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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Milestone Watch

Here are some statistical/historical milestones that are within reach in the 2007-08 season:

1) Kobe Bryant needs just 704 points to join the 20,000 point club. If Bryant matches his 2006-07 total of 2430 points then he could move up as high as 29th on the NBA/ABA career scoring list. Last season, Bryant had 10 50 point games and if he does that again in 2007-08 then he will tie Michael Jordan for second place on the all-time list in that category with 31; Wilt Chamberlain's mark of 118 is well out of range of any mere mortal for the foreseeable future. Bryant had 18 40 point games last year and he only needs four to pass Elgin Baylor (88) to move into third place all-time. Bryant is unlikely to catch Jordan (173) and no one is going to top Chamberlain (271); Rick Barry had 70 such games in the NBA but if you include his 45 ABA games with at least 40 points then he had 115 total, which looks like a reachable number for Bryant in the next two to three years. If Bryant averages 30 ppg and does not miss a substantial number of games then he can raise his career scoring average past 25 ppg and move into the top ten in NBA/ABA history.

2) Shaquille O'Neal figures to move up on the career scoring list and down on the career scoring average list. Assuming he matches last year's average (17.3 ppg) and plays in 60 games then he will move from 15th to 12th in career scoring while slipping from seventh to ninth in career scoring average. O'Neal needs 576 rebounds to move past Dennis Rodman into 20th place on the career list and 111 blocked shots to pass Tree Rollins and take over eighth place all-time.

3) If Allen Iverson returns to being a 2000 point scorer then he could move from 31st to 25th on the career scoring list and that would be enough for him to maintain third place on the career scoring average list.

4) The ageless Dikembe Mutombo grabbed 488 rebounds last year. Another performance like that would vault him from 19th to 15th on the career rebounding list, just ahead of Charles Barkley. Mutombo ranks second in career blocked shots but needs 600 to match Hakeem Olajuwon.

5) Jason Kidd already ranks seventh in career assists and if he matches last year's total of 736 then he will move into fifth place, trailing only John Stockton, Mark Jackson, Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson. He ranks 13th in career steals and only needs 98 (he had 127 last season) to reach 2000.

6) Steve Nash is 28th on the career assists list but he has racked up at least 800 each of the past three seasons. If he does that again then he will move all the way up to 17th all-time.

The Spurs are chasing the most significant milestones, though: the first repeat championship of the Tim Duncan era and the fifth overall title since he entered the league, which would be the most championships won by a single franchise since the Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen Bulls ruled the NBA and captured double three-peats in the 1990s.

posted by David Friedman @ 10:09 AM

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