Kevin Durant could eventually go down as the greatest scorer ever to touch a basketball, and he has the chance to make history on Wednesday night.
Kevin Durant will play in his 737th career NBA game on Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Clippers. Through his first 736 games, the 29-year-old has amassed 19,975 career points, and 25 more will make him the second-youngest player in league history to score 20,000.
Only four others have reached that mark before turning 30: LeBron James (the youngest), Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan. Upon hearing that, Durant said it was a “humbling experience,” according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes. He then proceeded to elaborate on how it’s a tremendous honor to be among a group of all-time greats:
“Man, that’s some great company, and there’s so many names I never thought I’d be in the same conversation with,” Durant said. “But to know — to have it in numbers, in black and white — to know that you belong in that group is pretty special to me. I’m telling you, man, it’s never been a goal of mine to count how many points I have. That’s not why I play the game. To be under 30 and do it, that’s special to me too. You play in this league for so long, and having an opportunity to do something like this at this age, you just can’t take it for granted, because there’s not too many players on that list.”
The physical gifts that Kevin Durant has are what make him a premier scorer. He’s listed at 6-9 (but closer to seven-feet) with a wingspan around 7-4 or 7-5. That remarkable size allows him to shoot over anybody and everybody, and his guard-like skills make him even more of a hassle. To put it bluntly, Durant is a walking mismatch. And he’s utilized that to his advantage for nearly a decade.
If Durant were to retire today, his career scoring average of 27.14 would be good for fourth all-time, behind Elgin Baylor (27.36), Chamberlain (30.07) and Jordan (30.12). He’s also one one-hundredth of a point ahead of James. This season, at 25.9 points a night, Durant is below his career average but is on pace to have his 10th-straight campaign where he eclipses 25 points per game. The only year he didn’t reach it was his rookie campaign.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar holds the NBA scoring record with 38,387 career points. Should Durant finish with precisely 25 against the Clippers, he’d need to average 25 a night for 736 games to surpass that mark; that’s 80 games a season for 9.2 seasons. The only issue with that is longevity. Durant, a perimeter-oriented scorer, already has the ability and is likely to continue it.
- James Johnson and Serge Ibaka got into a fight, and so did Goran Dragic and DeMar DeRozan both during and after the Miami Heat‘s win over the Toronto Raptors. Nobody got hit with a three-piece extra crispy, but suspensions and fines are likely coming.
- C.J. McCollum (27 points) and Shabazz Napier (21 points) carried the Portland Trail Blazers — who are still without Damian Lillard — to a victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
- Julius Randle, whom the Los Angeles Lakers would like to deal by the trade deadline, helped his value by tallying 22 points, 14 rebounds and six assists against the Sacramento Kings.
MIA 90 – 89 TOR
POR 117 – 106 OKC
ORL 99 – 114 DAL
SAC 86 – 99 LAL
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