Luka Doncic Going For 6th Straight 30-Point Triple-Double To Pass Russell Westbrook

Over the course of his last five games, Luka Doncic has recorded 30+ points, 10+ rebounds, and 10+ assists in each contest, which means he is now one game away from an NBA record. That is to say, this puts the young Slovenian in great company, being that Russell Westbrook is the only other player in NBA history to record five consecutive 30-point triple-doubles. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks, NBA

Notably, during his historic 2016-2017 NBA season, Westbrook set an NBA record for most triple-doubles in a single season with 42 (in 81 games played). Namely, the previous record of 41 triple-doubles (in 79 games played), held by Oscar Robertson (1961-1962), stood for 55 years. During the 2016-2017 season, Westbrook was the league leader in points per game (31.6 points; 42.5 FG%, 34.3 3P%), third in assists (10.4), and 10th in rebounds (10.7), as this was the first of four seasons in a row that the nine-time All-Star would go on to average a triple double. 

This season Doncic is also leading the league in points and is third in assists, averaging 34.6 points (49.6 FG%, 38.2 3P%), while dishing out 9.8 assists, and grabbing 9 rebounds in 37.6 minutes per game. The five-time NBA All-Star has 15 triple-doubles so far this season, which puts him at 71 for his career, in only 385 games played. This means through his six-year career so far, Doncic already ranks ninth in NBA history for triple-double games behind active players: James Harden (75; 1,056 games played), LeBron James (110; 1,477 games played), Nikola Jokic (125; 657 games played), and Westbrook (198; 1,152 games played). Mavericks head coach, Jason Kidd, who is currently number six on the all-time list (107; 1,397 games played), only had 30+ points in a total of six of his triple-double games.

“I’ve always said this, we can’t take that young man [Doncic] for granted,” Kidd stated in reference to Luka going for six 30-point triple-doubles in a row. “You’re seeing something as rare as a Picasso.”

Doncic, 25, and Jokic, 29, are currently the main threats to catch up to Westbrook, 35, as the NBA’s record holder for most career regular-season triple-doubles. With attention to the rate at which the players score a triple-double, Jokic on average scores one in 19% of career games, while Doncic records a triple-double in 18.4% of games.

Throughout his 16-year NBA career, Westbrook has recorded a triple-double in 17.2% of his games, while also being the only player to average a triple-double over four different seasons (2016-2019). The only other player to average one is Oscar Robertson who put up 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists during the 1961-1962 season for the Cincinnati Royals. 

When comparing Westbrook and Doncic, many can see similar intangibles, as both are well-rounded, ball-dominant superstars, who put up consistent mind-boggling numbers night in and night out. Despite Westbrook showcasing more athleticism, Doncic makes up for this with his size, shooting ability, and craftiness.

To point out, seven and a half years ago, 17-year-old Doncic and 27-year-old Westbrook actually matched up against one another in an exhibition game, when Real Madrid defeated the Thunder 142-137 in overtime.

This preseason game took place in October 2016, and was featured on ESPN, showcasing teenager Doncic, who contributed three points, five rebounds and four assists in 18 minutes, while Westbrook had 18 points, three rebounds and four assists in 22 minutes. Who would know that the kid from Slovenia might go on to rack up similar preposterous numbers years later as Westbrook did, who actually went on to win the NBA MVP award that very same season.

At this same time Kevin Durant had just jumped ship from Oklahoma City to join the Warriors, so during the 2016-2017 season, Westbrook was left alone to carry the Thunder. Nevertheless, the three-time assist and two-time scoring title holder was able to lead the Thunder to a 47-35 record, which landed them the sixth seed in the West that year. Although Westbrook put up a valiant effort, averaging a 37-point triple-double (37.4 points, 11.6 rebounds, 10.8 assists) throughout the first-round playoffs series, the team’s season ended when they were defeated by the Houston Rockets, who were led by former teammate Harden.

To note, when comparing Luka’s current season to Westbrook’s 2017 season, one of the notable differences is the supporting cast surrounding each player. That is to say, the second-leading scorer on the Thunder behind Westbrook that season was Victor Oladipo (15.9 ppg), followed by centers Enes Freedom (14.3 ppg) and Steven Adams (11.3 ppg).

On the other hand, Doncic is playing alongside another perennial All-Star in Kyrie Irving, who is averaging 25.6 points per game this season. With arguably the best backcourt in the NBA, the Mavericks as a team average 118.7 points per game, which is tied for sixth-most in the NBA. To mention, they also have a 35-28 record, which currently places them as the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

Over the past 23 games, Doncic has averaged a triple-double with numbers of 36 points, 10 rebounds and 10.5 assists. In particular, taking a look at this past week’s performances, Doncic became the first player in history with four straight 35-point triple-doubles, and was a single rebound away from already reaching six straight 30-point triple-doubles, as he put up 45 points, 14 assists, and nine rebounds vs. the Cavaliers on February 27.

And if Doncic scores a 30-point triple-double against the Pistons on Saturday night, it will indeed be the record for achieving six in a row, which will pass Westbrook for an NBA record, that some thought to be unattainable. No matter what happens though, Westbrook still holds the record for 11 consecutive regular triple-doubles, which he did during the 2018-2019 season.

With attention to the chance of Doncic getting a triple double in Detroit, Vegas currently gives him +200 odds, and then around -300 odds to score at least 30 points. In regards to tonight’s matchup, and when one considers keeping the streak of consecutive 30-point triple-doubles alive, against point guards this season, the Pistons give up the 2nd-most points, 10th-most assists, and 18th-most rebounds in the NBA. Looking at previous matchup history, Luka averages 35.7 points per game vs. the Pistons (most against any team), 9.7 assists and 8.3 rebounds; tune in March 9, 7:00 pm ET to see if Luka breaks the record.

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