Josh McRoberts was ranked seventh in passes per game last season but only 56th in assists per game. Meaning that McRoberts usually doesn’t make the final play but is someone who moves the ball in the offense well and is able to help your team by making the next play.
McRoberts averaged 4.3 assists on an astounding 66.8 passes per game, giving him a pass to assist ratio of 15.54, the top mark in the league. In comparison, Ty Lawson‘s pass to assist ratio was 6.44, which isn’t bad.
McRoberts went through a bit of a transformation last year. He went from being a replacement who was probably overpaid two seasons ago when he made $3.135 million with the Orlando Magic (and was traded to Charlotte mid-season) to a favorite among people who follow the NBA closely.
McRoberts just got rewarded for his work and ability to help a team without needing the ball much as he agreed to sign with the Miami Heat for a reported four-year $23 million dollar deal, which included a player option for the final year. And that’s not a bad deal for the Heat, even for a guy who only averaged 10.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per 36 minutes for the Bobcats last season!
McRoberts took his game to new heights this season and shot an above league average mark from 3 for just the second time in his career at 36.1 percent, while lifting his assist percentage (percentage of teammates field goals that a particular player assists while being on the floor) to a plus 20 percent mark, which is extremely rare and second among all big men behind Joakim Noah.
It seems so simple but the value of high IQ guys who just make the next and correct play is enormous and probably undervalued. We just saw it in the finals with the San Antonio Spurs.
The ball doesn’t stick and every time someone catches it, they immediately do something. Anything.
Whether it be to shoot or pass or drive, the Spurs played it perfect.
They are never going to be your best players, but guys who keep the offense flowing and don’t stop the ball keep you in what you are doing. Call them the anti-Rudy Gays of the world.
Josh McRoberts Power Rankings:
Tier 1: Josh McRoberts Superstars
Tier 2: Elite Big Men Facilitators
Tier 3: Other Guys With Elite Pass to Assist Ratios
A couple of key points:
- The only way to make this list as a big man is to be someone who is an elite play maker in the high post. Big men who can run an offense are extremely rare and valuable to teams. The under appreciation centers and power forwards is a pet peeve of mine. I will always defend David Lee‘s value because he’s a smart player who knows what decision to make when he catches the ball from Stephen Curry on pick and rolls.
- The Spurs guys could have all made it to the Josh McRoberts Power Rankings, so consider three quarters of their roster in tier 3.
- Tom Thibodeau really knows how to make the best out of his point guards. D.J. Augustin, Kirk Hinrich, C.J. Watson and John Lucas III have played their best basketball under Thibs and have really struggled everywhere else they’ve gone. Toronto waived Augustin and the Bulls picked him up for basically nothing and he literally saved their season. He keeps it simple for them and puts them in nice dribble hand off situations with Noah where they can succeed. Good job Thibs!
- Jose Calderon is a beast in every assist metric besides assists per game. Which is kind of ridiculous but he is an elite “ball-mover” who never turns the ball over and makes really really smart decisions on the court. Can’t guard anyone but Calderon is an amazing supporting piece to an offense. If you have a team with other creators and ball dominant players, he’s the guy to have on your team.
*Stats per NBA.com