Assists aren’t too difficult to come by. If you kick a pass out to a shooter and he makes the shot, bam! You’ve got an assist. If you catch the ball and spot a wide open teammate under the basket, bam! You’ve got another assist. If a teammate swings you the ball, you swing to the next teammate, and he takes and makes a shot, bam! You’ve got another one.
So how in the world did it take Hasheem Thabeet 19 games to register the first assist of his NBA career?
Via the Memphis Commercial Appeal:
One of the most unforgettable moments Sunday evening happened when Grizzlies rookie center Hasheem Thabeet decided to do his best Dan Marino impersonation.
The gangly 7-footer picked off Miami guard Dwyane Wade’s errant pass, turned and immediately fired the basketball down court. The basketball traveled from one 3-point stripe to the other and fell perfectly into the hands of Thabeet’s streaking teammate, Rudy Gay, who finished the play with a reverse slam dunk.
It was Thabeet’s first career assist.
If you were wondering if that’s the longest a player has ever gone without an assist to begin his career, I’d like to say it was. Nobody — and especially not second overall draft picks — should go that long without dropping a dime. But it’s not even close. I couldn’t find exactly how long Yinka Dare went assist-less at the beginning of his career, but he did go his first full season (58 games) without registering a single assist. He also had 72 turnovers during that season, giving him a handy-dandy assist-turnover ratio that could not even be calculated.
But buck up, Hasheem. You got another assist later in the same game (!) and you’re now only 266 assists away from tying Steve Nash for the league lead. If you continue at your current pace, you’ll even get there in 2,527 games. Which means you’ll only have to play approximately 31 more years, and you’ll be able to retire at the tender age of 53.
It’s a good thing 53 is the new 30.