"If I'm T.J. Ford, I want the assist," said Mitchell, by way of example. "So instead of me swinging it to (Jorge Garbajosa) and Garbo swinging it to Anthony Parker in the corner and Anthony Parker shooting the wide-open shot, if I'm T.J., why don't I just see if there's a way I can skip Garbo and throw it to Anthony Parker directly?"Ideally you'd like to think that players just play without any concern for the box score, but considering the phenomena of the "contract year" is a very real thing, we all know that's simply not the case. Incorporating another statistic that could hypothetically reward players for being less selfish would only be a good thing.
Ford's logic, in this completely hypothetical sketch, is understandable. NBA point guards are often judged, however erroneously, by one statistic – assists per game. So the best play for the team isn't always the best play for either a player's reputation or his net worth.
Don't expect the NBA to suddenly adopt it, though. First it'd have to gain traction at a site like 82games.com, just like how plus/minus stat (another good idea directly lifted from hockey) did in recent seasons. And then, once the NBA is ready to "unveil" it, they'd likely find a way to cash in by finding a sponsor first -- just like how the NBA wants us to call the plus/minus stat the "Lenovo Stat," the hockey assist would likely be dubbed something ridiculous like the FedEx Stat. But I'd be OK with that -- whatever it takes to get the ball rolling for more innovative ways of analyzing the game is fine with me.