When you think of the ‘Dream Team,’ names like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, or Larry Bird come to mind. That 1992 Olympics Team was arguably one of the best teams ever. Only one player from that team did not make the Basketball Hall of Fame as an individual, and that was Christian Laettner.
There was also another player on that team who did not get the credit he deserves as one of the best point guards in the history of the NBA, and that was John Stockton.
John Stockton’s successful NBA career
Stockton played all 19 seasons for the Utah Jazz. He played a significant role on the team throughout his time playing for them. He was a true point guard, a player who knew how to control the offense and make the right decisions with the ball in his hand.
During the 1987-88 season, Stockton led the league in assists averaging 13.8 per game. He was named to the All-NBA Second Team for the first time in his career. The next season he made his first All-Star game and led the league in assists and steals.
Stockton could get it done on both ends of the guard. He was a high-level offensive and defensive player. He averaged a double-double in points and assists 10 times in his career, and he did it for nine straight seasons.
He would go on to set an NBA record for assists per game in a season averaging 14.5. The way he was able to find open teammates was a skill that you couldn’t teach. Stockton also made it to the playoffs every year that he played in the league. So, he knew what it took to win games. After his career was over, he held the record for most career assists and steals and that record has not been broken yet.
Making it to the NBA Finals
In 1997 and 1998, he helped lead the Jazz to back-to-back NBA Finals’ appearances. Though the Jazz lost to the Chicago Bulls both years, the team proved to be the best team in the Western Conference, and Stockton contributed in a big way.
Stockton, along with Hall of Fame player Karl Malone, formed a great duo in Utah. Malone was the athletic big man who could crash the boards and score down low, and Stockton was the elite point guard whose basketball IQ was through the roof.
The Jazz may be one of the best teams to never win an NBA title solely on the fact of having Stockton and Malone. If they never ran into Michael Jordan and the Bulls, they may have had the opportunity to call themselves champions.
One of the greatest point guards of all-time
It seems as though Stockton took a back seat to Malone during his time in Utah. But the numbers don’t lie, Stockton is one of the best point guards in the history of the game. Pound for pound, he could do everything a point guard was supposed to do.
There’s no reason why he should not be talked about in those conversations about who the best point guards of all-time were. Yea, you have Isaiah Thomas and Magic Johnson, but Stockton’s name should be on that list.