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Old 05-26-2003, 12:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Best PG In NBA History

I used to think that the best PG in NBA history was John Stockton. At first glance, when you look at the total numbers, Stockton is far superior to the next closest competitors which would arguably be Magic and Isiah. However, when you look at the numbers per game played, which are more significant, you quickly see that Magic was a far better and more valuable point guard. Magic was able to dominate games. Stockton was able to play within the offense and do a variety of things well, and to minimize his turnovers and to control the pace of the game. His impact was much different than Magic's.

Lets take a look at the numbers first. A lot of casual fans look at total numbers and use this to justify claims such as "best point guard ever". However, total numbers mean NOTHING except that the player was able to rack up steals and points over an extended period of time (I think this is clarified when you consider Mark Jackson is the 2nd all time in assists...its hard to argue he's one of the best 20 point guards in the history of the game). The per game numbers are the great equalizer. You have to remember that Magic played many less games than Stockton due to his illness.

So lets look at the per game numbers.

ppg - 19.5
ast - 11.19
rbg - 7.2
stg - 1.902
bpg 0.412

ppg - 13.1
ast - 10.5
rbg - 2.70
stg - 2.17
bpg - 0.21


Now, if you look at the columns, you see that the player on the top has superior numbers. The player on the top has higher totals in everything but steals (the difference is less than 1/3 a steal per game (so that's marginal), whereas, this player has higher assist per game values, and a HUGE advantage in rebounds and points per game. The player on the top is only 3 rebounds short of averaging a triple double for his career. That is an impressive feat. The player on the top is Magic.

Now, some will argue that Magic was taller, and it was easier for him to get boards. But what does that matter? This is the best point guard ever ranking thread. If we wanted to rank the best "unathletic pg" or the best "white pg" that's fine. However, if Magic has physical advantages which make him better than Stockton, then so be it. If he is built to be a better player, that's stricktly his good fortune, and something that has to be ignored.

Now, if you want to disregard these stats, you certainly can. But you can't lose sight of other things. Say you decide that the difference between the career per game stats is marginal, not a deciding factor. How about differences in such awards as MVP's, Playoff MVP's, Championships etc. etc. Magic has a clear advantage over Stockton in ALL of these categories. This is one of the things that has swayed me to believe that Magic is the best PG of all time. Stockton has NEVER won a championship. This to me seems to be a very important criteria to meet when being considered one of the best players ever. As a point guard, as the best ever, Stockton should have been counted on to lead his team to the finals more than once. Like I said above, while there was the occasional instance, night in and night out, Stockton did not take over and dominate the ball games he played in a fashion similar to Magic.

Alright you say. Championships mean nothing. MVP's mean nothing. How about playoff performance. Basketball is a team game, and maybe one player cannot win a series. But you can certainly elevate your game in the playoffs, to help your team win. Consider the numbers of Magic and Stockton in the NBA playoffs over their career. And remember, the post-season is considered to be a time when the competition is much more severe, and where it is hard to put up great numbers.

ppg - 19.5
ast - 12.35
rbg - 7.7
stg - 2.17
bpg - 0.21

ppg - 13.4
ast - 10.1
rbg - 3.30
stg - 1.86
bpg - 0.27

Magic was able to elevate his rebound, assist and steal numbers in the playoffs. Whereas, Stockton, over his career saw a decline in his assit numbers in the playoffs (however, only a very slight one), a drop in his steals pergame and a drop in his scoring. While the drops in Stocktons production are mild (really inconsequential), when constrasted to Magic's slight increases, it can be argued, that Magic raised his level of play in the post-season to a higher level than he played in the regular season, wherease Stockton showed no similar change in his game.

Ultimately, the people who claim Stockton is the greatest point guard usually base this claim soley on three things. 1. the number of total assits he has (a number inflated because of the many games he played. As we have seen, Magic averaged more assists per game. As I've said earlier...is Mark Jackson the 2nd best PG ever?) 2. the number of steals he has. (Again, inflated by his longevity. Manute Bol has a lot of blocks, but nobody would consider him one of the greatest centers of all time. While a severe analogy, steals, and while an important category, total steals should not be something someone's overall greatness is based on). 3. his longevity. Stockton has maintained such a high level of play for such a long time, this adds to his legend. This longevity has also inflated his stats.

For me however, what has changed my mind is the dominance of these two men. Stockton was unable to take over a game like Magic was. Sure he wasn't as athletically gifted (but this isn't the "best least athletic point guard" category - Magic was a pointguard, so he is measured against any others who have played the position), but he still didn't dominate the game like Magic. Magic was able to take control and lead his team. Sure Magic had better teams, but Stockton still played with Malone, a very good player. A majority of the teams which Stockton led were not bad at all.

There are just too many favorable comparisons to be made in the defense of Magic as the best ever. While I love Stockton, and I do think he's the second or at worst, third best PG ever, the statistics of Magic are too compelling to put him anywhere but first on the list.

Truthfully, I'd like to see an argument for Stockton. I like him a lot more than Magic. Actually, I really don't like Magic at all. So please, I'm not 100% set with this claim, however, I think it would take a creative and compelling argument to change my mind in any fashion.
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Old 05-26-2003, 12:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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you have alot of time on your hands... stockton is the best pg ever
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Old 05-26-2003, 12:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally posted by <b>s00pers0nics</b>!
you have alot of time on your hands... stockton is the best pg ever
I have quite possibly the easiest job ever. So at least I'm getting paid while I'm wasting my time.

Either way. That was quite the eloquent argument. Well done.
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Old 05-26-2003, 01:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Nice post Springsteen- I agree with you. Stockton was a great pg, but not on the same level as Magic or Oscar, both of whom are among the top 10 ever at any position, IMO.
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Old 05-26-2003, 01:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
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What about the guy who defined the PG position:



None other than Bob Cousy who was one of the greatest dribblers and distributors of all time

"What Russell was on defense, that's what Cousy was on offense -- a magician. Once that ball reached his hands, the rest of us just took off, never bothering to look back."

-- Former Celtic great Tommy Heinsohn

"Cousy was the ultimate point guard, the engine that propelled the team. At full speed he could see the whole court and spot the open man -- even if that player was trailing behind. The league had never seen a player with sharper peripheral vision. His repertoire of passes; no-lookers, spinning dishes, behind-the-back feeds and half-court rocket shots-predated those of Earvin "Magic" Johnson by three decades. When driving to the hoop he knew precisely when to dish off, and to whom. An amazing dribbler, Cousy could keep the ball away from defenders long enough to allow plays to develop. And when no one could get open, he'd burn opponents with outside shots or slashing drives of his own. So admired were his skills that errant behind-the-back passes in that era's city neighborhood pickup games were often met with the joust, "Who d'ya think ya are, Cousy?"
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Old 05-26-2003, 01:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Remember point guard unlike any other position is measured by championships here's my list.

1. Magic
2. Isaih
3. Big O(somewhat of a combo guard)
4. Stockton
5. Cousy

One day Kidd is going to be mentioned with these guys.
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Old 05-26-2003, 01:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Well, a case can be made for Stockon. It all depends on how you interpret the word "best". It "best" for you means value at the prime years, Magic wins by far. If you consider "best" as a player's whole career value, then Stockon's stock rises greatly. However, in my own personal slant, there is no question. Magic is the "best" PG in my eyes. In his career, he was always one of the top players, usually fighting Bird for that title. On the other hand, Stockon was rarely considered a top 3 player in the league. He was rarely even considered the best player on his team. John Stockon was Malone's sidekick, simply put.
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Old 05-26-2003, 02:13 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by <b>22ryno</b>!
Remember point guard unlike any other position is measured by championships here's my list.

1. Magic
2. Isaih
3. Big O(somewhat of a combo guard)
4. Stockton
5. Cousy

One day Kidd is going to be mentioned with these guys.
If it's measured by championships, shouldn't Cousy be #1 on that list?
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Old 05-26-2003, 02:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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When comparing their career averages remember because of the HIV virus Magic never played past his prime, so his career numbers are pretty accurate of his value in his prime. While Stockton played well past his prime, so his assist, scoring and steals averages went way down. Magic's averages would've went down in similar fashion but his totals would've been greater and Stockton may not have broken Magic's record.
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Old 05-26-2003, 02:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
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The only thing is when I think of Magic, I dont think of a pure PG like I do Stockton
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Old 05-26-2003, 03:05 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Oscar Robertson. This guy averaged a triple double for an entire season. He was NOT a combo guard, he was a point guard who had the ball in his hands every time up the floor.

The only other guy I would compare to Robertson is Magic. Maybe someone ought to ask Kareem which one was better, since he played with both of them (although Robertson was way past his prime when he went to Milwaukee).
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Old 05-26-2003, 03:08 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by <b>22ryno</b>!
Remember point guard unlike any other position is measured by championships here's my list.

1. Magic
2. Isaih
3. Big O(somewhat of a combo guard)
4. Stockton
5. Cousy

One day Kidd is going to be mentioned with these guys.
Well if you think it is measured by championships then Cousy should be #1 and Stockton shouldn't be on the list at all.
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Old 05-26-2003, 03:16 PM   #13 (permalink)
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magic is considered like 5 top all time.

stockton is nowhere close.

so wh would stockton be considered better at the point?

magic is best. longevivit is irrelevant.

magic still rules man summer leagues. hiv just wasnt lettung him pla.
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Old 05-26-2003, 03:25 PM   #14 (permalink)
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this post is great, i agree 100 percent...

this is about the best pg ever.... not the best pure pg, not the best big pg...

those are all vaild topics of discussion... the same way you can say

who is the best center of all time

and

who is the best power center of all time

and come up with two different people, and both be correct...
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Old 05-26-2003, 04:15 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Magic is the greatest PG in the history of the league, hands down. He has a stranglehold on that claim much like MJ does for the SG position and Bird does for the SF position.

Comparing Stockton to Magic is at best a joke. He doesn't even crack my top 5 of all time.
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