View Full Version : Assists

04-04-2014, 09:16 PM
Defined, explained.


Olympic Fan
04-05-2014, 12:28 PM
Interesting perspective on assists ... I think the main point is that it's a judgment stat -- dependent on the scorekeeper. The split in home and away assist total is very real.

You know, of course, that assists have only been an official stat since the 1972-73 season. Before that, assists were occasionally counted, but not consistently. The ACC, for instance, didn't recognize any regular season assist counts, but did keep assists for the ACC Tournament -- even in the beginning. That's why Art Heyman's one official triple double came against Virginia in the ACC Tournament ... he almost certainly had a dozen triple-doubles in his career, but with assists not counted, we can't know that.

But when Dick Groat played at Duke, we did get assist totals because a student assistant named Bill Brill kept his assists. The combination of high scoring and high assist totals created some skepticism in some circles. In 1952, Duke played NYU in Madison Square Garden and the AP's chief basketball writer was there. He decided to test Brill by keeping Groat's assist totals himself. After Duke's 74-72 upset of No. 13 NYU, he went to Brill to get Duke's official assist count -- and found that Brill had given Groat one less assist than the AP writer.

When assists were officially adopted in 1973, statisticians were MUCH stingier with assists than today. And there was a wide varience around the league. Clemson and North Carolina were considered very liberal with assists while there was a guy at Virginia named Doyle Smith -- who was maybe the best lacrosse stat guy in the country -- who doled out assists with an eyedropper -- maybe 2-3 assists a game. By the mid-1980s, the awarding of assists normalized and began to emerge as what we see today.

But when you hear somebody talk about all-time assist records ... remember, they are just talking about since 1973 (and for the first decade, assists weren't awarded as they are now).

BTW: With the article's talk about how biased stat guys are in passing out assists, I thought I'd look up all-time assist leader Bobby Hurley. In his career, he averaged 8.3 assists at home, 7.0 on the road and 7.5 on neutral courts. Not a huge difference.

04-05-2014, 02:25 PM
With respect to Hurley, maybe that's a big diff between home and away. I never know how to figure this .... he has 1.3 more assists at home than his 7 on the road, so his home total is 1.3/7 = 18.5% greater ... or do you say he had 7 on the road, 8.3 on the road, so his road assists were only 7/8.3 = 85% of his home ... meaning his home number is 15% greater .... still, pretty big differences (18% and 15%) ... but maybe it is not home bias, but rather the team plays better/scores more at home, or he plays better at home, yada yada ...

When I was in 7th grade, I kept stats for the 9th grade team, and we tried to keep assists, with the instruction being if there was a dribble, that negated the assist. I never really knew what the true definition was, and probably never saw the definition til reading the link ... and as you note, the definition has changed over the years.

Very, very subjective, sketchy stat given the lateness in it being counted as a stat, the changing definitions, the scorekeeper influence.

By the time I played varsity in high school, the team didn't even try to track assists, and that was at a pretty sophisticated h.s. hoops outfit (two ex-college players as coaches; one of whom would go on to coach in college himself; the other who would win several state championships, and we produced two D1 point guards (one made the NBA) in a 4-year period).

04-05-2014, 07:02 PM
The home and away stats were briefly discussed here back in 07.