In case you didn’t know, last season there were only three players in the NBA that averaged over 9.0 assists per game. And now that the offseason landscape has finally settled down, with the majority of the big trades and free agents signings out of the way, here are five guys that will average 9+ dimes this coming season that didn’t last year.
1. Rajon Rondo – In his fourth campaign with the Celtics, Rondo should be able to take his game to the next level this season. With KG back and a couple new faces with title aspirations in line, Rondo will have 35+ minutes to distribute the rock to his All-Star teammates. Exponentially growing from 3.8 to 5.1 to 8.2 assists per game, Rondo could very well average 10+ dimes a night this season.
2. Jose Calderon – Since Calderon came to Toronto, his assists per game have steadily increased from 4.5 to 5.0 to 8.3 to 8.9 last season. And now that he finally has some offensive weapons around him – mainly DeMar DeRozan and Marco Belinelli – his assist total should continue to flourish.
3. Devin Harris – Now that Vince Carter is gone, the Nets are Harris’ team. And just like Jason Kidd in the earlier part of the decade, they will only go as far as he takes them. With a solid young core around him, Harris will have to learn to trust his teammates and get them open looks. Building off of last year’s career high 6.9 assists per game, he might need to average 9+ dimes a night just to get some Ws.
4. Ramon Sessions – As much as Sessions has been talked about this summer, you’d think he was a 10-year vet. In case you didn’t know, he’s only been in the League two years. As a rookie, Sessions averaged 7.5 assists in only 17 games. Last year, he averaged only 5.7 dimes in 79 games. But both years, Sessions was only playing about 27 minutes a night. If Milwaukee doesn’t match his offer, Sessions should be able to start right away in Minnesota and finally have the playing time to perform.
5. Gilbert Arenas – In the two games Arenas actually played for the Wizards last year, he dropped 10 dimes in each outing. And with tons of firepower on the roster this season, it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to think that Agent Zero could keep it up all year – assuming he can cut out of some of his shot attempts. Over his career, Arenas has never averaged more than 6.3 assists per game. But if the Wizards want to go deep in the playoffs, Arenas needs to share the rock.
Note: Even though Kidd has a career average of 9.2 assists per game, last season’s 8.7 apg was his lowest since 2005-06. While the vet still has it for sure, with the arrival of Rodrigue Beaubois and emergence of Jose Juan Barea, there’s less need for him to be distributing for 48 minutes each game.
From the guys that didn’t last year, who do you think will average 9+ assists this coming season?