An assist is a pass that directly leads to a basket. This can be a pass to the low post that leads to a direct score, a long pass for a layup, a fast break pass to a teammate for a layup, and/or a pass that results in an open perimeter shot for a teammate. In basketball, an assist is awarded only if, in the judgement of the statistician, the last player's pass contributed directly to a made basket. An assist can be awarded for a basket scored after the ball has been dribbled if the player's pass led to the field goal being made.

Stockton, along with Johnson, dominates the record books for assists.
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A great passer must have an understanding of his teammates' abilities, outstanding ball-handling skills, court vision and the ability to see plays develop before they occur.

The NBA has many great passers, especially at the point guard or "1" position including Jason Kidd of the New Jersey Nets. Kidd's former coach, Scott Skiles, holds the NBA record for assists in one game with 30 against the Denver Nuggets (Orlando Magic against the Denver Nuggets on December 30, 1990).

Point guards John Stockton (Utah Jazz) and Magic Johnson (Los Angeles Lakers) dominate the record books for assists in the both the regular season and NBA playoffs.