Our look at the top scorers, rebounders and three-point shooters remaining on the free agent market over the past week highlights role players who can each fill a specific niche. Still, It’s perhaps appropriate that our list of the top available ball distributors begins and ends with the two stars still left without NBA deals.
Restricted free agents Eric Bledsoe and Greg Monroe each appear on three of the four compilations we’ve put together as part of this series, a testament to their wide-ranging skills. It’s no surprise that Bledsoe is tops among unsigned assist makers, but Monroe’s presence demonstrates that slick passing isn’t the exclusive domain of point guards. There are other notable big men among the names that appear below, including Andray Blatche, who, like Monroe, is also among the top scorers and rebounders on the market.
The list below ranks the remaining free agents by assist rate, a percentage of a team’s made baskets that a player assisted, according to Basketball-Reference. The figures are from the 2013/14 season. Proficient ball distributors abound, as the four names at the head of this ranking have assist rates better than or equal to the mark that Damian Lillard put up for the Blazers.
The assist rate for each player here is in parentheses. Free agents had to appear in at least 20 games and average at least 10 minutes per contest to qualify for the list.
- Eric Bledsoe (27.0%)
- Ramon Sessions (25.7%)
- Ronnie Price (25.6%)
- Jordan Crawford (25.1%)
- Eric Maynor (23.0%)
- Darius Morris (21.5%)
- Tyshawn Taylor (21.4%)
- Leandro Barbosa (13.4%)
- Andray Blatche (12.8%)
- Kenyon Martin (11.9%)
- Hedo Turkoglu (11.9%)
- E’Twaun Moore (11.8%)*
- Ray Allen (11.1%)
- Roger Mason (10.5%)
- Greg Monroe (10.3%)
* — Moore is reportedly expected to sign with the Bulls, but it’s not entirely clear whether the sides have an agreement.
- Nando De Colo would have ranked eighth with his 19.7% assist rate, but he signed with CSKA Moscow in Russia. Toney Douglas would have been right behind De Colo on the list with a 14.6% assist rate had he not agreed to play for China’s Jiangsu Dragons.
- Derek Fisher would have been on this list, just as he would have appeared among the top unsigned three-point shooters, if he hadn’t taken the Knicks head coaching job. Fisher’s assist rate from last season is 11.6%.
- Chauncey Billups played in only 19 games, missing the cut by a single contest, but his 18.7% assist rate would have put him among these rankings.