NBA: Don’t Forget About John Stockton


Wednesday night, Steve Nash recorded his 10,000th career assist. Nash dished it to Antawn Jamison on a pick-and-roll with seconds remaining in the first half to reach the milestone.

He is only the fifth player in NBA history to reach that mark, joining John Stockton, Jason Kidd, Mark Jackson, and Magic Johnson on the exclusive list. Nash now has 10,005 assists over his 17-year NBA career. Pretty impressive, right?

As impressive as Nash has been through his whole career, there is pretty much a zero percent chance that he breaks the all-time assist record. If Nash averages 8.6 assists (his career average, which is admittedly far less than what he has tallied over the past eight seasons) per game this season, he will accumulate another 418 helpers should he stay healthy.

That would push him ahead of Johnson (10,141) and Jackson (10,334). The other two might be out of striking distance, as Kidd (11,969 as of Tuesday) is still playing and Stockton (15,806) has an incredibly large cushion. If Nash averaged 10.0 assists per game over the rest of his career, he still wouldn’t pass Stockton until the 2019-20 season at the age of 45.

Still need a little more perspective on how incredible a player Stockton was? Not only is he the all-time leader in assists, but he is also the all-time leader in steals with 3,265. Nash has 869 steals in his career. Stockton took his team to the playoffs in each of his 19 seasons with the Utah Jazz. Nash has made the playoffs 11 times so far in his 17-year career, and it doesn’t look like the Lakers are going to make the playoffs this year.

I think it is pretty clear that Nash isn’t going to catch the career numbers of Stockton. So, what about Kidd? He is the only other active player on the 10,000 assist list, but there is still a very low chance he catches Stockton. Kidd has a career assist averageof 8.9, but his average this season with the New York Knicks is a pedestrian 4.2. Let’s just say Kidd is able to average 7.0 APG for the remainder of his career. He would still need to play more than six seasons to even come close to the record. What about steals? Again, Stockton has the record with 3,265. Kidd has 2,614 steals in his career and he hasn’t averaged more than two steals per game since the 2008-09 season. With Kidd turning 40 years old on March 23 this year, there just isn’t enough time for him to touch Stockton’s numbers.

So while 10,000 assists is a very impressive feat, we need to remember the incredible player that is at the top of that list, John Stockton. He is the best point guard in NBA history and I have a hard time believing anyone will ever come close to his assist record. There are more skilled one-on-one players and scoring point guards than ever before in the NBA today, and unless that changes, John Stockton will be at the top of the assists list forever.

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