The NBA regular season delivered one of its random gems Wednesday, when Houston Rockets center Chuck Hayes recorded a triple-double against the Golden State Warriors. Hayes, known more for his stout post defense than putting up statistics, got to double-figure points last of the three categories, scoring his 10th and 11th points midway through the fourth quarter. He added 14 rebounds and a career-high 11 assists, topping his previous best of eight.
Hayes is an unlikely triple-double candidate, but just how rare was his milestone? Dating back to 1986-87, Basketball-Reference.com lists 191 players who have posted point-rebound-assist triple-doubles. Of them, Hayes’ career assist average of 1.2 per game is second lowest.
Player Year APG_car APG_sea Rodney White 02-03 1.1 1.7 Chuck Hayes 10-11 1.2 2.4 Robert Parish 86-87 1.4 2.2 Clarence Weatherspoon 93-94 1.5 2.3 Sam Perkins 92-93 1.5 2.0 Kenny Thomas 05-06 1.5 2.0
Hayes’ triple-double looks a little more predictable when we consider his assist average this season, which is best of this group. Hayes has been handing out extra assists lately, including seven in a win a week ago. On the other hand, most of the other guys were nightly double-double threats. Hayes had just 15 double-doubles in his career, so getting the points and rebounds categories filled in was no sure thing. (This is also true for Rodney White, a middling rebounder. He also had a 12th of his total assists for the season in his triple-double, almost certainly the most improbable in modern NBA history.)
Unlikely or not, Hayes’ triple-double meant a night to remember for a player whose contributions are rarely found in the box score.