Houston Rockets point guard Russell Westbrook continues to pass Hall of Famers as he makes his way up the all-time assists list. How high can he climb?
Despite his reputation as a ball-hog, Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook has averaged at least 10 assists per game in four consecutive seasons and has led the league in assists twice.
This season, The Brodie is sharing the back court with another elite passer in James Harden, but he’s still averaging 8.7 assists per game, a team high.
After dishing out six assists in the Houston Rockets’ win against Golden State on Wednesday, Westbrook moved past Bob Cousy for sole possession of the 19th spot on the all-time assists list.
— NBA (@NBA) November 7, 2019
Along with Cousy, Westbrook also moved past Guy Rodgers in career assists earlier this season. There’s a cluster of players ahead of Westbrook who, outside of Rajon Rondo, have already retired. How high could Westbrook climb up the all-time assists list by the end of this season?
Well, Westbrook has averaged 76.2 games played over the previous five seasons and has averaged 8.7 assists per game so far this season. Just to keep the math simple, if Westbrook plays 76 games this season and averages nine assists per game, he’ll finish the season with 684 total assists.
As of Nov. 7, Westbrook has 6,958 career assists and he would have 7,642 assists by the end of the season based off of our rough estimation. Theoretically, Westbrook could pass Rajon Rondo, Tony Parker, Tim Hardaway, Terry Porter, Lenny Wilkens and Maurice Cheeks this season, which would make him 13th all-time in career assists.
Rod Strickland would be next on the list with 7,987 career assists, and Westbrook should pass him next season if he stays healthy. There’s a wide gap between Strickland and Andre Miller, who has the 11th most assists in NBA history with 8,524.
LeBron James is 10th on the all-time assists list with 8,740 career dimes, and Gary Payton is ninth with 8,966. Obviously, James will move past Payton this season if he stays healthy. Westbrook, who turns 31 on Nov. 12, has a legitimate chance to move past Payton too, if he can avoid major injuries.
However, it’s safe to say that none of the stars who have been in the league for awhile have a chance at catching John Stockton, who is the all-time assists leader. Chris Paul leads all active players in career assists with 9,214, but he’s still 6,592 assists from matching Stockton, who finished his career with 15,806 dimes.
In Chris Paul’s best season as a playmaker, he averaged 11.6 assists per game. If he could go back in time and dish out that many assists again, he’d have to maintain that average for nearly seven full seasons to surpass Stockton. Keep in mind, we’re talking about a player who is already in his 15th season and is one of the most prolific passers of all-time.
Russell Westbrook won’t become the NBA’s all-time assists leader, but he can definitely finish well within the top 10. Not bad for a player who has often been criticized for taking too many shots.