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WNBA Six Pack: Evaluating the triple-double potential for Napheesa Collier, Aliyah Boston and others

Will the WNBA’s triple-double explosion reverberate to Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington, Minnesota, Indiana and Atlanta? We examine triple-double candidates from those six squads.

Indiana Fever v Minnesota Lynx
Aliyah Boston prepares to rebound Napheesa Coller’s contested shot attempt during a July game between the Indiana Fever and Minnesota Lynx.
Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

After identifying six new triple-double candidates in this week’s first edition of the “WNBA Six Pack,” we offer more nominees from the Los Angeles Sparks, Seattle Storm, Washington Mystics, Minnesota Lynx, Indiana Fever and Atlanta Dream.

Of those teams, only the Sparks and Storm have had a player total a triple-double in franchise history. For LA, both Candace Parker and Chelsea Gray achieved triple-doubles, with Parker’s coming in 2017 and Gray’s in 2019. For Seattle, Temeka Johnson did the deed in 2014.

We begin with candidates from those two teams before covering the other four:

Los Angeles Sparks (14-18): Jordin Canada

Los Angeles Sparks v Las Vegas Aces
Jordin Canada.
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

For the Sparks, we’re going with a former Storm in Jordin Canada, although it certainly would not be surprising if Nneka Ogwumike joined the other members of the 2016 title-winning Sparks’ star trio with a triple-double.

However, a triple-double would be illustrative of Canada’s all-round, Most Improved Player-worthy growth. Head coach Curt Miller has tasked Canada with increased responsibility, which she has embraced with aplomb. In a career-high 32.5 minutes per games, she’s posting career bests in points, assists and rebounds, with 13.7, 6.0 and 3.3, respectively.

While her single-game career-high in rebounds is nine, attained in 2019, she has dished at least 10 assists six times in her career, including less than one month ago in a Sparks’ win over the Fever.

Seattle Storm (10-24): Jewell Loyd

Phoenix Mercury v Seattle Storm
Jewell Loyd.
Photo by Scott Eklund/NBAE via Getty Images

If not for her injury, the versatile Gabby Williams would stand as Seattle’s most likely triple-double candidate.

Yet, Jewell Loyd has done more than just increase her scoring output to a league-leading 24.4 points per game in her first season as Seattle’s singular star. Her 3.3 assists per game is in line with her averages from previous seasons, while her average of 4.5 rebounds nearly matches her career best. Expected to carry the Storm for the 35 minutes per game she is on court, Loyd also has ample opportunity to rack up stats.

This season, she has grabbed nine rebounds twice and registered a season-best eight assists once. In her career, she has reached the 10-rebound mark twice and 10 assists once.

Washington Mystics (15-18): Brittney Sykes

Washington Mystics v Las Vegas Aces
Brittney Sykes.
Photo by David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images

As Josh Felton has documented, Sykes has done a little bit of everything for the Mystics during their injury-ravaged season. She thus deserves the extra praise that would come with accumulating at least 10 points, assists and rebounds.

Across the board, Sykes is achieving career-best marks, with 15.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. The closest she’s come to a triple-double in 2023 is her eight-point, eight-rebound and seven-assist performance in a Mystics’ win over her former team, the Sparks, in early August.

In late June, she reached a career-high 10 assists in a Mystics’ win over her other former team, the Dream. She’s grabbed at least 10 boards seven times in her career, including twice this season.

Minnesota Lynx (17-17): Napheesa Collier

Los Angeles Sparks v Minnesota Lynx
Napheesa Collier.
Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

A triple-double would serve as an appropriate cap to Napheesa Collier’s career year.

Due to her increased scoring burden, Collier is below her career-best averages in rebounds and assists. However, she profiles as the archetype of a player expected to find her way into triple-doubles, with her combination of physical tools and refined skills.

In 2021, she waded into near triple-double waters, with 23 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in a Lynx overtime victory. That game also marked her career-high in assists; this season, her best assisting game produced six dimes. For her career, Collier has 24 double-doubles of points and rebounds, with seven accomplished this season.

Indiana Fever (10-24): Aliyah Boston

New York Liberty v Indiana Fever
Aliyah Boston.
Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

Could we add the first triple-double by a rookie to the list of Aliyah Boston’s statistical accomplishments?

As she works her way through her rookie season, Boston repeatedly has etched her name in the WNBA record books, as she has steadily reached new milestones oftentimes due to her unprecedented scoring efficiency. Eight times this season, Boston has posted a double-double of points and rebounds, with four of these achieved in August. If Indiana chose to lean into the playmaking chops Boston has flashed, she could outpace her season-high of six assists and approach a triple-double.

And if it doesn’t happen this season, betting that Boston will earn a triple-double before the end of her career seems like a smart one.

Atlanta Dream (16-17): Rhyne Howard

Atlanta Dream v Phoenix Mercury
Rhyne Howard.
Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

Rhyne Howard edges out running mate Allisha Gray for most likely triple-double honors in Atlanta. Howard and Gray both average 3.2 assists per game, while Gray’s 5.0 boards per game bests Howard’s 4.7. In her career, Gray has seven games of at least 10 rebounds, including two this season. Howard has grabbed 10 boards just once. Gray also has a 10-assist game, achieved back in her second season; Howard’s best single-game assisting performance is eight.

If all past statistical indicators point toward Gray, why go with Howard?

Accumulating a triple-double requires the kind of statistical explosion that Howard, with her superstar-level ceiling, possesses over the steadier Gray. The ultra locked-in Howard we saw in the games played after All-Star reserves were revealed but before she was named as a replacement is the kind of player capable of collecting triple-doubles.

However, keep an eye of Haley Jones’ triple-double potential.

Thanks again to the essential Across the Timeline for making research for this piece incredibly easy.