Playmaking is one of the most sought-after qualities in an NBA player. The art of setting up teammates requires a bit of everything, from basketball IQ, vision, timing and of course, execution. It is quite remarkable to watch players dishing dimes and flashy assists have become must-haves in NBA highlight reels.
When speaking about the art of playmaking, a player that stands with the very best is veteran NBA star and future Hall of Famer, Chris Paul. He is often considered the greatest point guard of all time because of his ability to make offensive plays and create scoring opportunities for his teammates.
Chris Paul currently plays for the Phoenix Suns in the NBA, averaging 15.8 points and 8.8 assists so far this season. These terrific numbers for the 35-year-old have helped him surpass the legendary Magic Johnson on the NBA's all-time assists leaderboard. He crossed the mark in his last appearance, against the Milwaukee Bucks. He now has the fifth-most assists in league history and ranks first amongst active players.
5 Active players in the NBA with most career-assists
Apart from Chris Paul, the league has multiple other players who are quite excellent with their playmaking skills.
He is the only active player to amass a five-figure assist total, although a few players are close. On that note, we look at the five active NBA players with the most career assists, including Chris Paul.
#1 Chris Paul
Career-assists: 10,145 | Assists Per Game: 9.4
As mentioned earlier, Chris Paul has the most assists of any active player in the NBA. He has led the league four times in assists per game. He averaged 11.6 per game in his best playmaking season. He hit this number while playing for the New Orleans Hornets during the 2007-08 NBA season.
He is currently in his 16th season, and if he keeps going at this rate, he could surpass Steve Nash (10,355 career assists) on the all-time list to become the third-highest assist provider in the NBA.
CP3 has been a key member of the Suns' squad and has given their offense a fresh look. He has combined well with the likes of Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. His efforts see the Suns currently ranked second in the West, ahead of the two mighty teams from LA. Their backcourt parternship of Paul and Booker has made the Phoenix Suns a legitimate contender for the NBA championship.
#2 LeBron James
Career-assists: 9,669 | Assists Per Game: 7.4
LeBron James has always been a good playmaker. However, over the last few years, especially since his second stint at Cleveland, James' playmaking abilities have been at their peak. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged a career-best and league-leading 10.4 assists per game last season. His role as the point guard for the team helped the Lakers to their 17th NBA championship.
LeBron leaned more into the role of a playmaker in the 2016-17 NBA season and has continued to thrive. His vision and passing range are well known in the league. This, coupled with his vast experience, has made him one of the most lethal playmakers in the NBA today. After 18 seasons in the league, LeBron James is ranked 8th on the all-time list.
Considering LeBron James' fitness regime and his extremely high level of play even now, he could be the next to follow CP3 in surpassing Magic Johnson. Bron is currently 472 assists shy of Magic's record.
#3 Russell Westbrook
Career-assists: 7,845 | Assists Per Game: 8.5
Russell Westbrook holds multiple triple-double records in his NBA career so far. His athleticism combined with a great sense of playmaking makes him one of the best players in the league. His playmaking is one of his most underrated qualities, though, which often gets overshadowed by his high rate of turnovers per game.
Nevertheless, he is the third-highest assist provider amongst active players. This is a remarkable achievement and enough to prove that he is still one of the best playmaking guards in the league.
He is averaging a triple-double for the fourth time in his career, which includes a career-best 10.9 assists per game this season. The former league-MVP is ranked 13th on the all-time list for most career assists, averaging 8.5 assists per contest throughout his NBA tenure.
#4 Rajon Rondo
Career-assists: 7,350 | Assists Per Game: 8.1
Rajon Rondo is highly rated for his playmaking abilities, which was one of the key reasons the LA Clippers went all out to sign him at the trade deadline this season. He was a key member of the Celtics and Lakers' championship-winning runs as well and did an excellent job as the floor-general for the two sides during that stretch.
Rondo has led the NBA in assists thrice in his career so far. In his best playmaking season, Rondo averaged 11.7 assists per contest. He has hit this mark twice in his 15-year long career. The 35-year old is 15th on the all-time list but could surpass 14th placed Maurice Cheeks, who has 7,392 career assists to his name.
#5 Kyle Lowry
Career-assists: 5,947 | Assists Per Game: 6.2
Kyle Lowry ranks 38th on the all-time assists list. The Toronto Raptors guard is a great leader, scorer and playmaker. These attributes make him the ideal floor-general in the NBA.
His output per game might not be as high as the players ranked above him, but his presence on the court is just as valuable. Lowry averaged 8.7 assists per game in his most prolific playmaking season. This came in 2018-19 when he won the championship with the Toronto Raptors.