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20 Responses to “Layups: Early John Stockton Highlights”
How many HoFers had the opportunity to understudy for the first several seasons of his career a great-yet-forgotten player like Rickey Green? Biggest differences between classic Rickey & Stock were quickness & TO-frequency &, eventually, longevity.
How much historical debt do Stockton & MailMan owe Green & Dantley?
I think he's success was this: using his skills to perfection AND doing basketball fundamentals flawlessly. Nothing "so-called spectacular", doing basketball fundamentals perfectly is itself spectacular.
John Stockton is the Tim Duncan of point guards. You just can't see what made him valuable in highlights. It's not that he's better than the competition at any specific, visible aspect of the game. He just makes better decisions than pretty much everyone else and has the complete skillset to exploit pretty much any mistake the team defense makes.
;-) Thanks, Neil. I'm going to get into John's numbers tonight. Probably reference our running Zeke / Stockton comparison that you linked to above. Planning to do the same for David and Michael too, leading up to HoF induction. May liveblog pieces of that.
Strangely, I think that the Duncan comparison to Stockton is unfair given that Stockton had flawless fundamentals AND sick, gaudy statistical output. Stockton was the Nolan Ryan/Jerry Rice/Wayne Gretsky of the the assist and steal. I don't think Duncan will be setting any carrer statistical records. Unless the NBA season is extended probably no one will ever break Stockton's career assist and steal records. In order to do so one would have to have sick numbers year after year over a long career without significant injury.
I still believe it is a travesty that Steve Nash is a 2 time MVP (without playing a whiff of D), and Stockton played his entire career without getting a whiff of a MVP. Back when Nash was winning his MVP's I would say that if you split Stockton's career in half, he had two entire NBA careers that were both better than Nash's. You could almost still say the same today:
Even so, Nash always had the benefit of an uptempo fast break offense loaded with more weapons. Utah played a more half-court offense. Stockton did have Karl Malone, but not a whole lot else. Everyone knew what Utah was going to do. Everone loaded up on Malone/Stockton, and still could not stop them.
Note about this poster: I am a Laker homey, not a Utah fan.
to that post about steve nash, you have to remember its all about context. stocton didnt get those MVPs because the conventional wisdom was that he majorly benefitted from having karl malone be the recipient of those passes. with nash no one was expecting him to be as good as he was and to make phoenix as good as it was when he got there. in the nba that season he was the most valuable player on any team and the following season there just wasnt much competition. the reality is that no player has an mvp season without the benefit of their teammates. also a lot of the voters go with the best player on the best team voting logic. in those years phoenix was challenging for the best record and several of nash's teammates had their career best season. you cant discount that. now if they were playing at the same time, maybe there would be no chance that nash wins it, but you could say the same about a lot of mvps if you put them in a different context. stockton is arguably the best pg of all time, no one is saying that about nash even though he is a very good player.
I do not want to sound like I am dissing Timmy, he is a great player and a deserving HOF lock. Both Duncan and Stockton have/had flawless fundies. But it does seem that while still appreciated Stockton was still a bit underrated, while Duncan gets at least as much appreciation as he deserves (that does logically come with the titles). Still Stockton kept putting up insane numbers until late into his carrer and was a NBA iron man. Note: (I think)no missed games due to injury (the 50 game season was due to strike), no missed games for rest.
I would also say that I would respect Tim Duncan more if he had been willing to admit that he really was a center all along (I do understand him calling himself a PF playing alongside David Robinson out of respect). But really, Duncan should be compared against the great centers of the game not power forwards.
I disagree about the Nash comparison. He did not have Malone, but he did have A LOT more offensive weapons overall and a more diverse offensive weapon set (on both Dallas and Phoenix) and had the benefit of an uptempo offense. If you adjust for pace, there is no comparison. Also, Nash has NEVER played any D whatsoever. Futhermore there were a number of years where Utah had near the best regular (and at least once the best) season record. As I said teams could load up on Malone/Stockton, and still could not stop them.
Also on the Nash comparison, I am not even certain that Nash was the best player on his team when he won the MVP's. If you decide to include defense, Shawn Marion was arguably better on at least one of the MVP years. Nash is flat out a defensive liability.
And to put further distance between Stockton and Nash, Stockton was named to All-Defense 5 times, was top 5 in Defensive Win Shares 3 times, and is 16th all-time in DWS. Nash obviously has zero in each of those categories (he's not in the top 250 in all-time DWS).
Overall though, I did like the highlights. One thing did disappoint me. Not a single example of a Stockton/Malone pick and roll. How many thousand times did they run that play (over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over. . .