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Kevin Durant has a shot at the top of the all-time NBA scoring list too

Kevin Durant continued his scorching-hot start to the season with a 43-point masterpiece in a 124-121 win over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night.

In the process of this victory, Durant reached yet another career milestone – surpassing Celtics legend Paul Pierce for 16th on the all-time scoring list.

And with Durant still dealing at age 34 (he’s averaging 30.4 PPG on 56.5% FG%), one can’t help but wonder just how high up the all-time list the Slim Reaper can climb.

NBA All-Time Scoring List*

*Image Taken from Basketball Reference

It’s time for some math.

If Durant can continue this same scoring pace for the rest of the season (we’ll conservatively estimate he plays 70 games this year), that would put him at 27,653 career points.

Looking at our leaderboard, this production would leapfrog him over the likes of Tim Duncan, Dominique Wilkins, Oscar Robertson, Hakeem Olajuwon, Elvin Hayes, and Moses Malone. So there is a pretty reasonable chance he cracks the top-10 before the end of the 2022-23 campaign.

By the end of this year, he’ll have 15 playing years under his belt (we’re excluding the entire year he missed rehabbing his Torn Achilles). So, for the sake of simplicity, let’s assume that he plays another five years, averaging 70 games played per year. As for his PPG average, we’ll keep it at a clean 25 PPG for the next five seasons (2.3 PPG lower than his current career average of 27.3) to account for the inevitable regression that will take place in his elder years.

If this projection unfolds, Durant would be at 36,403 career points, moving him up to fourth on the all-time scoring list (for this exercise, we’re assuming Carmelo Anthony never plays another game again).

Now, remember that LeBron James is currently in the midst of his twentieth NBA season, and he looks like he has at least another two years in the tank, so let’s give Durant that same benefit of the doubt.

Let’s assume Durant can play two more seasons at a 70-game per season pace while averaging 20 PPG (don’t bet against Durant averaging 20 in his forties). With those numbers, he’d be at 39,203 career points.

If James surpasses the 40,000-point mark (he likely will), this would mean that Durant would be the second all-time leading scorer.

All this is to say, Durant still has a ways to go to climb further up the all-time ranks, but with a jumper as sweet as his, one would be wise not to bet against him.

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