The primary goal of any basketball player is to be part of a team that’s talented–and sometimes lucky–enough to make a deep postseason run. After all, a player’s career is judged more by championships than anything else, but what if they got selfish for a little bit?
Each season brings a fresh start for guys in the NBA, and the tenured ones start having the opportunity to reach very impressive milestones. I’m unsure if they realize it, but fans do. And an individual milestone reached by a player is an excellent way to put their longevity and consistent performance in perspective.
Below are five of the biggest milestones that–most likely–will be reached this year.
6Games Played: Kevin Garnett needs 38 to reach 1,500
The Big Ticket has been in the NBA for a long time–a very long time. Once the 2016-17 season starts, KG will be kicking off his 22nd season in the league unless he abruptly retires beforehand. As he’s gotten older, the strain on his body has gotten more and more noticeable, and Garnett’s played in fewer and fewer games every season since 2012-13.
Last year, he suited up for 38 contests. Another 38 appearances would put him at 1,500 for his career, and he’d be one of four players ever to reach that many games played. One milestone that seems more obtainable is moving into fourth place on the games played list, and KG would need to grace the court just 15 times to make that.
5Points: LeBron James needs 114 to crack the top-10
4Rebounds: Kevin Garnett needs 54 to reach 8th all-time
The stats that Garnett has put up are amazing. And he has the chance to build on them as he enters what could be his last season as an NBA player.
He’s right on the cusp of 15,000 rebounds, but it’s a longshot to think he’ll make that milestone since he’d need to haul in 338, an amount he hasn’t reach in last two years. One that seems infinitely more possible is moving into eighth all-time, and he’ll leapfrog legendary Celtic Robert Parish on his 54th board.
3Assists: Chris Paul needs 300 to make top-10
Floor generals like Chris Paul come around very seldom, and his greatness will take another step forward this coming season. Since entering the league, Paul has made a living off of carving up defenses and creating passing lanes that only the all-time greats would be able to see.
Just 300 dimes are preventing CP3 from cracking the top-10, and he’ll easily hand out that many by the start of the second half of the season; 312 are between him and 8,000 for his career.
2Field Goals Made: Kevin Garnett needs nine to move into 10th all-time
In his prime, Garnett was one of the best mid-range shooting big men ever to play. His back-to-the-basket game is respectable, too, but Garnett has maintained a career of this length by not beating himself up on the block and being a great target out of the pick-and-pop.
See KG reach 11,000 made shots for his career would be phenomenal–but he’d need 495. Very unlikely. Instead, we’re going to look on the micro-level, and just nine buckets separate the Kid from cracking the top-10 and jumping the great John Havlicek.
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference
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