The 1954-55 season was one of the most interesting in NBA history, where Oscar Robertson achieved his first triple double average. This record has yet to be broken, but will it ever?
Oscar Robertson is a retired basketball player who has had an amazing career. He was the first NBA player to average a triple double for a season, and he is considered one of the greatest players in NBA history.
There are certain players that are genuinely one-of-a-kind. Oscar Robertson has the potential to be his generation’s best triple threat. He was a playmaker who could score inside and outside. When some rookies first join the league, they question whether they’ll receive any playing time and if they’ll be able to make a few field goals every game. Robertson was drafted as a territorial selection and scored 30 points per game in his first season.
His variety is impressive, as seen by his career total of 181 triple-doubles. It wasn’t until 2020-2021 when the record was broken. Who knows what else we may be talking about if additional numbers like three-point shooting, thefts, and blocks were taken into consideration back in his day. Let us instead wonder at the job that many people aspire to.
Oscar Robertson’s season statistics are shown below.
Season 1960-61: 30.5 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 9.7 APG
What a rookie season it’s been. Some NBA veterans want to have this stat line at some point during their careers. In his first NBA season, Robertson accomplished this feat. Before the season, Robertson declared himself eligible for the draft and was selected as a territorial choice by the Cincinnati Royals. He had a triple-double in his debut game, with 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists. By the conclusion of his career, Robertson had become used to racking up triple-doubles.
He led the league in overall assists, assists per game, and true shooting percentage in his first season. He was selected Rookie of the Year for his achievements. He was also named to the All-NBA First Team nine times in a row, as well as playing in 12 consecutive All-Star Games.
Season 1961-62: 30.8 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 11.4 APG
Robertson went on to do the seemingly impossible the next season. Robertson became the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double during the full season. Robertson also established the NBA record most triple-doubles with 41, which was later surpassed by Russell Westbrook (42) in the 2016-2017 season. Westbrook became the first player to do what Robertson accomplished this season 55 years later.
Robertson once again led the league in assists, but this time he surpassed Bob Cousy’s overall assist record. Robertson broke the previous record of 715 assists with a total of 899. He was also the only player under the height of 6-foot-5 to record over 900 rebounds, joining Johnny Green and Elgin Baylor.
Season 1962-63: 28.3 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 9.5 APG
Robertson did not lead the Royals in any major statistical categories this season, but he was instrumental in the team’s greatest overall finish. For the second year in a row, Robertson came close to a triple-double but fell short by 0.5 assists per game. The Royals proceeded to the Eastern Division Finals, but were defeated by Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics in a seven-game series.
Individually, Robertson came in fourth in the scoring race and second in the assist race. Guy Rodgers of the San Francisco Warriors defeated Robertson for the championship. This year, Robertson was very successful in the paint. He had more field goals than teammate and big man Jack Twyman at the end of the season.
Season 1963-64: 31.4 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 11.0 APG
He outperformed himself the next year after having his greatest season to date. The Royals finished with a 55-25 record, good enough for second place in the Eastern Division. The Royals switched to new coach Jack McMahon, who put a premium on going to the line. For the first time in his career, Robertson led the league in free-throw percentage, and he was 0.1 rebounds shy of averaging a triple-double for the second time in his career.
Robertson led the league in assists and hit 800 consecutive free throws, which was also a league record. He also topped the league in offensive win shares, edging both Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West by two full victories. He received the Most Valuable Player Award for his performance. In the second round of the playoffs, the Royals were defeated by the Celtics in five games.
Season 1964-65: 30.4 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 11.5 APG
He posted another outstanding statistical season after averaging a triple-double in each of his first five seasons, which spanned 451 games. He finished the year with a career-high 56 points and was one rebound short from a triple-double. For the second straight season, Robertson topped the league in assists and free throws. He also led the league in minutes played and total win shares, but lost out to Bill Russell for the MVP award.
The Royals had two All-NBA First Team players, including emerging star and All-Star Game MVP Jerry Lucas. The issue was that the East was overrun with celebrities. The squad had previously failed to beat the Celtics, and Wilt Chamberlain was moved to the Philadelphia 76ers, who went on to upset the Royals in the playoffs.
Season 1965-66: 31.3 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 11.1 APG
Another year, another championship for help. At least, that’s how it seemed when it came to Robertson’s expectations. That was followed by another season in which he averaged 30 points per game. At this season’s All-Star Game, which was held in Cincinnati, Robertson finally got the additional attention he deserved. The award should have gone to Robertson, who came close to a triple-double in a rout, but instead it went to Adrian Smith, who led the team with 24 points.
Robertson and Lucas had yet another successful season. Robertson had a “30-10” season, while Lucas had a “20-20” season, which is still an NBA record for rebounds by a forward. Both players averaged 44 minutes each game, yet the squad won 45 games. The squad came close to beating the Celtics in the playoffs, but lost a five-game series after leading 2-1.
Season 1966-67: 30.5 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 10.7 APG
Despite having a double-digit assist average, Robertson was beaten out for the assist title. For the second time in his career, Guy Rodgers defeated Robertson. It would also be the final season in which Robertson averaged at least 30 points and 10 assists. This year, Robertson came in second in the scoring and assist race.
The Royals were in the midst of a rebuilding season, since they were not equipped to compete with the Warriors or the Celtics. The squad finished third in the Eastern Division in the end. The Royals did reach the playoffs, but they were swept by the Warriors in the last game of the season.
Season 1967-68: 29.2 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 9.7 APG
Robertson had a fantastic season on his own, but it did not convert to team success. Robertson was the league’s top scorer and had the most assists per game. In terms of total assists, Robertson was beaten out by Wilt Chamberlain and Lenny Wilkens, but he had the superior overall average. He also had the best free throw percentage, free throws, and offensive win shares in the league.
The team’s achievement was not matched by the individual’s efforts. With a 39-43 record, the Royals finished sixth in the Eastern Division. The squad didn’t reach the playoffs, and it was the start of a streak of poor seasons.
Season 1968-69: 24.7 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 9.8 APG
Many people felt the Royals had a high ceiling when they opened the season 15-6. Sports Illustrated published a piece on the club being genuine contenders at one time. The squad went 21-32 after the article was published, but collapsed in the second part of the season to finish 41-41.
For the first time in years, Robertson’s score dropped significantly. Whether it was due to exhaustion or physical limitations, Robertson had his lowest scoring output in his career up to this time. Robertson, on the other hand, was effective on both ends of the court and as a whole. He led the league in assists and won the free-throw title for the second time. He made 643 free throws and had the most offensive win shares in the league.
Season 1969-70: 25.3 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 8.1 APG
This year was the first year in which Robertson’s overall productivity started to decline. He couldn’t rebound the ball as well as he had in previous seasons, and his assist total had slipped below nine for the first time. The club concluded with a 36-46 record and missed out on the playoffs. Robertson’s time in Cincinnati comes to an end this season.
Despite failing to lead his club to the NBA Finals, Robertson had a long and successful career. The Royals only stayed in town for two more seasons before relocating to the Kansas City region. The Royals are now situated in Sacramento, and Robertson is still considered the finest player in team history.
Season 1970-71: 19.4 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 8.2 APG
The Milwaukee Bucks made their greatest offseason splash just before the season started. To shock the world, the team traded Flynn Robinson and Charlie Paulk. Some speculated that head coach Bob Cousy was envious of Robertson’s attention, although the connection between Robertson and Cincy had deteriorated in recent years due to losing seasons.
The Bucks benefited from the move since he was teamed with all-time NBA scoring leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The Bucks won a league-high 66 games, including a franchise-record 20 consecutive victories, with Kareem in the post and Robertson facilitating. The Bucks completed their perfect season with a four-game sweep of the Baltimore Bullets in the NBA Finals, securing Robertson’s first title.
Season 1971-72: 17.4 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 7.7 APG
Robertson’s days as the league’s top scorer were numbered. With Abdul-Jabbar leading the way, he was the Bucks’ second-best player. However, this was OK since it relieved Robertson of the pressure to make every single play and instead allowed him to focus on helping the team win games. His colleague Abdul Jabbar was named MVP for the season, and the Bucks won another division championship with 63 victories.
The Bucks broke the Los Angeles Lakers’ 33-game winning run during the season. The Lakers avenged themselves in the playoffs. The Lakers beat the Bucks in six games in the Western Conference Finals, denying them a chance to defend their championship in the NBA Finals.
Season 1972-73: 15.5 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 7.5 APG
The Bucks concluded the season with a 60-22 record and another division and conference championship. Robertson was beginning to regress, it was clear. Robertson was 34 years old at the time, and he had logged a significant amount of minutes in Cincinnati.
The Bucks were eliminated in the second round by the Warriors after failing to reach the Conference Finals. Robertson would return to the NBA the following season with one year remaining on his contract.
Season 1973-74: 12.7 points per game, 4.0 points per game, 6.4 points per game, 1.1 points per game, 0.1 points per game
Robertson’s last season saw the Bucks finish first in the division and conference once again. The Bucks wouldn’t enjoy another remarkable season like this until the 2018-2019 campaign. Before reaching the NBA Finals in 2021, it was also the last time the franchise won a conference title.
The club advanced to the NBA Finals thanks to Abdul-Jabbar and Robertson’s partnership. In the Boston Celtics, Robertson would face his old foe. The Bucks pushed the Celtics to seven games, but ultimately fell short of capturing the title. This resulted in Robertson’s retirement, and subsequently Abdul-departure Jabbar’s from the Bucks for the Lakers.
25.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 9.5 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.1 BPG on a career basis
The league started keeping track of thefts and blocks in the 1973-1974 season. Given how hard Robertson worked in these games, he should be at the top of the all-time steals list. It would have been fascinating to know what his total use % would have been, which was another state the league didn’t take into consideration at the time. Robertson was a key part of the offense and, on paper, had a comparable game to Russell Westbrook.
Robertson’s assist percentage was 30.3 percent towards the end of his career. He was involved in over a third of his team’s field goals throughout his career. That implies Robertson was responsible for almost one out of every three baskets made in the hoop. He is one of the finest players to ever play the game, as shown by the fact that he once held the triple-double record for a lifetime.
Nobody will ever be better than Oscar Robertson when it comes to scoring for the Sacramento Kings.
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Oscar Robertson is the only player in NBA history to average a triple double for an entire season. He accomplished this feat in 1961-62, when he averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists per game. Reference: oscar robertson championships.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many times did Oscar Robertson averaged a triple-double?
A: Oscar Robertson averaged a triple-double 16 times, over the course of his career.
Who has averaged a triple-double in a season?
A: The record for most triple-doubles in a season belongs to Oscar Robertson. He averaged 31.6 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists per game during the 1961-62 NBA Season.
Who was the first NBA player to average a triple-double?
A: Oscar Robertson.
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