Lakers' LeBron James Ends Season as NBA's Assist Leader for 1st Time in Career

Blake SchusterAnalyst IIAugust 13, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James passes around Toronto Raptors' OG Anunoby (3) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Nearly two decades into his NBA career, LeBron James is still finding ways to both improve his game and add to his trophy case. Thursday provided just the latest example. 

For the first time ever, James finished the regular season as the NBA's assist leader with 10.2 per game. James had never averaged double-digit assists before 2019-20, with his previous high of 9.1 assists per game coming as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017-18.

The do-it-all floor leader has long prided himself on his ability to act as a facilitator on offense. Now he has the accolade to prove it. 

Finding open teammates has always been a key part of James' game. Regardless of whether he's playing in the frontcourt or backcourt, James is a near-lock to draw a double-team, leaving one of his teammates wide open.

To take advantage of James' prodigious passing talent, the Lakers brought in fellow All-Star big man Anthony Davis and surrounded their two stars with shooters such as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green and Avery Bradley. 

The Lakers averaged 25.3 assists per game this season, which means James' accounted for 40 percent of his team's helpers. James assisted on at least 75 field goals for six different teammates.

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Over the span of his 17-year career, James has now led the league in field goals (2004-05, 2007-08, 2010-11, 2012-13, 2017-18) two-point field goals (2011-12, 2012-13, 2015-16), free throws (2008-09), points (2017-18) and triple-doubles (2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11). 

He now adds an assists title to a trophy case that already proves he's one of the greatest players ever to set foot on a basketball court.