NBA Fantasy: Predicting the Top 3 In Total Assists for the 2019-20 Season
Very few plays make jaws drop like a perfectly-placed pass in transition. NBA point guards who can make difficult passes to set up their teammates with open shots can make crowds leap to their feet. Like the old ad once said: ‘Why did the Chosen One ask for court vision? For the glory of the team!’
In terms of fantasy basketball, there is more to drafting a guy than just being a fancy passer. Those passes have to become assists to truly make an impact. When drafting a point guard, you’ll want to make sure that he has the tools (i.e. players) around him to do something with the passes they receive.
Last Year’s Leaders
Russell Westbrook. For Westbrook, this wasn’t even a competition, he assisted on 784 made baskets -- 131 more than the second place finisher. Regardless of how you feel towards real-life Westbrook and his stat-lines, he remains a fantasy workhorse. He’s finished in first or second place all of the last four seasons.
Trae Young. In what was a surprise to some, the rookie finished second overall in total assists with 653 for the Atlanta Hawks. Young had a very impressive finish to the season, averaging 9.2 assists per game after the all-star game. This young Hawks team has a point guard who dazzled with passes all season long.
Ben Simmons. Coming in third was Philadelphia 76er Ben Simmons with 610 total assists. This makes back-to-back seasons for Simmons landing in the third spot in total assists. The 6’10 Aussie is an interesting player at the point guard position, as, like Westbrook, his stat lines are stuffed, as he rebounds and defends well too.
Looking toward this upcoming season, it’s hard to bet against last year's final three. Young and Simmons do not know life outside of the top-3 in their short careers so far, and Westbrook has found himself in this familiar territory often.
Predicting This Year’s Leaders
Trae Young. Young takes the top spot this year, building off a successful rookie campaign. Last season, Hawks big man John Collins’ nearly doubled his scoring, and it’s no coincidence that he had a point guard who loved to feed him the rock. The Hawks are a young team, but Young will have plenty of options around him to propel him to the top of the list.
DeAaron Fox. A newcomer to the list, Fox had a great season last season, coming in fourth overall with 590 total assists. The Sacramento Kings are a fringe playoff team who do not appear to be slowing down. Fox has a good mix of youth and veterans surrounding him with Bagley, Hield, Bogdanovic, and Barnes, who will look to make life easy for the third-year point guard.
Russell Westbrook. Westbrook is heading down south to play for the Houston Rockets this next season, pairing up with old teammate James Harden. Both players are different players than they were last time they were on the same team, so only time will tell how well they will play together this season. Westbrook and Harden are both ball-dominant players, but that has not necessarily stopped their production in the past. In terms of fantasy basketball, owners don’t have to worry as much about player fits on teams as long as they are stuffing the stat sheet, and Westbrook is one of the best at that.
As with all stats, make sure you are looking at assist totals and averages when determining who to draft. Last season, Kyle Lowry and Chris Paul finished in the top-3 of assists per game, but due to not playing as many games as Young or Simmons, failed to make the top-3 in total assists. Availability in the NBA is as much a skill as even the most perfectly placed dime.