Teenage Australian rookie Josh Giddey has made history as the youngest player to notch a triple-double in the NBA.
Giddey starred with 17 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds for the Oklahoma City Thunder in a 95-86 home loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night (Monday AEDT).
At just 19 years old and 84 days, Giddey overtakes fellow NBL alumni LaMelo Ball who previously held the record at 19 years old and 140 days set in January last year.
Giddey’s feat came in his return after missing three games while in the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols.
The Thunder were playing without their leading scorer Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who entered the protocols on Saturday.
The Mavericks got three key players back after stints in the league’s COVID-19 protocol, including star Luka Doncic, now the fourth-youngest to put up a triple-double after he did it in 2019.
Doncic nearly recorded another, with 14 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds as he helped the Mavs to the win after returning from a 10-day absence due to a knee injury.
The feat continues an exceptional rookie season for Giddey, the sixth overall draft pick, who has had seven double-doubles for his youthful OKC team.
He has dazzled fans with his creative passing ability and his 14 assists in this game was his season high.
Typically, Giddey would have preferred a win to breaking the triple-double record.
“I mean, it’s cool but as I said earlier in the year, stats are good, you enjoy it for the night, but a win is always better than individual stats for me,” Giddey said.
“If I had zero, zero, zero and we win then I’m more happy than if I have triple-doubles. It’s always been that way for me and always will be.”
Asked if he was glad people could now stop talking breaking that record after going close previously, a smiling Giddey admitted: “Yes, I am happy”.
Interim Thunder head coach Mike Wilks praised Giddey’s approach which produced the record.
“He just got lost in the competition, he wasn’t focused on numbers. He was just out there trying to make plays and focused on winning as a team,” Wilks said.
“I give him a lot of credit for doing that and our guys did a good job of finishing the plays that he was able to create. He was just out there being aggressive and being Josh and the numbers are just a result of it.”
Wilks predicted more big things to come for the Aussie youngster.
“I’m happy for him, I’m proud of him, he’s a great worker,” he added.
“I get to spend a lot of time with him, he’s a sponge.
“He’s not even 20 yet. He’s got a lot of room for growth and improvement and so I’m just expecting him to continue to grow and continue to develop.”