Larry Bird believes triple-doubles are an overrated aspect of the game and thinks he could've got them in almost any game if he wanted to.
Bird believes he could've had a triple-double almost ever game
In the last decade, we've seen an influx of players getting triple-doubles to a much higher degree than ever before in NBA history. There are a few reasons for that, but players like LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden have been racking them up with such ease they somewhat lost value and no longer have that wow effect when someone finishes a game with one.
Larry Bird is another player that was racking up triple-doubles relatively easily throughout his career. His versatility and ability to impact the game in various ways made him a triple-double machine in the '80s, but he was never a big fan of getting them. Larry believed triple-doubles were overrated and, in his autobiography 'Drive,' Bird said if he wanted to, he could've got one every other game.
"People make too much of triple-doubles, which is usually defined as a game when a player has double figures in points, rebounds, and assists. If that's all anyone wanted me to do, I honestly believe I could get a triple-double in at least forty-one of the eighty-two games played every year. I believe if a coach wanted me to go out and make sure I had ten rebounds and ten assists in a given game, I could do it. Just don't ask me to score thirty points the same night. It's all according to the opponent and how the game is going. If other guys are playing well, you could do it, and it would be to the team's benefit. If they're not, what does it mean if you get a triple-double and we get beat?"
The assists are not counted properly
Bird also made a great point that I personally have a problem with as well in today's NBA, which is the actual credit for getting an assist. That stat is one of the most inflated in the NBA, and we've seen players getting an assist by their name despite the fact the player made two or three dribbles before scoring the basket. Bird makes it clear what an assist should look like, and if he had his way, the number of assists in today's game would probably be reduced by at least 50 percent.
"Assists are a questionable stat anyway. I believe it's generally easier to get one on the West Coast. It's just the way they interpret it. To me, assists should be given when a player gets the ball and scores-period. He can make a fake, but he can't put the ball on the floor. You also can't pump it three or four times and then put it in. There's a limit to what should be allowed to be called an assist."
When it comes to filling up the stat sheet, Bird's biggest rival, Magic Johnson, was also known for getting triple-doubles with ease and Bird respected the way he did, which for the most part benefited the Lakers in winning all those games and championships.
"And while we're on the subject, there are triple-doubles, and there are triple-doubles. When I see Magic have a game with fifteen points, thirteen rebounds, and seventeen assists- that's a triple-double."
Every other night we see someone get a triple-double, and even though it's still not the easiest thing to do, it's no longer a unique thing that happens. We've seen Westbrook get numerous triple-doubles, and his teams still losses the game, which basically means they are almost worthless and only look good from an individual perspective. So if NBA would go back and actually count the assist the way it used to do it, we would see an instant reduction of them in the games.
That way, it would also be easier to see which players are real point guards who get their teammates in the best possible position to score the basket. Nowadays, they can pump fake, take a few dribbles, score the basket, and their teammate still gets credited for the assist.