May 11th, 2009 was at first just another regular Monday. However, it proved to be a pivotal date for me, because it was then that I got curious and wanted to know how common was the feat of averaging 6+ or 7+ or 8+ in points, rebounds and assists for a whole NBA season. You see, LeBron just finished an “All 7’s” season and his fifth consecutive “All 6’s” season, and I was sure that this is not a common sight. Sure, everyone knows that Oscar Robertson is the only player to average a triple double for a season, and Jason Kidd had an “All 8’s” season just two years ago, but I wanted to dig deeper and find every player who had such a great all-around statistical season.
And so, I started compiling my first serious Excel file dealing with NBA stats. Basketball Reference back then was not the Basketball Reference that it is today, and the whole “Player Season Finder” feature was like the hoverboards from the “Back To The Future” film series. So what I had to do was to go over each and every season in NBA history and to track down the players who met the required criteria – averaging at least 6 points per game, 6 rebounds per game and 6 assists per game. It was a bit tedious, but I loved doing it so much that I got addicted to doing stuff like that ever since.
The decision to put the cut-off at seasons of “All 6’s” and not “All 5’s” was a bit arbitrary, but I feared from an overflow of players had the bar been set lower. And this way I was excused of
checking blocks’ stats as well, seeing as the highest average ever of blocks per game is 5.56 (Mark Eaton, 1984-85 season).
Anyway, my explorations led to some very surprising results, as you are about to see. Every player that managed to have an “All 6’s” season is registered in my Excel file, which I update with each passing season. Nowadays it is much easier to find the players matching the required criteria with the aforementioned “Player Season Finder” feature, but I like the old school way. I like the fact that I collected all of this data manually. This is how we roll in Tel-Aviv University, yo.
Anyway, I’m rambling too much. Let’s get down to business!
The first ever instance of a player averaging 6+ in the three major statistical categories occurred in 1950-51, when Andy Phillip recorded 11.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg and 6.3 apg. He led the league in assists that year and repeated the “All 6’s” feat next year too. All in all we had 111 such seasons, by 32 different players, with the most recent ones being Russell Westbrook and LeBron last year.
The most prolific seasons for such versatility were 1989-90 and 1990-91, when 5 players managed to accomplish the feat. However, despite the fact that those were successive seasons, only 3 players accomplished it in both of them – Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Darrell Walker. Fat Lever and MJ joined the trio in 1989-90 and Clyde Drexler and Scottie Pippen kept them company in 1990-91.
The longest drought – the most seasons the league went through without any player managing to record the coveted “All 6’s” season – is 4: Rick Barry did it in 1975-76, but then we had to wait until 1979-80 for someone to do it again (Magic and Micheal Ray Richardson). Today, BTW, the league is in a very good condition – we had a player averaging 6/6/6 in each of the last 20 (!) seasons.
So… who did it the most times???
|Player||# of 6/6/6 seasons||Player||# of 6/6/6 seasons|
|1) Jason Kidd||13||11) Steve Francis||3|
|2) LeBron James||11||18) Andy Phillip||2|
|3) Magic Johnson||10||18) Rick Barry||2|
|3) Oscar Robertson||10||18) Wilt Chamberlain||2|
|5) Larry Bird||7||21) Alvin Robertson||1|
|6) Walt Frazier||5||21) Boris Diaw||1|
|7) Bob Cousy||4||21) Detlef Schrempf||1|
|7) Fat Lever||4||21) Gary Payton||1|
|7) Grant Hill||4||21) Guy Rodgers||1|
|7) John Havlicek||4||21) Jerry West||1|
|11) Clyde Drexler||3||21) Kevin Garnett||1|
|11) Darrell Walker||3||21) Lenny Wilkens||1|
|11) Michael Jordan||3||21) Maurice Stokes||1|
|11) Micheal Ray Richardson||3||21) Norm Vanlier||1|
|11) Richie Guerin||3||21) Michael Carter-Williams||1|
|11) Scottie Pippen||3||21) Russell Westbrook||1|
As can be clearly seen, Jason Kidd is the GOAT when it comes to all-aroundness. 13 “All 6’s” seasons out of the 19 total he spent in the NBA, including a record of 12 consecutive seasons (1997-98 – 2008-09). However, his record is in serious danger, since LeBron is closing the gap with his enormous steps. Starting in his 2nd year, LeBron averaged 6/6/6 in each and every season he played in – 11 seasons out of 12 in total, all of them in a row! This year he can match Kidd’s record of consecutive seasons and come within one season of equaling his total. Since LeBron is very much aware of his stats, I think he has his eyes set on this achievement and I believe there is a high chance he will make it. BTW, not surprisingly, Kidd is also the oldest player to record such a season – something he did while celebrating his 36th b-day during the 2008-09 season.
Magic Johnson and Big-O Oscar Robertson are the two other players who have at least 10 such seasons. Notice that Kidd, Magic and Oscar are all PG’s, which makes sense since assists are the currency that is the hardest to collect out of the 3. Which makes LeBron’s numbers even more mind-fucking. The next non-PG on the list is Legend Larry, with 7 such seasons.
And how’s that for a mind-fuck: no other active player has more than one season of 6/6/6!!! What a real disappointment! In fact, since Kidd last made the list, with his 2008-09 season, LeBron saved the NBA by being the only player to make it for 4 consecutive seasons! He carried the whole world on his broad shoulders in those 4 seasons.
A few surprising absences from the list: Dwyane Wade, who did have a 6+ rebounds season, but alas, it coincided with a 4.6 assists per game season; Another one who surprised me is Iggy, Andre Iguodala, who couldn’t average 6 rebounds and assists in the same year despite his versatility; Kobe Bryant, who was so close to make it in several seasons that it really hurts that he didn’t make it in the end; Tracy McGrady, whose lone 6+ assists season was wasted on a 5.3 rebounds season; And the most surprising absence – Mr. Triple Double, Rajon Rondo! I really can’t believe my eyes…
Ok, “All 6’s” seasons are cool, but let’s turn it up a notch, shall we? Let’s see who managed to enter the more-exclusive list of players who averaged 7+ in the three major statistical categories.
Now, this is a much more difficult task, and appropriately, this feat has been achieved only 40 times in the league’s history, by 14 different players. If the first 6/6/6 season occurred in 1950-51, we had to wait a whole decade for the first 7/7/7 season. But it was worth the wait! Because the first player to record such a season was a young rookie named Oscar Robertson, who in 1960-61 blew up the stats sheets with averages of 30.5 ppg, 10.1 rpg and 9.7 apg. WHAAAAAAAT?! Not only was this the first ever 7/7/7 season, it was also the first ever 8/8/8 season and the first ever 9/9/9 season! OMFG… Well, yes, Big O was a statistical freak.
The most players ever to achieve this feat in one season is 3, and it happened in the 1988-89 season (Magic, MJ and Fat Lever). The last player to achieve it? Russell Westbrook, last year, when Durant was injured and Russell west berserk, recording 11 triple doubles in the process.
But who did it the most times?!
|Player||# of 7/7/7 seasons|
|1) Oscar Robertson||6|
|1) Magic Johnson||6|
|1) Jason Kidd||6|
|1) LeBron James||6|
|5) Larry Bird||3|
|5) Fat Lever||3|
|7) Wilt Chamberlain||2|
|7) John Havlicek||2|
|9) Norm Vanlier||1|
|9) Michael Jordan||1|
|9) Darrell Walker||1|
|9) Scottie Pippen||1|
|9) Grant Hill||1|
|9) Russell Westbrook||1|
Whoa, what a tie! We have 4 players sharing the top spot, with 6 seasons each, with no other player having more than 3! Frankly, I thought that LeBron would stand atop of this list alone, because he achieved his 6th 7/7/7 season back in 2012-13 and I was sure it’s just a matter of time before his 7th one. But last year he struggled to even make the 6/6/6 club, so now I’m not so sure… What a waste it would be if he doesn’t make it, though!
Oscar is the absolute leader in terms of consecutive such seasons, with all of his 6 coming one after the other, with LeBron and Kidd having a best streak of 4. Some other fun facts about this list: MJ and Pippen each have 3 seasons of 6/6/6 and 1 season of 7/7/7. J Will they continue their shared appearances further on? You’ll have to wait and see! Or, well, just scroll down and find out. Er.
And one of the most surprising fun facts (you might call it the surprisingest fun fact! But you don’t have to): LeBron and Russell are the only active players who have a 7/7/7 season in their resume. In fact, Russell is the only player not named LeBron or Kidd who made the list since the 1996-97 season (Grant Hill did it back then).
So… we covered the “All 6’s” seasons, the “All 7’s” seasons… Shall we go further? Nah. Let’s end the post here.
Ok, ok, we’ll do the “All 8’s” as well. Now, this is a most spectacular achievement! Since Big O did it first in the 1960-61 season there were only 12 such seasons in the league’s history. 7 different players achieved the feat, with Jason Kidd in the 2006-07 season being the last one. By doing so he became the first player to enter this exclusivest of lists since the 1989-90 season, the longest drought ever. And now we’re already counting 10 seasons without anyone repeating it. Do you realize how fucking insane this is? Jason Kidd’s 2006-07 season was the only time I ever witnessed a player averaging 8 in points, rebounds and assists! That’s how difficult it is to enter this club. Even the mighty LeBron couldn’t achieve it (the closest he ever got was in the 2012-13 season, when he averaged 7.3+ in all three categories). But who did manage to do it, and how many times?
|Player||# of 8/8/8 seasons|
|1) Oscar Robertson||5|
|2) Magic Johnson||2|
|3) Wilt Chamberlain||1|
|3) Fat Lever||1|
|3) Michael Jordan||1|
|3) Darrell Walker||1|
|3) Jason Kidd||1|
Here’s where I experienced the biggest surprise when I compiled this Excel file 6.5 years ago. Michael appearing alone, without Scottie?! And who the fuck is Darrell Walker?! Fat Lever was also a very surprising name, but at least I heard of him because he appeared on the all-time triple-double leaders lists. As it turns out, he and Darrell Walker played during the same era – throughout much of the 80’s and until the early 90’s. Yep, The eighties were a grand era for all-aroundness, BTW, we had 4 different players achieving “All 8’s” seasons during that decade – Magic, Michael, Lever and Walker. But since Walker? Well, like I said earlier, only Kidd did it in 2006-07. Oh, and you might wonder what the fuck is Wilt doing on that list – the thing is that he was so obsessed with numbers and records that one time he decided to lead the league in assists , which led to his crazy 1967-68 campaign, when he averaged 8.6 apg…
Look at Oscar Rovertson’s dominance… he did it 5 times (and in consecutive seasons) while everyone else managed to accumulate 7 such seasons in total. Mind=blown. And only the wonder that is Magic Johnson managed to do it more than once.
What, there’s an “All 9’s” club?! Well, yeah. Although you might just call it “The Big O Club”. Today I can’t imagine anyone achieving those crazy numbers that Oscar had in the sixties, and I remember that many years ago, when I was still in high-school, I was truly amazed that there was one other player who managed to record an “All 9’s” season, not so long ago… And no, it’s not Matt Bonner, although that’s an excellent guess. Take a look at the only 6 9/9/9 seasons that were ever recorded in the NBA, arranged chronologically:
|Season||Player||Points per game||Rebounds per game||Assists per game|
Here we see the 5 great all-around years of Oscar Robertson, and the amazing season Magic had in the early 80’s. Oscar is responsible for 5 of the 6 instances this ever happened, but his peak season – 1961-62, is so extraordinary that he is also responsible for not only the only 10/10/10 season ever recorded, but also for the one and only 11/11/11 season – something that will never ever be repeated. Well, not unless something changes drastically in the league. And I’m totally willing to trade my PhD for a chance to witness it happening again during my lifetime. But hey, kudos for Magic as well!
A career of all 6’s
I didn’t do an “All 10’s” club because that’s redundant as fuck. But I did check to see which players managed to record career averages of 6/6/6. It’s one thing to have one such season, and a whole other thing to manage to hold on to these averages for your whole career. But 6 players managed to do that. When I first started this project back in 2009 – 2 of them were active. Now only one remains – LeBron. Now, I update this file whenever a season ends, so LeBron’s numbers as you will see them in the table below are not including the 2015-16 season.
I give you – the only NBA players with career averages of 6+ points per game, 6+ rebounds per game and 6+ assists per game:
|Years||Player||Games||Points p/g||Rebounds p/g||Assists p/g|
The most surprising name here? Why, that would be our old friend, Mr. Fat Lever! He is also the player whose career is the shortest and whose averages are the “least” impressive, as much as you can call a 6/6/6 career “least impressive”. All the other players here are pretty much the usual suspects.
I’m really glad to see here both Larry Legend and Magic, those two colossal rivals and brilliant players. Jason Kidd is the players whose career was the longest by far. And LeBron? Well, he already has the 3rd most games on this list, which is mucho impressive. And he’s also mighty close to be only the third player in the ultra-exclusive Career 7/7/7 club, which is currently occupied only by Oscar and Magic. However, with the decline that is bound to happen to him in the future and with the expected drop in his usual numbers, he doesn’t really have a chance of entering this club… However, it will be a huge achievement to retire as a member of the “Career All 6’s” club, and this is something I reckon he can achieve.
Out of the currently active players there isn’t someone who I can think of as having good chances of entering THIS list. Russell Westbrook is perhaps the only one who has at least some theoretical chance, but he had too many “weak” rebounding seasons in his youth, which hurt him now. His career rebounding average as of now? 5.31. True, he might have some crazy seasons like the last one and the one he’s having so far, but as JoJo sang – “it’s just too little too late“… sigh…