by Julian Spivey & Preston Tolliver
Will LeBron James Break Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s All-Time NBA Scoring Record?
Yes. According to basketball-reference.com, the lowest amount of points LeBron has scored in a season is 1,654 (this was in his first season; the second-lowest was in 2011, his first season with the Miami Heat, in which he scored 1,683). His average per season is 2,069 points. As of Sunday (prior to the Lakers’ game against the Heat), LeBron had 31,447 points, 31,038 of which came before the start of the 2018-19 season. Of course, he’s made the playoffs every year since 2006, and getting to the postseason isn’t a guarantee this year with the Lakers (though I’m betting it is in the next three).
If he hits that exact average of 2,069 per season for the four years he’s contracted with the Lakers, he’ll finish with 39,314 points – about 1,000 points more than Kareem’s record of 38,387. There are also injuries to consider, and that LeBron is 33 and will be entering the downturn of his career. But he’s also a cyborg, so I’m betting he hits that record and then some.
LeBron James just put up a 51-point effort against his former team the Heat on Sunday and despite being this far along in his career is easily one of the five best players currently in the game. I don’t believe there’s any doubt that LBJ will eventually surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s career scoring record. As the Lakers number one option this season, James is actually averaging more points per game thus far than his career average and I believe, barring injury of course, that he’ll likely best his average scoring number this year. Interestingly, last season with the Cavaliers was the first time in his career he led the NBA in scoring. James will turn 34 next month but shows no signs whatsoever at slowing down. Maybe he really is a cyborg? I think it’s not whether he’s going to break Abdul-Jabbar’s record, but how much is he going to surpass it by. I could easily see LBJ playing until he’s 40, if he wants.
After his Release from the Houston Rockets will Carmelo Anthony Return to the NBA? What Will Anthony’s Legacy Be?
I don’t see why any other team would want Carmelo Anthony at this point. Him signing with the Houston Rockets was a complete failure, being let go after just 10 games. Anthony’s problem is he still thinks of himself as a superstar, as a team’s number one option, as a guy who supposed to score 20-plus points a night, and he’s just not that player anymore. The Rockets wanted him as a useful bench player and he could’ve been that. He was scoring 13 points per game for them. He just couldn’t put his massive ego aside. The only team I could really see Anthony playing for this season is the Los Angeles Lakers alongside friend LeBron James, but I’m not sure LBJ wants to add the trouble of Carmelo to an already trying season. Anthony should simply call it a hall of fame career or go make a ton of money somewhere over season where he can probably have 70-point games like Jimmer Fredette.
As for Carmelo’s legacy, sure, there’s no doubt he’s going to be a first ballot hall of famer simply based on his scoring output alone. If his career is indeed over, he’ll have finished as the 19th highest scorer in NBA history. But Anthony will always have the legacy of being a “me first” type of personality, who was often a detriment to his team’s success by always having to have things his way. For this reason, anytime I think of Anthony I always view him as a disappointment.
Carmelo Anthony’s legacy will be that of a player who could have been an all-time great if his ego hadn’t gotten in the way. He’ll be a first-ballot Hall of Famer – any person who makes the top 20 in scoring should be – but he’ll enter the hall as a member of an exclusive club of members who never got their ring (along with Karl Malone, second on the scoring list). Despite his scoring, though, he’ll be remembered as a diva, a difficult player who couldn’t work with his coaches and doomed whatever team he played for.
If he plays again in the NBA, it’ll be in Miami or L.A. (alongside friends Dwyane Wade or LeBron, respectively; or, the Clippers may decide they want him just as an experiment). Otherwise, I expect the next time he steps onto a professional court to be overseas.
Does the Acquisition of Jimmy Butler Make the Philadelphia 76ers the Favorite in the East?
No, because the East is an uncredited powerhouse now. With Kawhi Leonard on the Toronto Raptors, the Milwaukee Bucks apparently a wrecking ball this season and the Boston Celtics stacked with stars who still are figuring out their system with Gordon Hayward added back, nothing is guaranteed in the East. For the first few weeks of this season, the Sixers were still figuring out the Process – now, they’re starting over with a new star, and it’ll be interesting to see if it’s still Joel Embiid’s team at the end of the year or if there’s Warriors-level dissension among the new ranks.
First, of all – and I know this is off-topic – but it’s far too early to use the phrase “Warriors-level dissension."
Back to the topic though, it wasn’t completely out of line to think that the Philadelphia 76ers could have been one of the top four contenders in the Eastern Conference coming into the season, along with the three teams that Preston mentioned. I’ve been somewhat surprised at how hot the Raptors (13-4) and Bucks (11-4) have been out of the gate and yet the 76ers are only 1.5-2.5 games behind those two teams at 11-7. On paper the acquisition of Jimmy Butler – a four-time consecutive All Star – should make the 76ers the favorite in the East matched up with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, but I have major questions about Butler’s attitude. I thought his addition to the Minnesota Timberwolves, playing alongside Karl-Anthony Townes and Andrew Wiggins would make that team at least a small-time contender in the West, but Butler’s attitude pretty much tore them apart. For Butler to have success in Philly he’s going to have to step back and realize he’s second-fiddle to Embiid and I’m not sure he’s capable of doing that. Butler seems to have some of that Carmelo Anthony in him.