Will Dirk Ever Make it to Top 5 of the All-Time Scoring List?

The night Dirk eclipsed the 30,000-point mark was one of the most fun nights I have had at the American Airlines Center, it was absolutely electric!  Dirk was aggressive from the start, knocking down 3s, and the crowd was locked in. Netting 18 points in the first quarter of the 20 he needed, it was a Mavs memory I will never forget.  It was such a great moment that it got me thinking about when we will get to watch Dirk pass the great Wilt Chamberlain, next on the list of top NBA all-time scorers.

As of 10/26/2018 here are the top 25 all-time scorers in the NBA (CAPS indicate active players):

1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 38,387
2 Karl Malone 36,928
3 Kobe Bryant 33,643
4 Michael Jordan 32,292
5 Wilt Chamberlain 31,419
6 DIRK NOWITZKI 31,187
7 LeBRON JAMES 31,167
8 Shaquille O’Neal 28,596
9 Moses Malone 27,409
10 Elvin Hayes 27,313
11 Hakeem Olajuwon 26,946
12 Oscar Robertson 26,710
13 Dominique Wilkins 26,668
14 Tim Duncan 26,496
15 Paul Pierce 26,397
16 John Havlicek 26,395
17 Kevin Garnett 26,071
18 Alex English 25,613
19 CARMELO ANTHONY 25,464
20 Reggie Miller 25,279
21 Jerry West 25,192
22 VINCE CARTER 24,899
23 Patrick Ewing 24,815
24 Ray Allen 24,505
25 Allen Iverson 24,368

Our man Dirk, the loyal legend, is 232 points behind Wilt for becoming the 5th most leading scorer in NBA history.  Last year Dirk played 77 games and average 12 points per game.  If we assume he averages 10-12 points per game, it will take him 20-24 games to move ahead of Wilt.

The only problem is that it looks like LeBron James is going to make it their first.  With Dirk yet to make his season debut and Lebron currently averaging 26 ppg, he will presumably pass Dirk in his next game on Saturday 10/27 in San Antonio.  Continuing at this pace it looks like a done deal that LeBron will move all the way up to number 4 on the list, passing Michael Jordan, before the season is done.  (10 games to become 5th and 44 games to become 4th).  For LeBron to make up the 7,220 points to move to the top of the list, assuming he averages between 22-26 points per game and plays 75 games a year, it would take him 3.7-4.4 years to pass Kareem.  James is currently 33 years old, if his body continues to hold up as it has in the past, it looks like LeBron James will be your all-time NBA scoring leader by the time he reaches age 38.

As for Dirk, it looks like he will never make it to 5th on the all-time list, but should does not diminish the accomplishment of passing Wilt Chamberlain, the man who once averaged 50 points and 25 rebounds for an entire season and scored 100 points in a single game.  We just need the big German to get healthy so he can deliver yet another iconic moment to an already illustrious career.  Stay tuned, Once he gets on the court we should be able to start predicting which games have the high likelihood of being the record breaker.

Where Dirk Ranks on other all-time lists:

Games played – 5th all-time, 5 behind Karl Malone, 33 behind Stockton, 89 behind Kareem, and 140 behind Robert Parish. (Dirk is 3rd all-time in minutes played).

3’s made – 11th all-time, will be passed by JR Smith who is only 1 behind Dirk (how do we stop this from happening?).

Rebounds – 26th all time, 276 behind Patrick Ewing.  This would take 56 games at 5 rebounds a game to move up.

Free Throws – 6th all-time, 126 behind Jordan, not likely to move up here. 17th all-time in FT%.

Assists – 144th all-time.

Steals – 83rd all-time.

Blocks – 53rd all time.  DeAndre Jordan already 49th on the list at age 30.

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