NBA assist definition: In basketball, an assist is a pass to a teammate that leads directly to a score. A player gets an assist by making a pass that sets up a made basket, meaning the pass leads directly to the basket scorer shooting the ball and scoring. To get an assist, the player must pass the ball to a teammate in a position to score and cannot simply be credited with an assist if they make a great pass that their teammate then misses.
Types Of Assists
Players can rack up different types of assists throughout a game.
Regular Old-Fashioned Assist:
The most common type of assist is the regular old-fashioned assist, where you simply pass the ball to a teammate, who then scores.
Other types of assists include the give-and-go assist, where you pass to a teammate, and then he passes it back to you before you score:
A secondary assist can happen in two ways.
- If the player who makes the initial pass drives to the basket and kicks it out to another player for a wide-open three. In this case, even though the player who made the initial pass didn’t score, they would still get credit for an assist because they created the scoring opportunity.
- If two players on one team work together to create scoring opportunities for each other.
Free Throw Assists:
A free throw assist happens when a player passes the ball to a teammate who is then fouled and goes to the free throw line. The player who made the pass gets credit for the assist if their teammate makes both free throws.
What is Illegal Assist?
Illegal assists can occur if a player makes a pass that is too high or too low, does not have enough space to make the pass, or attempts to make a behind-the-back pass. While some illegal assists may be unintentional, others may be made to break the rules to gain an advantage.
Can A Player Receive An Assist And Score On The Same Play?
A player cannot receive an assist and score on the same play. However, if a player makes a pass that leads to a basket and then scores on the next possession, he or she would receive two separate statistics: an assist and a point.
How Many Dribbles For An Assist In Basketball?
Generally, an assist is considered when two or fewer dribbles are taken before scoring, so it’s beneficial to pass if you want to contribute to your team’s points. Opting to pass whenever possible not only can increase your assist count but also enhances your team’s scoring potential.
What Is Not An Assist In Basketball?
There are several types of passes that do not count as assists. These include:
1) Passes that are made after the offensive team has already gained possession of the ball. For example, if a player makes a pass to a teammate who then dribbles and scores, this would not be considered an assist.
2) Passes that are made to players who are not in shooting position. For example, if a player passes the ball to a teammate who is standing out of bounds or behind the three-point line, this would not be considered an assist.
3) Passes that are made without the intention of leading to a basket. For example, if a player makes a pass simply to avoid losing possession of the ball, this would not be considered an assist.
Does A Throw-In Count As An Assist?
Not necessarily. It depends on how you define an “assist.” If you consider an assist to be any pass that leads to a score, then yes, a throw-in would count as an assist.
Basketball Assist Rules
The rule for an assist in basketball, as defined by the National Basketball Association (NBA), is credited to a player who passes the ball to a teammate in a way that leads to a successful field goal. Here are some key considerations to better understand this rule:
- Direct Involvement: The passer should be directly involved in creating the scoring opportunity. The pass must lead to an immediate attempt for a field goal by a teammate.
- Immediate Field Goal Attempt: The player who receives the pass must make an immediate move toward the basket for a field goal. If the recipient takes too many dribbles or significantly delays before making the shot, the pass may not be counted as an assist.
- The simplicity of the Scoring Move: If the recipient of the pass has to make complex moves or evade defenders before making the shot, it is less likely that the pass will be counted as an assist.
- Last Pass: The assist is credited to the last player to pass the ball to the scorer, not necessarily the player who initiates the scoring play.
- Two-Point and Three-Point Field Goals: Assists can be awarded for both two-point and three-point field goals. In the case of the latter, as long as the player makes the shot without excessive movement or dribbling after receiving the pass, it can count as an assist.
- Free Throws: In some leagues, assists can also be awarded for free throws, but only if the pass led directly to a foul while shooting.
Most Career Assists In NBA History
John Stockton is the NBA’s all-time leader in assists, with 15,806. Stockton played his entire career with the Utah Jazz, from 1984 to 2003.
Jason Kidd is second on the list of most career assists, with 12,091. Kidd played for four teams during his 19-year NBA career: the Dallas Mavericks, New Jersey Nets, Phoenix Suns, and New York Knicks.
Chris Paul is one of the best point guards in the NBA, and he is known for his amazing ability to rack up assists. He currently has 10,977 career assists.
Steve Nash, a retired professional basketball player, racked up 10,335 assists over his 18-season career.
Jackson ranks fifth all-time in assists with 10,334. He played for the New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers, Denver Nuggets, Toronto Raptors, Houston Rockets, and Golden State Warriors during his 17 seasons in the NBA.
An assist is a statistic in basketball that credits a player who passes the ball to a teammate in a way that leads to a score by a field goal, meaning that they are awarded an assist. While assists are mostly associated with the point guard position, any player on the court can be credited with an assist as long as they satisfy the above criteria.
Clyde Jackson III is a basketball coach and the founder of GCBC Basketball, a basketball-related learning and informational website that focuses on helping young players develop their skills on and off the court. With over 15 years of coaching experience, Clyde has worked with players of all ages and skill levels, from beginners to professionals.