Here’s your mind-blowing stat of the day: Among all non-guards in the NBA with at least 75+ minutes played this season, Luke Walton ranks 2nd in assist percentage at 21.8%. He’s only trailing LeBron James, while outpacing Kevin Durant and Paul Pierce.
According to Basketball-Reference.com, the definition of assist percentage is “an estimate of the percentage of teammate field goals a player assisted while he was on the floor.”
Walton, who missed Saturday’s game against the Toronto Raptors with foot/ankle soreness, actually has quite the reputable career mark for his passing expertise.
Canceling out guards again — who usually are more well known for their assists — and Walton has a 19.5% mark, ranking No. 32 all-time among players with at least 7,500 minutes played. Obvious names like Magic Johnson LeBron James, Nate McMillan and Oscar Robertson dominate the leaderboard, while his father Bill Walton also ranks No. 58.
Most notably on this list of 80 non-guards with at least an assist rate of 16%, Walton has the fourth-lowest usage rate (although usage is dependent on turnovers, which only have been tracked since 1977). Usage estimates a player’s overall involvement in the offense by all available statistics, so it show how Luke has been quite effective as an unselfish ball-passer, as The Basketball Jones pointed out last week too.
The NBA’s famous son might be the butt of many basketball-related jokes, but Walton has provided quite the niche for the suddenly hot Cavaliers. He had 7 assists in just about 18 minutes of play in both wins last week over Boston and Milwaukee. Obviously, that’d adds up to an incredible 14 total assists over the often discussed 36-minute barrier.
[Related: Finally some fun for Cavalier fans]