In basketball, an assist is given to a player for a pass that directly leads to a score by a field goal. Generally, point guards tend to earn the most assists of any position due to their primary role as a facilitator of the offense, but there are sometimes exceptions to the rule.
One of the most notable positions, the point forward, has occasionally sprung up over the years when taller, bigger players are also exceptionally gifted with passing and assume a majority of the ball-handling — the best example of this in today’s NBA is LeBron James, who oscillated between primary ball-handler and main scorer during his tenure with the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
But whether a team is led by a point guard or a point forward, a floor leader is one of the most indispensable members of a basketball team whose ability to control the tempo of a game can mean the difference between winning and losing in a tight game.
In recent years, NBA analysts and fans have noted that the NBA has seen a resurgence in point guard play led by veterans like Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul, and Mike Conley — not to mention newer players like Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry, and John Wall. But does this new group of pass-first players have what it takes to overcome the greatest passers in NBA history? Here’s a list of the top eight career assist-leaders of all time for a sense of the tall climb these younger players have in front of them if they wish to be among the best ever.