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Who leads the NBA assists?

Assisting is one of the most important elements of a basketball game. Delivering a ball to your teammate, who will make a successful shot is vital to defeating the opponent. Playmakers in the NBA are praised for their ability to read the game thoroughly and deliver productive passes. 

Who is the leader in the NBA assists of all time? The Utah Jazz point guard is the leader with 15,806 assists. He is also the only player to break the 15,000 assists milestone, who achieved that result in 2001/02 and then retired the following year with an unrivalled record.

John Stockton holds the records for total assists per season (1164) and for average assists per game (14.54), which he set in the seasons 1990/91 and 1989/90, respectively. We will have a look at more details in our article as well as explore more facts.

John Stockton – Player with Magnificent Record

John Stockton spent his entire career playing for the Utah Jazz, but he did not win a championship title. Perhaps playing against Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls was unfair, as a lot of good players were left without the title. However, Stockton, who delivered the majority of his assists to Karl Malone finished playing basketball with 15,806 assists.

Stockton has won this title (most assists in a single season) more often than others – 9 times. In 1504 games John Stockton averaged 10.5 assists. He is also the only basketball player who has delivered more than 15,000 assists so far and no other player is close to this mark. Stockton is also a leader in the steals category. 

Interesting Facts About Assists 

The NBA recognizes the player with the most assists per game on average during a given season. For the first time, the title began to be awarded in the 1946/47 season, when the statistics of transfers were first compiled in the Basketball Association of America (the predecessor of the NBA). A basketball player must play at least 70 out of 82 matches or make at least 400 assists to qualify for the title of the most rebound player. This criterion came into force in the 1974/75 season.

Mark Jackson holds the record for total assists per season and average assists per game among rookies – 868 and 10.6 respectively, which he managed to achieve in the 1987/88 season. Mark Jackson also crossed the 10,000 mark and is fifth on the all-time list.

6 players have overcome the 10,000 assists mark and 19 have more than 7,000 assists in their careers. Bob Cousy won this title 8 times and Oscar Robertson 7 times. Jason Kidd and Steve Nash became the leaders of the regular season in assists 5 times –  Kevin Porter and Magic Johnson 4 times.

During the 1995/96 season, Magic Johnson surpassed the 10,000 assists mark, finishing his performances in the association in the same year with a score of 10,141. Seven years later, in the 2002/03 season, this milestone was crossed by Mark Jackson, who ended his career the following year with a result of 10,334 assists. 

In the 2008/09 season, this achievement was repeated by Jason Kidd, who retired from his professional career at the end of the 2012/13 season with a total of 12,091 assists and the second overall assist in league history. In the same season, Steve Nash also surpassed the 10,000 assists mark, overtaking Jackson in the 2013/14 championship to become the third most assists in his career (10,335). 

In the 2020/21 season, the same result was repeated by Chris Paul, who is still continuing his sports career, having more than 10,500 assists at the moment. Standing apart on this list is LeBron James as a forward who currently sits in eighth place and the players above him point guards by positions. James is highly likely to cross the 10,000 mark that will be a fantastic achievement for an athlete, playing as a small forward.

Average Assists Per Game

The leader in terms of the average per game at the moment is Magic Johnson, who, after the end of his career, has an average of 11.2 assists per game. The second place in this indicator is taken by John Stockton, who, according to the results of his performances, scored 10.5 points on average per game. In third place is Oscar Robertson with an average of 9.5 assists per game.

Assisting is a pass to the player who subsequently hits the opponent’s ring and then it is taken into account in the final score sheet of the match. In the NBA, the player with the highest assists per game is considered the best player in assists. 

Can Stockton’s Record Be Broken?

Hardly can anyone ever break this record in the NBA. As we have already mentioned in our article no other players have ever crossed the 13,000 or 14,000 mark so it seems highly unlikely that even Chris Paul can catch his counterpart. He is already reaching the end of his career. The same can be said about LeBron James who has turned 37 years old recently. 

What makes Stockton’s achievement even more impressive and hard to break is his consistency. He played from 1984 to 2003 for the Utah Jazz and rarely missed games, which is perfectly shown by his total number of games – 1504.