June 25, 2017

The 17 players with the most PLAYOFF triple doubles in NBA history

2017/04/19 8:17 pm 8:17 pm8:17 pm0 1 comment

We’re all aware of how Russell Westbrook surpassed Oscar Robertson for the most triple-doubles in one season during the 2016-17 NBA regular season. Westbrook would go on to average a triple double for that seasons. Those are unbelievable accomplishments considering both records were ones considered impossible to match.

However, an NBA player’s legacy is really defined with championships and big performances in the postseason; memorialized by big shots, heart, emotion and their leadership etched into our memories when their teams needed it the most.

So with that in mind, a list of players with the most triple doubles in the NBA playoffs all-time assumes two things — 1) they dominated games when the intensity level and competition is at its highest and 2) the players had successful playoff runs. For the most part, that proves itself out in the list.

Take a look at our list of 17 players with the highest total of triple doubles in NBA playoff history.

Rank Player Playoff Triple Doubles Championships
1 Magic Johnson 30 5
2 LeBron James 19 3
3 Jason Kidd 11 1
4 Rajon Rondo 10 1
4 Larry Bird 10 3
6 Wilt Chamberlain 9 1
7 Oscar Robertson 8 1
8 Russell Westbrook 8 0
9 John Havlicek 5 8
10 Tim Duncan 4 4
10 Charles Barkley 4 0
10 Elgin Baylor 4 0
10 Walt Frazier 4 2
10 Scottie Pippen 4 6
11 Clyde Drexler 3 1
11 Kevin Garnett 3 1
11 Blake Griffin 3 0
11 Draymond Green 3 1

When it comes to the NBA postseason, the triple double list is dominated by players that have had playoff success and the NBA championships to consumate that success.

It’s no surprise to see Magic Johnson leading the way with 30 triple doubles all-time, along with his five championship rings he brought to tos Angeles. Magic’s playoff triple doubles nearly doubles the player in second place. That player is LeBron James who has led his teams to seven consecutive NBA Finals and has collected 17 triple doubles along the way (as well as three NBA championships).

In third place is Jason Kidd with 11 postseason triple-doubles. Even though Kidd would win his one NBA championship with the Dallas Mavericks, he never recorded one playoff triple double while playing with the Mavericks. Ten of Kidd’s triple doubles came when he was with the New Jersey Nets and one when he was on the Phoenix Suns.

Tied for fourth place are two Boston Celtic players Rajon Rondo and Larry Bird each with 10 career triple doubles in the playoffs. Rondo teamed up with Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce for one NBA championship, while Larry Legend led his Boston teams to three titles.

Wilt Chamberlain is next on the list with 9 triple doubles and two NBA championships — once with the Philadelphia 76ers and the other with the Los Angeles Lakers. Oscar Robertson had just eight triple doubles in the post season, and teamed up with a young Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the Milwaukee Bucks to take home his one and only NBA championship during his career.

Celtic’s icon John Havlicek has five playoff triple doubles to his name and eight NBA championships. Like Wilt, Havlicek’s teammate Bill Russell probably would be on this list a lot more if they had recorded blocks in their era.

In fact there are just three players with four or more playoff triple doubles and have no championship rings to show for it: Elgin Baylor*, Russell Westbrook and Charles Barkley.

* Baylor retired early in the 1971-72 season when the Lakers would go onto the win the NBA title. The organization would give Baylor a ring though he wasn’t on the roster after the tenth game of the season or on the playoff roster — so it technically doesn’t really count as having a ring :/

In case you’re wondering, and we know you are, Michael Jordan recorded just two triple doubles in his many NBA playoff runs. That’s not a knock on the G.O.A.T., but worth mentioning considering his six NBA titles and the numerous times Jordan dominated games in the NBA playoffs.

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