Comparing Legends: Steve Nash and John Stockton

There is no disputing the difficulty of being an NBA point guard. A highly technical skill set is required, along with the mental strength to observe all other players on the court. The common adage of a “floor general”, is not thrown out there by mistake. Every successful point guard in the NBA, has the ability-in some capacity- to dictate the pace, style and outcome of a game. Two of the greatest point guards to every play, and ultimately never win a championship are John Stockton and Steve Nash.

Stockton was drafted by the Utah Jazz in 1985, and remained with the team for 19 seasons. He would amass an incredible 1,300 games as Utah’s starting point guard out of the 1504 he played in. To go with the 182 playoff games, Stocken was one half of the Jazz’s dominance in the Western conference during the 1990’s.

Steals and Assists

To cap his career Stocken would reach the milestone of being the NBA’s all time leader in assists and steals. Amassing 15,806 dimes and 3, 265 steals. The only active players in that range are Andre Miller (currently with the San Antonio Spurs) with 8, 562 assists and Kevin Garnett (Minnesota Timberwolves) with 1,859.

Steve Nash is for most NBA historians, the second wave of point guards in the NBA. Guards like Stephon Marbury and Allen Iverson, the point guards that dominated the early parts of the 2000’s were focused on taking advantage of the new hand checking rules. Steve Nash is perhaps the guard closest to Stockton. Both men played until their senior year at their respective universities, and were drafted in mid to late positions of the draft.

Key Differences

The difference for Nash, was where he ended up being drafted. Nash was a part of two offense first systems, first with Don Nelson’s Mavericks, then Mike D’Antoni’s Phoenix Suns. Both coaches ran fast paced offenses that wanted to score in transition in hopes of getting a basket before the opposing team and had set up its defense. It was in this time that many people began to appreciate the Nash’s ability to score and pass, as he led the NBA in assists and assists per game 5 times.

Both men are generational talents, and their awards showcase this perfectly. Nash is a back to back MVP (2004, 2005) and an eight time All-Star. While Stockton was a 10 time All-Star, selected for the All NBA team 10 teams, and a 5 time All NBA 2nd Team Defense member.

 

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