StaTuesday: Bucks’ Giannis, double-double machine, nears another elite list
Giannis Antetokounmpo already has a pretty cool nickname – “The Greek Freak.” But if you want a little variety for the Milwaukee Bucks superstar, “Mr. Double-Double” would be right in his wheelhouse as well.
Antetokounmpo has played in 55 games this season. He’s had (at least) a double-double in 50 of those.
Even in those five in which he didn’t record a double-double, he came oh-so-close in four. On Jan. 14, his last time without a double-double, he had 37 points and nine rebounds vs. New York – in 21 1/2 minutes! Ten days earlier it was 32 points and eight rebounds vs. San Antonio in 29 minutes of action. On Dec. 4 at Detroit, Antetokounmpo had 35 points and nine rebounds in 28 minutes and on Nov. 30 vs. Charlotte it was 26 points and nine rebounds in, amazingly, just 19 1/2 minutes.
It’s easy to see how Giannis could have easily added onto his season total by playing just a couple of more minutes, but it wasn’t really necessary in the scheme of things — the Bucks won all four of those games.
They also won in the one game in which Antetokounmpo didn’t come close to a double-double, a 29-point, four-rebound, four-assist outing against Cleveland on Dec. 14. He played just 24 minutes in that contest.
Antetokounmpo has a double-double in 16 straight games, which is the second-longest such streak for Milwaukee since the 1983-84 season. The longest? Nineteen games, which he did earlier this season from Oct. 24-Nov. 29.
Since 1983-84 (the earliest season basketball-reference.com has all season game logs), there’s only been one other streak of 10+ double-double games and it was done by, yup, Giannis, who did it in 10 straight across two seasons, from March 30-Oct. 26, 2018.
Of the nine streaks of 7+ games for the Bucks in that timeframe, Antetokounmpo has six.
Antetokounmpo’s double-double streaks of 19 and 16 games are also the two longest in the NBA this season. Portland’s Hassan Whiteside is the only other player to reach 15 games, which he did from Nov. 19-Dec. 23.
Unsurprisingly, Giannis leads the NBA in double-doubles this season with 50. Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis and Whiteside both have 47, entering Tuesday’s games. Cleveland’s Andre Drummond is next with 46 with Utah’s Rudy Gobert (43) and the Lakers’ LeBron James (40) the only others with 40+.
With 21 games left in the season for Milwaukee, Antetokounmpo is pretty much assured (barring a catastrophe) to have the fourth-most double-doubles in franchise history.
It won’t be easy – and impossible if he sits out at least two games the rest of the way – but if Antetokounmpo can reach 70 double-doubles he’d join exclusive company. In NBA history, a player has reached that many double-doubles in a season just 34 times. Of those 34, it was accomplished by 13 players:
Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, Walt Bellamy, Wilt Chamberlain, Dave Cowens, Kevin Garnett, Elvin Hayes. Jerry Lucas, Moses Malone, Bob Petit, Hakeem Olajuwon, Oscar Robertson and Bill Russell.
Of those 13, 12 are in the Hall of Fame and Garnett, who is a finalist this year, is a shoo-in.
Reach 70 double-doubles and we can forget about nicknames for Giannis and just start talking legacy and, dare we think it, Springfield, Mass.