What is a Dime in Basketball 2024? The Slick Assist

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Explore the world of basketball stats with my explanation of a dime in basketball. Learn how this statistic reflects elite passing skills and court vision with my expert breakdown.

What is a Dime in Basketball? Basics

In basketball, a dime is one of the key components of teamwork and player skill, and it’s pretty cool to see in action. When you make a dime, you’re executing a top-notch assist. An assist is credited to a player who passes the ball to a teammate in a way that leads to a score. So, every dime is an assist, but not all assists are dimes. A dime is a special assist that shows off your slick passing abilities.

Imagine setting up the perfect opportunity for your teammate to score without much trouble. That’s what a dime is all about. It’s about precision and the ability to read the game, foresee where your teammate will be, and deliver the ball at just the right moment and place.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what makes a dime stand out in the context of basketball:

  • Precision: Your pass has to be on point, right into the hands of your scoring teammate.
  • Timing: The pass must be made at the perfect moment to catch the defense off guard.
  • Effectiveness: The pass should directly lead to a basket, ideally without the scorer needing to make extra moves to get the shot off.

Types of Passes to Drop a Dime

Basketball passes: bounce, chest, overhead, and lob. A dime is a perfect assist pass leading to a score

When you’re aiming to execute a dime in basketball, your precision, accuracy, and creativity truly shine through. Each pass you master can become a powerful tool to increase your assist tally and dazzle spectators.

Bounce Pass

A Bounce Pass is fundamental yet practical for evading defenders and delivering the ball to your teammate. You must carefully calculate the bounce’s angle and force to ensure the ball comfortably lands in your teammate’s hands, demonstrating precision and accuracy.

No-Look Pass

The No-Look Pass adds an element of surprise, keeping your opponent guessing. This stylish move requires a keen sense of your teammates’ positions. Your ability to seemingly ignore the player you’re passing to while still delivering the ball perfectly encapsulates creativity and accuracy.

Behind-The-Back Pass

Opt for a Behind-The-Back Pass to add flair to your game. This pass not only takes creativity but also demands precise execution to slip the ball to a teammate without directly facing them—a move that can both baffle the defense and lead to a scoring opportunity.


Lastly, the Alley-Oop epitomizes the art of the dime with a high-flying finish. It’s all about timing and precision in throwing the ball toward the basket, where your teammate can catch it mid-air and score, ideally in one fluid motion. This pass is a testament to ultimate teamwork and spectacular coordination.

Famous Dime Droppers

Basketball court with players shooting from long range, dropping dimes into the hoop. Crowd cheering in the background

In basketball, certain players have turned passing into an art form, setting themselves apart with their visionary playmaking. Remember, every assist may not be a dime, but every dime is an assist that resonates throughout the history of the NBA because of its brilliance and impact on the team’s performance.

Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson‘s name is almost synonymous with the term “dime.” With a career that spanned the ’80s era, Johnson’s passing ability was paramount in defining the Los Angeles Lakers fast-paced “Showtime” offense. His career assists stand at 10,141, placing him fifth on the NBA’s all-time list.

Chris Paul

Combining court vision with precision, Chris Paul has crafted his legacy with his knack for delivering crisp, timely passes that often catch defenses off guard. Known as “CP3,” he’s carved out a niche in the NBA through consistent teamwork and leading in assists across various seasons.

John Stockton

John Stockton must come to mind when you think of unselfishness on the court. His career is decorated with records for the most assists, a staggering total of 15,806. His collaboration with Karl Malone on the Utah Jazz provided one of the most iconic duos in basketball history.

LeBron James

LeBron James may be known for his scoring and all-around performance, but his passing ability is just as phenomenal. Unique for his size and power, James excels at reading the game, making him one of the most effective playmakers in the NBA. His assists contribute significantly to his team’s success, underlining his status as one of the greatest players ever.

The Role of the Point Guard

A point guard dribbles the ball, scanning the court for an open teammate. With precision, they make a quick, accurate pass, known as a "dime," to set up a scoring opportunity

As a point guard, your primary role on the basketball court is akin to being the team’s strategic maestro. You’re tasked with stellar court vision, which means always being aware of your teammates’ positions, the defenders’ locations, and potential passing lanes. This invaluable skill allows you to facilitate the offense and find the best scoring opportunities for your team.

Your leadership abilities are put to the test as well. You must command respect and possess the ability to motivate your team. Balancing scoring and passing is a fine art; your decision-making is crucial for setting the game’s tempo. A great point guard knows:

  • When to speed up the play
  • When to slow down and set up a play
  • How to read the opposing defense
  • Where and when teammates want the ball

In terms of teamwork, your vision and timing are pivotal. You’ll often:

  • Distribute the ball to create assists, whether a simple pass or a ‘dime’, which is a particularly accurate or creative assist
  • Drive the lane when the opportunity presents itself
  • Coordinate plays as the coach’s extension on the floor

Dime in Basketball Culture

A basketball court with a player passing the ball to another player in a smooth and precise motion

As you dive into the unique terminology of basketball, you’ll find that the term “dime” is more than just a coin—it’s an integral part of the sport’s lexicon, reflecting a player’s expertise and the urban roots of the game.

Basketball Slang

“Dime” has become an endearing slang term within the basketball community, synonymous with a well-executed assist. When you hear someone is “dropping dimes,” picture them dishing out assists left and right, showcasing their acute court vision and selflessness. This phrase is so embedded in basketball culture that its use extends far beyond the courts, resonating in discussions among fans and commentators alike.

Urban Influence

The evolution of basketball slang, including the term “dime,” can be traced back to the East Coast, specifically the urban playgrounds where streetball thrived. Here, in the city’s heart, urban slang shaped the language of the game. As streetball entered mainstream basketball, the urban influence carried terms like “dime” to a wider audience, cementing their place in basketball vernacular across gyms and arenas everywhere.

Stats and Performance Analysis

A basketball resting on a dime with a ruler and a chart of stats and performance analysis in the background

Triple-doubles—amassing double digits in three stats categories like points, assists, and rebounds—are a testament to a player’s all-around game. In your analysis, if a player racks up assists as part of a triple-double, it highlights their multifaceted impact on the game.

AssistsShowcases playmaking skills
StealsIndicates defensive prowess and anticipation
BlocksReflects defensive impact in protecting the rim
ReboundsMeasures ability to secure possession after a missed shot

Assists are often the most telling of a player’s ability to read the game and set up scoring chances. A high assists count usually correlates with a team’s offensive success. However, it’s not just about the quantity. The quality of assists, which are tricky enough to be called dimes, provide a deeper insight into a player’s performance.

While steals and blocks shed light on a player’s defensive contributions, assessing them alongside assists helps evaluate their overall presence on the court. Remember to look at the nuances of each stat; for example, not all blocks and steals are created equal—timing and decision-making post-steal or block are critical, too.


Why do they call it a dime in basketball?

In basketball, “dime” is a slang term used to describe a precise and accurate pass that leads directly to a scoring opportunity. The term originates from the idea that a pass that’s worth a “dime” (10 cents) is valuable and precise, like a perfect assist.

Why do they call it a dime?

The term “dime” is commonly used to refer to a coin worth 10 cents in the United States. In basketball, it’s used metaphorically to signify a pass that’s so accurate and precise that it’s as valuable as a dime.

What does dime mean in slang?

In slang, “dime” can refer to a person who’s considered very attractive or beautiful. It’s a term used to compliment someone’s physical appearance, often suggesting that they’re in the highest tier of attractiveness.

If you enjoyed reading about the topic: What is a Dime in Basketball, leave a comment and stay updated on Pinterest for more exciting basketball news.

Leave me a comment and make sure to also check out NBA Consistency Sheet.

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Fabian Kühar
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