One-Sheet Collection: 1990s NBA Assists Leaders

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The One-Sheet Collections idea is a simple concept with infinite possibilities. Take a single nine-pocket sheet and a reasonable $100 budget, and build a nine-card collection with a unifying theme.

This week, we look back at some of the best point guards of the 1990s with a rundown of the decade’s assist leaders.

Utah Jazz star John Stockton was far and away No. 1 on the list with over 2,500 more dimes than anyone else, but there is plenty of over talent on this list, including fellow Hall of Famers Gary Payton and Tim Hardaway.

Ahead we’ve selected one Rookie Card to highlight each of the nine players atop the 90s decade leaderboard for assists.

1988-89 Fleer #115 John Stockton RC ($60)

1990s Assist Total: 9,146

One of the greatest point guards in NBA history, John Stockton led the NBA in assists per game for nine straight seasons, the final six of which were during the 1990s. Running the point alongside Hall of Famer Karl Malone in Utah, he dished out 15,806 assists over the course of his 19-year career, more than 3,000 more than anyone else.

The No. 16 overall pick in the 1984 NBA draft, Stockton didn’t have his first NBA card until the 1988-89 Fleer set that also includes rookies of Scottie Pippen, Reggie Miller and Dennis Rodman, as well as several others on this list.

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1988-89 Fleer #82 Mark Jackson RC ($3)

1990s Assist Total: 6,437

Originally drafted by the New York Knicks with the No. 18 overall pick in the 1987 NBA draft, Mark Jackson spent time with the Knicks, Clippers, Pacers, Nuggets and Pacers again during the 1990s. He led the NBA with 11.4 assists per game during the 1996-97 season which he split between Denver and Indiana.

His 1990-91 Hoops card with the Menendez brothers in the background is legendary, and it far exceeds the value of his Rookie Card in the 1988-89 Fleer set that stands as one of the better bargains on this list.

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1990-91 Hoops #113 Tim Hardaway RC ($3)

1990s Assist Total: 5,925

Despite missing the entire 1993-94 season with a knee injury, Tim Hardaway still checks in No. 3 on this list. He averaged 19.4 points and 9.0 assists during the 1990s playing for the Warriors and Heat, and he was finally elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in September.

Hardaward has Rookie Cards in the 1990-91 Fleer, Hoops and SkyBox sets, all of which carry a $3 book value, and I’ve opted for the Hoops card that has a clear “Rookie” notation on the front.

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1989-90 Fleer #104 Rod Strickland RC ($2.50)

1990s Assist Total: 5,885

One of the most underrated players of the 90s, Rod Strickland averaged 15.7 points and 8.5 assists during the decade playing with the Knicks, Spurs, Trail Blazers and Bullets/Wizards. His 10.5 assists per game during the 1997-98 season led the NBA, and his 7,987 career dimes rank 13th on the all-time list.

His 1989-90 Fleer and Hoops rookies are both reasonably priced, with the Fleer rookie checking in with the higher book value of the two. 

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1988-89 Fleer #13 Muggsy Bogues RC ($2.50)

1990s Assist Total: 5,398

The Washington Bullets selected Muggsy Bogues with the No. 12 overall pick in the 1987 NBA draft, and the 5’3″ spark plug was traded to the Charlotte Hornets the following year where he teamed with Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning. He averaged more than 10 assists per game twice in his career, including a double-double average during the 1993-94 season with 10.8 points and 10.1 assists.

He is pictured as a member of the Bullets on his only Rookie Card in the 1988-89 Fleer set, albeit with a notation that he had been traded to the Hornets.

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1989-90 Fleer #123 Kevin Johnson RC ($1.50)

1990s Assist Total: 5,259

The No. 7 overall pick in the 1987 NBA draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kevin Johnson was traded to the Phoenix Suns midway through his rookie season in a five-player, four-pick trade that sent Larry Nance the other way. His best season came during the 1989-90 season when he averaged career-highs of 22.5 points and 11.4 assists per game.

Johnson’s Rookie Cards didn’t pop up until 1989-90 products were released, and his only two rookies in the Fleer and Hoops sets can be scooped up for a couple bucks, a bargain for a man who went on to become mayor of Sacramento.

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1990-91 Hoops #193 Mookie Blaylock RC ($0.25)

1990s Assist Total: 4,907

Mookie Blaylock had a quietly excellent 13-year career with the Nets, Hawks and Warriors, averaging 13.5 points and 6.7 assists per game, and while his assist total was enough for him to earn a spot on this list, he was best known for his defense. His 1,742 steals during the 90s trailed only John Stockton (1,753) for the decade.

His Rookie Cards in the 1990-91 Fleer, Hoops and SkyBox sets can all be acquired for pocket change.

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1990-91 Fleer Update #U92 Gary Payton RC ($10)

1990s Assist Total: 4,816

The No. 2 overall pick in the 1990 NBA draft, Gary Payton was an 11-time All-Star over the course of his career spent mostly in Seattle playing alongside high-flying forward Shawn Kemp. He never averaged more than 9.0 assists per game, but he was a steady producer throughout the 1990s.

His 1990-91 Fleer Update rookie is the most valuable of his three Rookie Cards, but they’re all bargains relative to his career production. 

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1990-91 SkyBox #380 Avery Johnson RC ($0.75)

1990s Assist Total: 4,584

Avery Johnson ran the point for some good San Antonio Spurs teams that also included David Robinson and Sean Elliott, playing 16 seasons and piling up 5,846 career assists to rank 41st on the all-time list. His best years came during the 1994-95 (13.4 PPG, 8.2 APG) and 1995-96 (13.1 PPG, 9.6 APG) seasons.

An undrafted free agent who originally signed with the Sonics, he was traded to the Nuggets after two years as a bench player. He played just 21 games in Denver before he was traded again to the Spurs, but that was long enough for him to appear in a Nuggets uniform on his only Rookie Card.

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Total: $83.50