The last time a Utah Jazz player had a regular season triple-double, Donovan Mitchell was 11 years old.
Yes, you read that correctly. Carlos Boozer tallied 22 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists on Feb. 13, 2008, and he was the last player to post a triple-double in the regular season for the Jazz.
Ricky Rubio had one in the playoffs in 2018, but there has been a nearly 14-year triple-double drought for the Jazz in the regular season.
Jordan Clarkson couldn’t believe how long it had been when I told him after Saturday’s game.
“For real? What? That’s crazy,” Clarkson said, puzzled.
But after a second, he decided that with this Jazz team, and the way they like to play, it kind of makes sense that the stacked stats don’t come for one player that often.
“We’ve got a lot of options and weapons to use offensively,” Clarkson said. “When everybody is flowing and you go down the line and you see 15 (points), 10, 20, 20, 8, 12 — when you see that, you know we’re going to win the game and we’re playing super well.”
It’s a really great point. When the Jazz are moving the ball efficiently and there isn’t one particular player that’s doing the majority of the playmaking, when they are sharing the ball and everyone is eating, it’s kind of hard for just one player to dominate in multiple stat categories.
And that’s what the Jazz want. When they are playing like that, they are at their best, as they were on Saturday night in their 127-105 win against the New Orleans Pelicans.
But, it’s not impossible, and Mitchell knows how long it’s been.
Last season he said if he had to guess who would be the one to break the triple-double drought for the Jazz, he would put his money on Joe Ingles or Mike Conley.
But maybe it could be Mitchell.
“It would be cool,” Mitchell said. “I’ve never had one in my career, so it would be cool. Whoever gets it, gets it. It would be cool for me to have it and it be my first time. If it happens, it happens.”
Well, it nearly happened on Saturday.
Mitchell had eight points, three rebounds and five assists in the first quarter alone. He was well on his way, and had it not been for the Jazz being up on the Pelicans by 40 points in early in the fourth quarter, if Mitchell had needed to stay in the game, he very well might have made it.
Instead, he rested through the latter part of the game while the end-of-bench players closed things out, and he finished the night with 21 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
He knew he was close, too.
“Yeah, (I knew) I’m not gonna lie,” he said. “But at the end of the day, we won and we took care of business so it didn’t have to get to that point, and that’s what I’m happy about.”
Clarkson said it wouldn’t surprise him if Rudy Gobert ends up being the one to break the spell with a 10-plus block game. The Jazz have a lot of guys who could get a triple-double in different ways, but Mitchell proved that they can play the right way, play the way they want to, and it could be Mitchell who gets the elusive triple-double.
“We’ll see who gets it,” he said. “I got close in three quarters. We’ll see.”