Chris Paul’s Place On NBA All-Time Assist List

The Los Angeles ClippersChris Paul is on everybody’s short list of top point guards in the game today.

Paul led the NBA with 10.2 assists per game last season, an honor he’s achieved four times in the last eight years.  He also ranked No. 1 in the league with 838 total assists in 2014-15, something he’s done three times over the course of his career.

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There’s no debating Paul’s status as one of the premier ball-distributors in the NBA at the moment, but is he also destined to be mentioned among the greatest ever to play the position?  By the time he retires, there’s a very good chance Paul will end up among the top three on the NBA’s all-time assist list.

With 6,950 career dimes, Paul currently ranks 16th in NBA history.  In his very first game of 2015-16, Paul will likely eclipse Bob Cousy (6,955) for 15th place.  Soon after that, he’ll jump ahead of No. 14 Tim Hardaway (7,095), No. 13 Terry Porter (7,160) and No. 12 Lenny Wilkens (7,211).

By the end of next season, Paul should also pass No. 11 Maurice Cheeks (7,392) and be knocking on the door of the top 10 (Rod Strickland, 7,987).

Paul is 30 years old and is entering his 11th season in the league.  Discounting the 66-game lockout-shortened 2011-12 campaign, he’s averaged 712 assists per year.  If Paul can maintain that pace for the next four seasons, he’ll have around 9,800 of them before he turns 34, putting him just behind No. 6 Oscar Robertson (9,887).

From there, Paul would need just 536 more assists to surpass Magic Johnson (10,141), Marc Jackson (10,334) and Steve Nash (10,335) and take over third place all-time.

Reaching second-place Jason Kidd (12,091) is a long shot and catching No. 1 John Stockton (15,806) is a virtual impossibility, but finishing with the third-most assists in NBA history is a very attainable goal for Chris Paul.