Can You Identify These NBA Icons With the Most Assists per Game in a Single Season?

By: Gavin Thagard

7 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons by Keith Allison

About This Quiz

There's something special about NBA players who can dish out passes at an elite level, especially when it comes to the ones who get inventive with their passes, throwing the ball between defenders' legs or behind their own backs. The greatest passers seem to have eyes in the back of their heads, as they can find teammates without even looking in their direction. It becomes quite the show, and many teams have even been defined by a player's willingness to pass up the ball. If you need evidence, look at the Los Angeles Lakers of the '80s.

Assist totals are usually led by point guards, who operate from the backcourt. It's not surprising, as point guards tend to be the floor generals who carry the ball up the court and set up the offense. When a play goes into motion, a point guard either finds a big man down low or a shooter on the outside. Of course, the other positions are capable of dishing out passes, but the point guard holds assists as their primary responsibility. 

Are you ready to identify the players who were willing to pass up the ball for open looks? From legends of the past to icons today, this quiz covers the top assists per game leaders throughout NBA history. When you're ready, get started and see if you can get a passing score.

This player had several seasons where he was at the top of the league in assists per game, which is why he's the NBA's all-time assists leader. Who is he?

John Stockton can credit many of assists to playing beside Karl Malone, another Hall of Fame player who was known as "The Mailman" because he always delivered passes from Stockton to the basket. Together, they reached the NBA Finals twice but never won a championship.

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Can you identify this NBA icon who was recognized as the ultimate team leader during his playing days?

Isiah Thomas was a two-time champion and leader of the "Bad Boy" Pistons in the late '80s and early '90s. Thomas was the prototypical point guard, always making the right play and setting up teammates in positions to get easy points.

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What's the name of this former superstar who gave fans a show anytime he was on the court?

Earvin "Magic" Johnson was such a big star that he could even put on a show against the best players in the league in the All-Star Game. He sits atop the list of career assists in the All-Star Game, racking up 127 throughout his career.

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Do you recognize this player who put up nearly 12 assists per game in his prime?

Though he was a young player at the time, Rajon Rondo was a major reason the Boston Celtics won the NBA championship in 2008. His ability to pass shined that entire season, as he set up players like Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce with open looks.

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Few NBA icons could humiliate a defender with a pass as well as which player depicted in this image?

Steve Nash's passing ability helped him win back to back NBA MVPs in 2005 and 2006. Nash scored less than 20 points per game both seasons, but his assist total was over 10 per game.

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A star known for outsmarting his competition on both ends of the court, who is this?

When Chris Paul joined the Los Angeles Clippers, his passing ability paired with the dunking skills of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan helped the team earn the nickname "Lob City." They were a fun team to watch, and Paul's leadership on the floor was a major reason for it.

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He was the first player to average a triple-double for a season. How well do you know him?

Playing from 1960 through 1974, Oscar Robertson led the league in assists six times. His highest assists per game total came in the 1964-65 season when he dished out 11.5 assists per game.

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Are you familiar with this player who had his highest assist total during a season when he was traded from Denver to Indiana?

Mark Jackson wasn't the greatest scorer on the teams he played for, but he was always there to help his teammates rack up points. When he joined the Indiana Pacers in 1994, he was paired with Reggie Miller, a lethal shooting guard who could hit shots from all over the court.

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To lead the league in assists and points per game for a season is a tough task, but that's exactly what the player shown here was able to do in the 1972-73 season.

Nate "Tiny" Archibald had the ability to explode off the dribble to get around defenders to score points. However, whenever he couldn't maneuver around a defender, he always had the awareness to get the ball out to a teammate for a better shot.

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Select the name of this point guard who was one of the greatest players in the NBA throughout the '60s.

Guy Rodgers was a four-time All-Star during his time in the NBA. He made his first three All-Star Games playing for the San Francisco Warriors and his final All-Star Game in his lone season with the Chicago Bulls.

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An elite scorer who can also dish out assists, what's the name of this superstar?

James Harden's offensive numbers really started to explode when he was given full control of the offense for the Houston Rockets. This often means the ball is in his hands for most of a game, which takes a toll on his body, but his production has certainly benefited from it.

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This player won two titles with the Los Angeles Lakers before going on to play for the Clippers when they moved to California. Who is he?

Norm Nixon was one of the players who made the early "Showtime" Lakers such an exciting team when they were clicking on all cylinders. During this time, he shared ball-handling responsibilities with Earvin "Magic" Johnson, as the two created a magnificent passing backcourt.

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Can you identify this former player who dished out dime passes for several teams during his lengthy NBA career?

Andre Miller was always a balanced player on the court, but he really shined during his third season in the league. Playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miller scored 16.5 points per game and led the league with 10.9 assists per game.

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One of the most consistent stars in NBA history, who is this Hall of Famer?

Jason Kidd was a walking triple-double anytime he suited up for a game. When he retired in 2013, he had racked up 107 career triple-doubles, which ranked him third on the all-time triple-double list.

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Is this superstar, known for having a motor that never stops running, familiar to you?

Russell Westbrook is the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season more than once in his career, which he has done on three occasions. 2016-17 was the first season he recorded a triple-double for a season, putting up 31.6 points, 10.4 assists and 10.7 rebounds per game.

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The short stature of which player depicted in this image didn't slow him down from racking up assists?

Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues played most of his career with the Charlotte Hornets, joining the team in 1988 and leaving in 1997 via trade. In two of his seasons with the Hornets, Bogues dished out 10.7 assists per game.

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Do you recognize this player who started and ended his career setting up teammates for the Houston Rockets?

John Lucas had one of his best years in the NBA in his lone season with the San Antonio Spurs in 1983-84. That year, Lucas put up a double-double with 10.9 points and 10.7 assists per game.

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How well do you know this icon who used his passing skills to win two gold medals outside the NBA?

Deron Williams averaged over 10 assists per game in a season four times in his NBA career. He even had one stint in 2011, right after he was traded to the New Jersey Nets, where he dished out 47 assists in only three games.

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If not for injuries the past few seasons, this player would still be dishing out dime passes. Who is he?

John Wall has spent much of his career injured since the 2016-17 season. Prior to the injuries, Wall had three straight seasons where he racked up over 10 assists per game, and he hasn't had a major drop off since then when he's actually been healthy.

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Double-doubles from assists and points weren't uncommon from which player shown here?

Tim Hardaway was a point guard who liked to score, and he did that quite effectively with the crossover dribble. However, when this didn't work, he knew how to get the ball where it needed to go for an easy score.

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Pick the correct name of this player who had his best assist total in the 1997-98 season.

Rod Strickland didn't have much playoff success throughout his career, but not because he didn't show up to play. Strickland knew how to step up his game in the playoffs, increasing both his scoring total and assist total in the biggest moments.

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What's the name of this point guard who missed out on an All-Star selection when he put up over 10 assists per game?

An injury hampered Michael Adams' 1990-91 season with the Denver Nuggets, as he only played in 66 games. However, he was stellar when he was on the court that year, as he averaged 26.5 points and 10.5 assists per game.

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Are you familiar with this player who had his best seasons with the Golden State Warriors in the '80s?

For people who knew Eric "Sleepy" Floyd in grade school, they never would have thought he would be the one who made it to the NBA. After all, he got his nickname, "Sleepy," during this time because he appeared to be asleep while in the middle of a baseball game.

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Can you identify this two-way icon who could dish out dimes and get back down the court to play defense?

Norm Van Lier was a three-time All-Star in the '70s, all with the Chicago Bulls. During the three seasons he was selected to the All-Star Game, Van Lier was also named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team.

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Despite a short career in the NBA due to policy violations, this player still had some stellar seasons when it came to assist totals. Do you know him?

After being selected with the fourth pick in the 1978 NBA Draft, it took Micheal Ray Richardson one season to adjust to the league. However, in his second season, he proved his star potential, racking up 15.3 points and 10.1 assists per game.

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A point guard who was nicknamed "The General" because of his leadership, is this a player you're familiar with?

Gary Grant spent most of his professional career playing for the Los Angeles Clippers, who received his draft rights from the Seattle SuperSonics shortly after the 1988 NBA Draft took place. He stayed with the Clippers until 1995.

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The elite mind of which player depicted here served him well when he went into coaching after leaving the NBA?

Glenn "Doc" Rivers was a one-time NBA All-Star, which he made in 1988 playing for the Atlanta Hawks. That season, he played beside Dominique Wilkins, one of the best finishers at the rim in NBA history.

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Did you ever watch this player as he defined his career setting up teammates for the San Antonio Spurs in the '80s?

Except for one game he played for the New Jersey Nets, Johnny Moore spent his entire career with the San Antonio Spurs, where he served primarily as their starting point guard. He reached the playoffs five times with the Spurs, including both his first and last seasons in the league.

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How well do you know this player who could steal the ball then pass it forward to a teammate for an easy score?

Though he was an adequate point guard who could set up teammates, Daron "Mookie" Blaylock focused most of his energy on the defensive side of the ball. During his career, he averaged 2.3 steals per game, which earned him six NBA All-Defensive selections.

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One of the most recognized names in NBA history, who is this dominant point guard?

With several NBA Finals appearances and losses, Jerry West became the only player in league history to earn a Finals MVP while shooting hoops for the losing team. That honor came in 1969 when he put up 37.9 points and 7.4 assists per game.

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Do you recognize this gifted passer who spent 16 years in the NBA?

Avery Johnson has always been a student of the game, one of the reasons he was so great at point guard during his playing days. When he finished his playing career, Johnson went into coaching, and, most recently, coached at the University of Alabama.

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This point guard had his best season in terms of assists when he followed the Kings from Kansas City to Sacramento. Who is he?

Reggie Theus started his career strong playing for the Chicago Bulls. In his rookie year, Theus was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team after he racked up 16.3 points and 5.2 assists per game.

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Select the correct name of this NBA player who was a first-round draft pick after winning a national championship in college.

Before joining the NBA in 2009, Ty Lawson had a stellar college career at North Carolina. In his final season with the Tar Heels, Lawson won the NCAA championship and was named an All-American.

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What's the name of this nine-time NBA All-Star who walked away with the All-Star Game MVP in 1971?

Lenny Wilkens played for the Seattle SuperSonics from 1968 through 1972 and served as the head coach of the team from 1969 through 1972. He returned as the head coach in 1977, after he retired, leading the team to an NBA title in 1979.

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In only his second NBA season, which player shown in this image was already putting up over eight assists per game?

Kenny Anderson made his lone All-Star Game in 1994, the same season he had his highest assists per game total. That year, he not only put up 9.6 assists per game but also added in 18.8 points per game.

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Are you familiar with this all-time great champion who was an eight-time NBA assists leader?

Considering he was playing beside some of the greatest players of his era, it's no wonder Bob Cousy led the league in assists eight times in his career. For his value to his team, the Boston Celtics retired Cousy's jersey number.

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Can you identify this player who became a starter when his coaches realized how easily he could get shots for his teammates?

While in the middle of his prime, John Bagley played beside a young Michael Jordan on the Chicago Bulls. When an injury took Jordan off the court in his second season, Bagley had to step up, and he did just that, putting up the highest assists per game total of his career.

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A point guard who once put up 30 assists in one game, is this a player you recognize?

Scott Skiles' 30 assists in one game remains an NBA record. He accomplished the feat on Dec. 30, 1990, while playing for the Orlando Magic against the Denver Nuggets. The Magic crushed the Nuggets 155-116 in that game.

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How familiar are you with this player who came into the league dishing out assists as a rookie?

Damon Stoudamire averaged the highest assists per game total of his career during his rookie season, putting up 9.3 assists per game. For his play as a rookie, he was named the NBA Rookie of the Year.

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