Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A triple-double is a basketball term, defined as an individual performance in a game in which at least 10 of the following are accumulated in three of the categories: points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocked shots. The "easiest" way for a player to achieve a triple-double is by points, rebounds, and assists, though elite defensive players occasionally achieve 10 steals or blocked shots in a game.
A triple-double is seen as an indication of an excellent all-around individual performance. In the current National Basketball Association, they are rare but not unheard-of, as the top players can accumulate around 10 (out of a possible 82) in a season. In today's NBA, Jason Kidd is generally seen as the most viable triple-double threat in any given game.
Exactly one player in NBA history, Oscar Robertson, has achieved the feat of averaging a triple-double over an entire season. During the 1961-1962 season, Robertson averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists per game. Robertson's feat is highly unlikely to be duplicated in today's NBA. Offensive play is more deliberate than in Robertson's day, due both to offensive strategy and increasingly sophisticated defenses. With fewer possessions in a game, there are fewer opportunities for players to put up high numbers in assists or rebounds. In fact, it has been estimated that there were about one-third more rebounds available in an NBA game of the early 1960s than today. Also, the greater emphasis of one-on-one play in today's NBA as opposed to that of Robertson's day tends to limit opportunities for assists.
LeBron James is the youngest player in NBA history to have a triple-double. On January 19, 2005 versus the Portland Trail Blazers, he had 27 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to become the youngest player to have a triple double, aged 20 years and 20 days.
Wilt Chamberlain merits mention as being the only player in NBA history to record a double-triple-double (at least 20 of any three statistics). During a game in 1968, Chamberlain's line was: 22 points, 25 rebounds, and 21 assists.
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