Behind The Numbers

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James Feeding The Corner

By John Schuhmann

In addition to surpassing the 20,000-point mark in Wednesday's win at Golden State, LeBron James became the 55th player in NBA history to eclipse the 5,000-assist mark. James is one of only 13 players with both 20,000 points and 5,000 assists.

Through Wednesday, James ranks 10th in the league with 6.9 assists per game, and is the only non-point guard in the top 20. But he does rank No. 1 in one important category: assists on 3-pointers. And what's interesting is that, among the 20 players who have assisted on the most 3s, James is the only one who has assisted on more corner 3s than above-the-break 3s.

Corner 3s, we know, are more efficient shots than 3s from above the break. This season, the league is shooting corner treys at 38.4 percent (1.15 points per attempt) and above-the-break 3s at 35.0 percent (1.05 points per attempt). In fact, corner 3s are barely less efficient than shots from the restricted area (1.17 points per attempt).

Most assists on 3-pointers, 2012-13

Player Corner Above break Total
LeBron James 53 44 97
Tony Parker 37 56 93
Jrue Holiday 38 54 92
Greivis Vasquez 15 74 89
Raymond Felton 24 60 84
Chris Paul 34 48 82
Ty Lawson 25 56 81
James Harden 34 46 80
Damian Lillard 29 49 78
Jeremy Lin 22 55 77

James already has more assists on corner 3-pointers than he did all of last season (37). But, even at his pace of 1.4 assists on corner treys per game, he won't match the 130 assists on corner 3s (to eight different teammates) that he had in 2008-09 with the Cavs. That was, by far, the most assists on corner 3s in a season since shot location started being tracked in 1996-97.

Most assists on corner 3-pointers, single season

Season Player AST
2008-09 LeBron James 130
2004-05 Steve Nash 113
2009-10 LeBron James 104
2007-08 Chris Paul 103
2008-09 Chris Paul 102
2002-03 Stephon Marbury 100
2007-08 LeBron James 93
2007-08 Hedo Turkoglu 92
2005-06 Steve Nash 91
2005-06 Tony Parker 91

Since 1996-97

This season, James has assisted eight different teammates on 3-pointers, led by 27 assists on Shane Battier 3s, with 21 of those 27 have coming from the corner. Overall, the teammate James has assisted most is Chris Bosh, who has received 63 dimes from the reigning MVP.

That pales in comparison to the number of assists Kevin Durant has received from Russell Westbrook. The Thunder pair leads the league in assists from one teammate to another.

Most assists from teammate to teammate, 2012-13

Scorer Assisted by AST
Kevin Durant Russell Westbrook 121
Blake Griffin Chris Paul 116
Serge Ibaka Russell Westbrook 92
Paul Pierce Rajon Rondo 91
David Lee Stephen Curry 89
Tim Duncan Tony Parker 87
Brook Lopez Deron Williams 86
Thaddeus Young Jrue Holiday 86
Kevin Garnett Rajon Rondo 85
Anthony Davis Greivis Vasquez 72

The Paul-to-Griffin combination was right on pace with Westbrook-Durant until Paul missed the last two games with a bruised right kneecap. Paul still easily leads the league on assists in the restricted area, however, with 77 of his 180 going to Griffin.

Most assists on shots in the restricted area, 2012-13

Player AST
Chris Paul 180
Andre Miller 166
Greivis Vasquez 158
Russell Westbrook 153
Rajon Rondo 145
Ty Lawson 135
Deron Williams 133
Jeremy Lin 131
Andre Iguodala 122
Jose Calderon 122

So how does Rajon Rondo lead the league in assists per game? A whole lot of mid-range jumpers from his teammates. Of Rondo's 368 assists, 130 have come on shots from between the paint and the 3-point line. That's 40 more than any other player in the league.

Most assists on shots from mid-range, 2012-13

Player AST
Rajon Rondo 130
Jose Calderon 90
Goran Dragic 90
Russell Westbrook 84
Kirk Hinrich 84
Jrue Holiday 82
Damian Lillard 82
Chris Paul 76
Mike Conley 70
Tony Parker 69