Webster’s definition of “assist” is: “make stand, to help, an act of helping, support, aid, serve.”
A “pass” is defined as “to go or move forward through; to go or convey from one place, form, condition, to another.”
Those two definitions accurately describe a basketball assist, which is a pass to a teammate who scores a basket.
This stat is often overlooked by some media, players, coaches and fans.
Coaches chart field goal and free throw shooting percentages, rebounds, steals, blocks, turnovers, minutes played, turnovers and assists.
Even though assists are kept, they are not listed in media boxscores on a regular basis.
Few coaches and media keep stat charts that reveal if the assist was for a two- or three-point basket or leads to a made foul shot.
There are also few charts that let people know what type of missed shot was attempted on an attempted assist or where the assist occurs on the court. Also, are the assists off dribble penetration, off screens, passes from the post, or perimeter passes?
This is all information I want to know as a coach as it would tell me who is looking to pass first, not shoot first, which offense gets the most assists, attempted assists and their location.
The only times there are no assists involved is when a player gets an offensive rebound, a steal and then scores, or dribbles more than three times in the halfcourt on a straight line to the basket.
Assists don’t necessarily come from just point guards. All players should be looking for the open teammate first and shot second unless the shot is a layup.
Players who record assists on a regular basis definitely make their teammates better players.
I have often thought that a player who gets the assist on a two-point hoop should get one point and the shooter should get one point. On a three-point goal, the passer should get one point and the shooter should get two points. On foul shots off an assist, the passer and foul shooter should each get a half point for each made foul shot.
The assist doesn’t have to be a fancy Magic Johnson pass, it can be a simple bounce pass, an overhead pass, or a chest pass.
Post players who don’t get the ball on the offensive end are not much of offensive threat. Coaches should chart the offensive touches a post player gets and where he gets the ball on passes.
A coach should recognize and award assists in some special way.
In my years of coaching, I had many excellent point guards whose main job was to be the floor general and usually the assist leader. However, I also had many excellent point wings who were just as effective in creating shots for their teammates.
The next time you go to a game keep track of the assists because it makes the game more interesting in seeing the value of a god pass. The old adage of “it’s harder to create the shot than it is to make the shot” is true.
Answer to last week’s trivia question: Can you name all the home sites for Bangor High School basketball games? City hall, prior to 1944 (corner of Hammond and Central Street); Bangor Exhibition Hall 1945-1954 (site of the Cross Insurance Center), Bangor Auditorium 1955-82 (CIC parking lot) and now at Bangor High School’s Red Barry Gym.