Dunks are great. 3-pointers are fantastic, too. But there's something truly special aobut a picture-perfect pocket pass or a no-look dime that leaves a defense reeling. These are the top five passers in the league, according to our NBA crew: Jovan Buha, D.J. Foster, Fred Katz, Michael Pina and Brett Pollakoff. Come back each weekday between now and the start of the NBA season for a new top five.
FREDERIC J. BROWN
5. Rajon Rondo, PG, Sacramento Kings
People really enjoy talking about all the things Rajon Rondo can’t do. He can’t shoot threes or free throws. He can’t stop trying to control the offense and do things his way. But those flaws aside, the 29-year-old remains one of basketball’s finest distributors. He led the NBA in assist opportunities and points created off assists per game while in Boston last year, per NBA.com/Stats. After he was traded to Dallas, several of Rondo’s new teammates (including Tyson Chandler, Chandler Parsons and Dirk Nowitzki) were noticeably more efficient when he passed them the ball. The guy has unparalleled vision, and he'll be showing it off with another new team (Sacramento) this season.
Getty ImagesMike Lawrie
4. Stephen Curry, PG, Golden State Warriors
His ability to knock down shots from anywhere in the halfcourt offense overshadows Curry’s spectacular passing acumen. He moves through a defense and sees teammates in a way that can only be compared to that of two-time MVP Steve Nash -- who’s now an advisor for the Warriors, because the universe isn’t fair. What makes Curry such a fantastic all-around player is that he knows just when to create for himself and when to destroy a defense by putting his teammates in the right positions to get theirs. He might be the perfect offensive player for the modern NBA.
NBAE/Getty ImagesNoah Graham
3. John Wall, PG, Washington Wizards
Wall doesn't have as diverse a passing skill set as some others on this list, but what he does well, he does better than almost anyone in the NBA. He's probably the second-best cross-court passer in the league behind LeBron James (who might be the most effective cross-court passer of all time). He's even better at opening up corner threes, especially on the left side, for teammates. He's learned how to prod a defense. He's knows how to run an offense. And the fact that he has such outstanding court vision at such blinding speed will baffle scientists for the foreseeable future.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY SportsSteve Mitchell
2. LeBron James, SF, Cleveland Cavaliers
The best passer in the NBA is always up for debate. But the most versatile one has been the same man for the past decade. James is quick and athletic enough that he can get himself into and out of the most precarious positions. He's tall enough that he can see over a defense, smart enough that he can see through it and skilled enough that he can carve into the middle of it. Maybe his best trait as a passer is his pure willingness to give up the rock. Have we ever seen a player with his scoring abilities trust teammates to such a degree?
Getty ImagesGregory Shamus
1. Chris Paul, PG, Los Angeles Clippers
There are flashier passers with better highlight reels, but no one makes the right pass more often than CP3. Only two other players in NBA history have had single seasons with more assists and fewer turnovers per game than Paul's career averages (9.9 apg, 2.4 tpg), according to Basketball-Reference. Any bad pass by Paul feels like a glitch in the Matrix. He always finds the open man, and he'll be the best lob passer in basketball if and when Andre Miller ever retires. The big guys put the flash in Lob City, but Paul is the one who makes things go.