The 2023-24 Celtics season is nearly upon us, and with a new campaign comes plenty of individual milestones that are on the horizon.
Below we have singled out seven of Boston's vets, while highlighting two major upcoming statistical achievements apiece along with projections of when you can expect them to hit their various milestones.
14,000th point– Sixteen seasons deep and still going strong, Al Horford finds himself atop the scoring leaderboard among current Celtics players and at 13,605 career points. The 37-year-old center is projected this season to join the 14,000-point club, of which only 24 other active players are a member. It’s hard to say exactly when Horford will hit the 14K mark, given the team's frontcourt shakeup along with the probability that he’ll be given occasional rest days, but if he can average somewhere between 8.0 and 9.5 points per game (he averaged 9.8 last season), he should be able to produce 395 points in about 41-50 games.
800th 3-point make – Horford has a few 3-point milestones ahead of him this season, as he continues to rise as a long-distance marksman. He currently sits 46 3-pointers away from his 800th career make and is also just 10 away from 500 in a Celtics uniform. On top of that, he’s 31 triples from passing Avery Bradley into eighth place on the team’s all-time list and 60 away from Larry Bird in seventh. Horford made a career-high 2.3 long-distance shots per game last season at the second-best clip in the league (44.6 percent). If he can make somewhere around 1.5 to 2.0 treys per game, he should be able to hit 800 in around 23-30 games and 500 in a Celtics uniform in about 6-10 games. And he should be passing Larry Legend in about 30-40 games, just before hitting the 14,000-point mark.
2,000th assist – Malcolm Brogdon has an opportunity to have more of a playmaking role this season after the departure of Marcus Smart, meaning we could see his 3.7 assists per game climb closer to his 4.6 career average. The eighth-year combo guard currently has 1,844 assists to his name. If he can average somewhere in the 4.0-4.5 range, he should be able to dish out 156 helpers in about 35-39 games.
1,000th free-throw make – Although he’s one of the most reliable free-throw shooters from a conversion standpoint, Brogdon doesn’t get to the line a tremendous amount. Last season he earned 2.7 free-throw attempts per game, matching his career average exactly. Still, he’s on pace to hit the 1,000 mark in the makes category, as he sits just 53 away. If he can get to the line around three times per game, he should reach 1K in about 18-22 games.
1,000th 3-point make – Jaylen Brown is on track for a major 3-point milestone this season, as he will likely become just the third Celtic to make 1,000 shots from long distance, joining Paul Pierce and Jayson Tatum. Brown currently has 883 career triples, meaning he’s just 117 away. If he can maintain his recent make rate of 2.5 per game (he made an average of 2.4 last season and 2.5 the season before), he should hit the 1K mark in about 45-50 games. Along the way, he’ll pass Marcus Smart (911 3-point makes) and Antoine Walker (925 3-point makes).
500th steal – Brown is also knocking at the door of a defensive milestone, being just 44 steals away from 500. If JB can average 1.1-1.2 steals per game, just as he’s done in each of the past four seasons, he should make it halfway to 1,000 in about 37-40 games.
8,000th point – Fairly early in his first Celtics season, Kristaps Porzingis should be hitting the 8,000-point mark, needing just 124 points to do so. Porzingis’ scoring production likely won’t be as high as it was last season as Washington’s leading scorer (23.2 PPG), but even if he averages 18-20 PPG, he should reach 8K in about seven games. Based on a similar trajectory, he would also reach the 9,000-point mark about 57-63 games into the season.
800th 3-point make – Porzingis has an opportunity to make history this season by becoming the first player in NBA history who is more than seven feet tall to make 800 career 3-pointers (four others at exactly seven feet have accomplished the feat). He needs 63 triples to hit the mark, which would take him about 32-42 games if he can average 1.5-2.0 3-point makes per game (he’s averaged 1.8 per game for his career, including 2.1 last season).
10,000th point – Jayson Tatum has a major career milestone that he should be reaching just a couple of weeks into the season, as he is just 135 points away from 10,000. It shouldn’t take the league’s reigning scoring leader (total points) much time to hit that mark; if he averages 30 PPG like he did last season, he’d reach it by Game 5. By that time, he’d be about 24 years, eight months old, which would make him the 10th-youngest player to join the 10,000-point club in NBA history.
3,000th defensive rebound – Tatum’s rebounding flew somewhat under the radar last season, especially on the defensive end. He grabbed 571 defensive boards, which ranked first among non-bigs and eighth overall. At that rate, he should easily surpass 3,000 career defensive rebounds, as he needs just 328 to do so. Even if his rate drops a bit due to the added frontcourt presence of Kristaps Porzingis, Tatum should reach the mark roughly 50 games into the season, which would make him just the seventh player in franchise history to reach 3,000. Along the way, he’ll pass Kevin Garnett, who grabbed 2,786 during his Celtics tenure.
500th 3-point make – Derrick White is coming off by far his most prolific shooting season after making 149 3-pointers at a 38.1 percent clip (both career highs). All he needs is 17 more makes to reach the 500 mark, which would also place him at 200 for his Celtics career. We’re estimating that White should hit those milestones about 9-12 games into the season, as he looks to continue his rise as a long-distance threat.
300th block – The best shot-blocking guard in the league is approaching the 300 mark for his career, needing just 21 blocks to get there. That shouldn’t be a problem after the All-Defense guard blocked 76 shots last season; in fact, he could reach 350 by the end of the season if he picks up where he left off. White’s average came out to 0.9 blocks per game last season, so if he averages an even 1.0 BPG, he should reach the 300 mark around his 21st game.
400th block – Rob Williams is on pace to hit a block milestone as well, nearing 400 for his career. He’s a bit further away from the four-century mark than White is from the three-century mark, as he needs 52 to get there. But as the best shot-blocker on the team, it shouldn’t take him long. If Williams averages somewhere between 1.5 and 2.0 blocks per game, he should reach 400 after about 26-35 games.
300th assist – While 300 assists isn’t a significant mark for a ball handler, it is for a big man, especially for someone like Williams who wasn’t much of a distributor toward the beginning of his career. It's likely that he’ll hit that milestone in the very first game of the season since he only needs one to get there. During Williams’ earlier days, it may have taken him a few games to get an assist, as he totaled just seven during his rookie year and 27 during his sophomore season. However, he’s improved drastically as a passer over the past three years, all while being utilized more often as a passer, which increased his total assists to 134 in 61 games this past season. Look for Williams to hit the 300 mark right off the bat this season before possibly reaching 400 in the spring.