Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, two superstars who have defined their NBA era, are on the precipice of stratospheres no basketball player has ever seen.
In our annual look at the career records that could be broken during the regular season, the names James and Curry arise more than anyone else. The former continues his march toward the career scoring record, and the latter is about to make certain what we have all long known: He is the greatest shooter ever to live.
Stephen Curry's pursuit of the 3-point record
With 90 more made 3-pointers, Curry will surpass Hall of Fame guard Ray Allen's career record of 2,973. At his current pace of five made 3-pointers per game, Curry will catch Allen by Christmas, three months shy of his 34th birthday. It took Allen five more years — and currently 755 more attempts — to set the benchmark.
That Curry is approaching Allen's record with the seventh-best 3-point percentage in NBA history is mind-blowing. Allen's career clip of 40.2%, tied for 48th in history, is remarkable. Curry's rate of 43.2% on far greater volume is absurd. (Still, were Curry to surpass 800 3-point attempts again this season, he would have to hit more than two-thirds of them to catch Steve Kerr's career-best 45.4% clip from 3-point range.)
Curry is also 1,290 points shy of becoming the 49th member of the 20,000-point club. Seven are active now: James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and LaMarcus Aldridge. Curry's current average of 27.6 points per game would punch his ticket by the All-Star break.
LeBron James is creating his own club
James is 216 rebounds short of becoming the 41st member of the 10,000-rebound club and 262 assists short of becoming the seventh member of the 10,000-assist club. No other player is a member of both.
James' 35,516 career points are third in history. He trails Karl Malone by 1,412 points for second on the all-time scoring list, so any significant missed time could threaten James' ability to pass Malone this season. James, who is scheduled to miss his fourth straight game with an abdominal strain on Wednesday, would need almost 60 more games at his current average of 24.8 points per game to catch Malone this season.
James also needs 35 more steals to crack the all-time top 10. He is 13 blocks shy of becoming the 99th player ever to log 1,000 career blocks, unless Andre Drummond (997) and Kevin Durant (994) get there first.
That's right: James can create his own club of one with 35,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 10,000 assists, 2,000 steals and 1,000 blocks in his career. And counting. Membership is as close to impossible as it gets.
More benchmarks James can hit this season:
He can climb as high as third on the all-time minutes list behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone, the only two scorers he is still chasing. James' 50,277 minutes are currently fifth, also behind Dirk Nowitzki (51,368) and Kevin Garnett (50,418). Thirty more games this season could get him there.
He is four 3-pointers away from becoming the 11th player in NBA history to make 2,000 3-pointers.
He is one triple-double away from 100 in his career and eight behind Jason Kidd for fourth all-time.
He will tie Kobe Bryant for the second-most All-Star selections in history with an 18th bid this season. Abdul-Jabbar's record of 19 will remain untouched until next season, when James will turn 38 years old.
Carmelo Anthony is on Shaquille O'Neal's heels
The Lakers boast two of the 10 greatest scorers in NBA history, as Carmelo Anthony recently surpassed Moses Malone to move into ninth on the all-time list. Anthony's 27,564 points are now 1,033 away from eclipsing Shaquille O'Neal for the eighth spot. The seven others beyond O'Neal — Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, James, Michael Jordan, Dirk Nowitzki and Wilt Chamberlain — comprise the 30,000-point club.
Anthony has not scored more than 1,000 points in a season since the 2017-18 campaign, but his torrid scoring start to this year, which includes an average of 17.6 points per game on 50/52/83 shooting splits, has him on pace to catch O'Neal — an afterthought when nobody would sign him for the 2018-19 season.
Durant's 24,207 career points are currently 26th on the all-time scoring list. He could rise as high as 18th this season. Allen Iverson, Ray Allen, Patrick Ewing, Jerry West, Reggie Miller, Alex English and Vince Carter stand in the way of Durant and Garnett's 26,071 career points. Durant's 29.5 points per game this season lead the league and have him on pace to approach 25,000 by New Year's and 26,000 by St. Patrick's Day.
Durant's former Oklahoma City Thunder teammates, Harden and Westbrook, can both crack the top 30 on the all-time scoring list this season. Adrian Dantley's 23,177 career points and Dwyane Wade's 23,165 are currently 29th and 30th on the ledger. Harden is sitting on 22,246 career points. Westbrook has 22,064.
Other milestones within reach this NBA season
Westbrook's 8,154 career assists trail Andre Miller for 11th on the all-time list by 370 assists. He should easily get there, but the 10th spot — held by Gary Payton (8,966) — will be tough to catch this season.
Westbrook's 3,949 career turnovers are also on pace to climb three spots to third on the all-time list. He currently leads the league with 56, and another 295 more this season would eclipse Jason Kidd and Kobe Bryant and catch John Stockton for third behind Karl Malone and James' career record of 4,617.
Chris Paul's 2,353 career steals trail Payton for fourth on the all-time list by 92.
Rajon Rondo is 55 assists shy of becoming the 14th player ever to record 7,500 career assists.
Dwight Howard can unseat Nate Thurmond from the career rebounding top-10 list with 150 more.
DeAndre Jordan needs 56 rebounds to join his backup in the 40-member 10,000-rebound club.
Harden needs 82 more 3-pointers to pass Reggie Miller for third on the all-time list for made 3-pointers.
Damian Lillard can climb as high as sixth on the all-time 3-pointers list. Lillard, who has made at least 225 3-pointers in each of the last four seasons, trails sixth-place Vince Carter's 2,290 by 211. Between them are Paul Pierce, Jamal Crawford and Jason Terry. Kyle Korver is fifth behind Harden with 2,450.
Luka Doncic, remarkably, can crack the top-10 list for most career triple-doubles with eight more.
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