IN PICS: Most triple-doubles in a single NBA season

Sport360 staff 18:38 09/01/2017
Russell Westbrook is the latest to join the list.

A triple-double.

A mark of an individuals dominance on a game, scoring double digits in three of either points, total rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks.

It is a feat most young basketball players dream of and one that the players on this list have churned out time and again.

1. Oscar Robertson (1961-’62) – 41

No discussion about triple-doubles can be approached without bringing up the “Big O”. The 6’5″ (1.96m) point guard out of Cincinnati remains the only player to this day who AVERAGED a triple-double throughout an entire NBA season in the 1961-62 season. During that historic season he posted averages of 30.5 points, 11.4 assists and 12.5 rebounds. What makes this achievement even more mind-boggling is that he did it in only his second season in the NBA. Incredibly, he narrowly missed out on repeating this feat four more times although he ultimately ended up posting the third- (twice!), fourth and fifth most triple-doubles in an NBA season in history.

2. Wilt Chamberlain (1967-’68) – 31

The man who will forever be the answer to the trivia question “Who scored 100 points in an NBA game?”, the 7’1″ (2.16m) centre out of Kansas had back-to-back seasons where he posted the second and fourth most triple doubles in history. Both years resulted in him leading the Philadelphia 76ers to the NBA Finals; winning one and losing the other. Unfortunately, they were his last years with the team as the four-time MVP demanded a trade in the ’68 off-season to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he would win another title in the 1971-72 season. “The Big Dipper” retired as the NBA all-time rebounds leader and holds the record for highest the highest points-per-game average in a season (50.4).

3= Earvin Johnson Jr. (1981-’82) – 18

The aptly nicknamed “Magic” Johnson was a player who captured the imagination of millions while playing for the “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers. His rivalry with Larry Bird and his Boston Celtics was exhilarating as these two met three times in between 1983-’87, with Magic coming away the victor 2-1 overall. The 6’9″ (2.06m) point guard out of Michigan State would go on to win five total NBA championships and three MVP awards before abruptly retiring in 1991 at the age of 31 after testing positive for HIV. This ended hopes of a possible new dream rivalry with the Chicago Bulls, where a certain up and comer named Michael Jordon just won his first championship. Oh, what might have been.

3= Russell Westbrook (2015-16) – 18

‘Beastbrook’ is the athletic freak of nature that currently making every team in the NBA pay as if they all have personally slighted him. Last year, the 6’3″ (1.91m) point guard out of UCLA had 18 triple-doubles and fell just shy of a major upset when they lost a 3-1 series lead to the mighty 73-9 Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. This year he is playing the role of scorned lover after Kevin Durant defected to those same Warriors in the off-season and is on a tear with 17 triple-doubles in 38 games already. He is averaging of 31.4 points, 10.6 rebounds and 10.3 assists this year, meaning that he could also be the first person since Oscar Robertson to average a triple-double in a season. The stage is yours Brodie.

5. Lafayette Lever (1986-87) – 16

Who, we hear you ask… No disrespect to the “Fat Lever” but you would be forgiven for not knowing him as well as the other illustrious names on this list. Make no mistake though, the 6’3″ (1.91m) point guard out of Arizona State was regarded as one of the best at this position in the 1980s playing for both the Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks and the two-time NBA All-Star is the only player to average over 13 points, 6 assists, 6 rebounds and 2 steals over his entire career and also ranks no.9 all-time for career triple-doubles over the next person on this list.

6. Michael Jordan (1988-89) – 15

Whoa, wait a minute! His Airness is only sixth on this list and twelfth all-time? And he did it long before he became the twice three-peating, all-time great shoe salesman and Space Jam star that has become synonymous with greatness.

MICHAEL JORDAN ACHIEVEMENTS

  • 1x NCAA Champion
  • 5x NBA MVP
  • 10x NBA Scoring Champion
  • 9x NBA All-Defensive First Team

As unbelievable as it is, the 6’6″ (1.98m) shooting guard out of UNC had his most triple-doubles in a season at a time when most people argued that he was an overrated selfish scorer who would never go on to win a championship. As we all know, Jordan had the last laugh once paired with superstar small forward Scottie Pippen and all-time great coach Phil Jackson. A quick little rundown highlights his numerous career achievements, as if the man needs any more introduction.

7= Grant Hill (1996-97) – 13 

Having seemingly played forever, Grant Hill retired in 2013 as one of the best players in NBA history. The 6’8″ small forward out of Duke played basically as a “point forward” for the Detroit Pistons during the ’90s and joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only players to lead their teams in points, rebounds and assists per season three times. Unfortunately, his run of statistical dominance coincided with Michael Jordan’s Bulls and their stranglehold on the NBA title, leaving him destined to never win a championship. The seven-time All-Star is now a part owner of the Atlanta Hawks.

7= Jason Kidd (2007-08) – 13 

One of the greatest rebounding and passing point guards in the league’s history, Jason Kidd may not have ever had a season where he put up big triple-double numbers but he did consistently put them up, proven by the fact the ranks third all-time for career triple-doubles. The 6’4″ (1.93m) point guard out of California was traded midway through the 2007-08 season from the then-New Jersey Nets [now Brooklyn Nets] to the Dallas Mavericks, who originally drafted him in 1994. He would eventually help them win his only NBA title in 2011.

7= Draymond Green (2015-16) – 13 

Although he may not be as flashy as the Splash Bros. combo of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, the 6’7″ (2.01m) power forward out of Michigan State is the engine that powers Golden State. Often looking bigger than his size, his defensive prowess allowed Golden State to use their famed “Death Squad” small-ball lineup and led them to the most wins in NBA history with a jaw dropping 73-9 record last season. Don’t believe Draymond was crucial? He only missed two games last year and the nine-loss Warriors lost both, including the crucial Game 5 in the NBA Finals that allowed the Cleveland Cavaliers to come back and ultimately win the title.

10. Larry Bird  (1985-86) – 10

The other end of the famous Lakers-Celtics rivalry in the late 1980s, the 6’9″ (2.06m) forward out of Indiana State won three NBA titles in his career as well as three consecutive MVPs. He was one of the best all-round players to play the game with Steve Nash joining him as the only players with multiple seasons in the “50-40-90 club” [50% field goal percentage, 40% 3-PT percentage and 90% free throw percentage]. As the President of Basketball Operations for the Indiana Pacers, he has become the first player to win the MVP, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year awards.

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