NBA

NBA: 10 Unselfish Players Who Love Passing the Ball

Have you ever been on the receiving end of a beautiful pass on the basketball court? It’s one of the best feelings in sports knowing that your teammate looked for you make an important bucket. Among NBA players, the best passers aren’t necessarily point guards. There are a number of quality passers at the wings and in the post, and we are going to show off the 10 most unselfish NBA players who love passing the ball.

James Harden, Houston Rockets: 50 passes per game

Yes, you’re reading that right. Believe it or not, Harden, a prolific shooter and the league’s likely MVP,  has seen his play explode under head coach Mike D’Antoni. Before the coach arrived in Houston. Harden was primarily just a scorer for the Rockets. When D’antoni moved Harden to point guard, he became one of the league’s best playmakers. Even with Chris Paul taking over at point, Harden still averages nearly eight assists per game in 2018-19.

Justise Winslow, Miami Heat: 53 passes per game

Coming out of Duke, Winslow was seen as a slasher in the Dwyane Wade mold. He slowly developed all facets of his game and is putting up four assists per game to go along with 12 points. When the Heat need a big play, Winslow is normally the first or second option to make the right pass.

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers: 53 passes per game

Although he has been shut down for the rest of the year, there’s no denying how excellent of a passer James has been during his first season in Los Angeles. He finished the year averaging 27-8-8, in what many consider to be a down year. Expect more of the same from LeBron when he returns healthy in 2019.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks: 54 passes per game

The Greek Freak excels with the ball in his hands, but he has taken his game to new heights this season and is in the top three for MVP voting. Antetokounmpo fills up the stat sheet, which includes passing the ball as well as any forward in the league and averaging nearly six assists per game. Looking at his passing numbers, you can see why Antetokounmpo is one of the few NBA players who really can do it all.

Luka Doncic,Dallas Mavericks: 57 passes per game

The transcendent rookie has been wowing fans since his first week in the NBA. Doncic has played at a potential All-NBA level all season and is averaging 21 points and six assists per game. As his game matures, he could reach eight or nine helpers per game before his career is done.

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers: 57 passes per game

The 76ers big man doesn’t just score and block shots. He is also an adept passer and dishes the ball to teammates almost 60 times per game. Embiid is averaging nearly four assists per game and could see those numbers increase come playoff time.

Marc Gasol, Toronto Raptors: 59 passes per game

Gasol has always been known for his excellent passing, and with older brother Pau viewed as one of the best passing big men in NBA history, it should come as no surprise to see the younger Gasol on this list. He was traded to Toronto before the deadline and has seen his minutes dip, but his assists numbers are roughly the same at four per game.

Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors: 59 passes per game

Draymond Green is one of the most unselfish NBA players who love passing the ball.
Draymond Green enjoys dishing the ball to teammates. | Ray Chavez/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty Images

Golden State can’t win a championship if Green isn’t distributing the ball well, and he will be the X-factor as the Warriors look to complete the three-peat. He’s one of the most irritating NBA players, but Green is also one of the game’s most prolific passers. He’s putting up a very underrated seven assists per game and is a triple-double threat every game.

Blake Griffin, Detroit Pistons: 62 passes per game

Griffin is one of the game’s most exciting dunkers, and he has improved his ability to pass the ball in the right situations. He is having a very quiet season in Detroit by casual fan standards, even though he is putting up MVP caliber numbers with 24 points, seven rebounds, and five assists per game.

Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets: 70 passes per game

It isn’t implausible to expect Nikola Jokic to put up a triple-double every game. The Nuggets big man is averaging 20 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists per game. At the age of 23, he is only going to get better and could join Russell Westbrook as the 21st Century NBA players to average triple-doubles in a season.

Who are some of your favorite passers?

After looking at our list of the 10 most unselfish NBA players who love to pass the ball, who stands out to you the most? We met some prolific scorers along the way, but the best players know how to get their teammates involved in the action, too.

All stats courtesy of NBA Advanced Stats.