Welcome to our article, and as the title suggests, we are looking at the 12 NBA assist leaders!
In basketball, an assist refers to passing the ball to a teammate to help score. It is also attributed when a basket is awarded due to defensive goaltending.
As of 2023, John Stockton, with 15,806 assists, stands as the player with the highest number of assists in the history of the NBA.
This article looks at the NBA players who have averaged the most assists in their careers. Can you guess which player in the league has the highest number of assists?
To know the answer, read until the end of our article.
Here is a quick preview of our 12 NBA assist leaders!
|Player Name||Total Assists|
|12. Andre Miller||8,524|
|11. Russell Westbrook||8,767|
|10. Gary Payton||8,966|
|9. Isiah Thomas||9,061|
|8. Oscar Robertson||9,887|
|7. Magic Johnson||10,141|
|6. LeBron James||10,327|
|5. Mark Jackson||10,334|
|4. Steve Nash||10,335|
|3. Chris Paul||11,237|
|2. Jason Kidd||12,091|
|1. John Stockton||15,806|
12 NBA Assist Leaders
We have ranked the players with the help of ESPN as our primary source.
12. Andre Miller
The former professional basketball player Andre Miller is 12th on our list with total assists of 8,524 during his NBA career. The Cleveland Cavaliers picked him in the first round 8th overall of the 1999 NBA draft.
Miller’s professional career spanned from 1999 to 2016 and they played in the point guard position. In 2002, he was named the NBA assists Leader. He only missed three games due to injury in his career.
In his career, Miller played for franchises like Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers, Portland Trail Blazers, Washington Wizards, Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings, and San Antonio Spurs.
In addition to being the 12th NBA assist Leader, he is the only player in the league to have 16,000 career points, 1,500 steals, and 8,000 assists without making it into the NBA All-Star Game.
11. Russell Westbrook
Number 11 on our list is the Los Angeles Lakers Russell Westbrook. The Seattle SuperSonics picked him in the first round of the 2008 NBA draft as the 4th overall.
Westbrook made his debut with the Oklahoma City Thunder. While playing for Oklahoma, he became the first player to lead the NBA history in points and assists in multiple seasons.
Similarly, he also averaged a triple-double for the four times in five seasons in the 2020-21 season and became the player with the most career triple-doubles in the league’s history.
Since his debut, Westbrook has played for the Houston Rockets and Washington Wizards. In 2021, the Wizards traded him to the Lakers.
10. Gary Payton
With total career assists of 8,966, we have Gray Payton as number 10 on our list of the 12 NBA assist leaders. The former professional player is regarded as one of the NBA’s greatest point guards.
The Seattle SuperSonics selected Payton during the 1990 NBA draft in the first round as the second overall. He played 13 seasons with the SuperSonics, during which he made many franchise records in points, assists, and steals.
From 1990 to 2007, Payton played for other franchises like the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, and Miami Heat. He is the first point guard to become the NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
As a result of his defensive abilities, Payton was nicknamed “the Glove.” Furthermore, he became the Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer in 2013 and was named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team in 2021.
9. Isiah Thomas
The next NBA assist Leader is Isiah Thomas. He is a former NBA basketball player and spent his whole career playing for the Detroit Pistons.
The Pistons drafted him second overall in the first round during the 1981 NBA draft. He led Detroit’s “Bad Boys” to the 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons’ NBA championships.
A few of Thomas’s notable wins include being NBA assists Leader in 1985, NBA champion twice, NBA Finals MVP in 1990, twelve times NBA All-Star, and three times All-NBA First Team.
When Thomas retired in 1994, he was the third player with the most assists in NBA history at the time. He became the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer in 2000.
Similarly, Thomas was named among the 50 Greatest Players in NBA in 1996 and NBA 75th Anniversary Team in 2021.
8. Oscar Robertson
Oscar Robertson or also famously known as “the Big O,” is ranked eighth among the NBA assist leaders. He is a former professional basketball player whose career spanned from 1960 to 1974.
The Cincinnati Royals picked Roberston as a territorial pick during the 1960 NBA draft. He debuted with the Royals in 1960 and played until 1970. Then from 1970 to 1974, he played for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Robertson was the first player in the league to average a triple-double for a season. Likewise, he played a crucial role in the Bucks’ team winning their first NBA title. Aside from NBA, he was also part of the U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team.
Robertson’s career has numerous honors and accolades. He has been the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer twice.
He became a Hall of Famer twice in his career and a participating member of the 1960 U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team.
7. Magic Johnson
Magic Johnson is considered among the greatest point guards in the league. The Los Angeles Lakers selected him in the first round as the first overall of the 1979 NBA draft.
Johnson played 13 seasons in the league, and all with the Lakers. He led regular-season assists four times in the league and held the most career assists records in the playoff.
Similarly, Johnson is the league’s all-time Leader in average assists per game in the regular season and the playoffs. He was also a member of “The Dream Team” of the 1992 U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team.
Johnson is a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer for his career and for being part of the “Dream Team” member.
He was named among the 50 Greatest Players in the league and the 2021 NBA 75th Anniversary Team.
6. LeBron James
Widely considered one of the greatest players, King James is number 6 on our list of the 12 NBA assist leaders. He plays professional basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Cleveland Cavaliers selected James in the 2003 NBA draft as the first overall in the first round. Since his debut in the NBA, he has also played for Miami Heat and signed with the Lakers in 2018.
James is often compared with Michael Jordan, who is also regarded as the greatest basketball player. He has an impressive list of career highlights and awards.
He was one of the players selected for the NBA 75th Anniversary Team in 2021. In 2022, James became the only player in the NBA to accumulate over 10,000 career points, rebounds, and assists.
5. Mark Jackson
Number 5 on the list of the 12 NBA assist leaders is former professional basketball player Mark Jackson. The New York Knicks selected him as the 18th overall in the first round of the 1987 NBA draft.
Jackson’s career spanned from 1987 to 2004. During this, he played for franchises other than the Knicks, like the Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana Pacers, Denver Nuggets, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz, and Houston Rockets.
Jackson’s notable career wins include NBA assists Leader 1997, NBA All-Rookie First Team and NBA Rookie of the Year 1988, and NBA All-Star 1989.
Although he is fifth in the assist Leader ranking, Jackson never achieved great individual success. However, he is credited for prompting an NBA rule change.
4. Steve Nash
Steve Nash is a former Canadian professional player who played for 18 seasons in NBA. The Phoenix Suns selected him in the first round of the 1996 NBA draft as the 15th overall.
Nash is most notably known for playing with the Suns. He also played for other franchises like Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers.
Nash led in assists and free throw percentage in the league during his career and is widely considered one of the greatest point guards.
Similarly, he is one of the top players in the league’s history in three-point shooting, free-throw shooting, total assists, and assists per game. Nash is among the players named to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team in 2021.
3. Chris Paul
We are down to the top three NBA assist leaders. Professional basketball player Chris Paul is our number 3 with total assists of 11,237. The New Orleans Hornets picked him as the fourth overall in the first round of the 2005 NBA draft.
Paul has earned the nicknames “CP3” and “The Point God.” Furthermore, he is considered one of the greatest point guards. Since his debut in NBA, he has led the league in assists five times and steals for a record six times.
After making his debut with the Hornets, Paul played with the team in 2011. He also played with the Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, and Oklahoma City Thunder. He helped the Rockets to win a franchise-record 65 games in 2017.
In 2020, the Thunder traded him to the Phoneix Suns. With the Suns, Paul, for the first time in his career, reached the NBA Finals in 2021.
2. Jason Kidd
Former professional basketball player Jason Kidd is number 2 on our list. He is considered one of the league’s greatest point guards and passers.
The Dallas Mavericks selected Kidd as the second overall in the first round of the 1994 NBA draft. Similarly, he was also a two-time gold medal winner with the U.S. men’s Olympics basketball team in 2000 and 2008.
Aside from the Mavericks, Kidd played with the Phoenix Suns, New Jersey Nets, and New York Knicks in his career. He was famous for his incredible ability to pass and rebound and was a regular triple-double threat.
Kidd was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame and was selected to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team in 2021.
1. John Stockton
On number 1, we have one of the league’s greatest point guards, players, and passers, John Stockton.
Utah Jazz selected Stockton in the first round as the 16th overall of the 1984 NBA draft. His career spanned from 1984 to 2003, and he spent his entire career playing for the Jazz.
In addition to having the most career assists, Stockton also holds the NBA record for the most career steals by wide margins. Among his notable wins, he won the NBA assists Leader nine-time between 1988 to 1996.
Stockton became the Naismith Memorial Hall of Famer twice for his playing career and participating in the 1992 U.S. Olympic basketball team.
Similarly, he was named among the 50 greatest players in the league’s history in 1996 and NBA 75th Anniversary Team in 2021.
So these were the top 12 NBA assist leaders. Thanks to their effective assists, these players made immense contributions during their games and assisted in winning them.
So, did you guess the NBA assist Leader name correctly? We hope our article was insightful. Thank you for reading!