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.

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