NBA Milestones Within Reach
LeBron James begins the season ranked fifth in scoring average at 27.34. Oscar Robertson is fourth at 27.36 and Allen Iverson stands third at 27.73. If Iverson holds steady and LeBron has a season like he did in 2007-08 (30.0 in 75 games), James would move into third place all time, behind all-time leader Michael Jordan (30.12) and Wilt Chamberlain (30.07).
Shaq enters the season with 26,286 career points, good for 11th all time. He needs 1,124 points (13.7 average over a full season) to pass Moses Malone for fifth, trailing only No. 1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points), Karl Malone (36,928), Michael Jordan (32,292) and Wilt Chamberlain (31,419).
Kidd ranks fifth all time in assists with 9,497. He needs 645 assists to pass Magic Johnson for third, behind John Stockton (15,806) and Mark Jackson (10,334). The Mavericks' point guard has averaged 678 assists a season in his 14-year career.
The Pistons can reach their seventh straight conference finals, which would tie the Minneapolis Lakers (1949-55) for third all time. The Celtics' record 13-season run (from 1957 to '69) is all but untouchable, while the Lakers are second with eight (1982-89).
Iverson opens the season ranked 15th all time in free throws made (6,000) and 16th in attempts (7,690). He's likely to crack the top 10 in both by the end of 2008-09. Iverson finished second in the league in attempts last season with 797, the second-highest total of his 12-year career.
The Big Ticket is tied for eighth with Buck Williams with 8,491 defensive rebounds. He needs 365 to pass Patrick Ewing for sixth. In fact, the 32-year-old Garnett is four to five solid years away from passing Karl Malone (11,406) for the all-time record.
San Antonio Spurs
Another 50-win season would give the Spurs 10 in a row, breaking a tie with the Celtics (1980-88) for the second most in NBA history. The Lakers (1980-91) hold the record with 12.
Nash needs 713 assists to become the ninth player with 7,500 for his career. The two-time MVP has collected at least 800 assists the last four seasons.
In the category of dubious milestones, the Knicks' guard is the active leader for games played without making the playoffs (532). If the Knicks miss the playoffs again, Crawford will zoom past Popeye Jones for fourth on the NBA's all-time list. Tom Van Arsdale holds the record with 929 games.