NBA Records Made to Be Broken -- or Are They?

And then there's Oscar Robertson's record of 181 triple-doubles. Jason Kidd is the only active player who is even halfway there, at 99, and even he doesn't register as having any chance. Nor does James; in fact, you might contemplate the difficulty of Robertson's feat by noting that James has only 17 triple-doubles in five pro seasons.

A couple you might not have expected

While Moses Malone's mark on the offensive boards (6,731) appears safe, Abdul-Jabbar's record for defensive boards (14,465) is much more in play, oddly enough. (Note: Defensive rebounds were not officially counted before 1973-74.) That's surprising given how much the league's pace has slowed since his day, and how long Abdul-Jabbar played. But with a dominant showing on the defensive boards and an early, out-of-high-school start to his career, Howard has established a 14.9 percent chance of eventually owning the mark. A more distant possibility is Garnett, at 3.5 percent; his odds stood higher before this season, but his stats have taken a dip.

Dikembe Mutombo is second all-time in blocked shots, but has no chance of catching another Rocket, Hakeem Olajuwon, for top honors with 3,830 blocks. However, one other player has established a very strong shot. Atlanta's Josh Smith is only 22 but is already about a fifth of the way to Olajuwon's record. My method gives him a 17.8 percent chance of eventually owning the mark. He is the only player above zero.

To catch a thief: Chris Paul's pilfering needs to pick up to threaten John Stockton's mark.

Note: Blocked shots were not officially counted before 1973-74.

Along similar lines, Stockton's record for steals (3,265) is slightly more vulnerable than the assist mark -- but just slightly. Stockton finished with 700 swipes more than any other player in history, leaving Chris Paul with a faint, faint possibility -- a 0.1 percent chance -- of eventually owning the mark. That's 1 in 1,000, basically. As with Smith in blocks, he's the only active player above zero.

However, Baron Davis has a chance if he stays healthy. He shows up with zero probability at the moment because of his injury-plagued 2005-06 season, but if he stays healthy the remainder of this season and all of next and keeps stealing the ball at the same rate (a big if, I know), he'll be at 2.1 percent.

Note: Steals were not officially counted before 1973-74.

Anyone want these old records?

In addition to Havlicek's mark, a few other marks are out there that players would probably rather not own.

We have several players chasing down Abdul-Jabbar's all-time mark for personal fouls (4,657). Shaq still has a sliver of a chance at 1.5 percent, but the better odds are with the younger generation. Howard is at 17.2 percent and Amare Stoudemire -- even with a missed 2005-06 season -- is at 8.7 percent. In fact, with another full season at his current rate, Stoudemire's odds will balloon to 22.3 percent.

Try, try again: Iverson's college years might prevent him from reaching the NBA's all-time shot record. In contrast, Wilt Chamberlain's mark for missed foul shots (5,805) seems relatively safe. Shaq is second, but has just a 3.5 percent chance of catching Wilt for the top spot. The player with the best chance is Howard at 12.3 percent, but if his stroke improves, those odds will sink rapidly.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...