You doubtless know by now that Damian Lillard dropped 71 factors on the Houston Rockets on Sunday evening. He did it in simply 39 minutes with a complete shot distance of 420 toes, each unparalleled feats in NBA historical past — or within the case of the latter, because the begin of the shot-location monitoring period (1996-97).
If you are concerned with extra of the loopy numbers to return out of Lillard’s efficiency, take a look at our Sam Quinn’s piece, which notes, amongst different statistical gadgets, that Lillard is simply the second participant in historical past, becoming a member of Kobe Bryant, to place up two 60-point video games in two separate seasons (2022-23, 2019-20), which I am unable to completely wrap my head round.
Have you any concept how exhausting it’s to attain 60 factors in an NBA sport? LeBron James, now formally the one biggest scorer in historical past, has solely executed it one time in his profession. Lillard has executed it twice simply this season and 5 instances whole.
Speaking of besting LeBron, Lillard’s 71-point outburst on Sunday was the fifteenth time he has scored a minimum of 50 factors in a sport, yet one more than LeBron’s 14.
In different phrases, Lillard now has extra 50-, 60-, and 70-point video games than the NBA’s all-time main scorer, and he has amassed these marks in 10 fewer seasons than James.
The solely energetic participant with extra 50-point video games than Lillard’s 15 is James Harden, who has 23. But essentially the most factors Harden has ever scored in a single sport is 61. Lillard has hit that mark twice and bested it as soon as.
Stephen Curry’s profession excessive is 62, in need of Lillard,’s 71, and his 11 50-point video games additionally path Lillard’s whole, as do Kevin Durant’s 9.
All of that is to say, we’re getting to some extent the place we sort of have to begin speaking about Lillard as one of many biggest scorers of all time. In phrases of high-end ceiling, no one has confirmed extra explosive, and even from a mean standpoint, he is up there with the most effective of the most effective during the last half-decade.
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He made the NBA’s seventy fifth anniversary staff. That was deserved. But this man is much from executed. He’s 32 years outdated. At current, he has 19,026 profession factors. If he had been to play six extra years, at simply 60 video games per season, at his profession common of 25 factors per sport, which, for those who take a look at his profession marks, is definitely conservative on all fronts, he would go down because the NBA’s eighth all-time main scorer, one spot forward of Shaquille O’Neal.
Fact is, 30,000 profession factors is legitimately in play for Lillard, who is probably going going to common nicely above 25 factors for the foreseeable future. At current, solely seven guys in historical past have cleared that bar.
It’s fairly loopy how nice Lillard has grow to be. We’ve gone by way of the evolutions of the traditional debates with him. For years he wasn’t even considered a lock All-Star. He’s solely been first-team All-NBA as soon as? He’s by no means received MVP.
We’ve tried to maintain our Lillard conversations outdoors the historic realm, preferring head-to-head water-cooler debates like whether or not he is higher than Kyrie Irving or Russell Westbrook, which should not even be debated anymore. There was some pushback at Lillard being named one of many 75 biggest gamers of all time, however there should not have been. We’re simply nonetheless not fairly comfy placing Lillard in an all-time context.
We must be. It’s occurring comparatively quietly up in Portland, however the easy fact is that Damian Lillard is turning into one of many biggest gamers, and definitely one of many biggest scorers, this sport has ever seen. The numbers do not lie, and he is removed from executed amassing them.
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