LeBron James and the 10 Biggest Triple-Double Threats in the NBA

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistFebruary 1, 2011

LeBron James and the 10 Biggest Triple-Double Threats in the NBA

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    The triple-double is an elusive, exciting accomplishment.  When a player registers a triple-double, he shows the world that he's an elite, well-rounded baller.

    Triple-doubles can come in several variations, but the most common by far is the points-rebounds-assists combination.

    This list is dedicated to the 10 players who I feel are the biggest threats to put up a triple-double at some point during the rest of the year.  For a few of these guys, they'll probably get more than one.

    Here are the NBA's best triple-double threats right now...

10: John Wall

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    Triple-Doubles: One

    Double-Doubles: 17

    Points Per Game: 15.0

    Rebounds Per Game: 4.0

    Assists Per Game: 9.3

    John Wall put up his first career triple-double early in his rookie year.  He did so by going into double figures in points, assists and rebounds. 

    In that game he had six steals (nearly giving him the elusive quadruple-double).  In another game, he had nine steals.

    It's that ability to steal the ball that makes him a very legitimate triple-double threat.  He's proven that he can accomplish the feat with rebounds, but I also feel he can do it with thievery.

9: Tracy McGrady

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    Triple-Doubles: Zero

    Double-Doubles: Two

    Points Per Game: 7.4

    Rebounds Per Game: 3.4

    Assists Per Game: 3.2

    OK, before you throw something at the monitor, hear me out.  

    McGrady was recently promoted to to the starting point guard job for Detroit.  This is the first time in his career that he's played that position.

    Even so, he recently came very close to registering his fifth career triple-double.  Against the Miami Heatles on January 28, he put up 14 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.

    It looks like Detroit is trying to teach this old dog some new tricks.  If he grows into his new role, the kind of performances he had in Miami could become commonplace.

    Plus, his career averages of 20.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists show that he's a well-rounded player, capable of putting up numbers in each of those categories.

    If he stays healthy, watch out for McGrady for the rest of this year.  The Pistons have a solid shot at nabbing the seven or eight seed in the Eastern Conference and that could help motivate T-Mac

8: Pau Gasol

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    Triple-Doubles: One

    Double-Doubles: 26

    Points Per Game: 18.3

    Rebounds Per Game: 10.5

    Assists Per Game: 3.8

    Pau Gasol is one of the best all-around big men in the NBA.  He's always good for double-figures in points, he's a great rebounder, and in the triangle offense, assists can come from anywhere.

    Fortunately for the Lakers, Pau is also a great passer, and sees the floor well from the post.

7: Blake Griffin

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    Triple-Doubles: Zero

    Double-Doubles: 39

    Points Per Game: 22.8

    Rebounds Per Game: 12.7

    Assists Per Game: 3.6

    He doesn't have a triple-double yet, but he's been close.  He's had at least seven assists in six of his 39 double-double performances.

    He's second in the league in double-doubles behind Kevin Love, and at this point, getting that much is pretty much a given.

    So, it seems likely that at some point between now and the end of the year, he'll be able to eclipse 10 assists in a game.

6: Kobe Bryant

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    Triple-Doubles: One

    Double-Doubles: Four

    Points Per Game: 25.5

    Rebounds Per Game: 5.0

    Assists Per Game: 4.8

    Even as he moves comfortably into his 30s, Kobe Bryant can still take over a game as well as anyone in the league.

    You just never know when he'll go off.

5: Jason Kidd

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    Triple-Doubles: One

    Double-Doubles: Eight

    Points Per Game: 8.1

    Rebounds Per Game: 4.7

    Assists Per Game: 8.4

    Jason Kidd is 37 years old.  He's obviously not the player he used to be, but he's still one of the top 10 to 15 point guards in the NBA.

    He's third all-time in career triple-doubles with 105, behind Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson.

4: Chris Paul

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    Triple-Doubles: Zero

    Double-Doubles:  21

    Points Per Game: 16.7

    Rebounds Per Game: 4.0

    Assists Per Game: 9.7

    Chris Paul hasn't had one this year, but he's seventh among active players in career triple-doubles with 11.

    His numbers are down, but he's clearly still one of the best point guards in the league.

    Like John Wall, he may be able to register a triple-double with the combination of points, assists and steals.

3: Rajon Rondo

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    Triple-Doubles: Two 

    Double-Doubles: 18

    Points Per Game: 10.4

    Rebounds Per Game: 4.5

    Assists Per Game: 12.6

    Rondo is third in the league this year in triple-doubles with two. His speed and quickness are huge assets for acquiring all his numbers.

    He can get a traditional triple-double with points, rebounds and assists. Since he's second in the league in steals per game at 2.4, I wouldn't be surprised to see him get one with points, assists and steals.

    Incredibly, in just his fifth season, he's already tied for sixth all-time in career playoff triple-doubles with five.

2: Russell Westbrook

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    Triple-Doubles: Three

    Double-Doubles: 23

    Points Per Game: 22.6

    Rebounds Per Game: 5.2

    Assists Per Game: 8.5

    Russell Westbrook is a rising superstar.  His teammate Kevin Durant gets most of the press, but there's no way that team would be as successful as it is without Westbrook.

    He had a breakout season last year, and this year he's building on that success.

    He's tied for the triple-double lead this season with three.  He's registered all three with points, rebounds and assists.

    He's a good size for a point guard, and he's extremely athletic.  Those things help him get rebounds, but it's his tenacity that really makes things happen.

    Based on what he's already done this year, one could easily make a case for having him in the top spot on this slideshow.

    Oklahoma City's future is bright, and so is Russell Westbrook's.

1: LeBron James

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    Triple-Doubles: Three

    Double-Doubles: 19

    Points Per Game: 26.1

    Rebounds Per Game: 7.2

    Assists Per Game: 7.3

    Even though his haters might deny it, we all know LeBron James is probably the most well-rounded player since Michael Jordan.

    At the start of this year, you could tell he wasn't quite sure about how he wanted to play with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.  

    Now, he's realized he needs to be the same dominant player he's always been, and his numbers are reflecting that.

    He's averaging 26 points, 7.3 assists and 7.2 rebounds per game and he's posted three triple-doubles (tied with Russell Westbrook for the league lead).

    In the middle of his eighth season, his 29 triple-doubles are good for a tie with Grant Hill for eighth all-time.

    His career averages of 27.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 7.0 assists-per-game are hard to fathom for a player in this era.

    Even alongside two teammates who love to dominate the ball, LeBron James is the biggest triple-double threat in the NBA.

Honorable Mention

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    Derrick Rose

    Lamar Odom

    Kevin Love

    Grant Hill

    Dwyane Wade

    Kevin Garnett

    Tim Duncan

    Josh Smith

    Dwight Howard

    Andre Iguodala

    Tyreke Evans

    Gerald Wallace