In this season of giving, the expectation of receiving gifts from someone is one of the happiest moments among kids. Although they are not supposed to be the main attraction this season, Santa Claus and the Wise Men are one of the most recognizable characters during Christmas simply because they are men bearing gifts.
In basketball the best gift one can receive from a teammate would be an assist. It will give the recipient free and uninterrupted access to make a basket and increase the point totals of the team. So, in the NBA, who are the best cagers posing as Santa Claus?
That would be headed by no other than John Stockton. The long-time Point Guard of the Utah Jazz in the 80’s and 90’s holds a number of assists titles in the NBA Record books. For the regular season, he leads the tally for totals assists in a career with 15,806, he dished out the highest assists total in a season with 1,164, and he also holds the highest assist average in a season with 14.5. His 15,806 is over 3,700 more than the second placer. He is the only player to dish out 1,000+ assists more than once in a season having done it a total of seven times. He also average double digits assists in nine years.
Furthermore, he led the league in total assists and assists per game for a season for nine consecutive years. During the playoffs, Stockton is tied the highest assist registered for a single game with 24 coming in a playoff game against the Los Angeles Lakers on May 17, 1988. He is definitely the most generous hardcourt Santa when it comes to dishing to teammates.
Others who are prominent would be Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Mark Jackson, and Magic Johnson. Along with Stockton, these are the only men who dished out 10,000 or more assists in their career.
Jason Kidd is second in career total assists with 12,091 and averaged 8.69 for his career. Steve Nash has just claimed third place last year and is only one assist ahead of Mark Jackson who is at fourth. Nash averaged 8.49 for his career with a total of 10,335 while Jackson averages 7.97 and finished with 10,334. Jackson holds the most assists and highest average for a rookie with 868 and 10.59.
Earvin “Magic” Johnson was the epitome of the assist until Stockton came along. Johnson finished his career with 10,141 and averaged a league-best 11.19. He leads the playoffs total assists with 2,346 as well as the average with 12.35. Stockton trails him in both categories with 1,839 and 10.10, respectively. He is also tied with Stockton for the highest one game total with his 24 dishes on a playoff game against the Phoenix Suns on May 15, 1984.
Among active players other than Nash, Andre Miller of the Washington Wizards has the highest totals with 8,228 followed by Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers with 6,337. Paul owns the highest average with 9.90 followed by Deron Williams of the Brooklyn Nets with 8.63.
In the playoffs, Nash leads the pack in total assists with 1,061. Kobe Bryant (1,040), Tony Parker (1,034) and Lebron James (1,019) and Rajon Rondo (845) round up the top five. Chris Paul, meanwhile, heads the averages with 9.72 per game. Rondo (9.18), Nash (8.84), Williams (8.75) and Mike Conley (7.02) round up the top five.
Here at home, the assist kings belong to Baguio native Robert Jaworski and Ricardo Brown. The Big J is way up in the career total assists with 5,825. The Quick Brown Fox dished off 2,480 assists in his short seven-year career for an average of 7.3 assists per game.
Others who prominently played Santa’s role in the PBA are: Ramon Fernandez, who is a distant second in career totals with 5,220, joining Jaworski as the only PBA Pros who amassed 5,000+ assists; Jimmy Alapag who is the leader in total assists among active players and trails Brown in the career average with 6 per game; Eugene Quilban who holds the highest assist total in a game with 28; and Dindo Pumaren (4,043), Johnny Abbarientos (3,757), and Willie Generalao (3,256) who round up the top five in career assists.