A look at triple-doubles in the NBA since 1983-84

Russell Westbrook - Wizards v/s Thunder 03/14/11

The 2017-18 NBA season was yet another year where triple-double milestones were set. In November, Lonzo Ball became the youngest player to ever record a triple-double, only to have it broken by Markelle Fultz on the last day of the season. Meanwhile, fellow rookie Ben Simmons finished with 12 triple doubles, the most by a rookie since Oscar Robertson.

Nikola Jokic recorded the fastest triple-double in history, doing so in only 14 minutes, 33 seconds.  Finally, Russell Westbrook became the first player to ever average a triple-double in two seasons.

A history of triple-doubles since 1983-84

With all the triple-doubles taking place over the last two seasons, I decided to take a historical look at how common they are. I started with the 1983-84 season, as that is the first year that Basketball-Reference.com’s database has full regular season game logs.

chart

As one can see, the last three seasons have been historical in terms of the number of triple-doubles produced around the NBA. Three of the four years that saw the most triple-doubles have happened during this time. A lot of this has to do with last year’s MVP Russell Westbrook, who has produced the three seasons with the most triple-doubles since 1983-84.

Here is a representation of the graph above so that the leader for each season can be seen.

Season Triple Doubles Triple Doubles Leader
2017-18 108 Russell Westbrook (25)
2016-17 117 Russell Westbrook (42)
2015-16 75 Russell Westbrook (18)
2014-15 46 Russell Westbrook (11)
2013-14 46 Lance Stephenson (5)
2012-13 42 Rajon Rondo (5)
2011-12* 18 Rajon Rondo (6)
2010-11 37 LeBron James (4)
2009-10 23 LeBron James (4)
2008-09 30 LeBron James (7)
2007-08 40 Jason Kidd (13)
2006-07 32 Jason Kidd (12)
2005-06 37 Jason Kidd (8)
2004-05 32 Jason Kidd (8)
2003-04 32 Jason Kidd (9)
2002-03 42 Kevin Garnett (6)
2001-02 29 Jason Kidd (8)
2000-01 45 Jason Kidd (7)
1999-00 38 Jason Kidd (5)
1998-99* 18 Jason Kidd (7)
1997-98 22 Grant Hill, Jason Kidd (4)
1996-97 50 Grant Hill (13)
1995-96 50 Grant Hill (10)
1994-95 28 Jason Kidd (4)
1993-94 36 David Robinson (5)
1992-93 43 Charles Barkley (6)
1991-92 25 Four tied at 2*
1990-91 42 Magic Johnson (13)
1989-90 61 Magic Johnson (11)
1988-89 78 Magic Johnson (17)
1987-88 53 Magic Johnson (12)
1986-87 62 Fat Lever (16)
1985-86 37 Larry Bird (10)
1984-85 50 Magic Johnson (14)
1983-84 32 Magic Johnson (11)

* 1991-92 Michael Jordan, Gary Payton, Scottie Pippen, David Robinson
* 1998-99 (50 games) and 2011-12 (66 games) were both shortened due to lockouts

Triple Double leaders.png

Rusell Westbrook still has a ways to go to catch Jason Kidd for the most total seasons leading the league in triple-doubles. However, in his four seasons, Westbrook has a total of 96 triple-doubles (avg. of 24 per season). In his 11 seasons, Kidd had a total of 85 triple-doubles (avg. of 7.72 per season), 11 less than Westbrook had produced in the last 4 years.

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Sources and Tools:

Featured Image: “Russell Westbrook” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pgl_finder.cgi (used to find triple-double numbers from 1983-84 until 1998-99)

http://www.espn.com/nba/statistics/player/_/stat/double-doubles/sort/tripleDouble/year/2000 (used to find triple-double numbers from 1999-00 until 2017-18)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBA_lockout

Charts and graphs made using Google Spreadsheets

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