What Does APG Mean in Basketball?

Basketball, like any game, has a range of obscure phrases and vernacular terms. Some of them are quite obvious, even to a more casual fan, but some take a little bit of digging. That’s certainly the case with the acronym apg.

This guide breaks down those three letters, as well as what they mean and their importance to the game. That will reflect on other basketball terms and lead to an analysis of one of the most key aspects of the sport.

Three Little Letters

APG is an acronym that means “assists per game” and, as the name suggests, it refers to the number of assists a player dishes out in each contest. It’s one of the most critical stats for any position, especially point guards, and it gives a good idea of a player’s skill.

In basketball, there are five primary statistical categories. Assists per game (apg), rebounds per game (rpg), points per game (ppg), blocks per game (bpg), and steals per game (spg). 

Each of those is pertinent in understanding a player’s value. However, while points per game is the most important, assists per game are critical to a team’s success as well.

The Importance of Assists

Besides points, assists are perhaps the most necessary statistic in basketball. They may not be points themselves, but they always lead to scoring. A pass to a deep three counts just as much as the deep three itself, and the same goes for an alley-oop versus a dunk.

Not only that, but earning assists is not something every player can do. There are plenty of great point guards who don’t get a lot of assists per game. That’s because they’re either shoot-first players, or they don’t see the court in a way that allows for great passes.

On the other hand, there’s some players who make a living off of passes. A few point guards over the years (such as Steve Nash) made their entire living on assists. They might not have had a lot of stats across the board, but their high apg put them above the competition.

Modern APG

In today’s NBA, there are a lot of players who stack up an impressive apg. That includes a wide range of superstar guards, as well as a few pass-first centers and forwards. In fact, there are more passing big men now than there have ever been in NBA history.

Over the 2021-22 season, three bigs (Kevin Durant, Nikola Jokic, and Draymond Green) all were in the top 25 assists per game. Not only that, but Jokic cracked the top ten as a center. That’s a true rarity, and something that fans might never see again.

Looking further at the stat, the highest apg in the league came from Chris Paul (10.8) and James Harden (10.3). They were the only ones who cracked ten or more assists per game, but there were two players who cracked nine and three who cracked eight.

That may not seem like a lot, but it shows just how valuable assists can be. Getting five or more a game puts something into the upper echelon across all players. A high apg is almost as difficult as a high ppg, and it’s something some teams even value a little bit more.

Final Words

Assists are one of the most important things in basketball. Getting a lot over a season is great, but earning a high apg is much better. It’s efficient and shows a certain amount of consistency. That’s why all the best guards don’t just score in droves, they dish the ball out well too.

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