Russell Westbrook is called by many as “Mr. Triple-Double” for a reason. He averaged double digits in points, rebounds and assists per game from 2016-17 until 2018-19 and added another during the 2021-22 season. Before him, only the legendary Oscar Robertson achieved the same feat in a single season. The “Big O” had 30.8 PPG, 12.5 RPG and 11.4 APG during the 1961-62 campaign with the Cincinnati Royals.
Westbrook, who now plays for the LA Clippers, is also the career leader in that category. After last season, he has 198. Robertson has 181, Magic Johnson with 138 and LeBron James, the active player closest to him, has 107.
The former OKC Thunder superstar also owns the most triple-doubles in a single season with 42 which he accomplished during his MVP campaign in 2016-17. He broke Robertson’s 55-year-old record of 41. Westbrook owns three of the top five numbers in that category for a single season.
Russell Westbrook might have also made it five consecutive seasons averaging a triple-double. If not for his stint alongside James Harden during his one-year stay with the Houston Rockets, he could have accomplished the staggering feat.
Harden and Westbrook were former teammates in Oklahoma but during their time in Houston, the Rockets were unquestionably “The Beard’s” team. Despite sharing ball-handling duties with Harden, “Brodie” still averaged 27.2 PPG, 7.9 RPG and 7.0 APG.
Like Russell Westbrook, Oscar Robertson also had several seasons where he nearly had a triple-double. In the iconic point guard’s rookie year, he put up 30.5 PPG, 10.1 RPG and 9.7 APG. Robertson averaged 30.2 PPG, 10.7 RPG and 10.4 APG in his first five NBA seasons.
Nikola Jokic could be the next triple-double machine after Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook will be playing again with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. He will remain as the Clippers’ playmaker but he will have to cede control of the game to the two superstars as well. For that reason alone, his triple-double opportunities will not be as many.
Nikola Jokic, on the other hand, will be the Denver Nuggets’ fulcrum on offense. Last season, he averaged 24.5 PPG, 11.8 RPG and 9.8 APG. “The Joker” could have accomplished that feat to join Westbrook and Oscar Robertson but did not seem interested.
The Serbian could be even better next season, which will be a scary proposition for Nuggets opponents. Jokic now has 105 triple-doubles in eight seasons, just two behind LeBron James, who will be entering his 21st year in the NBA.
The 2023 NBA Finals MVP finished last season with 29 triple-doubles, twice more than second-placer Domantas Sabonis who had 14. Nikola Jokic might not average a triple-double for a whole season but he’s looking like the heir apparent to Russell Westbrook’s throne.