Wilt Chamberlain believed that posting up triple doubles was overrated and that it was a ‘stat’ that hid mediocracy.
Wilt Chamberlain was undoubtedly a statistical anomaly. Going over the number of times he casually dropped 40+ points on questionable defenses would take quite a bit of time. Moreover, many NBA fans are aware of the stats that Wilt put up on a nightly basis, especially in the points and rebounds category.
There have been several gripes with the way Chamberlain played the game, with many criticizing him for being an overtly selfish player. It was hypothesized and pseudo-confirmed by Wilt himself that if assists, steals, and blocks were lauded as heavily as points and rebounds, he would’ve focused on acquiring those stats as well.
His mindset going into games switched up after witnessing Bill Russell win more championship rings than one hand of his could accommodate. He started to rack up assists and became a defender in the low-post like his Celtics counterpart.
The result? A title in ‘67 with him averaging a career high in assists up until that point with 7.8. his uptick in dishing the ball also led to him notching a triple double in several games, something he wasn’t all too impressed by.
Wilt Chamberlain wasn’t a fan of triple doubles.
Wilt Chamberlain is 6th all-time in total triple doubles over the span of a career with 78. A player who played in his era, Oscar Robertson, has had 181 such games but according to ‘The Big Dipper’, this ‘accomplishment’ isn’t all too great.
“Triple doubles are overrated and can hide mediocracy. Some of the triple doubles Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, and Elgin Baylor had; they would have thought they were having the worst day in the world,” said Wilt.
The notion that triple doubles immediately translate to someone having a positive impact on a game is false. We’re seeing this play out in real time with Russell Westbrook continually being a plus-minus negative despite filling the stat sheet on most nights.
Another aspect of TDs that isn’t talked about enough is the psychological part of it all. If a player were to notch 20 points, 9 assists, and 8 rebounds, should they not be lauded the same as some who had merely an assist more and two more rebounds?