Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Lakers, Dirk Nowitzki surpassed the 30,000 point career mark in his career. An elite milestone that only SIX players in history have eclipsed. The current club members are : Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, and Dirk Nowitzki. Today’s NBA is filled with score-first players, so I graded today’s stars on their 30K club potential:
LeBron James: A+
Without a doubt, LeBron James will join the elite company of six, and maybe sooner than you think. At the age of 32, LeBron has completed thirteen NBA seasons. Per season James has averaged 27.1 points a game, now having tallied 28,787 points (as of Sunday evening). As arguably the best player in the league at this point in his career, he will surely score 1,213 within the coming seasons.
James Harden: B+
In contention for MVP this year, Harden has taken his sights off scoring and focused on passing. Regardless, the man is still averaging (29.1) points a game, at that. With 7 seasons complete, Harden has totaled 13,618 career points. If that only took him seven, he would potentially only need seven more, as this year isn’t over yet. The key for Harden is most likely continuing his stride in Houston. Since he arrived, from OKC Harden has hit 2,000+ points in three out of four seasons. If gets tired of not winning championships and joins a star clustered team (rhymes with Devin Kurant), he won’t be able to keep up the same offensive intensity. He’s not a shoe in, but there’s a high chance that Chef Harden hits the milestone.
Kevin Durant: B+
Although he’s had to share the lime light with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, Durant has done a great job at remaining offense based. After 9 seasons in the NBA, he currently sits at 19,121 points in total. That means he’s averaging over 2100+ points per season. Just a reminder, Durant only played 27 games in the 2014-2015 season, due to injury. Potentially the second best player in the NBA, Durant will surely make the 30K club, should he not face fatal injury in the future.
Stephen Curry: B-
People are calling him the best three-point shooter of our time. After only 7 seasons, Curry has scored 13,088 points, 5,751 from the three. Just finding his stride within the last two to three seasons, the 2016 MVP will certainly be a scoring threat from both the field and behind the arc in the coming seasons. Averaging 1,800+ points a season, Curry will need around nine great seasons to reach the club. A challenge for sure, but Curry has certainly shown us that all records are meant to be broken.
Russell Westbrook: C+
Having the best season of his career, Westbrook will likely be this season’s scoring leader. A dominant in the paint presence, the man is a monster other players have nightmares of. Ready to eclipse his first 2000+ point season, he currently has scored a total of 15,156 points through 8 seasons. Just beginning his prime, I don’t see Westbrook slowing down anytime soon. As a player who has not seen much injury in his career, the Thunder point guard could certainly reach the 30,000 club before the end of his career.
Carmelo Anthony: C
Carmelo Anthony has been one of the premiere scorers in this league since his entering it in the 2003 NBA draft. Through thirteen NBA seasons, Melo has tallied 24,156 career points. After the same tenure as LeBron, Anthony has scored nearly 4,631 less points than the King. Obviously the New York franchise leader in points scored in a game (62) has been plagued with injury for multiple seasons, which is why I give it a 50/50 chance he hits 30K. Should Carmelo (finally) decide to leave New York and go to a system where scoring veterans are valued (hello, San Antonio, anyone home?) I give it a higher chance he makes it in.
Honorable Mention: Vince Carter, and Pau Gasol
I saved these two for last as my honorable mentions. Two players who, like Dirk, are still getting it done in the latter years of their career. They won’t reach the club necessarily, but here’s how the two soon to be legends stack up:
With only 6 members as of now, and all NBA greats, it will be interesting to see who else makes the 30,000 point club (if anyone).
All stats and information provided by ESPN.