Basketball is all about adjustments and versatility, and if a player has the ability to play multiple positions, that’s a major plus, as he’d thrive in different matchups while forcing opposing defenses to constantly adapt and be on the move.
Passing is one of the basketball’s fundamentals, and even though ballers spend most of their lives with the rock in their hands, some of them are never able to be consistent or good passers, or just don’t have the kind of basketball IQ or court vision to make their teammates better.
With how much basketball has changed over the past couple of decades, it’s getting more and more usual to see big men or wing players run the team’s offense while their point guards play off the ball, and with that small ball tendency, that has gotten even more common to watch over the last couple of seasons.
So, having a good passer besides your point guard has become a major issue in modern basketball, and today we’re going to let you know about the top 10 best passers that aren’t point guards in the NBA right now.
10. Kevin Durant
Over his career, there hasn’t been an aspect of the game that Kevin Durant hasn’t worked on, even becoming an elite rim protector after entering the league as a tweener forward without much defensive upside.
Now, Durant has become a walking triple-double threat, and he hasn’t been shy to spread the wealth in the constantly moving Golden State offense, averaging almost 5 dimes per game ever since deciding to leave Westbrook on an island and join the World Champions.
9. DeMarcus Cousins
DeMarcus Cousins is one of the most skilled big men in the Association right now, being able to dominate the glass, and having a sweet touch from distance that resembles some of the moves a guard should be doing and not a guy that tall.
Cousins doesn’t hesitate to run the floor with the rock in his hands and he’s proven to be a very good passer, although his spoiled nature has always made him force things a bit. Still, he’s currently averaging almost 6 assists now as a member of the Pelicans.
8. Ben Simmons
We had heard a lot of good things about Ben Simmons and his passing, and now that he’s finally able to prove his worth, he’s proven that all the high praise that surrounded him was more than well deserved.
Simmons’ upside seems to be unlimited and he has really impressed with his passing, being a LeBron James kind of point forward that’s just impossible for opposing coaches to match at the point guard position. Running the Sixers’ offense, Simmons has already recorded a triple-double, is averaging almost 8 assists per game, and is the clearest frontrunner to win the Rookie of the Year award.
7. Blake Griffin
Blake Griffin has always been a very willingful passer, although he was never really forced to do so because he has spent most of his career playing alongside one of the best passers to ever play the game.
Still, whenever Chris Paul was sitting down nursing an injury, Griffin constantly took matters into his own hands, and he’s averaged over 4 assists per game throughout his young career. Blake has always shown a lot of chemistry with fellow big man DeAndre Jordan, as well as being a crafty passer when it comes to pick and pop plays.
6. Giannis Antetokounmpo
If you’re making a top list, you’ve got to have Giannis Antetokounmpo, it doesn’t really matter what are you talking about. Being recently compared with both Magic Johnson and Russell Westbrook, the athletic standout is mastering every aspect of the game, and that includes passing, of course.
The Greek Freak doesn’t hesitate to run the Bucks’ offense, even with Matthew Dellavedova and Malcolm Brogdon in the hardwood. His passing is off the charts and he always creates space for his teammates when he’s driving towards the rim and crashing the lane.
5. Marc Gasol
Just like his older brother Pau, Marc Gasol has never been your standard NBA center, having a really developed game on both ends of the floor with a European feel, using his brains and not just his physique to gain an advantage over his opponents.
Gasol is a very generous player that won’t hesitate to give up a shot if he feels like his teammates are in better position, averaging over 3 dimes per contest through his career. Of course, those ones aren’t really impressive numbers but take into account that the Grizzlies have always been a very slow paced team that uses efficiency over volume and doesn’t have that many possessions per game.
4. Kevin Love
If he hadn’t succeeded in basketball, it’s pretty safe to say that Kevin Love would’ve been a great quarterback, as he’s shown with his one-handed full court passes over and over, making his Cleveland Cavalier teammates get wide open dunks or layups going from baseline to baseline.
He’s never been much of a high assist kind of guy, averaging merely over 2 throughout his career, but that’s mainly because he was the focal point of the Timberwolves offense and now he spends most of the time in the corners waiting to get open threes.
3. Draymond Green
Draymond Green is the definition of versatility, being a guy that can play and guard all five spots and one of the biggest reasons why Steve Kerr and the Warriors have been so dominant, and that includes being a very smart passer that’s always looking to make the right place.
The defensive standout is a guy that can have a triple-double without points on a nightly basis, and he’s been the primary ball handler and playmaker at the Bay at some point, even with Stephen Curry on the team, and he’s averaging 8 assists per game so far this season.
2. Nikola Jokic
Nikola Jokic completely shocked everybody the prior campaign constantly making the highlight reels due to his no look and behind the back passes, being something like a very tall version of Jason Williams for the Denver Nuggets.
The Joker recorded several triple-doubles and has even run the team’s offense in some non-point guard lineups, and he’s one of the best passing big men this league has ever seen, holding onto the starting center job at Denver and making Jusuf Nurkic find a new home.
1. LeBron James
And the number one spot on our list has to go to none other than King James himself, a guy that can also play and guard all five spots and that (according to him) has learned how to play every position ever since being a kid.
You just got to take his word for it, as there’s nobody with a court vision similar to James, and he knows exactly where all his teammates are supposed to be. James seems to have eyes in the back of his head and is skilled as the best point guards in history when it comes to passing, being the ultimate point forward and the best small forward in history.