In sports, players that excel in certain areas tend to be the most valuable. In basketball and soccer, players who score a lot are typically the best. But what about other sports?
The “points, rebounds, assists, steals blocks” is a statistic that has been used to determine how many career points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks a player has. The statistic has been used by the NBA since the 1980s.
Only a few outstanding players have emerged at each of the NBA’s five positions throughout time. In various elements of the games, we’ve seen greats like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, John Stockton, and Wilt Chamberlain dominate. There has always been a great scorer, rebounder, passer, and defender at each of the five positions.
A point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, and center all play in the NBA. Only one player may hold the position of supremacy. The players with the highest totals in points, assists, rebounds, steals, and blocks are listed here.
Leaders in Points Per Position Over Time
Oscar Robertson (PG) – 26,710
This should come as no surprise, given Robertson was the league’s most dominating scoring guard from 1960 through 1966. During that time, Robertson averaged 30.5, 30.8, 28.3, 31.4, 30.4, 31.3, and 30.5 points per game. Those points must eventually mount up.
Kobe Bryant, SG – 33,643 points
Bryant only led the league in scoring once, but topping all shooting guards in total points. To be fair, in today’s league, Bryant faced some difficult scoring competition. Bryant’s longevity benefited, since he played for the Lakers from 1996 to 2015. Only twice in his career did Bryant average more than 30 points per game.
35,704 SF – LeBron James
LeBron has only led the NBA in scoring once, in 2008, but he has a good stretch of 20-point seasons under his belt. He has never scored fewer than 20 points a game in his career. His lowest point per game total came during his first season, when he averaged 20.9 points per game. LeBron James is still scoring over 25 points per game at the age of 36.
36,928 PF – Karl Malone
GEORGE FREY/AFP/Getty Images/GEORGE FREY/AFP/Getty Images/GEORGE FREY/AFP/Getty Images
The championship pair of John Stockton and Karl Malone is the best non-winning championship tandem in NBA history. It was also the most devastating attacking combo we’d ever seen. Malone went on to amass the second-most points in NBA history, all while playing power forward. Malone never led the league in scoring, which is a startling statistic.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – 38,387 points
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images photo
Kareem used to be the Bucks’ go-to scorer when he was younger. Kareem led the league in scoring in 1971 and 1972, helping the Bucks become a championship contender and earning their first title in 1971. When he joined the Lakers, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar became the all-time point leaders.
Leaders in Rebounds Per Position All-Time
Jason Kidd, PG – 8,725
Kidd averaged 6.3 rebounds per game throughout his career. Kidd was a much stronger than the typical point guard in terms of total strength. Kidd was a dominating rebounder as a guard from 1999 to 2007. Kidd had totals of 6.8, 7.2, and 6.4 with the Suns. Then he joined the Nets for a season, averaging totals of 7.3, 6.3, 6.4, 7.4, 7.2, 8.2, and 8.1. This is a remarkable achievement in an era with powerful rebounding centers.
SG – Kobe Bryant (7,047 points)
James Harden and Russell Westbrook are two names that spring to mind, although both are behind Kobe. Harden presently has 4,975 rebounds, while Westbrook is classified as a point guard yet has surpassed Kidd’s career total of 7,152. Bryant, on the other hand, was not afraid of anybody. Bryant had a habit of averaging roughly five rebounds every game in addition to his high scoring totals.
Elgin Baylor SF – 11,463
Baylor established a new NBA scoring record (since broken) during his career-best rebounding season in 1960-1961, when he scored 71 points and grabbed 25 rebounds. Along with his scoring, he was a great rebounder. From 1960-1961 through 1962-1963, Baylor averaged 34.8, 38.3, and 34.0 points per game. Some centers have failed to reach 10,000 career rebounds.
Tim Duncan, PF – 15,091 points
Duncan is sixth all-time in rebounds, just ahead of Karl Malone, who has 14,968 in his career. Duncan was a previous All-Defensive selection who had a 13-year streak of double-digit rebounding. He is widely regarded as the greatest power forward of all time.
Wilt Chamberlain (C) – 23,924 points
The only metrics maintained during the time Wilt was playing were points, rebounds, and assists. His 27.2 rebounds per game, which completes the triple-threat, is an NBA record for a single season. He topped the NBA in rebounding 11 times in his career. His 22.9 lifetime average is also an NBA record. Naturally, Chamberlain has the most rebounds of any NBA player, not just centers. This is a record that is unlikely to be broken.
Leaders in All-Time Assists by Position
15,806 PG – John Stockton
Getty Images is the source of this image.
Stockton also owns the NBA record for lifetime assists (15,0806), which should come as no surprise. For one season, this assists average holds the NBA record. Stockton led the league in assists for nine straight seasons, with his highest total coming in 1989-1990. He’s also one of just three players in NHL history to record more than 1,000 assists in a single season, which he did seven times.
6,306 SG – Kobe Bryant
(Photo courtesy of FanBuzz)
While Bryant is most recognized for his high shot output, he also has the most assists among shooting guards. In the 2004-2005 season, he averaged 6.0 points per game. Bryant averaged close to five assists a game throughout the course of his career. During that time, he played 11 of his 20 NBA seasons.
9,782 SF – LeBron James
In a year marked by the devastating death of his buddy Kobe Bryant, James not only topped the league in assists, but also guided the Lakers to their first NBA title in 2020. LeBron has accomplished a lot in his career, but leading the NBA in assists as a point-forward at the age of 35 has to be one of the finest. Despite years of playing small forward, James was the team’s main ballhandler. His passing has improved with time, and he stays at the top of the position.
Kevin Garnett, PF – 5,445 points
Garnett was averaging assist totals that were comparable to point guards when he initially joined the league. Garnett was the focal point of Minnesota’s offense. Garnett averaged over five assists per game six times in his 12 seasons in Minnesota. When he moved to Boston, his stats dropped, but he was surrounded by greater quality.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (C) – 5,660 points
In today’s game, Nikola Jokic has a chance to surpass this total. Jokic has 2,805 assists in his career, so he has a long way to go. Having said that, he is just 26 years old and has already surpassed half of his goal. In another seven years, the Joker may be the most powerful man in the planet. Kareem played into his 40s, when conventional centers were expected to rebound and shoot blocks rather than pass in the 1990s and 2000s.
Leaders in Steals Per Position Over Time
3,265 PG – John Stockton
Stockton was the all-time steals leader at the end of his career. He has over 3,000 career steals, making him the first player in NBA history to do so. Jason Kidd is the runner-up, but Stockton has over 600 career steals. Stockton averaged 2.0 or more steals per game in all but one season from 1986 through 1996. In 1990 and 1991, 2.9 and 3.0 thefts were also recorded.
2,514 SG – Michael Jordan
Jordan was one of the league’s greatest overall defensive players from 1984 through 1995. He may be the last shooting guard we see play defense like this in our lives. With the exception of one season, Jordan averaged at least 2.0 steals per game over this time period. He also earned the Defensive Player of the Year Award in 1987-1988 with a 3.2. Jordan’s steals total ranks third all-time.
Scottie Pippen of the San Francisco 49ers has 2,307 points.
Despite the fact that Michael Jordan was a Bulls player, Pippen was a defensive specialist. Jordan’s attitude remained the same when he retired in 1993. In 1994, Pippen led the club in thefts, but in 1995, he averaged 2.9 steals per game, which led the league. LeBron has 2.085 lifetime steals, but until LeBron plays into his 40s, Pippen should maintain the record.
Karl Malone, PF – 2,085
(Image courtesy of Sporting News)
Malone is tied for 11th all-time in NBA history with LeBron James in terms of steals. Garnett came close to Malone in terms of thefts, but he fell short by around 150. The 1990s were a defensively powerful age that pales in comparison to today’s contemporary era. This record is unlikely to be broken since no active power forward currently ranks in the top 25 all-time.
2,162 – Hakeem Olajuwon
Olajuwon was one of the most exciting centers the NBA has ever produced for us fans. Olajuwon not only had the ability to score, rebound, and block shots, but he also had a career average of 1.7 steals per game. Olajuwon once had a four-year streak of at least 2.0 steals per game. Outside of Bill Russell, Olajuwon is a strong contender for the title of best defensive center of all time.
Leaders of All-Time Blocks by Position
Jason Kidd (PG) 450
If John Wall had been active this season, he would have easily overtaken Kidd in terms of point guard blocks. Wall has 427 career blocks and has only played in half as many games as Kidd. With that stated, Kidd now owns the record for most blocks in a low-block total.
893 SG – Michael Jordan
(Image courtesy of NBC News)
Jordan wasn’t simply good at snatching the ball; he could also block shots. His 1.6 blocks per game helped him earn the Defensive Player of the Year award in 1988. Jordan also averaged 3.2 steals per game this season. He was one of the most unique defensive shooting guards we’ve ever seen, at 6-foot-6.
Andrei Kirilenko (1,461) SF
Kirilenko, at 6-foot-9, was one of the larger small forwards on the team. In 2004 and 2005, he averaged 3.2 3.3 blocks per game. Due to an injured right wrist, he was only able to reach this average in 41 games during his best season. His 41 games at the time were enough to put him in first place in the league in blocks per game. Over time, he was able to exceed Julius Erving’s greatness.
Tim Duncan, PF – 3,020
Duncan is the all-time leader in total blocks. Duncan was named to the All-Defensive Team 15 times throughout the course of his career, including eight times to the First Team. Duncan had 12 games where he had more than 2.0 blocks per game, and three games where he had 1.9 blocks.
3,830 – Hakeem Olajuwon
Olajuwon was a terrific shot-blocker, which is why he is the all-time leader in shot-blocking percentage. He has almost 600 more blocks in his career than Dikembe Mutombo, the runner-up. Olajuwon had at least three blocks a game in nine of the ten years from 1985 to 1994, and more than four blocks per game three times.
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