Nikola Jokic had 32 points, 30 rebounds, and 20 assists. It just took him 26 hours to do it. Slacker.
How remarkable is a back-to-back road-tripping pair of Трипле Доубле? That’s Serbian for "triple double", if Google Translate is steering me straight. Here’s the bits of data I could find to provide a little context for the Joker’s 26 hours.
In the last 31 seasons, less than 30 guys* have had consecutive triple-doubles in the NBA. It doesn’t happen very often. That asterisk exists as the figure is a cobbling of the 27 players I could find via basketball-reference.com.
Reaching past BR’s grasp, my limited data-mining skills still show me less than 60 players in league history who have accomplished the feat, though I’d value a sanity check from a fact-checker on both of those.
In both cases, less than one player a season (on average) accomplishes what Jokic just did. Over half of those didn’t pull it off in a back-to-back. Over half again didn’t see both games on the road. Suffice it to say it was a rare feat.
All of that in 26 hours. How about a few more bits about the Joker’s last 26 days…
Jokic put up four triple-doubles in that span, an impressive rate for anyone not named Russell Westbrook.
Early in the game, Altitude put up a cool graphic showing the last time a center had netted three triple doubles in a month, stretching back to some early-prime David Robinson days:
At that point you didn’t know that Jokic was going to try and tack one on a day into March. But the Admiral still has one up on in the Joker in an admirable department. Robinson is one of a very few players to score a quadruple-double in a game.
Jokic also got some love from ESPN on the topic with some interesting arcanity… arcanitude… deep data diving of their own:
Nikola Jokic had back-to-back triple-doubles with assists. Since the NBA began tracking starting lineups in 1970-71, its only the 5th time that a starting center has had back-to-back triple-doubles with 10 or more assists. The others to do it: DeMarcus Cousins, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Alvan Adams and Jerry Lucas.
Is Nikola the first Denver Nuggets player to have consecutive triple-doubles? Hell no, Fat Lever did it more than once. The first Nuggets center? No, actually, Dikembe Mutombo had six of his eight career triple-doubles with the Nuggets, including three in the well-beloved 1993-1994 season, including consecutive games. But Nikola got halfway to Deke’s career total in the last 26 days, so let’s just say he may surpass that mark.
Speaking of the talented Mr. Lever, the Joker only has 40 more Трипле Доубле to go to knock the only Nugget on the list down a notch. But what a lovely goal to shoot for.
And that’s really it, isn’t it, Nuggets Nation? A lot of lovely goals. You see what a Jokic triple-double can mean to the rest of the team’s totals. More of those stuffed stats sheets could look like a lot of W’s as well. The Joker’s triple-doubles are a shiny new thing. Though they look to get familiar, here’s betting they never get old.