Monday, March 26, 2007
Mav and Goose shot down by Stockton and Huevos
Hello. It's a special day today, the day when John Stockton, one of the most respectable and talented players ever to grace the league, came into this world. Known for his ability to assist in many situations, be it a behind the back pass in traffic, a kickout to an open shooter, or as a copilot in the Fight for Freedom, Stockton is second to none.
There was a time when I loathed John Stockton (and Karl Malone, and Jeff Hornacek), but with the passing of time and my slow, clumsy assent into marginal maturity, I gained a respect for the most fundamental of fundamentalists.
That respect deepened as I became more and more engrossed in the world of professional basketball. I started to examine the off-the-court personalities of players, and I realized that Stockton was (and is) one of the most humble, fearless, hard-working players in the league. Some may say he fouled when the refs weren't looking, flopped, and was generally a bit of an asshole on the court, and perhaps there is some truth in this perspective (I would hope so, as it was once mine). However, when one pulls themselves out of the vacuum of hating Stockton, they must realize he was doing his job to the best of his ability, was often over-matched physically, and was never aggressive in hurting his opponent (see Bowen, Bruce).
I don't want to get too poetic here, so I'll just recognize Mr. Stockton with some quick bullet points:
-Stoctkon averaged 12 or more assists per game for 8 consecutive seasons. Magic had five nonconsecutive seasons of 12 or more. Isiah Thomas did it once. Mark Jackson did it once. Steve Nash hasn't done it. Oscar Robertson hasn't done it. Jason Kidd hasn't done it. Bob Cousy and Gary Payton never hit ten.
-Stockton has 15,806 assists. Assuming a paltry 20% of those went to three-point field goals, he assisted on 34,774 points. That happens to be 2,482 points more than Michael Jordan ever scored. Adding Stockton's career points total (19711) to his points-by-assist, I calculate that he was responsible for 54,385 points. Using the same equation, Jordan would have been responsible for 44,684 points. I'm not saying Stockton was better than Jordan, but that is pretty incredible, I think. (I'm also quite sure no other point guard comes close.)
-The differential in career assists between John Stockton (15,806) and Mark Jackson (10,334), who is second all-time, is 5,472. Some players who have had fewer assists in their careers than that differential include Dennis Johnson (33rd all-time), Sam Cassell, Walt Frazier, Steve Nash, Doc Rivers and Mark Price.
-When Stockton agreed to play for less money, he forced the owners of the Jazz to pay him back by letting his son's ice hockey team play a game at the Delta Center.
-He lives in a small house next door to his wife's parents.
Tomorrow: The Great Eight. Ain't no elitists at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by Jimmy at 4:35 PM