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Wednesday, January 16, 2013
At the other end of LeBron's 5,008 assists

By Tom Haberstroh

When Steve Nash tallied his 10,000th assist last week, we put together a nifty visual that showed who he assisted over his career. Now that LeBron James has surpassed the 5,000 assist plateau, why not do the same for him?

Who has he assisted the most over his career? Has he dropped more dimes to Chris Bosh or Dwyane Wade? And how did his assists to Anderson Varejao compare to those he gave to Zydrunas Ilgauskas?

Let’s get to it.



With a hat tip to the NBA StatsCube reservoir of data, here are some nuggets on James' 5,008 assists:

• James has assisted Ilgauskas more than any other teammate. Ilgauskas has scored on a whopping 785 assists from James. With 57 James-assisted buckets in 2010-11, Ilgauskas remains the only player to receive an assist from James in both a Heat and Cavaliers uniform. Ilgauskas was James’ favorite target over the years, having received more assists from James than Drew Gooden and Varejao combined. As you can see by that big slice of pie, 16 percent of James' assists have gone to Ilgauskas.

• Trailing Ilgauskas are Gooden (356) and Varejao (305). But while the two players may have played the same position next to James, they got their assists in very different ways. Varejao’s average shot off a James assist was just 2.6 feet away from the basket, the shortest distance of any player with 120 or more assists from James, whereas Gooden’s average shot distance was 6.1 feet. (Shaquille O’Neal and J.J. Hickson, by the way, check in at 2.4 feet and 1.8 feet, respectively).

• Bosh leads all Heat players with 270 assists from James, narrowly edging out Wade (264). The next-highest number from a Miami player is Mario Chalmers, who ranks 10th overall with 137 assisted buckets.

• James has already dished out more assists to Wade than any other player has dished out to the shooting guard, beating out Chalmers and Jason Williams. For those wondering, Wade has assisted on 219 of James’ buckets, 45 fewer than the James-to-Wade total.

• Daniel Gibson’s average shot distance off a James assist clocked in at 22.4 feet away from the basket, the farthest mark in the group. Basically, Gibson never caught a James pass inside the arc. Important note: Gibson does not have the most James-assisted shots from 29 feet; that record belongs to Larry Hughes (two assisted makes). That’s my favorite stat of the bunch.

• Nash has assisted 27 different All-Stars over his career. James? Just 11. Well, 13 if you count Jamaal Magloire and Wally Szczerbiak. The others: O’Neal, Wade, Bosh, Ilgauskas, Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, Mo Williams, Juwan Howard, Carlos Boozer, Antawn Jamison and Ben Wallace.

The chart below illustrates the makeup of James’ 5,008 assists over his career. Want to see the ones who have only a single assist from James? Move the parameters (scroll bar at the bottom) from the default 50-through-785 setting to 1-through-2. Hello, Eddy Curry and Mateen Cleaves!

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Below are the average shot distances for each player and an easy scroll through the names. See if you can spot Ben Wallace in there.

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