There are very few things in a basketball game that are more electrifying than a dazzling assist, and these 10 players captured that reaction with the best of them during their time in a Skyforce uniform. Let’s look back at some of the best playmakers in Sioux Falls history, and see how they earned their ranking.
Skyforce Top 10: Career Assists
1. Randy Livingston: 1,245
It’s no mistake that the top three players to appear on this list also cracked the top 10 in points scored. Though passing was their first instinct, all three guards filled the stat sheet every night, and played in enough games to climb the ranks in numerous categories. Randy Livingston is a perfect example of that.
Livingston always felt he was a team-first point guard. He wanted to win more than anything else, even if that meant he needed to distribute the ball and let his team do the bulk of the scoring. He still came in fifth all-time in scoring, so he did okay for himself. However, his number one overall ranking in assists speaks for itself.
Over 100 assists more than the next closest player, and nearly 500 assists higher than the closest active player, Livingston’s spot on the top of this list should be considered safe for quite a while. Livingston averaged 7.1 assists per game over the course of his 175-game career, and his appearances on our top 10 lists are far from over.
2. Cedric Hunter: 1,134
After coming in at number 10 on our all-time scoring list, Cedric Hunter climbed to number two overall in career assists, proving he was much more than a one-dimensional player at the guard position. Much like those around him, Hunter was propelled to the top by his long career, starting in 128 of 134 games played.
Hunter averaged 8.4 assists per game in his career. He tallied 476 assists in 55 games during the 1992-93 season to lead his teammates, and outdid himself the following season recording 479 assists in just 51 games to lead the team in back-to-back seasons.
3. David Bailey: 1,127
After coming in at number one on our all-time scoring list, Bailey makes his second appearance as the third-leading passer in Skyforce franchise history. Bailey is proof that if a player does a lot of things well, for a long period of time, he will undoubtedly climb the ranks in numerous categories. This is not the first David Bailey top 10 sighting, nor will it be the last.
Bailey comes in as the third and final member of the 1K-assist club after averaging a modest, but more than respectable, 5.4 assists per game in his career. Those consistent numbers added up over the course of his franchise-best 207 games played earned Bailey his second top 10 appearance.
4. Larry Drew II: 752
Even the most recent Skyforce fans won’t have a very hard time remembering Larry Drew II. He joined the Skyforce for 10 games during the 2016-17 season after returning from overseas, and tallied 59 assists (5.9 per game) in just 23.5 minutes per game.
Drew II’s breakout season was during the 2014-15 season, when he averaged 9.5 assists through 42 games in the regular season. On Christmas Day in 2015, in a win over the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Drew II tallied 23 assists to go along with his 16 points on 7-10 FG. His 23 assists in a single game still stands as the most in NBA G League history.
5. Darryl McDonald: 701
Darryl McDonald was another player that found ways to impact the game in a multitude of ways. Playing alongside some of the most dynamic scorers in Skyforce history between 1992 and 1994, McDonald was never called upon to be a primary scorer. However, he averaged 11.4 points and 5.1 assists per game over the course of his 137 games career, all while tallying a ridiculous amount of steals, but we’ll get to that in the another top-10 column.
6. Darrick Martin: 477
Darrick Martin lit it up during the 1994-95 season in which he averaged 21.0 points and 7.8 assists per game. Many Skyforce fans remember him for receiving an NBA Call-Up to the Minnesota Timberwolves that year, where he went on to appear in 34 games (nine starts) and averaged 7.5 points and 3.9 assists in 23 minutes per contest.
Martin wound up playing for six different NBA teams over the course of the next 12 seasons, and finished his NBA career with the Toronto Raptors during the 2007-08 season. Amidst his NBA run, Martin returned to the Skyforce during the 2003-04 season where he averaged 18.2 points and 7.8 assists in 24 games. He again received two more NBA Call-Ups from the Minnesota Timberwolves that season.
7. DeAndre Liggins: 439
DeAndre Liggins was a constant triple-double threat whenever he was on the floor. Skyforce fans always got the sense that he could be scoring more points, but chose to differ to his teammates quite often, which made him a deadly playmaker especially during the 2015-16 season.
Liggins has averaged 5.8 assists over his 76-games with the Skyforce so far in his career. Most recently, he averaged 13.0 points, 7.0 assists, 6.3 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game while guiding the Skyforce to their first NBA G League Championship in 2016.
T-8. Corey Gaines: 424
Corey Gaines tallied his 424 assists in just one season, playing in 53 games for the Skyforce during the 1991-92 season. His 8.0 career assist average stands as one of the highest in Skyforce history. Rightfully so for someone who cracked the all-time assist leaders list in just one season.
In that season, Gaines played alongside Bobby Phills, Ralph Lewis, Tharon Mayes and Darryl McDonald, some of the most memorable players in Skyforce history. Though he never earned an NBA Call-Up, Gaines averaged 17.4 points per game in addition to his high assist total while playing with some elite company.
T-8. Stevin Smith: 424
Stevin Smith played just 66 regular season games for the Skyforce, but his timing couldn’t have been better. After playing in just 13 regular season games during the 1995-96 season, Smith became a key role player for a Skyforce team that would go on to win their first CBA Championship.
Smith averaged 6.4 assists per game over the course of his career, and averaged 5.9 assists in 11 playoff games (11 starts) during the 1996 CBA Playoffs. He becomes the fifth player on this list to have been a part of a Skyforce championship team.
10. Victor Page: 403
Victor Page left his most profound mark in the scoring column, but as a guard, his 403 assists are nothing to be ashamed about. Page was helped by his high usage rate and his high number of games played in a Skyforce uniform. In his 157 games, Page only averaged 2.5 assists per game, but that was good enough to earn him a spot in the top 10 assist leaders of all time.
Page’s highest assist average came during the 1998-99 season, when he averaged 2.7 assists per game in 39 games played (28 starts). Not bad for someone that averaged 17 shot attempts per game that season.