I often rag on players for scoring too many points in garbage time and my opinion that points scored in garbage time should not count is well-publicized. However, I have barely touched on the separate, but related, issue of garbage time assists.
My position on this is simple and unambiguous: assists attained at the end of a game where the outcome is already determined should not count in the box-score. Especially if the player getting the assists is on the team that is losing the game. A team winning by twenty points with two minutes left is not going to be playing very tough defense. An enterprising point guard can easily take advantage of this situation by passing the ball to teammates who are unlikely to be stopped from scoring by the winning team’s lackadaiscal defensive effort.
If this rule were applied to Dennis Smith Jr., he would only have seven assists in this game, which is fine but not an outstanding number like elven is. As a concession to basketball purists, I would allow the assists to remain in the box-score, but categorized in a separate stat: GTA (garbage time assists). The column for GTA would be next to the columns for GTP (garbage time points) and GTR (garbage time rebounds).
If Adam Silver is not willing to take my proposal seriously, I might start my own basketball league where things are done the right way.