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John Wall Favored to Lead NBA in Assists in 2018-19

John Wall of the Washington Wizards
John Wall averaged 9.6 assists per game in 2017-18, but has never led the league in the category. Photo by Keith Allison (Flickr) [CC License]
  • Wall hobbled by injury in 2017-2018
  • Top 3 in assists in four of past five seasons
  • See the odds to lead the league in assists in 2018-19

It was a tough 2017-2018 NBA season for John Wall.

Plagued by a nagging knee injury, Wall was limited to a career-low 41 games. But the Washington Wizards point guard is set to return to action amid high expectations, sporting strong +150 odds of leading the NBA is assists per game at Bovada.

Odds to Lead NBA in Assists per Game in 2018-2019

Player Team Odds to Lead the NBA in Assists per Game at Bovada
John Wall WAS +150
Russell Westbrook OKC +270
Ben Simmons PHI +600
Chris Paul HOU +650
James Harden HOU +700
Lonzo Ball LAL +1100
Ricky Rubio UT +1200
Rajon Rondo NO +1200
Kyle Lowry TOR +1400
Draymond Green GSW +2000
Trae Young ATL +2500
Jeff Teague MIN +3500
Nikola Jokic DEN +6000

Wall looked to be on pace to establish a personal best in helpers early on last season, racking up 10 or more assists in five of his first nine outings, but saw his performance drop off before losing nine games to injury in late November and early December.

The 28-year-old managed to return to the lineup just prior to Christmas, and turned in a pair of 16-assist performances in early January.

But Wall was subsequently sidelined for an additional 28 games after electing to have knee surgery in late January, returning to action just in time for the Wizards’ first-round playoff loss to the Toronto Raptors.

Wall a Fixture Among the NBA Assists Leaders

Wall has reportedly returned to full health and has spent the summer working on improving his conditioning, which proved to be a concern while seeing limited action last season.

The five-time NBA All-Star has regularly ranked among the league leaders in assists, finishing among the top three in the four years prior to last season.

Wall finished in the top three in assists per game in the four years prior to last season

Wall should also benefit from offseason moves by the Wizards, including the acquisition of veteran center Dwight Howard and guard Austin Rivers.

However, it will likely be a rekindling of chemistry with teammate Bradley Beal that will play the determining role in Wall’s success this season.

Chemistry with Beal Key to Success

Beal emerged as a team leader in Wall’s absence last season, leading the squad with 22.6 points per game and adding a career-high 4.5 assists per game, while playing a full 82 games for the first time in six NBA campaigns.

However, Wall faces some stiff competition on the NBA assists leader props, with reigning assists leader Russell Westbrook closely trailing at +270, followed by Ben Simmons at +600, Chris Paul at +650, and 2017 points leader James Harden at +700.

NBA Assists per Game Leaders

Season Player Team Assists per Game
2017-2018 Russell Westbrook OKC 10.3
2016-2017 James Harden HOU 11.2
2015-2016 Rajon Rondo SAC 11.7
2014-2015 Chris Paul LAC 10.2
2013-2014 Chris Paul LAC 10.7

Westbrook Coming Off Back-to-Back Triple-Double Campaigns

Westbrook sat among the leaders in most offensive categories last season.

In addition to leading the NBA with 10.3 assists per game, the Oklahoma City point guard also drained an impressive 25.4 points per game while completing another season-long triple-double with 10.1 rebounds per game.

He is yet again expected to play a key role in the Thunder’s bid to pay out on short +210 odds to win the Northwest Division.

Emergence of Simmons Fuels Sixers’ Return to Respectability

After being sidelined by injury for the entirety of the 2016-2017 season, Simmons fulfilled expectations in his NBA debut, potting 15.8 points and 8.2 assists per game last season.

The 22-year-old also played a key role in the return to respectability of the Philadelphia 76ers, who are pegged as a +375 bet to win the NBA Eastern Conference after ending a five-year playoff drought last season.

Don’t Sleep on Harden, Paul

While the Houston Rockets will face a daunting task keeping pace this season with the Golden State Warriors and LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers, James Harden and Chris Paul cannot be overlooked as legitimate threats to emerge as this season’s assists leader.

Harden claimed MVP honors for the first time last season, despite missing 10 games to injury. He will undoubtedly benefit from a return to health by Paul, who has led the league in assists on four occasions, but was limited to just 58 games by a knee injury last season in his first campaign with Houston.

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Based in Montreal, Daniel Coyle is a regular contributor to SportsBettingDime.com. His coverage of all major sports and sports betting has appeared in Featurd, the Montreal Gazette, Sportsnet.ca, NESN.com, OddsShark.com, Bleacher Report, and the Nation magazine.