NBA all-time assists leaders – LeBron James moves into fourth place

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James passed Steve Nash for fourth in the NBA’s all-time assist leaderboard after tallying 11 assists against the New York Knicks on Tuesday.

As ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported in 2016, James’ ability to distribute the ball efficiently is particularly noteworthy, especially from his position.

“LeBron is breaking all transition rules,” said a scout. “Thou shalt not leave thy feet and fit. … Thou shalt not walk through traffic. He throws backhand fastballs that buzz in the ears of two defenders. He always knows where everyone will be.”

James is still averaging seven assists per game this season.

James is in the presence of an elite company and the only non-guard in the top 10. Here he sits among the NBA greats:

Templates: 15,806

Games played: 1,504

If there were a prototype for point guards, his playstyle would be very similar to Stockton’s. The great Utah Jazz had 19 straight playoff appearances during his career.

According to, Stockton’s other assists records include: most in a season (1,164); highest season average (14.5); most seasons at the top of the league (nine); and most consecutive seasons at the top of the league (nine).

The two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer also holds the number one spot on the NBA’s all-time steal list.

Templates: 12,091

Games played: 1,391

Picked second overall by the Dallas Mavericks in the 1994 draft, Kidd had a knack for passing the ball. He was also a member of the Phoenix Suns, then-New Jersey Nets, and the New York Knicks

His 4,620 assists remains a franchise record for the Nets as he averaged more than nine assists per game with the team.

He won his only NBA championship alongside Dirk Nowitzki and Co. in 2011 and returned to Dallas as head coach in 2021.

Submissions: 11,246 and counting

Games played: 1,186 and counting

Nicknamed “Point God,” Paul moved up to third place in November 2021.

He spent most of his career with the New Orleans Hornets (now the New Orleans Pelicans) and the LA Clippers, where he averaged 9.9 and 9.8 assists per game during the regular season, respectively. He is the all-time assists leader for both franchises.

The start of the 2021-22 NBA season was quite eventful for Paul. In addition to achieving the above milestone, he became the first NBA player to score 20,000 points with 10,000 assists and was named to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary team.

Templates: 10,339 and rising

Games played: 1,406 and counting

Still going strong in year 20, James is firmly entrenched in the 10k assist club – and within reach of overtaking the three players above him.

A self proclaimed “pass-first type‘, his resume as a four-time MVP, Finals MVP and NBA champion speaks volumes.

A significant portion of his assists (6,228) came while he was playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Templates: 10,335

Games played: 1,217

Under head coach Mike D’Antoni in the early 2000s, Nash was part of a Phoenix Suns team known for their offensive skills. The “Seven Seconds or Less” Suns took the league by storm. And it worked for a couple of years, as Nash was named league MVP for two straight seasons and finished second to Nowitzki for a third season.

Templates: 10,334

Games played: 1,296

Jackson played for seven teams in his 17 seasons in the NBA. He spent most of his career with the Knicks. Jackson averaged over 10 assists in his inaugural season and was named 1988 Rookie of the Year.

During the 1996-97 season, he split time between the Indiana Pacers and the Denver Nuggets, averaging 11.4 assists per game.

Templates: 10,141

Games played: 906

One of only two players to have over 10,000 assists in fewer than 1,000 games, Johnson is considered the greatest point guard in NBA history.

Johnson averaged a double-double every season from 1982 through 1991 and led the NBA in assists four times. The Lakers legend remains the all-time leader in assists and triple-doubles for the franchise.

Templates: 9,887

Games played: 1,040

Robertson defined dominance and versatility at guard. In his freshman year, he averaged 30.5 points, 10.1 rebounds, and an NBA-high 9.7 assists, earning him Rookie of the Year.

In his sophomore year, he became the first player to average a triple-double for an entire season, a distinction he held until Russell Westbrook joined him after the 2016-17 season. Robertson, a member of the 35th, 50th and 75th anniversary teams, retired his jersey numbers from the Sacramento Kings (then the Cincinnati Royals) and the Milwaukee Bucks.

Templates: 9,061

Games played: 979

Thomas and Johnson are the only players in the top 10 who have played fewer than 1,000 games.

His “bad boy” Detroit Pistons were known for their somber defense, and Thomas brought the same approach to offense. He spent his entire career with Detroit and tops the franchise’s all-time list with the next-best entry being 4,449 less than his career.

Templates: 8,996

Games played: 1,335

Widely known as a lockdown defender, Payton is the only point guard to be named Defensive Player of the Year. But his offensive contributions are also noteworthy.

Payton recorded the most of his assists (7,386) as a member of the Seattle SuperSonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder). He remains the franchise’s all-time leader, with Westbrook in second place with 6,897. NBA all-time assists leaders – LeBron James moves into fourth place

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