What is a Double-Double in Basketball and How to Achieve It

A double-double is one of the most respected and sought after feats in basketball. It demonstrates a player’s all-around excellence by tallying double figures in two key statistical categories in a single game. While points and rebounds make up the most common double-double combination, others like assists, steals, and blocks qualify towards this versatile achievement that every basketball player dreams of getting on their stat line.

A Primer on Basketball Double-Doubles

The origins of tracking a “double-double” date back to the early 1980s in the NBA when rebounds and points started being emphasized as barometers for  centers and forwards impacts on the game.

Getting 10+ in two categories signified well-roundedness – an ability to own the boards while also having the scoring touch around the rim and perimeter. “Double-double” entered the basketball lexicon once sports broadcasters and writers popularized calling special notice when players reached double figures in multiple statistics.

While the 10+ points and rebounds variety is most synonymous with double-double chasing, officially it includes any matching set – even the more rare blocks and assists combinations guards and smaller players sometimes piece together through determined hustle plays and effort.

Here is an overview rundown defining what constitutes a double-double in the scoresheets:

Points + Rebounds – The benchmark double-double most typically tracked as it demonstrates interior scoring knack alongside tenacity in pursuing missed shots off the glass.

Points + Assists – Displays versatile scoring abilities or three point marksmanship coupled with precision playmaking to put teammates in positions to finish effectively.

Points + Steals – Showcases dominance of always finding a way to swipe the ball on defense then pushing tempo to convert easy transition opportunities.

While double figures in those categories are most prominent, there have also been rare “triple-doubles” with three statistical categories hit and even “quadrubbles” with four numbers in double digits – a ridiculous sign of all-around dominance.

Now that the double-double concept foundation has been set, let’s explore traits every player needs to develop on the path towards tallying their own.

Well-Rounded Skills to Post Double-Doubles

Earning a double-double requires more than just excelling at one facet of the game. To achieve double figures in multiple categories in the same contest demands consistent efforts paying dividends across the stat sheet.

Combining Interior Scoring Touches With Rebounding Tenacity to Double-Double

The most direct route to double-double success features commanding the painted area through an array of low post moves, putbacks, and attacking maneuvers off the dribble resulting in high percentage looks near the rim or drawn fouls earning trips to the free throw line.

When those moves are clicking and points are flowing steadily, focus must shift to relentless work on the boards. Tracking where shots are launched from, establishing inside position, aggressively boxing out, and pursuing errant attempts with vigor – all fundamental keys.

The very best glass cleaners have a nose for the ball and chase every carom as if their life depended on that possession.

Finally, taking advantage of size and/or leaping ability advantages over defenders helps tall centers and forwards rise up assertively to snatch misses out of their reach through pure athletic gifts.

Historical NBA Player Double-Doubles by Season

PlayerSeasonDouble-DoublesCategories
Wilt Chamberlain1961-6263Points-Rebounds
Bill Russell1963-6453Points-Rebounds
Moses Malone1981-8279Points-Rebounds
Kevin Love2010–1153Points–Rebounds

While bruising back-to-the-basket big men seem predisposed for double-double success given their natural roles anchored on the block, skilled perimeter players overcome physical disadvantages through determined two-way effort.

Basketball Players in NBA and WNBA Achieving Double-Doubles

While double-doubles may seem commonplace for the basketball elite, their consistent stuffed stat lines demonstrate a level of excellence mere mortals cannot comprehend. 

Stars like Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid and Jonquel Jones make tallying double-digit points and rebounds look routine, but their nightly production requires an immense skillset we cannot take for granted. Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas takes versatility to another level, recently setting WNBA records for the most double-doubles and triple-doubles in a single season. 

Her rebounding tenacity, scoring instincts, and playmaking IQ melds together masterfully to enable gaudy box scores. While we may become numb to their routine dominance, the combination of productivity and efficiency from these remarkable talents remains a marvel in its own right.

Learn More: How Long is a Basketball Game?

Top 10 NBA and WNBA Leaders in Double-Doubles in the 2023 Regular Season

With the 2023 NBA regular season and WNBA season reaching its halfway point, here are the leading double-double performers standing out across both leagues:

WNBA Top 10 Leaders in Double-Doubles (2023):

RankPlayerTeamDouble-Doubles
1Breanna StewartSeattle Storm28
2A’ja WilsonLas Vegas Aces24
3Elena Delle DonneWashington Mystics23
4Alyssa ThomasConnecticut Sun22
5Jonquel JonesConnecticut Sun21
6Jewell LoydSeattle Storm19
7Sabrina IonescuNew York Liberty18
8Napheesa CollierMinnesota Lynx17
9Dearica HambyLas Vegas Aces16
10Natasha HowardNew York Liberty15

NBA Top 10 Leaders in Double-Doubles (2023):

RankPlayerTeamDouble-Doubles
1Nikola JokicDenver Nuggets73
2Giannis AntetokounmpoMilwaukee Bucks65
3Joel EmbiidPhiladelphia 76ers63
4Karl-Anthony TownsMinnesota Timberwolves58
5Luka DoncicDallas Mavericks57
6Domantas SabonisIndiana Pacers56
7Ja MorantMemphis Grizzlies55
8Jayson TatumBoston Celtics54
9Bam AdebayoMiami Heat53
10Rudy GobertUtah Jazz52

Reigning WNBA Thomas sets the gold standard for versatile stat sheet stuffing. Fowles continues her excellence on pace for a finals berth before retiring. Alyssa Thomas flies under radar with nearly averaging a triple-double into early January games.

These top performers in both leagues remind hoops fans that pursuing excellence in multiple statistical categories every night leads directly to consistent winning results. Their double-double chasing feats keep teammates involved while demoralizing opponents.

Learn More: Unveiling the Shortest NBA Player of All Time and Today

Versatile Playmaking and Scoring for Double-Doubles

Versatile Playmaking and Scoring for Double-Doubles
Versatile Playmaking and Scoring for Double-Doubles

Just because diminutive guards lack towering height doesn’t mean double-doubles are out of reach. By consciously focusing on setting up teammates via crisp passing to register assists in tandem with their usual scoring duties, 10+ point and 10+ assist nights happen.

Establishing dribble penetration to collapse defenses then kicking out to open shooters is the simplest playmaking method. Beating the opponent downcourt early in transition also catches them mismatched and scrambling – opening passing lanes for trails and early offense advantages.

When feeling the outside shooting touch, spacing out behind the three-point arc or at mid-range areas opens driving avenues for yourself or teammates. Combining long range shooting gravity with seizing opportunities charging inside off closeouts piles up potato chip points.

Savvy backcourt masters like Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Luka Doncic and James Harden impress by toggling between scoring and distribution roles to keep defenses guessing and in chase mode – a demoralizing status ripe for double-double harvesting against weary opponents.

Hustling For Steals and Deflections

Pesky defenders can transform active hands and high effort levels into pilfered possessions earning transition buckets.

Honing anticipatory skills by reading passing lanes and jumping routes garners interceptions leading directly to points on the other end. Even imperfect gambles where the initial steal attempt is unsuccessful can pay dividends through deflections and tie-ups after the fact to get credit through sheer activity rates.

Opposing dribblers require extra caution too. Striking precisely when the basketball is exposed at its peak puts the opposition in compromising positions.

Tenacious on-ball denial deflating the confidence of primary scorers while forcing weaker secondary options to attack off the bounce also drops assists totals. Throw in a couple open court thefts generated to gift-wrap two points and crafty defenders attain double-double status.

How You Can Start Racking Up Double-Doubles in Basketball?

Establish solid post fundamentals – Work on footwork and low blocks skills to become a high percentage interior scorer

Crash the boards relentlessly – Pursue every rebound and putback opportunity with maximum energy and effort

Develop passing vision in traffic – Hone ability to find cutters and open shooters when collapsed on

Attack the basket off the dribble – Keep defensive players on their heels having to stop dribble penetration

Diversify your scoring – Expand shooting range to the mid-range and three point line to pile up points

Lock in on defense – Disrupt passing lanes and stay attached to your man to create transition chances

Perfect free throw shooting – Drawing fouls is easier with aggression, convert chances at the line

Study game film – Understand opponents and in-game matchups you can exploit each night

Lift weights – Build strength to carve out position against bigger defenders

Work on handles and footwork – Sharpen ballhandling and moves to get by defenders off the bounce

By relentlessly pursuing every rebound and scoring at a high clip through an array of moves, double-figure points and crash the glass totals arrive through hard work and an insatiable motor.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is double double in basketball? 

A double-double in basketball is when a player in a game gets into double digits in two statistical categories like points and rebounds or points and assists.

Is 10 points 10 rebounds a double-double? 

Yes, 10 points and 10 rebounds would be a double-double because points and rebounds are two key stat categories often used to measure double-doubles.

What is an example of a double-double? 

An example of a common double-double would be a player scoring 20 points and grabbing 15 rebounds in a game.

What are key competencies needed to attain a double-double? 

To regularly attain double-doubles, players need versatile skillsets enabling them to score a variety of ways while also excelling in a second statistic like rebounding, passing or defensive play.

What exactly is a triple-double in basketball? 

A triple-double occurs when a player totals double digits in three major statistical categories such as points, rebounds and assists all in the same game (for example 15 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists).

Conclusion

A “double-double” demonstrates multifaceted statistical proficiency fueled by determination and non-stop motor. While bruising big men boast natural advantages securing them through points and rebounds, skilled backcourt technicians exhibit their versatility tallying up assists, steals and defensive disruptions.

At higher levels, players soon realize settling for single contributions fails compared to more complete efforts. Superstars determined to propel underdog squads or willing scrappy rosters past powerhouse franchises understand that outworking opponents across the stat sheet provides the best methods for tilting closely contested showdowns in their favor.

These reasons explain why double-double dominance captivates our basketball attention and why stars chasing them take on almost mythical status. Any athlete able to register awesome single game feats through combined skills clearly lifts their group over the top more often than not.

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