Kevin Durant #7 of the Nets signs autographs as he...

Kevin Durant #7 of the Nets signs autographs as he warms up ahead of their NBA game against the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on November 23, 2022 in Toronto, Canada. Credit: Getty Images/Cole Burston

INDIANAPOLIS — Kevin Durant doesn’t have a name circled. He doesn’t look back at Kevin Garnett or Vince Carter or ahead at Paul Pierce or Tim Duncan — and certainly not LeBron James, who’s in a good position to take over the NBA’s top spot in all-time scoring this season.

As he climbs up the ranks — on Wednesday, he surpassed Garnett for 18th in NBA history — he hasn’t exactly taken out his calculator, factored for age and health, and wondered where he’ll land when he finally hangs them up.

“I’ve never thought of it that way,” he said before the Nets took on the Pacers on Friday night. After scoring 36 points in a 128-117 loss, he sits at 26,110 — putting him, in a perfect world, within shooting distance of the top-10 scorers before the end of his age 34 season. The next person up is John Havlicek with 26,395.

“It’s always about keep adding, keep building up good days every day and being consistent in who I am as a player and seeing what happens at the end of the road,” he said. “I’m just grateful to get up and do something like this every day and keep adding to my skills, keep building my database for the game, I guess. That’s what I look forward to every day. Whoever I pass and whatever records I break for myself, it is what it is. I’m just trying to get up and be available and the best I can every day.”

For those of us who do look at that sort of thing, though, Durant entered Friday night averaging 36.5 minutes and 28.8 points (548 points total). He has played in every game this season. With the season at nearly the one-quarter mark, that means that Durant could be hitting Moses Malone territory (No. 10 at 27,409) at season’s end.

But there are good reasons for Durant to ignore so much of that noise. From the beginning of his career, his singular talent had sports pundits comparing him to the greats. During his time with the Nets, he also has seen, to an almost absurd degree, how little even the best players can control the chaos of an NBA season.

Durant has seen superstars leave and underperform, he played through a COVID-19 season in which Kyrie Irving was almost perpetually unavailable, and he suffered an MCL sprain last season that altered a team that couldn’t adapt to his absence — a series of events that motivated him to ask for a trade before rescinding it. This season, the Nets suffered a disastrous start, parted ways with coach Steve Nash only weeks into the season, and weathered the Irving controversy that led to a lengthy team suspension.

He has an outside chance of someday being the league’s all-time leading scorer, “I never really thought of it,” he said.

“I heard talk, especially early on in my career when I was doing stuff that the LeBrons, the Michael Jordans have done in terms of scoring but you know, I know how tough it is to consistently do this, year in and year out, day in and day out. A lot of stuff is out of your control, but I just try to come in and be the best version of myself that I can be and whatever happens happens.”

He’s a student of the game. Which is why, even if he doesn’t tally up his own achievements, he doesn’t mind looking in on James’. Going into Friday, James’ 37,311 points were just 1,076 short of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record.

“To be the No. 1 at anything, you know, there’s 8 billion people in the world. We just figured that out last week, so to be at No. 1 of all time at scoring a basketball, I’m sure there are going to be a range of emotions for him,” Durant said of James.

“To be in [a world] where we see this live is pretty cool as well, so you probably can’t even describe the emotions and feelings him and his family and friends will go through. It’s cool to see it up close.”

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