Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant became the newest member of the NBA’s 20,000-point club on Wednesday night at Oracle Arena, hitting a pull-up jumper from 22 feet late in the second quarter over the Los Angeles Clippers’ Montrel Harrel to become the 48th player in league history to hit that mark.
Durant, who needed 25 points to reach the milestone and wasted no time doing so before halftime, was briefly honored by the sellout crowd in attendance as a highlight reel of his sensational scoring ways played on the jumbotron. The natural question now, of course, is how much farther up the scoring ranks he might go.
If Durant is able to stay healthy, it’s only a matter of time until he becomes the ninth member of the 30,000-point club. (LeBron James is 126 points away from becoming the eighth.) At his recent rate of scoring (25.3 points per game since joining the Warriors last season), and averaging 80 games played per season along the way, it would take Durant 4.42 more seasons to reach that mark (putting him at age 34).
Yet health has been a major issue for Durant in recent years, with injuries costing him 55 games in the 2014-15 campaign and a combined 30 in the past two seasons. In his seven prior seasons, Durant played 97.1% of the regular season schedule (542 of 558 games). If he were able to return to his Ironman ways, then it might be tempting to play long enough to surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) as the top scorer of all time — if, of course, James hasn’t already done it by that point.
Here’s how that rose-colored-glasses math might look: If Durant somehow averaged that 25.3 points-per-game pace and averaged 80 games played for the next 8.57 seasons, he would get there. No matter the outcome, it’s clear that Durant is well on his way to going down as one of the greats.
“It would be nice to be in that (30,000-point group),” Durant told The Athletic recently. “That’s like the prime scorer’s number: 30K. … I may have to play a lot to get there. But for now, I’m cool with the trajectory I’m on. I’m cool with the progress I’m making. We’ll see.”