With the relax of SportVU stats, access to second assist stats is now available. These highlight passing an abilities that continuous assists don"t, and puts the abilities of players choose Marc Gasol and Mike Conley right into the spotlight.

You are watching: What is an assist in hockey


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The aid has constantly been the measure stick through which we use to measure an excellent passers in the NBA. If somebody can score while being "assisted" straight by his teammate"s pass, it stands to reason that a player through a the majority of assists is an excellent at recognize scoring avenues for your teammates.

And really, there"s naught wrong around that assertion. Nobody"s saying the league"s assist leaders aren"t good at finding their teammates because that scores, or also leading them to the scoring possibility with the happen itself. They contact Chris Paul the allude God for a pretty legit reason. However, "assists" don"t account because that each and every single way to create shots with a pass.

If you"ll pardon the suddenly topic change, let"s look at the NHL. I have no idea if Memphians support the Nashville Predators much (go Canucks!), but in the wonderful kingdom of hockey, the worth of passing gets taken to one more level. Because goals in hockey are lot more difficult to produce than clues in basketball, a team"s violation in hockey has to pass creatively to uncover the gaps in their opponent"s defense and also shake the goaltender"s eyes. Prefer in basketball, overcome aren"t used simply to gain just allude A to suggest B, but likewise to manipulate and warp the defense. It just tends come be more important in hockey, i m sorry is reflected in assists gift worth as much as a goal when tracking a player"s clues (for example, Sidney Crosby has actually 12 goals and 18 assists, which combine for a league-leading 30 points).

Another exciting quirk through the aid stat in hockey is that, rather of over there being simply one help handed the end for each goal, over there will often be a 2nd assist awarded as well. Multiple overcome are needed to direct a defense"s attention before hitting the open man for the goal, and while the 2nd assist ~ above a goal can be vested a little bit too generously in ~ times, it can be critical to developing the scoring chance.

On the 2nd shot/eventual score here, Henrik Sedin (#33) passes the puck to Daniel Sedin (#22) who renders the extra pass to Jannik Hansen (#36) for the goal. Henrik"s first pass gave Daniel the puck best at the net, but it also directed the defense towards him. V the defense crashing down, this allowed Daniel to make the happen to a wide open Hansen setup up in the slot (the area in between the 2 red faceoff circles, and also a great scoring area), and with the goaltender distracted through Daniel appropriate in former of him, it"s a beautifully enforcement shot and goal for (incidentally, my favorite player) Jannik Hansen.

Did i bore you guys with my hockey talk? (GO CANADA) Well, ago to that various other sport. This second assist exist in basketball too, though it wasn"t an officially tracked stat prior to this season. We"ve literally viewed "hockey assist" thrown roughly as a basketball phrase informally explicate a pass-to-an-assist that created the scoring opportunity for a player.

Well, with the integration of SportVU Player Tracking cameras into every NBA arena this season, Player Tracking stats are now accessible and this includes the hockey help stat I"ve been talking about. It"s listed as "secondary assists every game", and it has actually its own in-depth definition:

Quantity of overcome made by a player to a player who earned an help on a made shot. Assister should make a happen within 2 seconds and 1 dribble for passer to earn a secondary assist.

If friend look in ~ the league leaders in an additional assists every game, you"ll see two Grizzlies in the top eight: Mike Conley and also Marc Gasol. Conley ties for fifth with 1.9 an additional assists every game, when Gasol ties because that seventh v 1.8 per game. We deserve to contextualize the number with several of the other an elaborate stats noted to united state by SportVU, too. Conley"s 1.9 second assists account because that 2.8% of his 67.1 passes per game and also would be identical to 34.5% that his 5.5 assists every game. Extrapolated to his 10.8 assist methods per game (which would certainly only offer us a crude oil estimation), Conley has around 3.7 second assist avenues per game. Together for Marc, his secondary assists account because that 3.4% the his 52.3 overcome per video game (meaning the has an ext secondary assists every pass 보다 Conley) and would be indistinguishable to 40.9% the his 4.4 assists every game. Extrapolation to his 8.8 assists opportunities per game, Gasol has around 3.6 secondary assist opportunities per game.

It"s partly a byproduct of doing not have a go-to scorer and having to pass to produce scoring opportunities instead the just giving the round to a "first option", and sample size is of food a variable at this early on stage in the season. Choose in hockey, there are also situations whereby a an additional assist could just it is in a happen made to a player who easily spots a teammate ~ above the move and also makes that connection; the first passer might not it is in consciously setting up the opportunity. Every stat demands to it is in contextualized.


Even prior to this season, however, Conley and also Gasol have proven that they"re both amongst the league"s best at utilizing their pass to produce a shot opportunity for a player various other than the one they"re passing to. In less complicated words, they"re an excellent at producing "assist opportunities" because that teammates. Together a distributor indigenous the high post, Gasol has always been good at analysis off-ball movement and getting the sphere in the best place. Sometimes, this means he picks up one assist. However, he can also predict what a defense will perform to protect against a shoot after his pass, and make that pass to cost-free somebody rather up or open up a passing roadway to a cutter.

It"s the same with Conley, who speed and also shiftiness in the pick-and-roll often forces a couple of extra secs of help defender attention. That enables his happen to go to someone through the option of do an extra pass as the defense rotates on come him, and leaves somebody else open. We"ve definitely seen the Conley-Gasol pick-and-roll breakdown into Conley passing come Marc passing to Zach Randolph or Tony Allen.

This beat is a pretty an easy look of just how a pass have the right to be do to pressure the defense to reaction in a method that can totally free up somebody else. Marc Gasol is happen the sphere down on the rapid break (and it"s an absolute high-end to have a huge man that have the right to do that), through Tayshaun Prince and Zach Randolph pour it until it is full the lane and within happen range.

With Z-Bo on his right and Prince running under the center of the lane, Marc makes the pass to TP. This could seem one odd decision if Marc was trying to find the assist, due to the fact that TP is ideal in the center of will Bynum, Chauncey Billups and Josh Smith. Top top the various other hand, Z-Bo can be looking in ~ an open jumpshot or an opportunity at the rim versus Billups. But, look what Gasol"s happen to TP does to the defense.

The red triangle mirrors TP is literally appropriate in the center of all 3 Pistons defenders, and also though it"s sort of blurry, every one of the defense"s eyes space on him. Since of Marc"s pass to Prince, Z-Bo is left through a wide open roadway to the rim and also TP makes the pass ideal away to enable Randolph to obtain the basic layup versus a too small and too late Chauncey Billups. You deserve to watch the play in real-time here.

Similar point in this play, together Mike Conley and also Jon Leuer work a side pick-and-roll top top the right side that the court. The Pelicans trap Conley high, and in many common pick-and-roll situations, Conley would just have passed the round over come Leuer rolling come the rim. In this case, however, there was no chance of Leuer gaining to the rim prior to a rotation from one of the three guys on the weak next of the pick-and-roll. The extra pass to among those men wasn"t one appealing option either, because of the overload in that area.

So instead, Conley provides Gasol as the distribution man. The Pelicans defender (I think it"s Eric Gordon?) starting to assist towards the center actually goes ago to Quincy Pondexter in the corner to protect against Gasol"s happen going there. However, the just offers Leuer a broad open dunk rolling turn off of the initial Conley pick-and-roll.

This is an circumstances where Conley do the decision to provide Leuer a better lane to cut to the in salt by make the happen to a various player. A basic pass come Leuer would have just resulted in a Greg Stiemsma or Eric Gordon (?) assist rotation, however going come Marc eliminated that rotation altogether. And, it most likely would have actually taken Conley just as long to rise a pass to Leuer over the pick-and-roll defenders as it took for him and Gasol to do two quick passes because that the better shot.

There can also be a pretty important difference between the second assist and also the "extra pass", which will certainly still frequently count as a secondary assist. Extra passes frequently imply that a kind shot to be passed up because that an even much better one. Picture a pick-and-roll that draws a defender turn off of a shooter on the wing and into the paint, and the ball gets passed the end to the shooter spotting up. That shooter has a great open look in ~ a three, but the player defending his teammate in the corner is do a so late rotation end to him so he provides the extra happen to his teammate in the corner for an even much better look. In neither play above did the player v the round after the an initial pass have actually a particularly great shot, but the initial passer was never in search of his very own assist. That selflessness is a really tangible asset.

In both plays, you can see exactly how the player awarded with the assist (Tayshaun Prince and Marc Gasol respectively) didn"t have to make much of a decision through the ball. They acquired the ball and also then they made a pass the must"ve been practically a natural reaction because that them as soon as seeing the defense transition away indigenous the cutter. The player the made the secondary assist (Gasol and Conley respectively) was actually the one responsible for obtaining the far better shot with their decision to find a middle guy for the ball. Well, there can not have actually been a good opportunity at all if Gasol and also Conley went directly to the scorer come pad their own stats in the process.


SportVU has permitted us to check out which players execute rack up the most secondary assists, which to add a brand new dimension to evaluation of an excellent playmaking in the NBA

These type of tick-tack passing theatre are an extremely reminiscent the the hockey play from earlier, aren"t they? if it"s tho a more valuable skill in hockey due to the fact that of the scarcity of the goals and also the different style of play, gift able come manipulate the defense v a pass way being able to open up up easy opportunities from best scoring areas in basketball too. Analysis the defense and also identifying which procedure of passes (and lock can acquire a lot more complicated than in the dram above) have the right to lead to the ideal shot for your team is an invaluable skill.

That ability is one that would certainly never have actually been tracked v assists alone. SportVU has permitted us to see which players execute rack up the most second assists, which to add a brand brand-new dimension to evaluation of an excellent playmaking in the NBA. Also if they require teammates that space willing passers and also can do snap judgments with the ball, the males leading the organization in second assists may just be several of the NBA"s many forward-thinking passers. For now, sample size clouds united state from reaching any type of reliable conclusion, but the fact that rookie Nate Wolters of the Milwaukee Bucks is right now averaging 2.0 an additional assists per game could speak come a not-yet-fully-unearthed top quality that his 4.4 assists per game wouldn"t indicate.

With the Grizzlies, their very own passing offense can actually take it a action backward if Marc Gasol is the end for one extended duration of time with a rumored (but at this time unconfirmed!) torn left MCL. Not only would he it is in prevented from setting up assist avenues for his teammates, yet he"s additionally out as an intermediary passer for someone prefer Conley come take benefit of. Ed Davis has actually flashed decent court vision and also Kosta Koufos has actually operated on the high short article before, however neither the them space on Gasol"s level. Acquisition a passer as forward-thinking as Gasol out of the equation deserve to throw the whole team"s passing the end of whack.

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We"ll view what happens v Gasol and our team. We"ll also see what happens v the value of the secondary assist in the NBA. Marc can not be about to speed his own skills in the area for a while, however now the it"s a tangible stat, the hockey assist should be a term the will chop up an ext and an ext repeatedly soon.