Kevin Durant may have missed the 2019-20 season recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, but once he came back and proved that he was healthy, he immediately reclaimed his spot as the NBA’s most dangerous individual shotmaker. He is averaging 29.3 points per game in his first seven appearances as a Brooklyn Net, but in his eighth game with his new team, his 22 points midway through the third quarter took him into historic territory as a scorer.
On a 3-pointer in the third quarter, Durant scored his 23,167th point in the NBA. That took him beyond Dwyane Wade on the league’s all-time scoring list. Wade had previously been 29th, but Durant finished the night at No. 28 after passing fellow legend Adrian Dantley later in the game. If Durant seems a bit young to be passing a retired legend of Wade’s stature, well, he is. At 32 years old, Durant has needed only 857 games to reach that scoring total. Wade, on the other hand, played in 1,054. Durant is such an adept scorer that he managed to pass Wade in nearly 200 fewer games.
Wade and Dantley weren’t even the only legends that Durant passed on Tuesday. He entered the game against Denver trailing Elgin Baylor by only four points and went on to pass him in the first quarter. Baylor needed only 846 games to reach that point total and he did it without a 3-point line, but it should be noted that he played in a league with lesser competition and a faster pace. The 10 highest-scoring seasons in NBA history by points per game all took place during Baylor’s career.
Durant will ultimately play far more than the 857 games that he has appeared in so far. That makes him a near-lock to ascend significantly higher on this list. At a bare minimum, he should make it into the top 25 comfortably this season. Allen Iverson currently holds the No. 25 slot and he leads Durant by around 1,300 points at 24,368 for his career.
The only question left for Durant is how healthy he remains and how long he plays. No matter where he winds up, he will go down as one of the greatest scorers in the history of professional basketball.