This is what blatant stat padding looks like.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 23 points and 13 assists in the Bucks’ win Sunday over the Wizards, but nine rebounds, one short of a triple-double. So with the clock running down and the Wizards not defending, Antetokounmpo dribbled under the basket, missed a shot intentionally, then got his rebounds.
Giannis Antetokounmpo needed one rebound to get a triple double then this happened 😂😱 pic.twitter.com/Su91ZY0jGo
— ClutchPoints Betting (@CPBetting) March 6, 2023
Giannis admitted he “stole” this triple-double.
“I was thinking about scoring the ball, but I feel like in those situations it’s best to kind of keep the ball,” Antetokounmpo said, via the Associated Press. “But yeah, I just try to play the game smart and kind of stole one.”
This is what we get when we place this much importance on triple-doubles. The rest of Antetokounmpo’s stats were in service of a needed win — with Boston falling, the Bucks are now 1.5 games clear with the best record in the East — but he wanted the triple-double in the win, so he got it.
It happens. Russell Westbrook was accused of hunting triple-doubles the two seasons he averaged one back-to-back. Nikola Jokić has been accused of a bit of stat chasing to get triple-doubles this season as he makes an MVP push. If you think this is all new, go back and read about how Wilt Chamberlain got 100 points or countless other examples of NBA stat padding by stars through the years. The greats do it now and then.
We can add Antetokounmpo to that list.