ESPN staff6 min read
As the NBA enters its 77th season, fans are anticipating another exciting season, and there will always be additional discussion surrounding major upcoming milestones and anniversaries in 2023-24.
Fans and players await the trade requests of Damian Lillard and James Harden to be resolved. The two All-Stars are also chasing milestones. Lillard, who has the most points and three-pointers in the history of the Portland Trail Blazers, is 169 assists away from breaking the franchise record. Harden may also set an important career record against the Philadelphia 76ers, as he is 220 3-pointers away from passing Ray Allen for second place in NBA history for 3-pointers made.
From individual players who made history like LeBron James and Russell Westbrook, to iconic matchups and game-winning moments that will never be forgotten, here are the most anticipated milestones, streaks and anniversaries of the 2023-2024 NBA season .
Last season, James surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and became the scoring leader in NBA history. This is one of the most important milestones in the NBA. James has 38,652 points. This season, he is 1,348 points short of 40,000 points, one step closer to another record that would put him in the history books as the first player to reach that mark. That’s a reasonable feat for the Kings — he scored 1,590 points last season — and based on James’ career scoring average (27.2 points per game), he could reach it in his 49th game this season. milestone.
Kevin Durant is also hoping to jump up the all-time scoring list, as he needs 518 points to surpass Hakeem Olajuwon, Elvin Hayes and Moses Malone to become the 10th-leading scorer. . Durant will enter his second season with the Phoenix Suns after dealing with injuries for much of last season and finishing with 208 points. If he can stay healthy, consistent and match his career scoring average (27.3 points per game), he will reach that mark in his 18th game of the season.
If Durant wants to crack the top ten, he needs to score 1,705 points to surpass Shaquille O’Neal and Carmelo Anthony and move into eighth place on the all-time scoring list. He could reasonably reach that mark in game 62. However, since the 2018-19 season, Durant has never played more than 55 games in a single season.
Stripes in danger?
Two of the league’s biggest players will be looking to maintain their respective scoring records.
James is entering his 21st season and has scored 10 or more points in 1,151 consecutive regular season games. He hopes to extend the longest winning streak in NBA history when the Los Angeles Lakers take on the defending champion Denver Nuggets in their season opener on Oct. 24.
Stephen Curry will also be looking to add to his tally of points from behind the arc after passing Ray Allen in 2021 to hold the record for three-pointers made (3,390). Curry has hit at least one three-pointer in 245 consecutive regular season games, becoming the longest consecutive three-pointer streak in NBA history. In addition, he also holds the record for hitting multiple three-pointers in 56 consecutive regular season games. Curry and the Golden State Warriors will kick off the new season at home against the Suns on October 24.
The importance of triple doubles
Westbrook holds the record for most career triple-doubles with 198. The All-Star point guard enters his 17th season and first full season with the Los Angeles Clippers, two shy of becoming the first player to record 200 triple-doubles .
The closest player to Westbrook’s record among active players is James, who has 107 triple-doubles and is just one point away from surpassing Jason Kidd for fourth place. However, 2023 Finals MVP Nikola Jokic is not far behind with 105 points.
Harden is also likely to move up the rankings; he is five triple-doubles away from surpassing Wilt Chamberlain for seventh place on the list.
From record-breaking wins to the most memorable game-winners, here are some of the historic moments celebrated this season.
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich marks five years since becoming the winningest coach in NBA history: On April 13, 2019, Popovich earned his 1,413th win, surpassing Lenny Wilkens as the winningest coach in the NBA. Popovich has been the head coach of the Spurs since 1996, leading the team to five NBA championships. In early August, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He hopes to lead the Spurs back to the playoffs this season after missing the past four playoffs.
20th anniversary of James (Cleveland Cavaliers), Carmelo Anthony (Nuggets) and Chris Bosh (Toronto Raptors) making their NBA debuts: On October 29, 2003, some of the most iconic players made their NBA debuts. The performance of James, the No. 1 pick in the 2003 draft, lived up to expectations. The then 19-year-old James scored 25 points, 9 assists and 4 steals in the team’s 106-92 loss to the Sacramento Kings. Anthony played 20 seasons, while Bosh played 13 seasons.
30th anniversary of Michael Jordan’s first retirement: On October 6, 1993, Jordan announced the end of his NBA career for the first time. After nine seasons with the Chicago Bulls, he announced his early retirement just four months after leading the Bulls to a third consecutive NBA championship (a six-game series victory over Charles Barkley and the Suns).
The Shot’s 35th Anniversary: On May 7, 1989, Jordan made his iconic buzzer-beating shot in the 1989 NBA playoffs. In Game 5 against the Cavaliers, Jordan received an inside pass, helping the Bulls win the series 101-100. Jordan famously jumped into the air and then pumped his fist multiple times in celebration.