Looking back at statistical achievements in NBA history always sheds some light on interesting things. In this occasion, we focus on players with seasons in which they’ve averaged 20 points and 10 assists per game. Turns out only 11 have been able to do it. Out of the soccer team of talented point guards, only five have been able to do it more than once: Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson, Kevin Johnson, Chris Paul and Isaiah Thomas.
The One Hit Wonders
Deron Williams: Once upon a time, some (including me) thought D-Will was the best point guard in the NBA. Yes, even better than Chris Paul. Maybe it was true for about a season. A five-time All-Star, Williams haven’t been in that level for the last four years. He peaked statistically in 2010-2011, the season he was traded by the Utah Jazz to the (then) New Jersey Nets, averaging 20.1 points (didn’t qualify) and 10.3 (3rd) assists per game.
Russell Westbrook: Always thought of as a shoot-first guard, Westbrook put up the numbers to disprove that theory in 2015-2016. Making his fifth All-Star game and helping the Thunder to the conference finals, Westbrook averaged 23.5 points (8th) and 10.4 (2nd) assists per game.
Tim Hardaway: The 1992-1993 season was the beginning of the end for Run TMC era. The Warriors missed the playoffs, and after Mitch Richmond already left, soon Chris Mullin and Hardaway would be gone too. Hardaway averaged 21.5 points (13th) and 10.6 (2nd) assists per game.
Tiny Archibald: In the 1972-1973 season, The Skate played a whopping 46 minutes per game, which made it very unsurprising that he led the NBA in scoring with 34 points a night, while dishing out 11.4 assists per game, also the league best. He is one of only two players, along with Oscar Robertson (more about him later) to lead the league in both scoring and assists in the same season. He played for the Kansas City Royals that season.
Michael Adams: The 1990-1991 Denver Nuggets were awful, winning only 20 games. But terrible teams have fun to watch, productive players too. Adams averaged 26.5 points (6th) and 10.5 (3rd) assists per game for the Nuggets, his final season with the team before going to the Washington (then) Bullets.
Chris Paul: 2 times
Paul has two 20-10 seasons, back-to-back, both while playing for the New Orleans Hornets. He averaged 21.1 points (19th) and an NBA best 11.6 assists in 2007-2008, making his first All-Star game. He led the league in assists the next season too with 11 a night, while scoring 22.8 points per game, 7th in the league.
Kevin Johnson: 3 times
KJ had three consecutive seasons with 20-10, missing a fourth in a row by 0.3 points. He averaged 20.4 points (outside the top 20) and 12.2 assists (3rd) in 1988-1989, 22.5 points (15th) and 11.4 assists (3rd) in 1989-1990, and 22.2 points (13th) and 10.1 assists (4th) in 1990-1991. Contrary to what most people think, Johnson actually played for the Cleveland Cavaliers during his first NBA season before being traded to the Suns, where he spent the rest of his NBA career until retiring in 2000.
Magic Johnson: 3 times
On his way to win the MVP, Magic Johnson had his first 20-10 season in 1986-1987, averaging 23.9 points (10th) and an NBA best 12.2 assists per game. In 1988-1989, after two consecutive NBA titles, Magic won the MVP again, averaging 22.5 points (15th) and 12.8 assists (2nd). In 1989-1990 he won his third MVP award, while averaging 22.3 points (18th) and 11.5 assists (2nd).
Isaiah Thomas: 4 times
Before the two NBA championships for the Bad Boy from Detroit, the Pistons needed Thomas to do a little bit more scoring than later in his career. They came in a four-year streak. He averaged 21.3 points (19th) and 11.1 assists (2nd) in the 1983-1984 season, 21.2 points and 13.9 (leading the NBA) assists in 1984-1985, 20.9 (18th) points and 10.8 assists (2nd) in 1985-1986, and 20.6 points with 10 assists (3rd) per game in 1986-1987.
Oscar Robertson: 5 times
Robertson and Archibald are the only players with seasons of 30-10. Robertson has five of them:
- 1961-1962: 30.8 points (5th), 11.4 assists (1st)
- 1963-1964: winning the MVP, averaging 31.4 points (2nd) and 11 assists (1st)
- 1964-1965: 30.4 points (3rd), 11.5 assists (1st)
- 1965-1966: 31.3 points (3rd), 11.1 assists (1st)
- 1966-1967: 30.5 points (2nd), 10.7 assists (2nd)
All five seasons came when he was playing for the Cincinnati Royals, today the Sacramento Kings