Nikola Jokic Joins Wilt Chamberlain as Only Centers with 50 Triple-Doubles

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2021

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) passes during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

The Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic became just the second center in NBA history to reach 50 career triple-doubles during Tuesday night's win over the Milwaukee Bucks. He joined Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain in the exclusive group.

"It's nice, of course," Jokic told reporters. "It is something that [for] my legacy to put behind me. It's cool just to be in that group of guys, especially with one of the best players to ever play the game. Just a nice accomplishment."

The three-time All-Star tallied 37 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds in the 128-97 victory.

Denver Nuggets @nuggets

Centers to reach 50 career triple-doubles: Wilt Chamberlain (did it in 703 games) Nikola Jokić (did it in 416 games) No biggie. #MileHighBasketball https://t.co/DJ1NafjSPe

Jokic is putting together an MVP-level campaign, averaging a career-high 27.3 points along with 11.0 rebounds, 8.6 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.6 threes across 35 appearances. He's shooting 56.9 percent from the field, including 41.7 percent from beyond the arc.

The 26-year-old Serbian superstar leads the NBA in Player Efficiency Rating and ranks seventh in ESPN's Real Plus-Minus.

"Nikola has 50 career triple-doubles, but he also has 20 games where he missed a triple-double by either one rebound or one assist," Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said. "It just speaks to his greatness. The guy doesn't get fatigued; he doesn't get tired."

Denver has needed every bit of that greatness because the immense strength of the Western Conference means its 20-15 record is only good for seventh place and leaves the squad two games clear of the 10th-place Dallas Mavericks (17-16).

That's not to say the Nuggets haven't had other players producing. Jamal Murray has been a strong second scoring option, while Michael Porter Jr. and Will Barton have been key contributors on the wing, but there's no doubt Jokic makes the team's offense run.

All told, Denver features one of the NBA's most effective offensive groups, but it wouldn't be a surprise if the front office seeks a rim protector before the March 25 trade deadline. The team ranks 18th in defensive efficiency, per ESPN.

Jokic and Co. have one more game before the All-Star break as they take on the Indiana Pacers (15-18) on Thursday night. They could extend their winning streak to four.