What Is Assist In Basketball?

What Is Assist In Basketball?

Key Takeaway: Passing the ball and accumulating assists are crucial in basketball, contributing significantly to a team's chemistry and success. Players who prioritize assists over scoring play a vital role in creating opportunities and driving victories.

Having many shots that have sunk in the ring is the main goal of a basketball player so that every fan will consider him as a good basketball player. Everybody thinks that the more shots a basketball player makes, the more value he gives to his team. But there are just some players who don’t score too much because they are busy passing the ball into their teammates. Some players just prioritize passing the ball because they believe that sharing is caring, and they also believe that passing the ball will increase the team’s chemistry.

Many players prioritize passing the ball over scoring. Why? They just don’t feel like scoring! Their potential and talent are on passing the ball so why would they bother themselves to score too much? Sadly, assists are sometimes underrated when weighing who the best basketball player is. Fans often look at how many scores a basketball player has to consider him a good player. Most people just ignore the value of assists for a team.

If you ever watch a basketball game, commentators and fans sometimes talk about assists. Assists are one of the main stats that are included when fans debate who the best basketball player is. Assists are also often one of the stats included when a player gets triple-double and double-double.

So what is an assist in basketball? We will take a deep dive into assists and will give you more information about assists. Let’s go!

Quick Answer

Assist is given to a player who passes the ball to a teammate that leads to a score by a field goal. 

An assist cannot be counted if the player that receives the ball from the passer did not successfully shoot the ball. Only one player can only receive an assist per score. If there are multiple passes made before the successful shot, the last player with the last pass gets the assist.

There is some verdict involved whether the passer would receive an assist. The assist may be credited to the passer even if the player who receives the ball takes a dribble before making a basket. However, the original definition of an assist did not include that situation, so it means the counting of assists in other eras may be different in today’s era.

Assists are one of the most important stats in basketball. An assist will improve your team chemistry and having good chemistry can lead to multiple victories. Sadly, some people disregard the assists when debating about who the greatest of all time is. 

How Important Are Assists In Basketball?

Many people disregard the assist stats because they think that giving up the ball to your teammates is cowardice in attempting to take a shot. But the truth is, almost every score in basketball came from an assist. If assist was not that important, then basketball should have been played one-on-one.

An assist is important in all team sports that have an objective to make a goal or a score. Assists are used by all coaches when making a strategy to score, coaches, don’t usually make an ISO strategy because if a player makes an ISO play, opponents may double team him and steal the ball from his hands. 

There is no debate here! Assist is very important in any team sports, period! If you assist in scoring, then it means you are involved in the play. Do not devalue players whose priority or skill is passing the ball. Most players who made an awesome pass that led to a score are included in the highlight reel. 

Different Kind Of Assist In Basketball

To give you a better understanding of assists in basketball, it is essential to know each type of assists that have been executed in different leagues. Below are the different types of assists in the NBA:

NBA Assists

Secondary Assist

Secondary assist is several passes made by a player to another player who earned an assist on a made shot. Elite basketball leagues like the NBA count these stats because it is an excellent metric to predict a team’s success. Basketball players have five players on the court, players tend to share the ball more by getting all players involved while running a balanced offense.

Let me give you one example of a secondary assist. For example, Draymond Green successfully rebounded the ball after a missed shot from the Cavaliers. After a successful rebound, the Warriors saw an opportunity to start a fast break. Green passed the ball to Stephen Curry and Curry saw Thompson running on the wing. Curry passed the ball to Thompson after receiving the ball from Draymond Green. Klay Thompson receives the ball then shoots a three-pointer. Thompson sinks in the shot so it means that Draymond Green receives the secondary assist. 

Free Throw Assist

A free throw assist is an assist earned by the passer if the passer passes the ball to another player who is then fouled and makes a minimum of at least one free throw. For a player to earn a free throw assist, the foul must be within four seconds and two dribbles only made after receiving the ball. If the player fouled failed to shoot at least one free throw, then it will not be counted as a free throw assist.

Let me give you one example. Draymond Green will inbound the ball and while inbounding the ball he saw Klay Thompson cutting. Green passed the ball to Thompson then Thompson attempted to shoot a layup but he was fouled. Thompson will try to score from the charity strike. Thompson made 2/2 free throws, Draymond Green receives a free throw assist.

Potential Assist

In simple words, a potential assist is an assist made by a player that passed the ball to his teammate, and the teammate that receives the ball successfully sank in a shot. The shot may be a layup, dunk, jump shot, or three-points. The potential assist helps keep track of the passes made of a player and the shots missed by his teammates. This will help in predicting the game and to evaluate how good the players in a team are when it comes to scoring. 

For example, Draymond Green will inbound the ball from the sidelines. He saw Stephen Curry free from the three-point line. He passed the ball to Curry then Curry successfully shot the three-point attempt. Draymond Green will receive the potential assist because Curry successfully hit the three-point line. 

NCAA Assists

The rule for assists in the NCAA is more simple than in the NBA. A statistician or a surveyor will make the judgment whether the assists will be counted or not. 

In NCAA, a player will be awarded an assist if a player passes the ball and the player who receives the ball successfully made a field goal. The field goal can be two points or three points. They disregard counting the free throw assist and secondary assist. 

The surveyor or statistician will be the one who will determine whether or not to award the player with an assist. They have different reasons to disregard the assist by saying there were a lot of dribbles made before making a basket, or the shot was too late after receiving the pass. 

Who Gets The Most Assists In A Basketball Game?

Basketball has five different positions, and in those five basketball positions, points guard is the player who is awarded the most assists in a game. On the other hand, because of the many strategic plans a coach made, it does not ensure who will get the most assists in one game. 

Guards get more assists because they handle the ball most of the time, and they are built to be a good passer. Centers can also get many assists because centers are always inside, therefore it is the best position to see who is cutting inside the basket and if there are players free outside the three points line. 

The Assist Leaders

There are a lot of great assists leaders in the NBA, they are a great leader inside the court and great passers. When it comes to the number of assists made, John Stockton is the winner and there is no debate about that because the statistics show how many assists Stockton made. Stockton has a total of 15,806 assists, but if you look at the list of the top passers you will recognize many great passers.

Players like Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, John Stockton, Magic Johnson, and Mark Jackson are the most honorable players when it comes to assists. They are the greatest passers of all-time in the history of the NBA. If you would like to see the complete list of great passers in the NBA, just go through this link. 

Final Verdict

As Jokic said, passing makes two people happy while scoring only makes one person happy. Giving up the ball to help your teammates to score and seeing them happy feels so overwhelming, it is also an honorable thing to do. Do not ever underestimate the value of an assist, most scores happen from an assist. 

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