Assist percentage is the percentage of a team’s assists accounted for by a player while they’re in the game, factoring in the total number of baskets a team makes during that time as well. For the whole team, this would be 100%. Rather than focus on that stat, we’re going to look at the percentage of baskets made that recorded assists with them. The highest this number could possibly be is 100% if a team were to record an assist for every basket made. But that’s a rare bird. So what is a pretty good number?
Well, a word on this before moving forward, while the assist is defined in the basketball scorebooks, it does become a subjective call in practice. I’m sure we’ve all seen our teams get next to no assists on the road, only to return home and all of a sudden see a spike in that number. The SIDs for other teams may not pay quite as much attention to that as our own, but nevertheless….
On the men’s side, D2 leads the way with assists on 55.2% of their made field goals. All of them are over 50% and notice all of the offensive numbers are higher than the defensive numbers. This stands to reason for a championship level team who is going to be good enough defensively to get you out of your normal offense and maybe put up shots at the end of the shot clock out of desperation.
On the women’s side, the percentage of baskets off assists is even higher on both ends with D1 leading the way at 61.2%. Notice the lowest number on the women’s side is higher than the highest men’s number. This speaks to a fundamental difference between men’s and women’s basketball. On the men’s side, even if you’re overmatched, you could have one guy who can jump out of the gym and get his shot off over a bigger opponent. That doesn’t happen on the women’s side so coaches are forced to create better opportunities and therefore more assist opportunities.
This is a relatively easy stat to calculate (just assists divided by made field goals) so as you get on your team to execute and move the basketball, it can be a quick way to shot them the fruits of their labor.