NBA Milestones 2007-08
Posted Nov 1 2007 11:26AM
O'Neal continues to rise in the record books.
Victor Baldizon/NBAE/Getty Images
By Lauren Brill
The most revered and talented movie stars imprint their hands on the sidewalk of Grauman's Chinese Theatre. NBA players cement their legacy by filling up a boxscore. Entering the 2007-2008 season, Shaq will continue to build his legend, climbing up the ranks in categories that include career points and free throws made. Four players are on the brink of joining the 10,000-point club. Jason Kidd is in position to become fifth on the all-time list for assists, passing Gary Payton and Isiah Thomas. Find out who will be making their mark on the record books in this upcoming season.
After 10 full seasons of anchoring the 76ers, Allen Iverson now wears light blue in Denver as he begins his first full season with fellow superstar Carmelo Anthony. While he is no longer a Sixer, the former Hoya remains one of the most prolific scorers in the league. Currently at No. 26 for career points, the 6-0 guard needs only 1,371 points to crack into the top 20 and tie Clyde Drexler. At his 27.9 career points per game pace, A.I. could pass Drexler in 49 games, but if he matches his average last season with the Nuggets, 24.8 ppg, The Answer could glide past Clyde six games later on Feb. 23 in Milwaukee.
Patrolling the paint for the past 15 seasons, the 7-1 center commonly known as the Diesel could finally join an elite class in terms of points scored. Currently ranked 12th on the all-time list with 25,454 points scored, he is within reach of joining the top 10, passing John Havlicek and Alex English. In missing 42 regular season games, he only scored 690 points last season but in every season prior he has compiled over 1,000 points. Staying healthy will be the determining factor as to whether or not O'Neal joins this elite company.All-Time Leaders
Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett, two of the players who have been the center of offseason season excitement, have another reason to be the focus during the regular season. While Kobe Bryant remains in Los Angeles for now, he is on pace to become a member of the 20k club. This past season, Bryant joined the likes of only Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan and Elgin Baylor as he became the fourth player in league history to drop 50-plus points in three consecutive games. Averaging 24.6 ppg for his career, the son of the Jellybean needs only 704 points to get his taste of 20,000 points.
Synonymous with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the past 12 seasons, Kevin Garnett now sports a clover in Boston to complete the new Big Three consisting of himself, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. En route to 20,000 points, the straight-from-high-school phenom is only 959 points away from conquering the feat. The former Timberwolve will likely hit the 20,000 point mark in the company of his new supporting cast in the second half of the season.
Vince Carter will attempt to reach 15,000 points in front of a home crowd on opening night against Chicago. While he has averaged 24.1 ppg in his career, Carter is 30 points shy. If Chicago can contain Vinsanity, expect him to enroll in the 15k club on Friday, Nov. 2 in the Garden State against Toronto. With 621 games under his belt, if Carter continues at his 24.1 ppg pace, he would only trail the Miami Heat's Shaquille O’Neal (547 games) and the Denver Nuggets' Allen Iverson (557 games) as the fastest active players to reach 15,000 points.
Not far behind Carter is former Net and current Heat player, Alonzo Mourning. While the 37 year-old center rarely starts in Miami, he still managed to rack up 661 points last season. Being 838 points shy of 15,000, it will be a close call for the 1992 second overall pick. Much will depend on how many minutes the vet sees on the floor.
Baron Davis and Andre Miller are both members of the 1999 draft class. Now in their eighth season, the two former first round picks are on the verge of cracking the 10,000 point mark. The third overall pick (Charlotte), Davis has 1,395 to go before reaching 10,000 points. While the Golden State Warriors guard only amassed 1,264 points last season, he finished the season off on a high note averaging 25.3 ppg in the playoffs. If he can stay healthy and continue playing the way he ended last season, B Diddy will hit 10,000 points this season.
Draft classmate and eighth overall pick (Cleveland) Andre Miller is slightly ahead of Davis with only 839 points to score before joining the 10,000 point fraternity. Averaging 14.1 ppg, Miller just might seize number 10,000 on March 1st as the 76ers face the Suns in Phoenix.
In earlier draft classes, Jermaine O'Neal (1996) and Chauncey Billups (1997) are also both on the brink of breaking 10,000. Detroit's Billups is in need of 112 points. Indiana's O'Neal is on the hunt for 174 points to reach 10,000. Both will likely reach 10,000 in their first 15 games of the 2007-2008 season.
The Nets acclaimed point guard Jason Kidd is commonly known for his quick passes and tenacious defense but the three-point shot is another masterful area of J-Kidd's game. Currently ranked 18th all-time from beyond the arc, the Nets guard compiled 124 threes. If he can match his total from last season, he will climb to eighth on the all-time list, tying Dan Majerle.
Currently ahead of Majerle is active Miami Heat guard/forward Eddie Jones. While the 13 year pro's minutes have dwindled over the past few seasons, he is only 16 threes behind sixth place on the all-time list. Also looking to move up, Brent Barry and Antoine Walker will be vying for spots in the top 10.
Three players are on the verge of their first millennium of treys. Magic's Rashard Lewis needs 27 from beyond the arc. Mike Bibby will look for 49 threes and Brooklyn native Stephon Marbury must sink 43 three-pointers to get the job done.
Iverson and the Big Aristotle will battle for higher positions on the all-time free throws made list. While Iverson currently holds the 21st place, Shaquille O'Neal sits only one spot behind. Although Iverson has hit 77.7 percent of his foul shots in his career and Shaq's career average stands at a woeful 52.5 percent, both should make strides on the all-time list. Averaging 7.2 foul shots made per game, it is within reach for A.I. to remain in front of O'Neal and shoot ahead of Elgin Baylor at No. 15. If Shaq can simply match last season's 124 free throws made, he will sneak past Lenny Wilkens for 17th place.
Some have said certain things get better with age. In last year's playoffs, the 34 year-old Nets point guard, Jason Kidd, proved that adage to be true. For the second time in his career he averaged a triple-double in the post season. With 11 post season triple-doubles, he has the second most in the playoffs history behind only Magic Johnson who posted 30 in postseasons throughout his career.
As Kidd's number in years increase so will his number of assists. Drafted second overall in 1994, J-Kidd continues to be one of the smoothest passers in the league. Needing only 371 dimes to make his claim on Isiah Thomas' fifth spot, with Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter accompanying Mr. Triple Double on the wings, this eight-time All-Star should easily crack into the top five.
When Shaquille O'Neal, Dikembe Mutombo and Kevin Garnett entered the league as top five picks, they quickly established themselves as intimidating big men. All have dominated the post for over decade now, these living legends will continue to move up in the record books in rebounding this upcoming season.
Despite being Houston's back up center, it is still realistic for Mutombo to rack up 420 boards to bypass Charles Oakley, Paul Silas and Charles Barkley to assume 15th place on the all-time list. O'Neal should easily grab 228 rebounds to rise to the 21st spot. With The Big Ticket's career average rests at 11.4 rpg, expect KG to be a monster in the post accumulating at least 922 boards, enough to climb past Jack Sickma, Bill Bridges, Dolph Schayes, and Elgin Baylor. His final placement at the end of the season will in part depend on the productivity of Shaq.
Also worth mentioning, Washington's Antawn Jamison is just 17 rebounds away from capturing the 5,000th rebound in his NBA career.
One of the Ten Commandments states: "Thou shall not steal", but on the court, stealing is encouraged. Forcing turnovers is an integral part of the game and in all likelihood it probably doesn't fall under the ancient moral code's definition. Jason Kidd is currently listed at 12 on the all-time list for most thefts. He currently sits in the highest position of any active player and will look to overtake the 11th spot this season with 57 steals.
Another stellar point guard, Allen Iverson is not too far behind Kidd, tied with Ron Harper at 1,716 steals. While he will pass Ron Harper and Magic Johnson, who has 1,724 steals, A.I. will need 146 thefts to snatch the 13th spot from Isiah Thomas. Also, 13-year veteran Eddie Jones is only 29 steals away from breaking and entering into the top 20.
Players embarking on their 1,000th steal:
"Offense wins games, defense wins Championships," is so cliché. Despite being overused, former NBA champs Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Mourning and Tim Duncan would probably accept this statement as a fact. O'Neal celebrated Championships with the Lakers in 2000, 2001, and 2002 and with the Heat in 2006 along with Miami teammate Mourning. Duncan claimed the title with the Spurs in 1999, 2003, 2005, and 2007.
At 31 years-old, Tim Duncan is the youngest player in the top 15 for career swats. Currently resting in the 15th spot, The Big Fundamental needs 188 blocks to hop over Larry Nance and occupy the 14th position. While Shaq has averaged 1.6 bpg in his career, the 111 rejections needed to pass Tree Rollins (7th all-time) will be a challenge for the aging center. Zo will have the easier task of bumping Robert Parish out of the eighth spot by sending back 48 shots this year.
Without this category there is no other category. Not even the great Michael Jordan could hit a three, make a steal, or dish the ball to his teammate if he didn't play in a game. Both entering their ninth year in the league, Earl Boykins and Ron Artest are in position to play their 500th NBA game in the upcoming season.
Shaquille O'Neal, whose name owns a wealth of real estate in the record books
is 19 games away from his 1,000th time stepping on the court and 29 games away
from his 1,000th start. As one of the league's most accomplished athletes, The
Man of Steel exemplifies why the NBA is where amazing happens.