What Is a Triple Double in Basketball?
Since 1961, the Triple Double has been a standard in basketball. This is a rare feat that very few NBA players have achieved, and even more rare than the fact that none of them have been able to do it twice.
A triple-double in basketball is an incredible achievement. Let’s now get into the details about a triple-double.
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What Is a Triple Double in Basketball?
They are certainly an impressive feat and usually the mark of an incredible game from a player who has one. However, triple-doubles are just a result of high-performance stats across all areas.
A player is awarded a triple-double if they have a double-digit total in 3 of the 5 statistical categories (points, rebounds, and assists, steals, and blocked shots) within a single game.
We need to understand the basics of basketball stats to explain them fully. There are five main stats in every league and game: points, rebounds, assists, and blocks, steals. Although the stats are obvious, the NBA didn’t adopt them all at once.
Points are one of the oldest stats. The 1946/47 season was the first time that assists were officially recorded. Four seasons later, rebounds were made a major statistical category. Since 1973/74, the two most important defensive categories, blocks, and steals were only officially introduced.
A player can get a triple-double by simply recording a double-digit (10+) in any of the three statistical categories that he chooses in a single match. Triple doubles were not even possible in the NBA before LA media coined the term to describe Magic Johnson’s activities on the court in the 1980s.
The most common triple-double will include assists, rebounds, and points; since blocks and steals are easier to fill than assists or points, the most common triple-double will include assists, rebounds, and points.
However, some triple-doubles incorporate other categories. Hassan Whiteside, for example, has had four triple-doubles over his career, all of which were combination points, rebounds, and blocks.
A single player has achieved a triple-double without scoring points. Draymond Green is that player. His stats of 12 rebounds, ten assists, and ten steals against Grizzlies in February 2017 are his. This is the only triple-double of this kind in NBA history. Have you understood “What Is a Triple Double in Basketball?” now?
Who Has The Most Triple Doubles in NBA History?
- Jason Kidd 107.
- LeBron James 97
- Russell Westbrook 152.
- Magic Johnson 138.
- Oscar Robertson 181.
Is the triple-double the only type of “double”?
No. The term “double-double” has probably been used at least once. A triple-double is achieved by achieving double digits in all three statistical categories. However, a double-double requires just two. This makes it more common, and many players have achieved a double-double throughout a season.
A “quadruple-double” is another rare feat. This requires you to score double digits in four major statistical categories within a single game. Only four NBA players have achieved this feat. They are Nate Thurmond and Alvin Robertson. Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson.
Why is triple-doubles more common in the NBA than they are elsewhere?
There’re several reasons why this is so. The NBA has a shorter basketball season than other leagues. It also uses 12 minute quarters rather than 10, emphasizing individual play more than in other leagues like the EuroLeague.
Triple-doubles were once rare in the NBA, but they seem to be happening almost every night. What has changed? What changed? The speed of the game.
The pace is a statistic that measures how many possessions a team uses per match. Since the beginning of the season, the pace has increased rapidly to the point that we see the most exciting basketball in 20 years.
The 2019/20 season’s average pace is 100.2, the highest since 1988/89. Players with more possessions have greater chances of putting up stats.
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Is it possible to average a triple-double in a single season?
Yes, it is true. It wasn’t one player, but two. Oscar Robertson, who achieved a triple-double record in 1961/62, was the first player. This season, he recorded 41 triple-doubles, and nobody thought that this feat would be repeated.
Russell Westbrook, who was born in 1966/17, broke Robertson’s record of 42 triple-doubles in one season. He was named MVP for that season and went on to average triple-doubles for three more seasons.
We are seeing more triple-doubles today because of the way the game is played. It’s only a matter of time before a few new players join the elite list of players who averaged a triple-double per season.
How Do You Get a Triple Double in Basketball?
A triple-double performance is a great thing. Your coaches will praise you, your teammates will trust you more, and fans will enjoy a great show, all presented by you. That sounds amazing, doesn’t it?
As we have already mentioned, to reach a triple-double in basketball, you must achieve double digits (10+) in each of the following statistical categories.
A triple-double is possible by scoring 10 points per game. You don’t have to score three-pointers, free throws, or two-point baskets. It doesn’t matter what the point source is.
It’s much easier to grab ten rebounds in one game for the centers and forwards, but many guards have made a name for their skills at this. It doesn’t matter; rebounding is difficult when nine other players are trying to do the same thing.
It is much easier to give ten assists per game for the primary ball handlers (which are usually the point guard or young small forward). These are more difficult to get because they require a good feed from the ballhandler and a good shot by a teammate.
It is rare to achieve ten steals in one game, but it has been done. Two active players have earned it, but it is a small number.
It is a little more common than steals to achieve ten blocks in a single game. Eight active players have achieved this feat (some more often than others). However, it is still much harder to get blocks than points, steals and rebounds.
A triple-double, like most flashy things in basketball, is not easy. You shouldn’t expect one unless you are willing to work hard. They are not granted and don’t come by chance. Triple doubles can be earned and won.
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Five traits are necessary if you want to earn a triple-double:
The Center of Attention
It’s hard to get a triple-double if you aren’t the center of attention on the court. It doesn’t have to be for every game, but it should be for one game. It won’t be easy to fill out the stat sheet appropriately without it.
Focus & Determination
You will need to work for four quarters to achieve double digits across three statistical categories. This is impossible if you don’t focus on the task for four quarters. You won’t be able to get the triple-double if you don’t have enough hunger.
You must be aggressive to score more than 10 points. You must be a skilled passer to dish out 10 assists. You must know how to box out to grab 10 rebounds.
The same goes for blocks and steals, which require you to be a solid defender. You won’t be able to fill in enough statistical categories if you aren’t versatile.
Along with a high basketball intelligence, you will also need to communicate your feelings and make decisions throughout the game. When to shoot, pass, crash the boards, how aggressive to defend, and when you should run in transition.
If you feel tired after the first quarter of basketball, there won’t be enough gas to continue the game. It’s unlikely you will get the triple-double in half one, so you’ll have to fight the entire game.
You’ll likely feel exhausted if you reach a triple-double. It takes a lot to earn a triple-double, but the best players know how to recover and get back at it the next time quickly.
After you have achieved your first triple-double, it is time to see if you can do it again. After you have proven that you can do it multiple times, the question is whether you can keep it up. That’s the mark of true greatness.
What is the difference between a Triple-Double and a Double-Double?
This triple-double shows the versatility of the player as well as his ability to be active during matches. It speaks volumes about the professionalism and skill of the athlete.
Double-double refers to a player who scores more than 10 points in two of five categories. A double-double is an achievement in which a player scores 10 points and makes 10 blocks, but all other indicators are equal to 0, and the total score will still be considered.
Triple-double is one term. It differs in that you need to score 10 points, rebounds, and assist steals in 3 categories.
A double-double is not a common occurrence. A triple-double is considered to be a significant achievement. Triple-doubles are becoming more common with the advancement of the NBA. 
Who is the youngest/oldest player to reach a Triple-Double?
LaMelo, a 19-year-old basketball player, was the youngest to achieve a triple-double. It took him 140 days in January 2021.
Karl Malone, 40, is currently the oldest player to accomplish such a feat. He has 10 points, 11 rebounds, and ten assists.
Final Thought: What Is a Triple Double in Basketball?
Triple-doubles are a hot topic if you play, coach, or watch basketball. This is especially true in recent years with Russell Westbrook’s impressive numbers.
A triple-double is a high measure of a player’s ability and shows their proficiency in all aspects of the game. Westbrook broke the single-season record already. Who knows, if Westbrook keeps up this pace, he might eventually surpass Oscar Robertson’s record for triple-doubles.
Let’s all hope that this triple-double trend continues, so we can see great basketball for many years to come.
What are your thoughts on “What Is a Triple Double in Basketball?” Is it possible for a player in the NBA to achieve a quintuple double? If so, we’d love for you to leave comments.