Before Sunday, only 22 players had reached the 25,000-point milestone in the history of the NBA. Kevin Durant became the 23rd member of that club with a 37-point performance in a 126-120 loss to the Boston Celtics. Durant has long been viewed by most as one of the greatest scorers the league has seen. Some people might even tell you he is the best scoring threat we’ve ever witnessed.
The way I view Durant is that he’s the most dynamic scorer the NBA has ever produced. I don’t think he’s the best, though. Yes, best and dynamic still have different meanings. Due to KD’s size and ball-handling skills, he’s been able to evolve his game in such a way that he can score from any spot on the floor with ease. He may also be the most proficient scoring threat at all three levels on the court.
I still rank Michael Jordan as the best, having won 10 scoring titles, averaging 30 or more points per game eight times, and doing so in an era where you could legally have your head taken off driving to the basket. Wilt Chamberlain won seven scoring titles and had a 50.4ppg season followed by a 44.8ppg year. George Gervin and Allen Iverson are the only other players with Jordan, Chamberlain, and Durant to take home four NBA scoring titles. That’s a pretty exclusive list of players in the conversation of greatest scoring threats with Durant.
This 25k point milestone probably should have happened a couple of years ago for Durant, if not for him missing significant parts of different seasons. KD played just 27 games during the 2014-15 season and missed all of 2019-20 (pandemic season) recovering from a torn Achilles.
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“It’s pretty cool. I should be at 30 [thousand] right now, to be honest. But it’s cool, it’s cool to reach that milestone and be amongst the greats. And I just got to keep pushing and keep going and see where I end up,” Durant said.
Regardless of whether Durant should already be at 30k points, his four scoring titles rank him among some of the greatest ever to do it. It’s also funny when scrolling down the all-time scorer’s list that the next two active players behind KD in career points are James Harden (23,142) and Russell Westbrook (22,982). Those three just cannot escape each other and will forever be linked.
But for Durant, it’s not about points anymore. The world knows he will continue to rack them up, but now it’s about winning another title. That’s part of why KD left Golden State for Brooklyn, to do it as the undisputed “man” on a championship team. Say what you want about Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry. That Warriors team was always Curry’s, and no matter what KD accomplished, it was always going to be Steph’s franchise.
Things are looking rather bleak in Brooklyn at the moment, but all it takes is a little mojo to get everybody on the same page at the same time, and that championship for the Nets could become something tangible for KD to grasp. Scoring all those points is fantastic, but Durant’s basketball legacy will ultimately come down to rings. Durant still has time to win more rings and change the perception about his lack of leadership.