the gut that two of the players in the starting lineup rank in the top-10 in all-time turnovers. The leader in all-time turnovers, and still counting, is LeBron James. By the time LeBron finishes his career, he could be close to 5,000 turnovers. Then again, who cares? LeBron is close to becoming the all-time scorer. All this says is that LeBron has the ball in his hands a lot.
That goes the same for Russell Westbrook, who will give LeBron a run for his money. Westbrook will likely finish his career as either the leader or second-best. Westbrook owns four triple-double seasons in his career, which also means he possesses the ball a lot in games too. The other names on this list are also legendary ball-hogs in Karl Malone, Moses Malone, John Stockton, Kobe Bryant, and Jason Kidd, who all have at least 4,000 career turnovers or more.
NBA All-Time Games Played Leaders
Leader: Robert Parish 1,611 Games
20th Place: LeBron James 1,316 Games
With how long LeBron has been in the league, you would think that he would be higher than 20th. However, some legends have put in more time. LeBron should pass at least five players this year. That includes Jamal Crawford (1,327), Artis Gilmore (1,329), Gary Payton (1,335), Paul Pierce (1,343), and Kobe Bryant (1,346). Catching Clifford Robinson (1,380) would be a stretch given how LeBron has faced injuries the last year.
If LeBron wanted to catch Robert Parish’s record, he would have to play an 82-game schedule for 3.5 seasons consecutively. If you factory reset time, that would probably mean that LeBron would need to play at least 70 games over the next five years and have zero injuries. That is a huge variable given his age and durability. LeBron would be 42 years old at that time having played in the league since 2003. This might be a record LeBron doesn’t get when it’s all said and done.
NBA All-Time Minutes Played Leaders
Leader: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 57,446 Minutes
5th Place: LeBron James 50,277 Minutes
LeBron is going to move up this list this season. Kevin Garnett’s 50,418 minutes for fourth place will be matched soon as long as LeBron doesn’t suffer an extended injury. LeBron is also likely to pass Dirk Nowitzki this season too. Nowitzki owns 51,368 career minutes. If LeBron played at least 30 minutes per game over the next 36 games, he will pass that. With it being the beginning part of the season, LeBron has a good chance to be third by the end of 2022.
After that, he will have a long way to go. Karl Malone is ranked second with 54,852 career minutes, while Kareem’s record is 7,000 minutes away. If LeBron wanted to reach that record starting now, he would have to play at least 30 minutes per game for 238 straight games, which would be an accumulation of 2.9 seasons. It’s not unrealistic when you think about it, but it will be difficult.
NBA All-Time 3-Points Made Leaders
Leader: Ray Allen 2,973 3-Points Made
2nd Place: Stephen Curry 2,899 3-Points Made
This is a record that we expected to see broken by the end of the year. The best part is that we haven’t even hit April because we remembered what happened last time Curry shot the ball in April. What is crazy is that it may not take until April for Curry to break this record. If we lowball this record, Curry needs just three 3-point shots for 25 straight games to break the record. That is a slow night for him.
Curry getting to 3,000 career three-pointers is also an interesting thought. If Curry made just three 3-point shots each night, he would need 34 consecutive games, which would put our season at the halfway point. This is a record that fans of Curry need to follow because the fateful night is going to be coming soon.
NBA All-Time Free Throws Made Leaders
Leader: Karl Malone 9,787
5th Place: LeBron James 7,600
Unless LeBron goes on a cold streak, he should be ranked fourth by the end of the season. Right now, LeBron trails Oscar Robertson by just 94 made free throws. He should conquer that number by the midway of the season. After that, we won’t be talking about LeBron’s free throws for a while as Kobe Bryant’s 8,378 career free throws are a long number away.
By the end of his career, LeBron could chase down Bryant, but chasing down Malone feels unlikely. In his last full season, LeBron made 264 free throws. If he replicates that throughout five seasons, he could catch Malone, but again you are talking about a 40-year old putting up those numbers. Moses Malone ranks second all-time with 9,018, so realistically we could see LeBron pass him eventually.