Unselfishness and sharing the wealth is something, not most NBA players do, as they’re constantly looking for the spotlight in order to try and single-handedly lead their teams to a Championship.
But, we all know hero-ball isn’t going to get the job done, or at least, a handful of willing passers in the league do, constantly trying to set their teammates up instead of stealing all of the highlights.
This season, we’ve seen quite some unselfish ballers, guys that would give up on a wide open shot in order to set a dime for the cutting teammate. Today, we’re going to talk about the top 10 most unselfish players in the league.
10. Mike Conley
At first glance, Mike Conley is not an elite point guard. But, digging further and looking at the intangibles, he’s exactly the kind of point guard that every coach would crave to have on their roster.
Despite the Grizzlies’ slow-paced offense, Conley’s averaging 6.2 assists per game and has only logged 72 turnovers throughout the season, logging an elite assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.51, which is 3rd best among starters.
9. Draymond Green
Draymond Green actually ranks 14th in assists per game in the league, something that may not look quite impressive at first glance, but we’re talking about a power-forward that averages 6.8 assists per game.
To put that in context, he’s averaging more assists per game than, at least, 12 starting point guards. Obviously, sharing the court with Durant, Curry and Thompson grant you a lot of opportunities to get dimes, but still, he’s a pass-first kind of guy regardless of his teammates.
8. Stephen Curry
Most people may argue Stephen Curry’s not an unselfish player because he’s not your average pass-first kind of point guard, but he’s one of the best playmakers in the league and a guy that knows how to set his teammates up.
Curry actually gives up a lot of wide-open looks in order to get Klay Thompson going, for instance, and when his shot’s not falling, he starts facilitating for others instead of trying to find his stroke. So far, he’s averaging 5.6 assists per game.
7. Jeff Teague
When talking about the best point guards in the league, Jeff Teague often tends to be overlooked, mostly because he’s not really a flashy player that’s going to impress with his scoring and athleticism.
But, actually, Teague is a great facilitator and an extremely unselfish player that doesn’t mind taking the back-seat for the sake of the team and is currently 5th in the league with 8.4 assists per game.
6. Kyle Lowry
Kyle Lowry has finally found his comfort zone with the new-look Toronto Raptors, which need them to be more of a facilitator than a scorer, regard where he kind of disappeared during crunch time over this career.
Now, Lowry has grown to be one of the league’s leaders in dimes a contest, recording 327 assists to just 94 turnovers for an outstanding assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.48 on 9.6 assists per night.
5. Ben Simmons
Ben Simmons is currently ranked 6th in assists per game with 8.2 a night in just over 33 minutes, which is good for 11.7 assists per 48 mins, also holding an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.39.
Simmons is one of the best passers we’ve seen over the last decade, a guy that reminds us of Magic Johnson for his ability to run the point at his height. He needs to develop a jump-shot right now, though.
4. Chris Paul
When we talk about pure playmakers, Chris Paul’s name always comes to mind. He’s for most NBA fans, a lock to be a first ballot Hall of Famer even if he never makes it to the NBA Finals before retiring.
Paul is one of the best passers in the league and outstanding talent at the point guard position, even if Rajon Rondo says he’s not much of a good teammate. This season, he’s averaged 8.0 assists per game.
3. Nikola Jokic
Nikola Jokic is special. This kid is, to my eyes, the best passing big man in the history of the game, way ahead of players like Arvydas Sabonis or Joakim Noah. He’s a point guard that just happens to be a 7-footer.
Despite playing as the team’s center, the Joker currently ranks 9th in the league in dimes per game with 7.5 (which translates to 11.5 per 48 minutes), with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.32. Also, he’s a human highlight reel with his no-look dishes.
2. LeBron James
LeBron James has always been way more than just a scorer, and he’s made a name in this league for being one of the most unselfish players both on and off the court throughout his entire career.
This season, the 16-year veteran isn’t showing any signs of slowing down in that regard, running the point for the Lakers through most key stretches, and averaging 7.1 assists per game for them.
1. Lonzo Ball
Lonzo Ball is so unselfish that he tends to hurt the Los Angeles Lakers from time to time instead of making them better, as he would rather give up on a wide-open layup to try and make a flashy assist.
For most of the game, Lonzo isn’t even looking at the rim, and his shot is not going to get better unless he becomes more aggressive. He’s averaging 5.2 assists per game even though he’s given up a lot of touches to LeBron James, and he seems the most likely player in the league to break the 20 dime mark any time soon.