Can Durant catch Abdul-Jabbar?
Can OKC star or LeBron James become NBA's all-time leading scorer?
A player's reputation can be built on a relatively short flourish of heightened production, even if the hot streak eventually proves to be an anomaly. Think of Jeremy Lin, whose Linsanity persona was born from a 10-game streak in 2011-12. Since then, Lin's production has settled into the territory of a solid, non-star player, yet he finished with more votes than superstar teammate James Harden in this season's All-Star voting.
Other times, a hot streak is a logical manifestation of talent, circumstance and age, and it only burnishes the reputation of an already-great player. That seems to be happening right now with Kevin Durant.
Since Russell Westbrook last played on Christmas Day, Durant has gone on a tear even by his standards, averaging 36.5 points in 17 games since his wing man went down. That's nearly eight points per game more than any other player in the league during that stretch.
Durant leads Carmelo Anthony in the scoring race by 4.17 points per game. Assuming Anthony doesn't put up many more 60-point games, the gap may only grow while Westbrook is out. If so, Durant could post the biggest margin over second place a scoring champ has enjoyed since Michael Jordan outscored Dominique Wilkins by 8.05 points per game in 1986-87.
Durant's outburst has cemented his status as this season's MVP front-runner. But could he eventually be the best scorer of all time?
To read Bradford Doolittle's full breakdown of whether Kevin Durant or LeBron James could catch Kareem Abdul-Jabar's scoring record, sign up for Insider today.
We see that you are not an ESPN Insider. Upgrade today and gain access to our exclusive coverage.
MORE NBA HEADLINES
- Noah, Augustin lead Bulls over Heat in OT
- Meeks erupts for 42 as Lakers stun Thunder
- LeBron ditches mask without medical clearance
- Brooks: Durant could be scoring even more
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
THE NBA ON ESPN.COM
- adidas Men's Miami Heat LeBron James Christmas Day Big Logo Swingman Jersey
- NBA Home
- Boston Celtics
- Brooklyn Nets
- New York Knicks
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Toronto Raptors
- Chicago Bulls
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Detroit Pistons
- Indiana Pacers
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Atlanta Hawks
- Charlotte Bobcats
- Miami Heat
- Orlando Magic
- Washington Wizards
- Heat Index