There’s a reason why only eight QBs have had a pass completion percentage over 70 in a season. There’s a reason why only two pitchers have ever finished with an ERA below 1 in a season. There’s a reason why only five NBA players have ever averaged over 35 points per game in a season and five have ever averaged 20 rebounds per game. The reason why single season records are so hard to break is because a player needs to sustain excellence for an entire season. One or two bad games can be the difference between breaking a record and not coming close. This year and possibly next year, however, seasons will be shortened. With fewer games to mess up, the likelihood of someone breaking unbreakable records increases tremendously. Here, we look at single season records that shortened seasons might allow to be broken, along with who the leading candidates to break them are.
*Disclaimer: Lebron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo would be among the favorites to break any of these records if they truly wanted to. Because they pride themselves on being all-around players and don’t care too much about their statistics in any one category, they will not be mentioned directly. Rather than writing them into every category, we trust that we can all acknowledge that they can do whatever they want to on the basketball court, including breaking these records.
Points Per Game
Current Leader: Wilt Chamberlain (50.36 ppg)
The Favourite to Dethrone him: James Harden
This is a long-shot, but if anyone will ever do it, it’s probably going to be Harden, who is capable of going on insane scoring runs rivalled only by Wilt himself.
Other Candidates: Bradley Beal, Trae Young, Damian Lillard
Rebounds Per Game
Current Leader: Wilt Chamberlain (27.2 rpg)
The Favourite: Andre Drummond
The unquestioned best rebounder in the league, Drummond has the best chance of anyone to break this insane record by Wilt. Playing alongside Kevin Love could either help or hurt his chances. Maybe both.
Other Candidates: Hassan Whiteside, Rudy Gobert
Assists Per Game
Current Leader: John Stockton (14.54 apg)
The Favourite: Luka Doncic
With Harden and Westbrook being on the same team and therefore having to split their assists, this is essentially a tossup between Luka and Trae Young. We’re giving the edge to Luka because Kristaps Porzingis is better than any of Trae Young’s teammates.
Other Candidates: Trae Young, Ben Simmons
Passing Yards Per Game
Current Leader: Peyton Manning (342.3 passing ypg)
The Favourite: Patrick Mahomes
This would not be a stretch of the imagination by any means. Mahomes is the best QB in the NFL, and his elite arm strength, accuracy, and somehow improved weapons arsenal makes him the obvious choice.
Other Candidates: Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Jared Goff
Rushing Yards Per Game
Current Leader: O.J. Simpson (143.1 rushing ypg)
The Favourite: Saquan Barkley
Barkley is in the top 2 of the most talented RBs in the league. With an improved offensive line, a much better head coach and offensive coordinator, and hopefully an improved Daniel Jones at QB, Barkley is in a great situation to potentially break the record.
Other Candidates: Christian McCaffrey, Nick Chubb, Ezekiel Elliott
Receiving Yards Per Game:
Current Leader: Wes Chandler (129.0 receiving ypg)
The Favourite: Michael Thomas
Thomas, who led the league in receiving yards last year by more than 300 yards, has established himself as one of the best WRs in the league. He’s in a perfect situation with Drew Brees running the offense and can actually break the record if he increases his receiving yards by 22 per game.
Other Candidates: Julio Jones, Deandre Hopkins, Kenny Golladay
Current Leader (since 1900): Nap Lajoie (.426 batting avg.)
The Favourite: DJ LeMahieu
LeMahieu is a consistent hitter who is the best bet to break the record over only 60 games. A fully healthy Yankees lineup will only help him out, with opposing pitchers likely more afraid of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, and Gary Sanchez than they are of LeMahieu.
Other Candidates: Tim Anderson, Christian Yelich, José Altuve
Earned Run Average
Current Leader (since 1900): Dutch Leonard (0.96 ERA)
The Favourite: Jacob deGrom
Winner of back-to-back Cy Young Awards, deGrom is the favorite here. If any record can be broken this year, the ERA record is the most beatable and deGrom is the man to do it.
Other Candidates: Max Scherzer, Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander
**Statistics from Basketball Reference, Pro Football Reference, Statmuse, ESPN, and the Football Database.