You just can’t make it in the NBA unless you have a solid point guard leading the way for your offense. You must have a floor general who knows how to make everybody around him thrive, how to get them the ball where and when they want it.
The NBA has seen some legendary point guards throughout the course of history but needless to say, some of them have stood up from the rest of the pack. Either because of their defense, their scoring ability, or mostly because of the way they create for others.
Not many players can average double-digits in assists per their career. In fact, just two of the countless players the league has ever seen have been able to pull it off. Today, we’re going to honor them and those who came close by letting you know about the top 20 players with the most assists per game in NBA history:
20. Muggsy Bogues – 7.6 Assists per game
Muggsy Bogues holds the record for being the shortest player to ever make it to the NBA. Sitting at just 5’3”, Muggsy looked like a kid among giants more often than not. Still, his craftiness, toughness, athleticism, and playmaking ability helped him thrive in the league for 14 years.
Bogues was as skilled as they come. He made the most of his size, handles, and quickness to make an impact on both ends of the floor and contrary to what people may think at first glance, he was actually a pretty good on-ball defender.
19. Stephon Marbury – 7.7 Assists per game
We don’t talk about him enough nowadays but here’s a message to young NBA fans: Stephon Marbury was a walking bucket. Once he broke out, this guy was one of the deadliest and smoothest scorers in the league and it wasn’t even close.
However, Marbury’s off-court issues, poor work ethic, and constant problems with his coaches and front office got the best of him. His game fell off a cliff and there wasn’t much room in the league for him anymore, so he left the NBA to dominate in China.
18. Guy Rodgers – 7.8 Assists per game
For those young fans who may not know: Guy Rodgers is the alleged creator of the alley-oop. That should tell you just enough about how crafty, smart, and savvy he was on a time the league didn’t feature many creative players and playmakers.
Rodgers could play both as a point guard and shooting guard and he led the league in dimes twice throughout his 12-year career. He posted double-digits in assists three times, including one 11.2 dimes per game campaign, and he was also one of the most durable players you’ll ever see.
17. Ricky Rubio – 7.8 Assists per game
When he first made it to the league in 2011, some people thought Ricky Rubio was going to be one of the all-time great point guards once it’s all said and done. And while he’s far from that distinction, he’s at least a top-20 player in assists per game.
Rubio’s injury proneness and reluctance to work on his shot deemed a somewhat promising career. Still, he’s one of the craftiest passers in the NBA – by a long stretch – a pass-first kind of point guard and a terrific defender. He’d be a major boost off the bench for a Championship contender.
16. Mark Jackson – 7.9 Assists per game
Long before being an NBA coach and sharing hot takes on television, Mark Jackson was actually a pretty good player. He was constantly among the league’s leaders in assists per game and even led the NBA with 11.4 dimes-a-game in 1996-97.
Jackson was a very intelligent player that really knew how to make his teammates better. He could get the ball in tight spots and even though he wasn’t much of a scorer, he could get the job done from time to time as well. Hopefully, he’ll get another coaching job soon.
15. Kevin Porter – 8.1 Assists per game
Kevin Porter – not related to Kevin Porter Jr. – was one of the most talented passers and playmakers this league had ever seen. He led the Association in assists per game and total assists four times throughout his 10-year career, which is a lot to say.
There weren’t that many prolific passers during Porter’s day and that’s what made him stand out that much in the league. He even had one 13.4 assists per game season (1,099 total dimes), which is the 6th highest average per one season in NBA history.
14. Deron Williams – 8.1 Assists per game
Not so long ago, people were actually debating whether Deron Williams, Derrick Rose or Chris Paul were the best point guards in the league. Williams was a stud as a scorer and offense-creator but injuries always got the best of his career.
Williams was a huge threat with the ball on his hands. He could drive and penetrate, kick, excel in the pick-and-roll, or get the job done by himself. He had 5 seasons of double-digit assists and even averaged 12.8 once but he only played 12 games that season. That was the story of his career.
13. Tim Hardaway – 8.2 Assists per game
People talk a lot about Penny Hardaway and for good reason, but it was the other Hardaway the one who was a better passer. (Nope, they’re not related). Tim Hardaway always got the job done on both ends of the floor and his playmaking granted him a long career in the league.
Tim Hardaway was a pure entertainer with the rock on his hands. He could find gaps not many players could and knew how to get everybody involved in the flow of the offense. He had 13 straight seasons averaging at least 6.3 dimes per game.
12. Rajon Rondo – 8.3 Assists per game
There was a time when Rajon Rondo was the ultimate floor general. He came out of the blue and earned his stripes with the Boston Celtics and pulled the strings of the offense to help their Big 3 dominate from start to finish, even if he didn’t get enough credit.
Besides being a lockdown backcourt defender and a huge threat in the clutch and the playoffs, Rondo was one of the league’s finest passers. He led the NBA in assists 3 times and averaged double-digits in dimes-per-game 5 times. Injuries took a major toll on his game.
11. Russell Westbrook – 8.3 Assists per game
Some fans just love to hate on Russell Westbrook. But make no mistake, this guy is one of the most talented athletes in the history of the game. He can literally do it all in the offensive end and put his team on his back any given night to get a win.
Westbrook is the only player not named Oscar Robertson to average a triple-double for a full season. More impressively, he’s done it three consecutive times, also leading the NBA in assists during two of those seasons. He doesn’t deserve that much hate.
10. Norm Nixon – 8.3 Assists per game
Norm Nixon, A.K.A ‘Stormin’ Norman’ may have not been the best point guard in the league but he sure was the most durable and consistent. You knew what he was going to give you a night in and night out and he never let his team or coaches down.
Nixon never led the league in assists but he was constantly among the top-passers. He never averaged fewer than 6.4 assists per game (his final year in the league) and even had one 11.2 dimes-per-game campaign when he played all 82 games.
9. Steve Nash – 8.5 Assists per game
Some of his doubters say Steve Nash is the most underrated MVP in NBA history. Well, he may not have posted the most impressive stats during his MVP campaigns but he was by no means underrated. He’s one of the greatest to ever run the point in the league.
Nash was a late bloomer but once he broke out, he was the best point guard in the world. He orchestrated one of the most electrifying offenses in NBA history, led the league in assists 5 times (three straight). He also averaged double-digits in assists 6 times per his career.
8. Jason Kidd – 8.7 Assists per game
If Steve Nash was the best point guard in the world then Jason Kidd was the closest to it. Kidd was a walking triple-double that could play lockdown defense and then have 12 dimes on the very same night. He could do it all on both ends of the floor.
Jason Kidd was also the ultimate leader and floor general. He led the league in assists per game 5 times throughout his career (3 straight) and had 4 campaigns with double-digit dimes as well. He only averaged fewer than 7.7 assists per game during his final two seasons (5.5 and 3.3).
7. Kevin Johnson – 9.1 Assists per game
Kevin Johnson must be one of the most underrated players in NBA history. He’s a forgotten star and no one ever seems to bring his name up despite being the Phoenix Suns’ 2nd-all-time in assists, 5th all-time in games, and 3rd all-time in points.
Johnson was a walking bucket and top-tier playmaker during his prime. He had four straight seasons averaging at least 10.1 assists per game and his outstanding performances even granted him a spot in Team USA. We should talk about him more often.
6. John Wall – 9.2 Assists per game
John Wall gets a lot of criticism for the money he’s getting from the Washington Wizards as if he had decided to get hurt in purpose. Let’s stop hating on him already, as he’s one of the most talented point guards in the history of basketball.
Despite his relatively short career in the league, Wall is already 6th all-time in assists-per-game average. He also had three consecutive seasons of double-digits in assists, even though he hasn’t led the NBA in dimes yet. Expect him to come back more aggressively than ever.
5. Isiah Thomas – 9.3 Assists per game
Isiah Thomas is the best point guard you never talk about. The history of this sport has been mean to him but that’s mostly because he was pretty mean to the best players in history as well. He’s the only guy who beat Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan in their primes.
Thomas led the Bad Boys’ pistons with his two-way expertise. He wanted you to hate him and he just didn’t care. Zeke was Chris Paul before Chris Paul. Surprisingly, he just led the league in assists once (13.9), and he averaged at least 10.0 assists per game for 4 straight seasons.
4. Chris Paul – 9.5 Assists per game
Chris Paul is Isiah Thomas 2.0, with the difference that he hasn’t had the chance to play in the NBA Finals. Even so, there’s a good reason why we refer to CP3 as the ‘Point God’. He’s one of the best players to never win an NBA Championship.
Paul dominated the league right out of the gate with his suffocating and pesky defense and his top-tier playmaking. He’s led the league in assists per game 4 times thus far and has never averaged fewer than 6.8 assists per game (this season).
3. Oscar Robertson – 9.5 Assists per game
Oscar Robertson is one of the most athletic human beings to ever live. He was a walking triple-double and even held the record for most of those during a season until Russell Westbrook shattered it a couple of years. Still, he was the first to average a triple-double for a whole season.
Robertson could do it all on both ends of the floor but his biggest trait was his passing ability. He led the league in assists per game 6 times, including his rookie season. The only time he averaged fewer than 7.5 dimes per game was during his final year (6.4).
2. John Stockton – 10.5 Assists per game
John Stockton is the greatest point guard to never win an NBA Championship and you can blame Michael Jordan for that. He wasn’t a starter until his 4th year in the league and still, he never averaged fewer than 5.1 assists per game (his rookie season).
Stockton led the league in assists per game for 9 straight years, which is an NBA record. He had 10 seasons of double-digits in assists (another NBA record) and is the league’s all-time leader in that regard with 15,806 dimes, a record unlikely to be topped. He also has 5 of the 6 highest assists-per-game averages in one season, including the most all-time (14.54)
1. Magic Johnson – 11.2 Assists per game
And, obviously, Magic Johnson has to sit at the top of this list. Magic is the greatest point guard in the history of the game, the biggest entertainer, the flashiest passer, and one of the best athletes to ever set foot on a basketball hardwood.
Magic has 3 of the 10 highest assists-per-game seasons in NBA history. He led the league in dimes just 4 times despite holding the highest average ever, and neve averaged fewer than 6.9 dimes a game (his final year after his comeback).