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Can Kevin Durant be the NBA's all-time scorer?

Posted on: August 31, 2010 2:41 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2010 2:42 pm
 
Posted by Royce Young

Andre Iguodala has gotten the chance to see Kevin Durant up close and personal over the past few weeks. He's seen his work ethic, his attitude, his humble personality, his competitive drive and his incredible passion for the game.

And as a result of that, Iggy was prepared to make a pretty bold statement. Check that, a REALLY bold statement.

"Kevin Durant will be the NBA’s all-time leading scorer when it’s all said and done," Iguodala said emphatically to CSN Philly . "He loves the game and has a knack for putting the ball in the basket."

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points in 21 NBA seasons and played until he was 41. The most games he missed in a season was 20 and he only played less than 75 four times. Karl Malone is second all-time with 36,928 and Michael Jordan third with 32,292. Through three seasons, Durant has 5,967 points and will turn 22 in the next few weeks.

It's really hard to predict what Durant will do over the next 10 years or so which will be the prime of his career. He averaged 30.1 last season, so I'm going to assume he'll averaged at least 28 points per game for the next 10 seasons. He'll likely have a few seasons of 32-34, but maybe one or two of 26-27 during this time. So I'm totally guessing here and going with 28 just to try and figure out how possible this is. If he plays in all 82 each season, 28 ppg over 10 seasons would be 22,960 points. Plus his current 5,967, that's 28,927 with him being 32 years old.

Most players play until about 37 or 38, and at 32 KD would only have a few high scoring seasons left. Let's say he drops down to about 23 ppg for the next four years. That's 7,544 points. For his last two years, let's go with 15 ppg. That's 2,460 and puts him at 38,931. I'm going to subtract 1,500 off because KD isn't going to play in all 82 each season. So the number sits at 37,431. And that's with going with some seriously conservative estimates. I gave KD 28 ppg over the next 10 years and it's very likely he'll average at least 30. If that's the case, he'd be at 39,071.

So is it possible? Heck yes, it is. Of course you've got to throw in the obligatory "if he stays healthy" disclaimer but if Durant is one or two thousand points away from the all-time scoring lead, you can bank that he'd crank out an extra season or two to get there. I've only got Durant going until 38 which mean he's played 20 NBA seasons. He could go a few more and possibly touch 40,000. All of this is total estimation of course, but most will see Iguodala's statement as crazy. But when you start really looking at it, it doesn't see so far-fetched. I feel like I was pretty conservative with all the numbers and Durant is right there.

KD is truly a unique talent and these next 10 years will be an incredible amount of fun seeing what he could be. Could he average 35 a game? Could he average 37? I don't think he would because he's not selfish enough to put up multiple 60-point games, but I definitely don't think it's impossible. When you get to the free throw line, shoot near 50 percent from the floor and hit 40 percent on 3s, you can score 30 a night fairly efficiently. And when you're the youngest scoring champion in the league's history, these type of all-time marks become part of the conversation.

What will Durant's career look like in 20 years? That's a long dang time off so I have no idea, but as cool as this type of achievement would be, you can be sure that KD will only start to care about that sort of thing after he's put multiple NBA championships trophies on his mantle.
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