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Monday, August 30th, 2010 at 10:40 am  |  83 responses

For Old Time’s Sake: John Stockton

John Stockton is a legend. He holds the records for most career assists (15,806) AND steals (3,265) and he averaged a double double over his career (13.1 points, 10.5 assists). Drafted by the Utah Jazz with the 16th pick in the ’84 draft, Stockton spent his entire career in Utah before retiring in 2003. He and Karl Malone are one of the most dominant tandems in NBA history and they ran the pick and roll better than anyone ever has. Stockton was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history, was a 10x All Star, and part of the original Dream Team that smoked the competition in the 1992 Olympics. Stockton only missed 22 games in his entire career and 18 of them were in one season. Like many greats of his generation (Ewing, Malone, Barkley, Miller, Wilkins etc…), Stockton never won a championship. The Jazz fell victim to the Bulls in both the ’97 and ’98 Finals. Stock may have not looked the part but damn was he good.

-Schneezy

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  • Overtime

    YES! Stock was absolutely the ultimate point guard. What a guy, 22 games…over 19 seasons. Beyond incredible

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Top 5 point guard in NBA history. I don’t really think it’s questionable either. Oscar, Magic, Stockton annnd.. Thomas? Kidd? Cousy? Frazier? Nash? Paul/Williams? Munroe? I’m 100% certain I’ve forgotten great old school players.

  • letsmotor

    Cosign overtime. Another crazy stat: In the 89-90 and 90-91 seasons, he averaged over 14 APG.

  • The Philosopher

    Another great video.

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    Jordan’s D ain’t look so good on these highlights

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    … Payton. There’s 1 I’d forgotten who deserves to be in the discussion.
    Ps I heart John Stockton lots and lots and lots.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Payton too. My comments arent showing up properly.

  • http://www.twitter.com/gerardhimself Gerard Himself

    yeah the 22 games is unbelievable. It was the same thing with Karl Malone. He only missed a lot of games in his season with the Lakers. Before that, he only missed a handfull with the Jazz because of injuries, and a couple because of suspensions. What I like about Stockton is that he was supposed to be one of the dirtiest players in the NBA too. You wouldn’t expect it, but he was feisty alright.

  • Overtime

    Malone+Stockton+Sloan = TOUGHNESS.
    @Hursty Its not questionable atal, I think there is a very very solid argument for top 3.
    Glad you remembered Payton too though :D

  • tavoris

    the epitome of a PURE point guard.

  • Exile

    The epitome of “old man strength” even when the dude wasn’t that old….

  • http://slamonline.com JL

    steve nash.. the poor man’s john stockton! really seems like he modeled his game after stockton.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Johnnn.. STOCKton…!!

  • Ali

    ONE OF THE BEST TO EVER PLAY PG IN THE ASSOCIATION! Looking back we gotta say MJ kept alot of HOFers from getting rings in his hay day with the Bulls!

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    You know, he has a pretty BIG gap in the all-time assists and steals category. I wonder if anyone will ever surpass it…

  • young_

    Great point guard but overrated too. No way he’s better than Isiah, Kidd and I think even Nash and Payton are arguable… People mistake high assist numbers with being a phenomenal passer. A lot of his numbers were from pretty standards passes to Karl Malone, who was dam near unstoppable facing the hoop.

  • http://Slamonline.com Negativekreep

    Point god.

  • unrel

    he was an awesome pg.. when i was younger, i didn’t really understand his game because it lacked flair and ‘street’.. but as i got older.. he is, hands down, top 3 pg for me..

  • BeEqual

    If anything, Stock is still severely UNDERRATED. Def better than Isaiah, Kidd, and without a doubt better than Nash & Payton. Payton?? Thats crazy talk. The only thing Payton did better was score. Which falls pretty low on the priority list when you’re talking point guard skills.

  • kh

    1:57 hesitation was iLL!!!
    In 4:26 of highlight footage he didn’t go between his legs or around his back once!

  • young_

    BeEqual– The only thing Payton did better was score? Have you seen either of them play defense?? Rebounding too.

  • http://www.phonetobuy.com LeoneL

    If Tim Duncan is the Big Fundamental, what does that make Stockton?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    The missed games stat is impressive for him, just like it is for Gary Payton.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Whoa. Definitely better than Isiah? Nah, y’all on that idiot juice.
    I respect folks who believe he’s better than Isiah, it’s a legit opinion. But “definitely” is ridiculous.
    Isiah carried a team as a scorer early in his career, then converted to more of a point guard and managed to win two rings in the uber tough East despite never playing with anyone as good as Karl Malone. Now, overall talent on the Pistons might have been better than the Jazz, but Isiah also had to go through the Celtics and hold off the Bulls and Knicks to stay on top.
    Isiah was better in my opinion, but even if you believe he wasn’t, it was pretty freaking close.
    Oscar, Magic, Kareem, Isiah, Stockton, Frazier, Payton, Kidd, Tiny, are my top nine in that order.

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    How about Afro Kobe for a future: FOTS

  • http://www.phonetobuy.com LeoneL

    Or how about something like this for a change: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CWGn6Airlk

  • http://slamonline.com Krishan

    AllenP, kareem?

  • http://slamonline.com Krishan

    I think the reason why it’s tough to be a transcendant point guard in this league is that the position suffers the most from the “system” logic. Like how nash is the product of his system, and how stockton is benefited a lot from playing under malone and sloan. It’s sad that passing and playmaking and controlling the tempo falls a far second to scoring buckets and monstrous dunks. The two players who’ve definitely risen atop this flaw are magic and big O, but they’re just physical anomalies, and people would look past their playmaking skills and go directly to magics uncanny-passes-despite-his-size, and oscar’s unbelievable strength. That’s why jason kidd and chris paul got snubbed for an mvp, and a lot of people cried afoul when nash led a mediocre team to fifty wins, and won one. It’s a highlight/scorer’s league.

  • http://slamonline.com Krishan

    And yes, I agree that nash deserves an MVP. Two of them don’t really matter, at least in my argument, so that’s why I didn’t put that in.

  • Martey

    Stockon was nowhere near better than Isiah. While you’re putting Stockton in the best point guard debate, Isiah is mentionned in the greatest player debate. People may be a little nostalgic about Stockton, either that or some people who never saw him play are looking at stats. Would Malone get as many points without Stockton? Would Stockton get so many assists without Malone barreling to the hoop? I would like to know the ratio of Stockton’s assists to Malone/overall career assists. Isiah trumps Stockton, and so does Jason Kidd, a freakin triple double threat almost his entire career. you crazy?

  • Martey

    And he got to the dream team on politics. That was Isiah’s spot but he Bird and Jordan “allegedly” refused to play with him because his bad boys had alienated their rivals with “dirty play” during the previous seasons (ah the good ol days when players were actual rivals). When Thomas took a dig at John’s inclusion on the team, basically sayin he couldn’t hold his jock strap, Karl Malone got him with a vicious elbow to the face the next time Detroit was in Utah, leaving his face bloody.

  • Overtime

    lol. People are funny in these old times sakes post.
    Stockton. Overated.
    These two words do not belong in the same sentence, not at all.

  • Jonathan Faulkner

    It hasn’t been said by anyone yet so I will, John Stockton is the best point guard in the history of the NBA. It’s not just the assist and steal numbers, which are superlative, but his shooting percentages would shame nearly every point guard in the current game ( Nash the obvious exception ), he wasn’t just great he was consistently great, year after year. If you have a child who wants to be a point, there would be absolutely NO better example to learn from.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    I was just thinking about this yesterday: You can make a legitimate case that John Stockton is the best point guard in history. “He holds the records for most career assists (15,806) AND steals (3,265) and he averaged a double double over his career (13.1 points, 10.5 assists).” Not to mention, he also holds the record for total assists in a single season, AS WELL AS the highest apg average in NBA history. He shattered almost every individual assist record that exists…

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Sorry, highest apg average for a season* in NBA history.

  • http://slamonline.com Krishan

    People who keep bringing up stockton’s playing with malone as a negative to his career should just jump off a f*cking bridge. Seriously. Hey martey, you want to know the ratio between stockton’s assisto to malone/overall assists? It doesn’t exist. Do you know why? Because it’s so f*cking stupid, basketball statisticians would die of brain explosions when it was mentioned within earshot. How would you make that logic? That malone was such a godly player that stockton would just throw an errant pass up the second row and karl would swoop down upon it, slap it, and score? You accuse people of not watching him play and judge his merits from his stats. Looks like YOU didn’t see him play, but looked past this just because of your mancrush for isiah.

  • http://www.yamahyouth.com Germs

    Co-sign Overtime.
    Just watch this video of how ‘famous’ John was. It is shot in Barcelona, during the ’92 Olympics. One classic piece of video.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEmacNvCj4A

  • tavoris

    Malone benefitted from Stockton as much as Stockton benefitted from Malone. Stockton isn’t better than Isiah, but he was a better PURE pg than Isiah.
    Isiah wasn’t left off the Dream Team because he was part of the Bad Boys. He was left off because he was a two-faced prick (perceived), and Magic & Mike didn’t want him around.

  • http://SLAMonline.com GotHandles?

    ANTOINE CARRRRRRRR

  • http://slamonline.com Krishan

    And the only time that isiah gets mentioned in the greatest player debate is when everybody agrees that he doesn’t belong in it.

  • young_

    Anyone who thinks Stockton is/might be the greatest PG of all-time is either: a) a die-hard Jazz fan; b) a kid who never watched guys like Stockton, Magic, or Isiah actually play; or c) someone who places way too much weight on statistics.

  • young_

    Nobody denies that Stockton was great and had a great career. But people who are unwilling to admit the huge role that Karl Malone played in allowing him to put up Hall of Fame numbers are either dishonest or uninformed. Without one of the strongest, best-running, best-finishing big men in NBA history at his side, Stockton wouldn’t be in this discussion.

  • Dillantradamus

    John Stockton, the last man to rock the short shorts in modern basketball. Way to keep the dream alive John.

  • The Philosopher

    Earvin Johnson is the greatest point guard in NBA History.
    Period.
    Arguably the greatest player, too. In my opinion, he is.
    @Krishan:
    Kareem is arguably The G.O.A.T.

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    @young…So if Karl Malone buffed up Stockton’s stats then Kareem & Worthy didn’t do the same to Magic? Guys always contradict themselves when giving their argument for who is better.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Excuse me on Kareem. I was thinking about something else. I was wondering why my numbers weren’t coming up right. LOL.

  • young_

    @Kap– Very good point but it doesn’t prove any contradiction. Magic absolutely benefited from Kareem and Worthy but Magic was dominant by himself too. Like in the famous playoff game his rookie year when he started at center in place of an injured Kareem and went 42/15/7/3!!! Think about how amazing that is for a second– really think about it. Magic had better vision/passing skills than Stockton, was harder to guard, much more of a scoring threat, could rebound better and more versatile. None of this should be debatable to anyone who has watched them play.

  • young_

    Also, Magic played with Kareem on the downside of his career and Worthy (also overrated in my opinion) was not nearly as great as Karl Malone. So analogizing his playing with them to Stockton’s reliance on Malone is just misguided.

  • Martey

    YO Krishna, When you get off your knees and pull Stockton’s short shorts back up maybe we can have a conversation. This is what statisticians do, compile stats. Listen to any broadcast of any sporting events and odd statistics are tossed around all games long. The fact that they played nearly their entire careers together and one is top three all time in scoring and the other top in assists and they both became synonymous with pick and roll make that statistic intriguing. Notice I made the same comment about Malone? As far as Isiah not being mentionned in the best players ever, maybe he is a prick, or disliked, or a horrible gm, or whatever but skill is skill, and he LED a team to two chips and was one of the best players of the decade. Go watch some old games instead of getting your panties in a bunch. your John Stockton trading cards probably stick together..lmfao

  • tavoris

    Stockton’s durability cannot be overlooked. So what is some-lots of players put up superior numbers? He lasted longer than they did. That is as much a part of his greatness than anything. the man’s playing prime was pretty much all but his first and last season.

  • Jonathan Faulkner

    @young I am absolutely not denying the greats that you mentioned, Magic was one of the greatest players to play the game, but essentially he played the point forward, a position his otherworldly abilities pushed to realisation. I have seen all the greats play, I am a bulls fan and it is most definitely not about the statistics. My argument, as a Father, is that John Stockton would be the best example you could give your own child on how to play the point.

  • http://slamonline BossTerry

    IMO the best pg to ever play… Dont get it twisted, not the best player that played the pg position, but as far as a pgs duties, Ill take stock.. Plus he looks more like a guy that is at my door to shut-off my hot water, than an NBA superstar.. Great pick today Slam..!!

  • tavoris

    lmao @ BossTerry. u didn’t have to take it there…lmao

  • total scrotal implosion

    Jason kidd is the most underrated player in league history

  • SpaceJam

    Ok, Stockton was a verryy good passer and and good shooter. He was crafty without being flashy. Stockton and malone benefited off of each other. Malone would have been a hofer anyways but stockton would not. He would have been putting up 13 8 and 2.5 w/o malone. Good but not great. Durability only goes so far. That in itself doesn’t get you into the hof but it does help beef up your stats b/c you play in more games. Top 5 pg all-time: Oscar robertson, Magic Johnson, Isaiah thomas, Jason Kidd, John Stockton. Chris Paul will take stockton over soon.

  • http://slamonline.com Krishan

    Martey and spacejam need to have their skulls checked for leaks. Martey, I cannot stress this enough: what makes you and your brain cells so sure that stockton would collapse in a heap of mediocrity without malone? He could shoot from anywhere. He was clutch as hell. He could defend extremely well. His vision was phenomenal. And he was the most dedicated baller possibly outside of bird and jordan. Pippen and jordan do not suffer from this debacle when their careers are summarized, so why should stockton and malone’s? John stockton was steve nash when steve nash was still in grade school. In fact given the argument, moronic as it is, what makes you so sure that stockton won’t shine without malone? Pippen has said that numerous times about his days with jordan, and no one doubts his abilities. And you know why he gets shorthanded by idiots like you? Because he doesn’t get the highlight reel treatment the rest of the other players do. His game is all grit and technical skill, and like someone mentioned, he’s a true pg. Malone scored all the points and all stock had to do is pass him the ball! He had it sooooooo easy!

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    ROFL @ Germs’ Youtube link. Thanks for posting that, LMAO. Stockton is freaking awesome.
    And co-sign BossTerry: Great choice for today, these FOTS’s just get better and better.

  • JTaylor21

    TSI may be on point with the JKidd comment. Dude is twice the point guard that SNash could ever dream of. Also John Stockon is a top 5 point guard of all-time but he’s not BETTER than Mr. “Showtime” Magic Johnson. The fact that Magic was about 8 inches taller and still put up better APG than Stockon points to his GREATNESS. Also Steve Nash wishes he was good enough to carry Stockon’s gym bag.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    SpaceJam: What in the world are you talking about? One of the greatest passers in the game WOULD NOT get under 10 assists per game in his PRIME. That just doesn’t work. I’m sorry, but obviously you don’t realize that Stockton’s 14.5 assists per game is f*cking unbelievable, and has NEVER been achieved by any other player. You don’t think Magic, Isiah, or Big O played with great players too?

  • JTaylor21

    Zeke is a better point than Stock but only by the slimmest of margins. Zeke was the better scorer, leader, winner, defender, and he BEAT Magic/Bird/MJ all in their PRIME. No other player in history can say he beat those three legends. Top 10 points; 1.Magic 2.Zeke 3.Oscar 4.Kidd 5.Stockton 6.Payton 7.KJ 8.M.Jackson 9.Frazier 10.Cousy

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Tavoris
    Explain the “better point” logic for Isiah versus Stockton, in your opinion.
    I don’t see it. I agree with you that if you were teaching the average kid who to watch to become a point, like a blueprint, it would be Stockton. But, Isiah could do everything Stockton could do, and he could do a little more. As a point guard. I think he’s a better overall player, and better at the position.

  • http://slamonline.com Krishan

    Magic, O, Zeke, Stock, GP, Kidd, Frazier, cheeks, cousy, nash

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I can’t really put cheeks or cousy over Nash.
    But, I can put Earl Monroe, kevin Johnson, and tiny archibald over him with no qualms.

  • The Philosopher

    Stockton wasn’t a great on the ball defender.

  • tavoris

    @Allenp-Isiah was a better scorer. Stockton was a MUCH, MUCH better shooter. Both were slightly above-average defenders. Both were prolific and creative passers. The edge I give stockton is his complete (and unparalleled) mastery of controlling pace. Utah shot excellent percentages as a team (for almost 2 decades), because they got a good shot on every possession. That HAS to be credited to Stockton. Last, but not least, you have to weigh in the durability. His best seasons weren’t mind-blowing, but he stayed pretty darn good for pretty darn long.

  • logues

    how can the leagues all time assist and steals leader be considered overrated?

  • JTaylor21

    @Tavoris is right. For someone to be consistently GREAT for that long of a time is MIND BLOWING. He basically was at the top or near the top of the Point guard ladder for 2 freaking decades. Also even though the jazz lost to the bulls twice, people forget that they were a GM7 win vs the Sonics from going to the finals 3 straight times. That feat by itself is GREAT and points to Stockon’s ability to lead a team.

  • Martey

    Krishna you can stress whatever until you’re stressed out. Go back and read my comments. Who is saying Stockton would collapse in a heap of anything. No one is disputing that he was a great player. I asked whether he or Malone would be as great in their respective dominant categories (passing and scoring) if it wasn’t for the other. Would Stockton get so many assist if he was passing to Jeff Malone and Blue Edwards (where the passes may not be converted in points). Would Malone score so many points without John as his point guard dishing it inside. Stop giving yourself a wedgie. Are you freaking kidding me on the Pippen comment? That’s the ONLY argument you hear about Pip. His whole career is defined by detractors saying he’s benefited by being in Jordan’s shadow. That dedicated baller talk, you can apply to Kobe, Ray Allen, Jeff Hornacek or many more who show up to the arena 3 hours before game time to shoot. Let me guess, Stockton was a “brainy” player too right? A “true” point playing the game the way it’s “supposed” to be played. The old fashion way right? don’t worry about highlight films, buddy. Great player yes but nowhere near Magic or Zeke. Nice try. To each his own though.

  • xplore

    this guy knows how to play. unselfish, soft touch, knows his fundamentals. reminds me of pistol pete maravich. fundamentals win. just look at tim duncan or when the pistons beat the lakers. i just wish he had a ring.

  • http://slamonline BossTerry

    Cosign Logues @ 6:47pm..

  • http://twitter.com/smileyoufckers Bryan

    Stockton was 300 points and 200 assists away from being having 20k points, and 16k assists. Absurd.

  • http://http Dacre

    @Bryan…you’d almost want him to come back just to get to those marks hey…?

  • http://slamonline.com Dave.

    I’m disappointed this video doesn’t have the time he crossed over Tim Hardaway, which is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. You can see the look on Tim’s face – “Wha the – oh no!”
    If we had a game of NBA All-History, I’d draft Stockton as my starting PG. I don’t know if that would make him the greatest, but I’d take him over any other in that context.

  • http://thephotoriot.com davidR

    russ bengston wrote the best stockton malone piece a few years back here on slamonline. it had to do with words needing punctuation in order to make sense. it’d be cool to dig that post up again

  • http://www.djpatlok.com Pat Lok

    Isiah a bit better b/c of the chips. But Stockton was basically Nash before Nash – and better on d (check the steals). Insane shooter, great vision, incredibly clutch, surprising finisher.

  • http://slamonline.com Kieran

    As usual on Slam there appears to be a number of younger readers spouting ill informed nonsense. I love Kidd but how can anyone who has watched both him and Stocktons careers even entertain the idea that Kidd is better? I’m actually interested to hear the reasoning behind that conclusion!

  • damien

    I love Stocktons game but if I were choosing a team to win a championship I’d take Isaiah over Stockton in a heartbeat. Plus jerry sloan should also be credited for creating an offense that definitely is point guard friendly and predicated on passing to cutters and shooters.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Tavoris
    I believe that longevity is important, but I also believe that in sports, injuries can rob even the greatest of time to expand on their legacy. Isiah had the unfortunate luck to get injured in a time where medicine was primitive and teams kind of cast their players on the scrap heap.
    I think that Isiah wasn’t just a “better” scorer than Stockton. He was in a different league from Stockton when it came to scoring. He had the ability to be the dominant scorer on a team and have that team still be competitive even with inferior parts, like he did the year they lost to Bernard King in the playoffs and Isiah just went off.
    Stockton was an amazing point guard who dictated pace and tempo like you said. And I believe that he was Isiah’s superior as a pure passer. But, I think the gap was small, while I think the gap between Stockton and Isiah as dominant scorers was massive. Moreove, I think Isiah also controlled pace, and was most impressive as Dumars came into his own, and Isiah ceded his place as the team’s dominant scorer to increase his assists and make sure Dumars, and Aguirre got their shots. I just think Isiah, at his best, was better than Stockton at his best and while Stockton was competitive for six more years, he never reached the level Isiah attained.
    But, I understand your reasoning.

  • http://slamonline.com Dave.

    > Plus jerry sloan should also be credited for creating
    > an offense that definitely is point guard friendly and
    > predicated on passing to cutters and shooters.
    Pretty sure Jerry Sloan didn’t create the pick and roll. Also, I think if Chuck Daly and Sloan swapped jobs in the nineties the Jazz would have had more rings than the Pistons.

  • jufu

    everyone hop off stockton’s d-ck. seriously if he didnt have a system that with a high pick and roll (cosign dave) and/or karl malone, he wouldnt have that record down. kidd takes his spot in top 5 all time. kidd had nobody and is close to the record. plus he could rebound and defend better (steals are the flashy end of defense).

  • jufu

    @kieran…stockton had malone. jkidd had an old vince carter, and he MADE kenyon martin. kid had nobody. stockton couldnt win with malone. end of story.

  • jufu

    and by the way to kieran…where would stockton be without malone? all his assists on that video alone were to the guy. what would stockton do if he had kidd’s lineup (that he took to the finals) of rj, kenyon martin, kerry kittles and freaking whatever center they had (i think they still had van horn maybe). kidd made superstars. he taught steve nash. he made kenyon martin. he took the nets to the finals for godssakes. IN TWO SEASONS.

  • Angelos12

    John Stockton, the greater playmaker and mind in global basketball history!

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