Blogtable: Where will Durant finish his career on all-time scoring list?
Each week, we ask our scribes to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day.
From NBA.com Staff
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Kevin Durant has passed Larry Bird and now sits at No. 33 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. How high can he go?
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Steve Aschburner: Hey, I was told there’d be no math on these blogtables! OK, let’s see: Durant is 30. He’s in terrific shape and should age well, but he’s had his share of structural injuries. He might end up as the cornerstone guy if he changes teams again, though I suspect he won’t go anywhere where he doesn’t have significant scoring help. Now let’s assign numbers: I figure him for eight more seasons, at an average of 65 games per season, at an average of 21 points per game (based on a few points-per-game more now, a few less from ages 36-38). That’s 10,920 points after this season, added to another 1,000 or so to come this season. That’s another 12,000 points, which would put him at 33,806, just beyond Kobe Bryant’s 33,643. Bryant is third now but LeBron James is going to pass him first, so Durant will end up fourth all-time when he retires.
Shaun Powell: The future of Kevin Durant on the scoring charts depends on a few factors, namely health and also whether Father Time is a big Durant fan. Anyway, he’s certainly on track to crack the top 10 while still clinging to his prime and maybe top three before the wheels fall off, although we should mention that LeBron James is still adding to his own total and who knows where this is going?
John Schuhmann: Top 10 is a sure thing. To get into the top three (by passing Kobe Bryant), he’d have to stay relatively healthy (65 games or more every season), continue to average 26 or 27 points per game over the next few years, and play until he’s 37. The one season (2014-15) where he missed 55 games (after averaging 32 points per game the season before) really hurts his ability to reach Karl Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, or wherever LeBron James finishes, but maybe a move (at the age of 31) to a team that needs his scoring more than the Warriors do would give him a boost.
Sekou Smith: In a best-case scenario, Durant is ticketed for a top three or four finish if he continues to stay healthy and score at an elite level. That should not be an issue for a player who is easily one of the most gifted and skilled offensive performers ever. But who knows what happens if Durant takes his elsewhere in free agency and doesn’t have to share the scoring load the way he does with the Warriors. Listening to Durant talk about his love and appreciation for the art of scoring in this league, I see a guaranteed top 10 finish as a baseline for a player who continues to hone his craft the way Durant does.