Steve Nash and Chris Paul have established themselves as two of the best passers in the league. However, they are point guards, and their job is too pass the ball.
This slideshow will feature the best non-point guard passers—guys who have point guard skills but play other positions. Whether they are wing players or big men, no player under 6’6" qualifies to make this list. Sorry Dwayne Wade fans, but Wade is basically the team’s true ball handler.
Most players on this slideshow are not known for their passing skills, but their passing is worth recognition. A non-guard passer is considered one of the most dangerous players to have on a team. A player who the offense can be run through when the point guard is not handling the ball is a valuable weapon to have.
Manu Ginobili has been known for many things other than his passing.
Ginobili posses a perfect left-handed jump shot, he is fearless in attacking the rim, and he has established a reputation for being a great player off the bench and a big shot maker.
However, Ginobili’s passing skills are certainly underrated.
He averages 4.8 assists in 28 minutes—tied for third among non-guards in the league. Ginobili has made many crafty, no-look passes. The 6’6” Argentinean may not be the Spurs point guard, but he may be their most reliable ball-handler in crunch time. The Spurs can count on Ginobili in the clutch, whether it’s making the big shot or the pass.
Andre Iguodala may be one of the most underrated players in the league, despite playing on the 76ers.
Iguodala has established himself as the team’s best player. Iguodala is known more for his ability to finish at the rim and his defense, but Iguodala averages just under six assists a game, leading the team.
As one of the league’s top athletes Iguodala has been compared to Scottie Pippin, and the comparisons are not as far-fetched as you’d think. Iguodala is currently in his sixth year, averaging 17-5-6 (in Pippen’s sixth year, he averaged 18-6-7).
With the Sixers currently using the young Jrue Holiday at the point guard position, Iguodala has played the point forward a lot this season.
The Sixers swingman is rarely mentioned amongst the league’s elite passing wings, but Iguodala is a versatile wing who is a triple-double threat every night.
Pau Gasol may currently be the most skilled big man in the NBA.
He is known for his great touch around the basket, and his post moves down low. While his assist numbers may be low (Gasol only averages 3.3), Gasol is the best passing big man in the league. Gasol has a great handle for a seven footer, to go along with his solid passing skills.
The most overlooked aspect of Gasol’s game is when Kobe Bryant goes out of the game. The Lakers can run the offense through Gasol and use him as a passer out of the post, which is what makes the Lakers so dangerous.
There’s nothing like having Kobe Bryant to go along with a big man like Gasol, who can do it all.
Kobe Bryant is the best big-shot maker in the game; he is a ruthless winner with a killer instinct.
Kobe can do it all: he’s a great defender, a solid jump shooter, and he can easily create his own shot.
Kobe is also a great passer, especially out of double teams. Kobe averages five assists.
Earlier in his career Kobe was criticized for being too selfish on the offensive end. Now Kobe has many options to pass to including Gasol and Andrew Bynum down low, and Ron Artest and Lamar Odom on the wings.
Going back to a game against Memphis earlier this season, Kobe had the ball and looked like he was going to take the last shot. Memphis brought a double team, instead of forcing the tough shot which Kobe can make, and he passed it to a wide open Artest for three. Artest ended up missing the shot; however, Kobe showed his critics he isn’t afraid to defer to his teammates even in crunch time.
Lebron James may be the best pure passer in the game.
An overwhelming physical force at 6’8”, 260 lbs, James is a freak of nature.
James is a triple threat who can do it all: he is one of the best scorers in the game, he may be the best pure passer, and he has established himself as an elite defender. LeBron averages an eye popping 8.6 assists, first among non-guards and sixth overall in the league.
Many like to compare Lebron James to Michael Jordan, but when I see Lebron, I see a Magic Johnson/Oscar Robertson-type player with better scoring ability.
The question has been asked: Could Lebron could ever average a triple-double? My answer: He definitely could if he made it his goal. But Lebron is too much of a winner, and he’s concerned with winning a championship, not achieving individual stats.
The likely MVP is something we’ve never seen before, and his passing ability is just one of the reasons he is the best player in the game today.