Kevin Durant is a three-time scoring champ, four-time All-NBA first team, four time All-Star, an All-Star MVP, and 2008 Rookie of the Year. A very decorated man for being so young, but the one accomplishment that sticks out above the rest is his three NBA scoring titles.
At the young age of 25, Kevin Durant has won the scoring title three out of his six full years in the league. His lowest scoring average for a season was 20 points in his rookie year, which doesn’t place him in the top-20 among the highest rookie scoring average, but Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the man that holds the record for most points in a career, is fourth on that list. Take away his rookie year and he has never scored under 25 points per game in a season. Kareem experienced ten years of scoring under 25 points per game. Yes, I know both Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain averaged a career 30 points per game, but they are not the player with the most points in NBA history.
As of right now, Durant is averaging 26.7 points per game in his career, Kareem averaged 24.6, so the advantage goes to Kevin Durant. Kareem was 22 years old when he entered the league, Kevin Durant was 19, so if Durant plays until the age of 41 like Kareem, Durant would score 48,167 points, almost 800 more points than the record of 38,387 points held by, you guessed it, Kareem.
Another advantage for Kevin Durant is that he is in the 50-40-90 club, which is 50% shooting from the field, 40% shooting from the 3-point line, and 90% from the foul line. Durant is also the only other player besides Larry Bird to join the 50-40-90 club while scoring over 25 points per game. This shows how efficient Durant is with his shot, especially the 3-pointer, while Kareem didn’t get the pleasure of a 3-point line, that adds another advantage for Kevin Durant. Looking at everything so far, I would have to give the advantage to Kevin Durant.
NBA All-Time Career Points Leader: Kevin Durant?
Now some people would like me to assume a drop-off for someone playing until the age of 41, because how effective can someone be at 41 right? If Durant averages 26.7 points throughout his entire career he would only have to play 18 seasons to break the scoring record putting him at 37 years young. Michael Jordan played until he was 35, with the Bulls, where he never averaged below 22 points per game in a season and averaged over 30 points in multiple seasons.
Am I saying Durant is a better overall player than Jordan? No, but I am saying that Durant can and will be the better pure scorer of the two. Jordan only played 15 seasons in the NBA, and entered the league at 21, two years after the 19 year old Kevin Durant. This gives Durant two more years than Jordan and three more years than Kareem to break the NBA All-Time Scoring Record. If Durant stays healthy he can play in the league at least 20 years and because he isn’t like Lebron where he bangs in the post, this should not be a problem.
Kevin Durant is a finesse player so that helps his longevity in the league. His style of play takes less of a toll on his body, so as long as he still loves the game, which I am positive he will, then he will be a force in the league for many many years.
The only obstacle holding back Durant from breaking the record is his teammate Russell Westbrook. I enjoy a high-flying, high energy, point guard as much as the next guy, but offensively Westbrook overly does it all at times.
He brings the energy OKC needs on both offense and defense but he shoots far to much when you have a player like Kevin Durant on your team. Durant should shoot the majority of the shots for the Thunder, but surprisingly Westbrook does that. Durant simply shoots a higher percentage, so he is able to get his 27 points per game, even with Westbrook jacking up shots.
Another hurdle that might hold him back is his physical build. Him being just over 200 pounds for a 6 10” basketball player is not an everyday occurrence and could lead to easy injuries. But Durant adds extra height to his position, the average height for a small forward is around 6 7” to 6 8”, this gives Durant another advantage being 6 10” tall. Combine that with a 7 5” wingspan, and you’re looking at a freak of nature and a heck of a basketball player. Yes, he has a very slim frame, but that also adds to his ability to slide past defenders and get to the basket to finish forcefully. His size also enables the quickness needed to blow by the slower defenders, again making it easy to score. Critics harp on Durant’s passing and rebounding, which are both valid points, but in regards to scoring abilities, I’m not sure if anyone in the league can beat him.
At the end of the day, am I predicting that Durant will be the greatest player in the history of the game? No, not at all, at least at this point in time, I am simply saying that with his tools and youth he will pass Kareem in most career points. It’s just a matter of time.