The NBA has evolved this season in a way few anticipated, with breakout performances from stars nearly every night across the NBA. Russell Westbrook is chasing Oscar Robertson in a historic triple-double race, but Westbrook isn’t the only one racking up triple doubles this year. From James Harden to LeBron James, they’re popping up all over the league more than ever.
Thanks to Ricky Rubio on Saturday, the NBA has now set a new record for triple-doubles with 79 this season — breaking the record of 78 that was set in 1988-89. When you consider it’s the beginning of March, the NBA is obviously poised to blow by the old record in the final month and a half of the season.
Rubio had a quiet triple-double with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, but it still counts. It’s his first triple-double of the season.
Westbrook has done the heavy lifting this season with 30 triple-doubles. It isn’t a one-man job, though. Trailing Westbrook in the triple double column is James Harden, whose 15 stat-stuffs is nothing to laugh at. Next up is LeBron James (7), then Nikola Jokic and Draymond Green, who’ve each posted four on the season.
Fifteen other players have recorded at least one triple double this season, with DeMarcus Cousins, Julius Randle and Giannis Antetokounmpo each recording two.
Earlier this season SB Nation’s Tim Cato explained why superstars are taking over offenses like never before.
This is the new NBA. Forget the offensive records you know. Set aside archaic notions about how teams must balance their scoring in order to be successful, or can only keep their superstars involved by isolating them off to the side. More and more, the best players in the league are relied upon for massive offensive performances night in and night out.
And to think we’re not even three-quarters of the way through the season yet.