The best NBA passers 2023-24 mostly consist of point guards. As we know, point guards are the ones who control the pace of the game, create open shots for their teammates, and make quick decisions that affect the outcome of the game.
As the game has evolved, playmaking even transcended from point guards to other positions. Nowadays, some of the top passers in the NBA are centers.
Best NBA passers 2023-24
The question is: How do you determine the best playmakers in the NBA? You can heavily determine that with their assists and assists-to-turnover ratio. Apart from them, the eye test also plays an important role since playmaking goes beyond statistics. Leadership, communication, and winning impact are some of the factors that can’t be determined by stats.
Here are the ten best NBA passers 2023-24…
10. Russell Westbrook
Before the Lakers and Clippers, Russell Westbrook led the league in assists (11.7) with the Wizards. However, after Washington, his role has diminished on these teams due to his inefficiency as a shooter and his turnover rate. Still, he’s still one of the best playmakers in the league as seen from his assists per game (7.5) last season.
Assists aren’t everything to become a great playmaker. There are certain things that go beyond stats for playmaking. For Westbrook, it’s his leadership. He continues to set the tone of the game, lead the transition, and make winning plays.
9. Ja Morant
Ja Morant has been in a lot of controversies in the past few months. Still, let’s not forget that he’s not a great playmaker. He averaged a career-high 8.1 assists per game last season.
We have seen a lot of Morant’s highlight dunks already. Apart from his athleticism and finishing ability, his ballhandling and passing skills are amongst the best for point guards. When combined, this allows him to suck defenders into the paint and find open teammates on the perimeter.
8. Darius Garland
Darius Garland is a star in the making. He continues to lead the Cavs as one of the top teams in the East. His shifty and creative crossovers allow him to break down defenders at ease and find his open teammates. At his size, it’s hard to guard him due to how low he moves and how quickly he passes.
Last season, Garland averaged 21.6 points and 7.8 assists per game. We expect those numbers to go up sooner or later since he’s still barely scratching the surface.
7. LeBron James
As long as he’s still playing, LeBron James remains one of the best playmakers in the NBA. We have witnessed his playmaking skills ever since he stepped foot in the league. As time passed by, his ability to find his open teammates and create plays for them evolved.
As his athleticism goes down each season, James will rely more on his playmaking. In the past four seasons with the Lakers, he’s averaging 8 assists per game. There’s no reason to think that he will slow down anytime soon. He continues to defy the odds.
6. Luka Doncic
Luka Doncic has emerged as one of the best all-around players in the league. He can score, rebound, and facilitate the ball really well at his size. Last season, Doncic averaged 32.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 8 assists per game. You simply can’t expect less from a supermax player like him.
Given Doncic’s ridiculous averages, he is a clear-cut MVP candidate every season. The bigger question now is: Can the Mavericks surround him with the right talent to win the championship?
5. Chris Paul
There’s no doubt that Chris Paul is one of the best point guards of all time. Even at age 38, he still continues to dissect defenses with his playmaking skills. He’s the complete point guard in terms of ballhandling, dishing assists, efficiency, and of course, leadership.
What’s great about Paul is he does this with crazy efficiency. Last season, he averaged 8.9 assists in just 1.9 turnovers per game. Now traded to the Warriors, Paul will now share the court with Stephen Curry. It’s unclear whether or not he will start alongside Curry or lead the bench unit. Either way, there’s no denying his playmaking skills.
4. Tyrese Haliburton
At such a young age, Tyrese Haliburton established himself as one of the best playmakers in the NBA. He averaged a career-high 10.4 assists per game last season, which is second-best in the league.
Haliburton is a highly efficient point guard who can dish out assists easily and score at will when needed. He can blow by defenders with his dribbling, thread the needle with his passing, and run transition effectively. Moreover, he has been effective as a ballhandler and passer, with only 2.5 turnovers per game. He had a stretch of three games last season with at least 15 assists and no turnovers.
3. Trae Young
Apart from being one of the best point guards in the league, Trae Young is also one of the best NBA passers in 2023-24. After all, he leads the league in Assists to Pass percentage (20.5) and has a pretty big gap between him and the other players averaging 10 or more assists.
Young’s three-point scoring and dribble penetration elevated his playmaking. Teams can’t just put a single defender on him. Rather, teams consistently double-teamed him to force him to pass than score. Still, that didn’t stop Young from averaging 26.2 points and 10.2 assists per game last season.
2. Nikola Jokic
After winning an NBA title last season, Nikola Jokic is officially considered one of the greatest centers in league history. He’s arguably the best playmaking center of all time. What’s great about his scoring and playmaking is that he does it so efficiently. He knows when to score and when to pass.
Jokic averaged 9.8 assists per game in the 2022-23 season, which is a career-best. His historic year helped the Nuggets win their first NBA championship ever.
1. James Harden
When it comes to sheer offensive talent, James Harden is amongst the cream of the crop. However, in the past few seasons, Harden has been focusing more on playmaking rather than scoring. We have seen his scoring numbers dip with the Nets and Sixers.
But just like his scoring, Harden’s playmaking is top-tier. He’s one of the most consistent top passers in the NBA. In the past four seasons, he has been averaging no less than 10 assists per game each season. He has led the league in assists twice.