LeBron James is re-writing the NBA’s record books in all categories.
It is well-known that the Lakers star is in hot pursuit of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA all-time scoring record, only 92 points away from taking the torch after Tuesday’s game against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Closing in on that incredible feat had taken the attention away from James climbing his way up the NBA’s all-time assists leaderboard, too.
Just last season, James passed the great Magic Johnson for sixth on the NBA’s all-time assists list. After dishing out 10 assists against the Knicks, he has now passed both Mark Jackson and Steve Nash to rank fourth all-time.
How many assists is James behind the top three and is there a chance he can continue to climb up the all-time assists ladder? The Sporting News takes a deeper dive below.
NBA all-time assist list: LeBron James passes Mark Jackson, Steve Nash
With 10 assists against the Knicks on Jan. 31, James passed both Mark Jackson and Steve Nash to rank fourth on the NBA’s all-time assists list. Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook are the only other active players in the top 10.
Where could LeBron James finish on the NBA’s all-time assist list?
James is currently trailing Paul by 910 assists(and counting) for third on the NBA’s all-time assists list, and he’ll be tough to catch as he continues to rack up dimes at the end of his career.
Jason Kidd (1,754) and John Stockton (5,469) are much further out of reach for second and first, respectively.
James averaged 7.4 assists per game and 528.7 total assists in his first 19 seasons with the Cavaliers, Heat and Lakers. Father Time is catching up to him on the injury front in recent years, so it’s unfair to expect the same level of performance at the back end of his career.
James has averaged 55.75 games played per season since joining the Lakers in 2018, giving us a baseline of what to expect from his availability moving forward.
That sets us up to run a little exercise to find out where James could end up on the all-time assists leaderboard by the end of his career.
Breaking down LeBron James’ chances of climbing the assists leaderboard
This season, James is on pace to tally 171 more assists, which would bring him to 10,498 for his career. Let’s assume James averages 7.0 assists over 50 games over the next four seasons — just to be safe.
That would mean James adds 1,400 more assists if he plays four more seasons, bringing him to 11,898 for his career.
He would still be 193 assists shy of Kidd for second and 3,908 (!) assists shy of Stockton for first.
Whether or not he could pass Paul in third would depend on how many more years the future Hall of Famer has left in his career as well.
All of that to say — Stockton’s record is safe for now.