Dusty on 04 28, 2009
When discussions come up about the best players to ever play the game one man is often left out. The best PG maybe ever to play the game… John Stockton. Now I hope he’s not the best to ever play because when the day comes and someone takes over that title, I hope I’m still around to witness it. I understand that by now you might be thinking to yourself that I’m going out on a limb by calling the best assist man to ever play the game the best PG ever. My answer to that, keep reading.
Stockton came out of Gonzaga still relatively unknown to the country and many believed Utah was taking a gamble by selecting him with the 16th pick. When his career was over, Stockton finished # 1 in assists and # 1 in steals. His record for steals stands at 3,265, which is close to 1,000 more then Michael Jordan. Yet, what goes unnoticed is that during his 19 year NBA career he missed only 22 games and 18 of those came during one season (MCL injury). In today’s athlete pampered world where players often sit out due to sprained fingers or hangnails that stat is completely outrageous. Stockton played in 10 all-star games and averaged a double-double (13.1 ppg & 10.5 apg) for his career.
Jason Kidd recently passed Magic Johnson on the all-time assists chart to become number three and many people regard him as one of the best ever. During the game in which he passed Magic, Kidd went for 20 assists. As a PG the 20 assist mark is a milestone and extremely note worthy. Stockton dropped 20 or more dimes 34 times in his career. This is a mark that is assured to stand for a long time. Also during his remarkable career, Stockton was a part of 2 gold medal teams and made 2 trips to the NBA finals. He was also named to the NBA’s 50 greatest players list and was named ESPN’s # 4 PG of all time. I don’t know what the criteria was, but knowing ESPN they had to throw a few guys ahead of him who were still shooting into peach baskets.
Stockton was well known throughout the league as being tough as nails and at times dirty. In today’s game he would undoubtedly be known as dirty because it’s to the point now where if anyone drives to the basket it’s a foul. As crafty and savvy as he was, Stockton would with out a doubt be able to handle some of today’s best PG’s (Paul, Parker, Nash, and Kidd) during his playing days. Stockton was always a pass first PG who played great help defense and was the ultimate team guy, which made him the last of a dying breed in the PG department. I personally believe that we wont see another pure PG like Stockton because he set the standard for what it takes to succeed as a leader in the NBA.
On a side note, will TNT please start throwing some cash around and hire Gus Johnson away from CBS, so that we don’t have to listen Hubie Brown and the other dinosaurs they have speak in a monotone voice the whole game!