30.8 points, 11.4 assists, 12.5 rebounds per game. There has been so much talk about LeBron possibly doing something close to this with the Heat. I say it’s improbably for a couple of reasons.
1.) Pace - Teams used to play at such a fast pace back then. This created more possession per game which in turn lead to more points, rebounds, and assists. The NBA is a much slower place today. In 2009-10 teams averaged 100.4 points per game on 46.7% shooting. The efficiency has gone up as the scoring and pace have come way down. This creates fewer opportunities to grab rebounds, hand off assists and score.
2.) Bad Shooting - In 1961-62, the year The Big O averaged a triple-double, teams scored 118 points per game on average and a pathetic 42.6% shooting. Although Oscar was an efficient scorer (47.8% FG%, 55.4% TS%) the rest of the NBA bricked a ton of shots. Double digit rebounds were available for anyone willing to jump. There is a reason Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain averaged over 20 rebounds a game and smaller guard/forwards like Robertson and Baylor were grabbing 12 and 18 rebounds a game.
it’s pretty remarkable that a man averaged a triple double for an entire season, however I find it more remarkable that the Big O didn’t even win the NBA MVP that year. Overall the 1961-62 season was flat out prolific in terms of individual stats and tomorrow you will find out why.