54 And Counting

Sacramento Kings star player Domantas Sabonis made history last night as he became the first player to record 54 double-doubles in a row since the NBA post-merger in 1976.
Photograph Via The Athletic

Sacramento Kings star player Domantas Sabonis made history last night as he became the first player to record 54 double-doubles in a row since the NBA post-merger in 1976. Sabonis moved ahead of former Timberwolves big man Kevin Love, who congratulated Domas, saying, “And counting…!!! Congrats to the new Double-Double King,” (Via X).

Sabonis set a second record last night, also becoming the fifth player in NBA history to record 25 Triple-Doubles in a single season. He joins the elite company of Oscar Robertson, Russell Westbrook, Wilt Chamberlain, and Nikola Jokic. Sabonis still currently leads the league in both Double-Doubles and Triple-Doubles this year. With the way he is playing, it doesn’t look like anyone is going to catch him this year. 

The narrative that Sabonis is a “stat padder” or an “empty calories” kind of player is an oblivious portrayal of one of the most impactful players in the NBA. No actually, he holds the 5th best player impact estimate rating this year, only trailing Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. He also leads the league in rebounds (591) and assists (357) in 2024. It seems that because Sabonis can’t jump the highest or doesn’t appear to be flashy or freakishly athletic, he gets looked at as a boring player.  

One false narrative being spread around frequently on the internet is Sabonis is a bad defender. Domas has shown huge strides in his defense this year under Mike Brown and has turned into a very solid on-ball defender who can limit any center on any given night. For the past 2 weeks, the Kings have posted the best defensive rating in the NBA with a rating of 105.3, which would be pretty hard to do if Sabonis didn’t play defense. Sabonis also holds a personal defensive rating of 113.1, which is above the league average. In the past,  it may have been the truth that Sabonis wasn’t a good defender, but you could always see the effort and the willingness to get better on that end of the floor, and this year that work is starting to pay off. 

You see a large amount of people bashing Sabonis for his playoff performance last year, but what a lot of people seem to leave out is that Sabonis played with a broken hand in that series, and also received a black eye and bruised ribs from being stomped on. It was a very physical series, and Sabonis was matched up against two very tough defenders Draymond Green and Kevon Looney. While Sabonis didn’t play as well as fans had hoped, he was giving his all and was battling till the final whistle. Regardless, Sabonis still put up 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 assists on 50% shooting throughout 7 games last year in the playoffs. Far from his best, but not as bad as the haters want you to believe considering the circumstances.  

If you have watched the Kings this year, I’m sure you can attest that Sabonis is far from boring. Unfortunately, that seems to be a widely spread story that even professional analysts are trying to push. When Kendrick Perkins Merley suggested a case could be made for Sabonis in the MVP conversation (Sabonis was and still is 6th in MVP voting), he was met with mocking smiles by his colleagues at ESPN. They deflected Perkin’s valid statement by comparing him to Luka Doncic when that wasn’t what Perkins was trying to say. Perkins backed up his take on Twitter(X) explaining, “I didn’t tell one single lie. Sabonis is averaging 20-13-8 and he’s leading the league in Double-Doubles and Triple-Doubles! So why isn’t his name mentioned in the MVP conversation again?!” Perkins wasn’t discrediting the other players in the conversation, he was simply saying Sabonis deserved to be in the conversation for MVP. Sabonis gets no national media attention and the one time someone tried to give him credit, he was laughed at.  

Kings fans all know how great Sabonis is, I think all they want is for Sabonis to be recognized more outside of the fanbase and appreciated for his historical season. It will be exciting to see how far he can extend this Double-Double record, and with 67 Double-Doubles currently, Sabonis is only 6 away from breaking Hakeem Olajuwon’s record of 72 double-doubles in a single season. How far can Sabonis and company take this team? Only time will tell. 


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About the Contributor
Jackson Hutler
Jackson Hutler, Staff Writer
Hi Roadrunners, My name is Jackson Hutler and this is my second semester as a staff writer for The RoadRunner. I sometimes catch myself just drinking coffee and gazing outside, looking at the bigger picture. I let sports dictate my mood sometimes. Blasphemous is a fun word to use. Blasphemous. If you enjoy reading about absorbing current news or Sports, read my articles. The Kings are an interest of mine if you couldn’t tell. My AI statement: I dabble with AI use for my articles. I mainly use Grammarly to help me with spelling, grammar, and the structure of my articles. 
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