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Milestone Watch: What’s Next for NBA Star Veterans?

Elite NBA veterans are nearing milestones this season. See who could move up in the all-time record book.

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There is an elite group of athletes in every sport, a small handful of players who compete at a high level deep into their careers and rise to the top of all-time leaderboards. In the NBA this season, several top veterans are poised to pass significant milestones in their career totals. Take a look at three of the league’s most accomplished players and marks they could surpass this season.

Kevin Garnett
NBA Debut: November 3, 1995

Garnett ranks first in most regular season games by active players (1,377) and ninth all time. This season he can pass the 1,400 mark, which would move him ahead of Clifford Robinson (eighth), Reggie Miller (seventh) and Jason Kidd (sixth). He only has to play in 48 regular season games to surpass Kevin Willis (1,424 games) for fifth all-time.

Garnett is closing in on the 50,000 minutes mark. The league leader with 48,910, he has 1,090 to go. Garnett’s minutes are being managed at this point in his career. He played 1,109 last season.

On the glass, Garnett leads active players in total rebounds (14,201). He is 41 rebounds shy of passing Walt Bellamy for ninth all-time. Garnett ranks second all-time in defensive boards (11,055) behind Karl Malone (11,406).

Kobe Bryant
NBA Debut: November 3, 1996

Kobe Bryant has hit 11,055 regular season field goals over his career, ranking first among active players and sixth all-time. He needs to make 275 this season to tie Shaquille O’Neal for fifth on the list. Last season Bryant was limited to 31 due to injury, but made 738 in 2012-13.

The NBA’s active leader in points (31,700) places fourth all-time. He is 592 points behind Michael Jordan (32,292). With 50 free throws made, Bryant would reach 8,000. The only other two players to do so are Moses Malone (8,531) and Karl Malone (9,787).

Tim Duncan
NBA Debut: October 31, 1997

Tim Duncan blocked 139 shots in his 17th NBA season. He only has to swat 103 to pass Patrick Ewing for sixth all-time. After Ewing stands a familiar face for Duncan — former teammate David Robinson. He holds the fifth spot with 2,954 blocks.

Here is a look at other veterans who are nearing milestones this season:

25,000 points: Duncan (24,904), Ray Allen (24,505), Vince Carter (23,190), LeBron James (23,170)

10,000 rebounds: Shawn Marion (9,899), Dwight Howard (9,883), Dirk Nowitzki (9,594)

1,300 games: Duncan (1,254), Bryant (1,245)

40,000 minutes: Carter (39,240), Marion (38,996), Andre Miller (38,554), Steve Nash (38,069)

Milestones like these put into perspective just how long a player has to compete in the NBA to reach these marks. Now take a look at LeBron James, who has been dominating since his debut in 2003. With two NBA championships and four MVP awards, the 29-year-old still has many years to go to catch up to some of the league’s greats in statistical categories.

33,276 Minutes: 87th all-time (86. Chet Walker 33,433 85. Gail Goodrich 33,527 84. Rashard Lewis 33,541)

23,710 Points: 27th all-time (26. Adrian Dantley 23,177 25. Vince Carter 23,190 24. Robert Parish 23,334)

5,790 Assists: 35th all-time (34. Avery Johnson 5,846 33. Kobe Bryant 5,925 32. Sam Cassell 5,939)

6,086 Rebounds: 151st all-time (150. Wayne Cooper 6,095 149. Darrall Imhoff 6,099 148. Bill Cartwright 6,106)

Who do you think will be the next group of elite players to be achieve milestones like these in their careers? Share your thoughts in the comments section or tell us on Twitter @BBallInsiders.

Jessica Camerato is a bilingual reporter who has been covering the NBA since 2006. She has also covered MLB, NHL and MLS. A graduate of Quinnipiac University, Jessica is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association and the Association for Women in Sports Media.

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