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2018-19 Season Preview: Upcoming Milestones
By Brian Witt
As the Warriors prepare to embark on a new season, they're closing in on several individual milestones.
With each second that passes, the Warriors inch ever closer to their 2018-19 regular season opener.
While Opening Night will signal the start of a new title pursuit, it will also simultaneously begin the countdown to numerous player and coaching milestones that are likely to be accomplished in the season ahead.
As part of the 2018-19 Season Preview, here’s a closer look at what’s at stake and who’s involved:
Although he’s only heading into his sixth season as an NBA head coach, Steve Kerr has made quick work of ascending the NBA’s all-time coaching wins list. He became the fastest coach in the history of the league to 250 career victories last season, and with 35 additional wins in the season ahead, he’ll eclipse 300. Given that he got to 250 wins in 42 fewer games than any other coach in NBA history, he stands a great chance at becoming the fastest to 300 as well.
Both Draymond Green and Shaun Livingston have been in Golden State for the entirety of Kerr’s tenure, and have obviously had plenty to do with his rapidly growing wins total. Those two players are approaching respective milestones in their own right, as it relates to career NBA games.
Green currently sits 33 games shy of 500 in his decorated career, while Livingston needs to play in 31 more games to reach 800 in his. Considering the gruesome knee injury Livingston suffered as a 22-year old, that’s certainly quite an accomplishment.
As perhaps the most lethal scorer in the NBA, Kevin Durant has never struggled much to put the ball in the basket. He’s scored at least 1,555 points in every regular season in his career in which he’s played at least 62 games, which has permitted him to quickly move up the NBA’s career scoring list. He currently ranks sixth among all active players in career scoring, and enters the 2018-19 season needing just 87 points to reach 21,000 in his career, which would make him the 35th player in NBA history to accomplish the feat (and the first in to do so in a Warriors uniform). And, should the Warriors secure a postseason berth for the seventh-straight year, Durant would need to outscore Dirk Nowitzki (3,663 points) by eight points in the playoffs to move past the Maverick great for 15th on the NBA’s all-time postseason scoring list.
We don’t know when DeMarcus Cousins will make his Warriors debut, but as he continues to progress through his Achilles rehabilitation, he can do so knowing another rebounding milestone is right around the corner. Cousins, who has averaged double-digit rebounds per game in each of his last seven seasons, needs to collect just 116 more rebounds to reach 6,000 in his career. Additionally, he also needs just 47 blocks to reach 700 in his career.
Last, but not least, the Splash Brothers have some three-point milestones on the horizon. Shocking, I know.
Let’s start with Klay Thompson, who enters the 2018-19 season already ranking 24th on the NBA’s all-time three-pointers list. He needs just 43 more treys for 1,600 splashes in his career, which would simultaneously move him up a few notches to 22nd all-time. Thompson is one of two players in NBA history to record at least 200 made three-pointers in six consecutive seasons (we’ll get to the other in a moment), and has averaged 241 made threes per season over that span. If Thompson were to hit his average for a seventh-straight year, he would potentially move into the top-15 on the all-time list.
The only other player in NBA history to make at least 200 threes in six-straight seasons, as you might have guessed, is Stephen Curry. He’s made a grand total of 2,129 three-pointers up to this point in his career, and enters the new season needing just 15 more treys to move past Paul Pierce into sixth place on the NBA’s all-time list. The next three names above Pierce on the list are all active players, and Curry currently trails Jamal Crawford (5th; 2,153 made), Kyle Korver (4th; 2,213 made) and Jason Terry (3rd; 2,282 made) by 61, 70 and 279 career three-pointers, respectively. Given the fact that Curry had averaged 309 made threes over a five-year span before an injury-shortened season last year, there’s a chance Curry could crack the top-three on the NBA’s all-time list by the time the 2018-19 season comes to a close.
And while we’re on the subject of Curry, he’s on the verge of another milestone, with a big assist from his father. Dell (12,670 points) and Stephen (14,405 points) Curry enter the 2018-19 season having scored the third-most combined points by any father-son duo in NBA history. Dell’s playing days are obviously over, but if Stephen can manage to score just 144 points in the season ahead, they’ll move past Dolph and Danny Schayes for second on the all-time list. They’ve got a ways to go to catch Joe and Kobe Bryant (38,895 points), though.