The 50 NBA players with the most career assists in NBA history

When you think of the NBA assist, no doubt you think of the best point men in the history of the game, you think of players like Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, John Stockton, Jason Kidd, and Bob Cousy, yet it may come as a surprise to you that not all of those big name point guards are in the top five of all time.

That’s because NBA history has as much to do with how long a player plays as it does with pure point guard skills. Would anyone consider Dirk Nowitzki a better scoring than Wilt Chamberlain? As great as a player as Dirk is, he’s not as great as Wilt, but he had a much longer career than The Stilt. Dirk is playing in his 21st NBA season while Wilt played 14 seasons.

Not Just Talent: Longevity Matters

Same goes with assists and any other statistical category for that matter. What weighs as much as the ability to read defenses and thread the needle is the longevity of that players career. To illustrate the importance about how many games a player played impacting their assist totals, we expanded our list from the usual top ten or top twenty, to the top 50 players with the most assists in NBA history.

Rank Player Assists Games Career APG
1 John Stockton* 15806 1504 10.4
2 Jason Kidd* 12,091 1391 8.7
3 Steve Nash* 10,335 1217 8.5
4 Mark Jackson 10,334 1296 8.0
5 Magic Johnson* 10,141 906 11.2
6 Oscar Robertson* 9887 1040 9.5
7 Chris Paul 9074 937 9.7
8 Isiah Thomas* 9061 979 9.3
9 Gary Payton* 8966 1335 6.7
10 LeBron James 8606 1193 7.2
11 Andre Miller 8524 1304 6.5
12 Rod Strickland 7987 1094 7.3
13 Maurice Cheeks* 7392 1101 6.7
14 Lenny Wilkens* 7211 1077 6.7
15 Terry Porter 7160 1274 5.6
16 Tim Hardaway 7095 867 8.2
17 Tony Parker 7033 1252 5.6
18 Bob Cousy* 6955 924 7.5
19 Guy Rodgers* 6917 892 7.8
20 Rajon Rondo 6872 813 8.5
21 Deron Williams 6819 845 8.1
22 Russell Westbrook 6752 809 8.3
23 Muggsy Bogues 6726 889 7.6
24 Kevin Johnson 6711 735 9.1
25 Derek Harper 6577 1199 5.5
26 Nate Archibald* 6476 876 7.4
27 Stephon Marbury 6471 846 7.6
28 John Lucas II 6454 928 7
29 Reggie Theus 6453 1026 6.3
30 Norm Nixon 6386 768 8.3
31 Kobe Bryant 6306 1346 4.7
32 Jerry West* 6238 932 6.7
33 Scottie Pippen* 6135 1178 5.2
34 Clyde Drexler* 6125 1086 5.6
35 John Havlicek* 6114 1270 4.8
36 Baron Davis 6025 835 7.2
37 Mookie Blaylock 5972 889 6.7
38 Sam Cassell 5939 993 6
39 Avery Johnson 5846 1054 5.5
40 Nick Van Exel 5777 880 6.6
41 Larry Bird* 5695 897 6.3
42 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar*[4] 5660 1560 3.6
43 Dwyane Wade 5641 1039 5.4
44 Chauncey Billups 5636 1043 5.4
45 Michael Jordan* 5633 1072 5.3
46 Allen Iverson 5624 914 6.2
47 Mike Bibby 5517 1001 5.5
48 Dennis Johnson 5499 1100 5
49 Kevin Garnett 5445 1462 3.7
50 Jason Terry 5415 1410 3.8

*Players in bold are still active

Point Guards Dominate

No surprise that the vast majority of this list is made up of point guards as their primary position. Out of the 50, 37 are point guards and the only non-point guard in the top 25 of this list is LeBron James, who has served as a point forward for at least half his career.

From there, it’s no shock to see shooting guards as the next position with the most played on this list, but only toward the second half: Reggie Theus, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Jason Terry, Jerry West, Clyde Drexler, Dwyane Wade, Michael Jordan and Jason Terry. LeBron is joined by fellow passing forwards in Scottie Pippen, Larry Bird, Kevin Garnett and John Havelicek. And the one and only center to make the list is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who played 21 NBA seasons and averaged the lowest assists per game of anyone on this list at 3.6 per game.

Let’s Talk About Kevin Porter

To further talk about how longevity is a huge factor, let’s look at Kevin Porter. Porter was one of the best point guards of his time. He led the league in assists per game in four NBA seasons and his name is dotted all over the list of players that passed for the most assists in one NBA game. Still, Porter didn’t make the top 50 of all-time because his career only spanned ten seasons. Porter’s career game total of 659 games would be the lowest of all players in the top 50 list

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