You are probably already aware of Damian Lillard’s 71-point performance against the Houston Rockets on Sunday night. He accomplished both historically unprecedented accomplishments in the NBA — or, in the case of the latter, since the advent of the shot-location monitoring era — in under 39 minutes with a total shot distance of 420 feet (1996-97).
If you’re curious about more of the staggering statistics resulting from Lillard’s performance, read Sam Quinn’s article. Among other interesting facts, it mentions that Lillard is only the second player in history (behind Kobe Bryant) to record two 60-point games in two different seasons (2022-23, 2019-20), which is something I still find hard to believe.
How difficult is it to score 60 points in an NBA game? LeBron James, who is currently recognized as the all-time leading scorer, has only accomplished it once. Lillard has done it five times overall and twice this season alone.
Speaking of surpassing LeBron, Lillard’s 71-point performance on Sunday marked his 15th game with at least 50 points, one more than LeBron’s 14.
In other words, Lillard has now surpassed James as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer in 50, 60, and 70-point games, and he has done so in 10 less seasons.
James Harden, who has 23 50-point performances, is the only active player with more than Lillard’s 15. Yet, Harden has only ever scored 61 points in a single game. Lillard has achieved the goal three times, surpassing it once.
Stephen Curry’s 62 lifetime points are less than Damian Lillard’s 71, and Kevin Durant’s nine 50-point outings and his 11 also fall short of Lillard’s total.
All of this serves to highlight how close we are to having to refer to Lillard as one of the best scorers in NBA history. Nobody has demonstrated more explosive high-end ceiling, and even from an average perspective over the past five years, he is among the greatest of the best.
He was chosen for the 75th anniversary NBA squad. That was only due. But this person is not finished yet. At 32 years old, he. He has 19,026 lifetime points as of right now. He would surpass Shaquille O’Neal to become the eighth-highest scorer in NBA history if he were to play six more seasons at just 60 games per season and at his career average of 25 points per game, which is actually conservative when you look at his career stats on all fronts.
The truth is that Lillard, who will probably continue to average well above 25 points for the foreseeable future, has a legitimate shot at 30,000 career points. Only seven men in history have succeeded in doing so.
The greatness that Lillard has attained is just amazing. We have discussed the developments of the traditional arguments with him. He wasn’t even considered a surefire All-Star for many years. He has only ever made the NBA first team, right? He has never earned MVP.
We’ve made an effort to keep our Lillard discussions away from the past, preferring instead to have head-to-head discussions about who is better, Kyrie Irving or Russell Westbrook, which shouldn’t even be up for discussion anymore. When Lillard was voted one of the top 75 players of all time, there was some criticism, but it wasn’t necessary. Simply said, we’re still not entirely confident placing Lillard in a historical perspective.
We ought to be. Although it’s occurring very quietly up in Portland, Damian Lillard is undoubtedly developing into one of the best players and scorers this game has ever seen. The facts are in the data, and he hasn’t even begun to gather them.