Assists in basketball are counted as passes that directly lead to a scored basket.

I've noticed players passing to their open teammates for a jumpshot, or throw up lobs for players cutting to the basket, but there are also times when I've seen assists count where the receiver takes a few steps after getting the ball before making a shot.

My question is, how much time does a receiving player have to score for it to count as an assisted basket?


It varies from NCAA and NBA but I'll try and explain as best as possible


A player will receive an assist after making a pass that directly leads to a made field goal. The statistician can determine this. However the statistician can also rule out the assist if he thinks that the pass was either too routine or if too many dribbles were made before the basket was scored, but that's up to them


A player will receive an assist if they make the last pass that leads to a field goal. Also determined by a statistician. However, for it to count as an assist the receiving player must move directly towards the basket before scoring

More info here and here

  • 1
    Can you cite the sources for this? The NCAA definition of assists sounds very subjective compared to that in the NBA, or is that really the case? Also, who credits the assists in the NBA, do the referees have any way of pointing out players who gave assists or do they also have statisticians courtside? – Noir Antares Jul 26 '16 at 2:31
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    @NoirAntares, added some sources and yes, NBA also has a statistician. The difference in definitions of assist (I believe) is correct and has always been a bit of a problem when comparing the two – Beastly Gerbil Jul 26 '16 at 2:57
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    One other thing I've been trying to figure out about assists is when do assists count for receiving players that post up or stop mid-stride to fake out a defender. Is posting up or stopping midway through your move towards the basket still count at "moving directly towards the basket"? – Noir Antares Jul 26 '16 at 5:11
  • @NoirAntares not sure but I think that would all be decided by the statistician – Beastly Gerbil Jul 26 '16 at 13:43

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