Now that Russell Westbrook has broken Oscar Robertson’s 55-year-old record of 41 triple doubles in a single season, I take the opportunity to look at some other records, but only those I am convinced will NOT be broken.
Scoring more than 100 points is not one of them, by the way, because I think – however unlikely – it IS in the realm of possibility. Yes, I said it. Scoring more than 100 points in a game is not impossible.
Given the right player (gotta be automatic from outside, yet have a deadly handle to split double teams), the right teammates (he’s gotta be the undisputed Alpha on that team, so he gets the ball every time and a LOT of screens), the right coach (not caring about shot selection, not taking him out late in the game even though up or down by a huge margin), the right opponent (letting him play and not constantly putting him on the line for two, instead of allowing him to shoot a three) and the right refs (protecting him by calling the game tight, not allowing the opponent to rough him up), yes, I think it’s possible. Think about it. Kobe scored 81 in 2006, sitting half a quarter, missing 18 shots in the game. Let him play all 48 minutes and make half those shots that’s 100. Let some of those shots be 3s and mix a couple of free throws in there and we are looking at 105/106 points. Likely? No. But do-able? Hell, yeah.
No, I’m only looking at records here that will truly NEVER be broken for various reasons.
The Lakers power forward played 14 consecutive seasons without missing a single game. Nicknamed “Iron Man” Green played through various injuries & illnesses in a much more physical league in the 80s and mid 90s, running the Lakers showtime fastbreaks like a deer. Up and down, round and round. Today’s players needing “rest days” at the end of the season seems ridiculous now, doesn’t it? Calling it now. This record will never be broken.
Bellamy was traded during the 1969 season from the Knicks to the Pistons. While he already played 35 games with the Knicks, the Pistons only had played 29 games at the time of the trade. Bellamy did not miss a game in Motor City and ended up playing in 88 regular season games. Today the NBA schedule is much more balanced. At the end of a month a team might have played one or two more games than another, but not 6! In fact the league is thinking about shortening the season making it more and more likely that this record will never be broken.
On average Chocolate Thunder was called for 5 fouls per game over a whole season. That can not and would not happen in today’s NBA. Coaches would not tolerate it. You get your third foul in the second quarter, you sit. You get your fourth in the third, you sit. Even if you are the driftwood of your team, designated to give fouls in a hack-a-shaq scenario that would not happen in EVERY game. Dawkins got 386 fouls in 1984. No player since has gotten within 40. Also, personal fouls across the league have gone down (from 51.6 per game in 1983-84 to 40.0 per game this season). So, no, I don’t see anyone breaking that record.
This will forever be Sheed’s legacy. The guy who could not keep his mouth shut. Now, I’m sure that guys like DeMarcus “Crying Face” Cousins and Draymond “Nutcracker” Green could very well get more than 41 techs in a season, however thanks to the rule which calls for suspension after 16 techs, I don’t see that happening. Congrats, Sheed.
Now this one needs a bit of explaining. If you grab 20% of all available rebounds by yourself that’s unbelievably good. Wilt Chamberlain never topped 20%, so that should put it into perspective. If you grab almost 30% it borders on voodoo or comic book like super powers. As loco as Dennis Rodman was, he is the best rebounder in the history of the NBA. He owns six of the seven best single season rebounding records in the league and there is no telling what he could have done if his mind was “right”. In all fairness, these records only go back as far as 1967, so it’s possible some 8-foot tree man playing for the Rochester Royals in 1940s had a higher percentage. Come to think of it Wilt Chamberlain probably had more than that in the early 60s but nobody counted that stuff back then, and also Wilt Chamberlain is untouchable but we’ll get to that.
Some blame it on inferior competition, some say Russell was just lucky he was a Celtic. I say when you win 11 championships on any level, at any time, in any sport, nobody can question the way you did it. Name one player today you can picture getting 11 rings. I’ll wait.
7.) 50.4 points per game – Wilt Chamberlain
Let me be perfectly clear about how good this man was by telling you this: Of all his records, I think his 100 point game is the “easiest” one to break. 50,4 points per game over a whole season? Nah, not unless they give out 5-pointers for fade-aways or 6-pointers for alley-oops. Real talk: Over his whole career Michael Jordan had 39 games where he scored at least 50 points. Wilt Chamberlain crossed that mark 45 times. IN ONE SEASON. Case closed.
8.) 27.2 rebounds per game – Wilt Chamberlain
If all players in the league were Isaiah Thomas’ size and only had one arm, and the center on your team was Rudy Gobert, okay, he could probably get 27 rebounds in every game. But other than that, no. Maybe in one game. Not 82.
9.) 48.5 minutes per game – Wilt Chamberlain
Given the fact that a game only lasts 4×12 minutes you would have to play every minute of every game over a whole season AND some overtime games to average more than 48 minutes. None of today’s players are playing even one complete game without rest. Over a whole season? They’d probably die.
So to sum it all up, Russell Westbrook’s season was extremely impressive, but none of these records are in jeopardy. Yes, records are meant to be broken. Just not these.