Dwyane Wade vs. Dirk Nowitzki • Carmelo Anthony vs. Vince Carter • Kobe Bryant against Tim Duncan • Chris Paul to Isiah Thomas • Pau Gasol vs. Manu Ginobili • Patrick Ewing against David Robinson • Shaquille O’Neal vs. Hakeem Olajuwon • Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson • Want Chamberlain against Bill Russell • Jason Kidd against Steve Nash • Ray Allen against Reggie Miller • Charles Barkley against Karl Malone • Grant Hill against Tracy McGrady • Dwight Howard vs. Rajon Rondo]“data-reactid =” 24 “>[Earlier:[Previously:[Eerder:[Previously:Dwyane Wade vs. Dirk Nowitzki • Carmelo Anthony vs. Vince Carter • Kobe Bryant against Tim Duncan • Chris Paul to Isiah Thomas • Pau Gasol vs. Manu Ginobili • Patrick Ewing against David Robinson • Shaquille O’Neal vs. Hakeem Olajuwon • Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson • Want Chamberlain against Bill Russell • Jason Kidd against Steve Nash • Ray Allen against Reggie Miller • Charles Barkley against Karl Malone • Grant Hill against Tracy McGrady • Dwight Howard vs. Rajon Rondo]
Stockton took over the starting point of the waiting spot full-time for the Utah Jazz in the 1987-88 season and led the NBA in assistance for the first of nine consecutive seasons. The end of its flowering is less clear. He dropped below 30 minutes per game at the age of 35, when he was still the second best player in a final team, and was still prolific in playing all 82 games at the age of 40. Let’s take the argument with his last All-Star season in 1999-2000, when he started a 55-win team that reached the second round.
For those 13 seasons, Stockton averaged 14.9 points (on 52/39/83 shootings), 12.0 assists, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.4 steals in 34.8 minutes per game, playing for 11 every night theirs. His entire prime coincided with second-best second scorer Karl Malone, both of whom benefited from each other as much as arguably the best pick-and-roll combination in league history. Utah had only one other All-Star, two-time defensive player of the year Mark Eaton during that run. The Jazz made the playoffs in each of those 13 seasons, reaching five Western Conference Finals and back-to-back Finals in 1997-1998.
Payton made his leap in 1992-93, when he made a significant contribution to a Seattle SuperSonics team with 55 wins that reached a final. He made his first All-Star, All-NBA, and All-Defensive teams the following year and remained on at least one of them until 2002-03, when he traded for the first of three times in three seasons. Payton played significant minutes for the 2004 finalist Los Angeles Lakers and 2006 champion Miami Heat during his last four seasons, but he was clearly past his peak then.
Over 11 seasons from 1992-2003, Payton averaged 20.1 points (on 47/32/73 shootings), 7.6 assists, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.1 steals in 38.4 minutes per game, involving only six games were missed in that period. His prime included five Shawn Kemp All-Star seasons, two from Detlef Schrempf and one from Vin Baker. That trio combined for only one All-Star roster after playing in Seattle with Payton. His teams made the playoffs in all but two of his major seasons, reaching a few Western Conference finals and the 1996 final.
Payton’s peak as a player came two years before making his first All-NBA First Team and All-Defensive First Team in 1998. No guard has been named Defensive Player of the Year since Payton won the award in 1996, the same year he and Kemp led the Sonics to the final against the Chicago Bulls.
He averaged 19.3 points (on 48/33/75 shootings), 7.5 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and a league-leading 2.9 steals in 39 minutes per game for a Seattle team that had 64 won games and entered the playoffs as No. 1 of the West seed. He finished sixth in MVP voting behind Michael Jordan, David Robinson, Penny Hardaway, Hakeem Olajuwon and Scottie Pippen – and two places ahead of his high-flying teammate.
In 21 playoff games, including a second-round sweep of two-time defending champion Houston Rockets and a seven-match Western Conference final at Stockton’s Jazz, Payton averaged 20.7 points (49/41/63 splits), 6.8 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 1.8 steals in 43.4 minutes. He owned Stockton in the conference finals and his defensive move to Jordan in the middle of the finals – despite having suffered a calf injury – transformed a 3-0 series deficit into a competitive six-game set against a sample of 72 wins.
Few players have ever been able to make that kind of pound-for-pound impact.
Stockton was so consistent that each of its 10 consecutive All-Star seasons could be considered its pinnacle, but fitting for a player of its long life, it was probably the last. He averaged 14.4 points (on 55/42/85 shootings), 10.5 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 2.0 steals in 35.3 minutes for a 1997 Jazz team that also won 64 games and entered the Western playoffs as the best seed. As the third All All-NBA choice and All-Defensive Second Team selection, Stockton finished 15th in the MVP voting, 14 places behind Malone.
The greatest photo of his career eliminated Houston and sent Utah to the franchise’s first final, and his Jazz also pushed Jordan’s Bulls to six games, three of which were lost by four points or less. “data-reactid =” 44 “> In 20 playoff games, including five Stock Conference semifinals, budding Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant-led Los Angeles Lakers and a six-game conference final win against a converted Rockets team Stockton averaged 16.1 points (52/38/86 splits), 9.6 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 37 minutes. The greatest photo of his career eliminated Houston and sent Utah to the franchise’s first final, and his Jazz also pushed Jordan’s Bulls to six games, three of which were lost by four points or less.
It’s fascinating to imagine what would have been if Payton and Stockton had switched teams for two seasons. Would Stockton’s score have gone up without Malone, and could he have made Kemp more than the efficient 20-point scorer he already was? Could Malone have been the model of consistency he had with Payton as his point guard, and could a generative defender push Utah over the top in a tight run? If I were a gambler, that last point seems to be the safest.
Stockton appeared in two finals in his prime to Payton’s, and it could easily have been the other way around. If Stockton hadn’t made the buzzer to beat Houston in Game 6 of the 1997 Western Conference final, the Rockets might have had one of Utah’s appearances. And if Charles Barkley hadn’t had the night of his life in Game 7 of the 1993 Western Conference finals, the Sonics might have reached another one. But Stockton made that pressure cooker three, which is a huge point in his favor.
Any other linkage analysis between the two point protectors is fairly close.
Stockton averaged 12.3 points (at 50/33/81 splits), 8.8 assists (against 3.4 sales), 3.3 rebounds and two steals in 34.9 minutes in his two Finals appearances. Payton averaged 18 points (at 44/33/73 splits), seven assists (at 2.5 sales), 6.3 rebounds, and 1.5 steals in 45.7 minutes in the 1996 final.
They faced each other four times in the playoffs, splitting the series, each producing the other twice. In total, Payton averaged 16.1 points (47/40/70 divisions), 5.1 assists (2.5 turnovers), 4.7 rebounds, and 1.5 steals in 35.9 minutes across their 22 playoff games versus each other. Stockton averaged 12.3 points (44/35/72 splits), 10.9 assists (3.0 sales), 2.9 rebounds and 2.3 steals in 38.5 minutes.
In 11 win-or-go-home playoff games in his prime, (3 Game 7s, 8 Game 5s), Stockton averaged 14.9 points (44/36/88 splits), 11.6 assists (2 .6 sales), 4.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals. The Jazz ended 6-5 in those games. Payton averaged 19.1 points (43/44/68 splits), 5.1 assists (1.9 sales), 4.2 rebounds, and 1.6 steals in nine major win-or-go-home games (4 Game 7s, 5 Game 5s). The Sonics ended 4-5.
It should not go unnoticed that Payton had an average of 24.3 minutes per game in the playoffs during the 2006 Miami Championship Run. He secured a steady hand in a number of close contests, including a pair of clutch buckets in crunch time of the crucial Game 5 win against the Dallas Mavericks in the final.
But why not take the man who took one of the greatest pictures in NBA history at another photo finish.
Would you rather have that championship ring, even if it came as a 37-year backup, or would you be the all-time NBA leader and steal leader? I think if the title also comes with a defensive player of the year trophy and your name in the conversation for the best defender ever, you would take that trophy case.
than from Yahoo Sports, that he thought he was the more complete basketball player, but Stockton was smarter and harder to defend than Jordan. Even they may have a tough decision to choose between each other’s groundbreaking and record-breaking NBA careers. “Data-reactid =” 64 “> Interestingly, Payton asked Stockton to introduce him when he introduced the Hall of Fame in 2013. Payton told Marc J Spears, then of Yahoo Sports, who he thought was the more complete basketball player, but Stockton was smarter and harder to defend than Jordan. Even they could make a tough decision between each other’s groundbreaking and record-breaking NBA careers.
who just turned 58 years old, is one of the NBA’s most underrated greats of all time. A career spent in small Utah before the rise of the League Pass was largely overshadowed by Malone. For the most part, he has avoided the limelight except for the occasional Jazz event or his presence in the crowd at one of his child’s games. Four of his six children have played college ball, including David Stockton, who had a cup of coffee in the NBA, and Michael, who recently played in a few NBA summer leagues. “Data-reactid =” 65 “> Stockton, who is just 58 years old, is one of the NBA’s most underrated all-time greats. A career he spent in small Utah before the League Pass boom was largely eclipsed by Malone For the most part, he has avoided the limelight except for the occasional Jazz event or his presence in the crowd at one of his child’s games Four of his six children have played college ball, including David Stockton, who had a cup of coffee in the NBA, and Michael, who played in a few NBA summer leagues recently.
Stockton was certainly at the forefront of NBA awareness throughout the 1990s, performed regularly in the All-Star Game, played two finals against Jordan and made the Dream Team. Both Stockton and Payton won a few gold medals, but neither was the driving force behind either of them.
Stockton certainly didn’t have a nickname as cool as Payton’s “The Glove”. The Sonics star was the most flashy artist and made a name for himself as one of the game’s biggest trash hats. Those vocal skills have helped him off the track, as he’s regularly on the sports talk circuit and has appeared in a number of films, including roles like himself in “Like Mike” and “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.”
His son, Gary Payton II, is currently a member of the Washington Wizards.
When it comes to cultural impact on the game, Payton is likely to get a slight nod as he is still fighting to bring basketball back to Seattle and countless Oakland residents count him among their greatest mentors. His brash style also helped pave the way for the NBA’s embrace of personalities.
Ben Rohrbach is a staff writer for Yahoo Sports. Do you have a tip? Email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach“data-reactid =” 74 “> Ben Rohrbach is a staff writer for Yahoo Sports. If you have a tip, send an email to [email protected] or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach