On Thursday night, Russell Westbrook put up his 34th triple-double of the season; A season that has seen has seen the top 3 MVP candidates –Westbrook, James Harden and LeBron James — go triple-double crazy. As impressive as it to see these NBA All-Star and former lottery picks rack up triple-doubles on a nightly basis, I’m actually more impressed by what Nuggets’ 2nd round pick Nikola Jokic has been doing over the past two months.
In a win against the Clippers on Thursday night, the 22-year old center put up 17 points, 14 boards and 11 assists for his 5th triple-double in his last 20 games! How impressive is that stat? The last center to rack up five triple-doubles in a season was David Robinson during his MVP contending one in 1993/94. And The Admiral is the only center in the past 30 years to reach five triple-doubles in a season, meaning The Joker just did something Shaq, Hakeem, Patrick Ewing, Dwight Howard, Dikembe Mutombo, Moses Malone, Vlade Divac, etc, etc, have not. During that 20-game stretch, Jokic also had three games with 7+ assists and if you look at the 17 games before that stretch, he had four instances when he was within two assists or rebounds of a triple-double.
Again, I’m not taking away anything from the MVP candidates making history this season but they are experienced vets with the ball in their hands for the majority of the game; Nokic is a 6’10 center with just 1 year under his belt. And if all of this wasn’t impressive enough, Nokic has only played more than 30 minutes once this month and the Nuggets are on their first four-game win streak of the season.
He’s also a pretty funny guy who doesn’t think Mason Plumlee is a “good teammate.”