Career milestones to keep an eye on when the NBA season opens on October 24.
The 2023-24 NBA season opens in just two weeks, with the defending champion Denver Nuggets hosting the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors welcoming the new-look Phoenix Suns. Here are some career milestones to be on the lookout for when the new campaign tips off.
James Harden (needs 307)
Russell Westbrook (543)
Harden’s status is, of course, somewhat up in the air, but assuming he plays (and tries) he will likely reach this mark in late November. Harden has scored at least 1,000 points and averaged 20 PPG for 11 consecutive seasons. The only guards in NBA history with a longer such streak are Kobe Bryant (14), Jerry West (12), and Allen Iverson (12).
With good health, Westbrook will probably reach this milestone in late January or early February. Westbrook has scored at least 1,000 points in each of his last 15 seasons, the longest such streak in NBA history by a guard.
Dwight Howard (needs 515)
Damian Lillard (624)
Howard’s status for the 2023-24 season is still uncertain, as he spent last season with the TaiwanBeer Leopards of Taiwan’s T1 League. Howard averaged 6.9 PPG over his last three NBA seasons. If we use that as an (optimistic) estimate for 2023-24, Howard would need to play in 75 games, a mark he hasn’t reached since 2017-18.
Lillard averaged 24.0 PPG in his injury-riddled 2021-22 campaign and a career-high 32.2 PPG last season. Lillard’s new pairing with Giannis Antetokounmpo will obviously have an effect on his scoring average, but my bet is he reaches the mark sometime in January 2024.
Dwight Howard (needs 373)
As noted above, Howard is still looking for a place to play in 2023-24. If Howard lands with a team that makes him a rotation player, 373 rebounds is a strong possibility. If he’s able to pull it off, Howard would become just the seventh player in NBA to reach 15,000 career boards. The six who have already done so are Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elvin Hayes, Moses Malone, and Tim Duncan.
Andre Drummond (needs 37)
Kevin Love (935)
Drummond averaged 6.6 RPG for the Chicago Bulls in 2022-23 despite averaging less than 13 MPG. Drummond exercised his 2023-24 option with the Bulls back in June, so he should continue to serve as Chicago’s backup center. Look for Drummond to reach the 10,000-rebound milestone in early November.
Love has grabbed at least 935 rebounds in a season twice, but the last occurrence was the 2013-14 season. Suffice it to say, this won’t be happening in 2023-24. The better question is, will it happen next season? Love’s total over his last two seasons is 935 rebounds, so he may not even reach this goal in 2024-25.
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