Just about every team in the NBA needs a floor general; a true, pure playmaker to set up the offense for others. Naturally, as time runs its course, these floor generals separate the elite from the really good, or the just okay, or the bad ones.
Today we’re going to shine a light on the very best of the best that the NBA has to offer. Some of them are long-tenured, established playmakers. Others are still on the rise to make a case to be the best. I’ll include their assist-to-turnover ratios as well for reference.
I’ll also include three names at the end that aren’t necessarily the immediate next-best, but are guys that could insert their names into this list as the years go on.
1. Chris Paul (PHX) – 10.8:2.4 ATO
CP3 has been a bit of an acquired taste at each of his stops in the NBA, but in Phoenix he’s found a home where his calculated playmaking spreads like an infectious disease (too soon?). Suns are top 5 in the league at 27.4 assists per game, and Paul’s tone-setting is a big reason why.
— Kellan Olson (@KellanOlson) February 2, 2022
2. Nikola Jokic (DEN) – 8.0:3.7
Pretty straight forward with the Joker. The reigning MVP is having another MVP-caliber season, and good thing too, because his team really needs him to. The Nuggets average 4.3 assists fewer per game when Jokic doesn’t play. The team ranks 1st in games he plays and 20th in games he doesn’t.
😱 No basket, but this pass by Jokic is MIND BLOWING!
— NBA (@NBA) March 27, 2022
3. Luka Doncic (DAL) – 8.5:4.5
This is probably the most predictable assist to turnover ratio I’ve seen, based on what we saw out of Real Madrid in the draft. The obscenely-high usage Doncic racks up assists but is also prone to turnovers from time to time, due to his creativity and audacity.
— MFFL (47-29) (@Mavs_FFL) March 26, 2022
4. Ja Morant (MEM) – 6.7:3.4
Morant’s ability to make plays for others in flashy – and non-flashy – ways, when teams are ganging up to stop him, separates him from other athletic lead guards. Teams are forced to respect every option on the court, which is when players are fully unlocked and can attack multiple aspects of a defense.
Ja Morant with a WILD behind the back pass 🔥 pic.twitter.com/1eT9ESkwsn
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 5, 2022
5. Trae Young (ATL) – 9.6:4.0
Ice Trae’s game continues to evolve, even in crammed situations like this, where Phoenix is playing very disruptive defense on Young as he tries to make his way downhill. Sometimes great offense just beats great defense, which says so much about his eyes even under duress to still be able to find John Collins for an easy 2.
Trae drops a BEAUTIFUL dime to Collins 🤩 pic.twitter.com/Dh2Ma0xNli
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 4, 2022
6. Dejounte Murray (SAS) – 9.3:2.6
Mark Schindler makes a great case on how Murray is improving in each area as a distributor, and I highly recommend checking out the full thread. But to put things simply, first-time All-Star Murray is really giving another leg onto Gregg Popovich’s career. If Pop continues coaching this Spurs team for a while, you best know that Murray is a big reason why.
Thinking about the Dejounte Murray Playmaking leap that's started to blossom in the first 5 games, pocket pass has ironed out for him
8.8 Assists per game to start the year, and not just empty stats. He's still not ~fully denting a defense, but the pull-up growth is encouraging pic.twitter.com/CjhUpBpjnk
— Mark Schindler (@MSchindlerNBA) October 29, 2021
7. Darius Garland (CLE) – 8.6:3.8
Onto the mainstream scene as a bona fide leader of a playoff team this season, Garland will be loads of fun to watch for years to come. His partnership with likely Rookie of the Year Evan Mobley could be one of the best duos for the next decade-plus. In the meantime, he’ll continue leveraging his incredible handle into finds like this to fellow All-Star Jarrett Allen.
Garland with the absolute DIME 👀pic.twitter.com/IOY8ujhiaE
— Cavs Nation (@CavsNationCP) January 5, 2022
8. LaMelo Ball (CHO) – 7.4:3.1
Full admission, when the hype videos of LaMelo pointing at halfcourt before chucking up a make were making the rounds several years ago, I never would’ve imagined him turning out this well at the pro level. According to a quote through Slam Magazine, he thinks he’s nowhere close to the ceiling either.
LaMelo with the dime to Bridges 💫 pic.twitter.com/o8P9wXm27t
— ESPN (@espn) January 29, 2022
9. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (OKC) – 5.9:2.8
10. Cade Cunningham (DET) – 5.7:3.7
11. Tyrese Haliburton (IND) – 8.1:2.6