Houston Rockets point guard Chris Paul just recently eclipsed 9,000 career assists. Where could he finish on the all-time assists list?
Paul has now handed out the eighth most assists in NBA history. In Saturday’s win against the Golden State Warriors, Paul finished with a season-high 17 assists. Paul crossed 9,000 assists on Saturday, joining Jason Kidd, John Stockton, Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson as the only players in league history with at least 17,000 points, 9,000 assists and 4,000 rebounds.
Paul said that Stockton’s assists record is unlikely to ever be broken because Stockton played for such a long time and was so durable throughout his career, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.
“It’s an honor and a privilege. I’m going to watch what I say because people misconstrued what I said last time about John Stockton. John Stockton, his record will never be broken because he was so durable. He played night in and night out. It’s great to have 9,000 assists. It just means I’m getting a little older. I’ve been playing a little while now.”
Neither Chris Paul, or any other current player, is likely to get anywhere close to breaking Stockton’s assists record. Even with all of the assists Paul has racked up over his illustrious career, he still isn’t even 60 percent of the way to tying Stockton’s 15,806 career assists.
However, Paul can still move up a few spots and he could crack the top five before he decides to call it a career.
At the time of this writing, Paul is only 56 assists shy from moving past Isiah Thomas for the seventh spot on the all-time assists list. Paul is averaging 8.3 assists per game this season, so he could surpass Thomas in about seven games.
Oscar Robertson is next on the list, but he finished with 9,887 career assists, 881 more than Paul currently has. If Paul can maintain his current assists average over Houston’s remaining 23 games, he’ll finish the season with 489 assists, moving him up to 9,197 career assists.
Obviously, health has been a major problem for Paul in his last three seasons and his hamstrings have really given him a lot of trouble. Still, he finished with 457 assists last year and could finish with close to 500 this season.
Assuming Paul continues to remain relatively healthy over the next two seasons and averages 450 assists over that time frame, he would have 10,097 assists by the end of the 2020-21 season.
By that time, Paul will be 35 years old, closing in on his 36th birthday, but he will be ahead of the Big-O and he’ll be closing in on Magic Johnson’s 10,141 assists.
Ahead of Magic are Mark Jackson (10,334 assists) and Steven Nash (10,335 assists) and then Jason Kidd is way ahead of the pack with 12,091 career assists, second most in NBA history. If Paul can stay healthy and productive into his mid-to-late 30s, he should definitely catch up to Magic and he could have a shot at passing Nash and Jackson, but Kidd will likely remain in the second spot for the foreseeable future.
At the end of his career, Chris Paul will likely retire somewhere between third and fifth on the all-time assists list. Not bad for a player who is already known as one of the best point guards ever.