Best NBA Draft steals of all time: John Stockton, Utah Jazz
John Stockton will forever be known as one of the best passers the NBA has ever seen.
After spending four seasons playing for Gonzaga University, Stockton entered the 1984 NBA Draft.
Being relatively under-recruited in high school and somewhat unknown during the draft, many people were surprised when the Utah Jazz selected the point guard with their 16th overall pick.
During his first three years with the Jazz, Stockton was rather mediocre, averaging only 7.1 points, 6.9 assists and 1.8 steals per game.
Stockton earned the starting point guard spot in his fourth season and his career took off.
From his third season to his fourth, Stockton rose his scoring average 6.8 points per game and assists by 5.6 per game, while shooting 57.4 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from 3-point range.
His play steadily increased over the years, with a peak statistical season in 1989-90 when he averaged 17.2 points, 14.5 assists and 2.7 steals per game, while shooting 41.6 percent from distance.
Although Stockton — and his All-Star teammate Karl Malone — led the Jazz to 20 straight NBA playoff appearances and two NBA Finals, he never won an NBA title.
Still, Stockton’s individual achievements are impressive:11 All-NBA selections, 10 All-Star appearances, single season league leader in assists nine separate times and a five-time All-Defensive team selection.
Stockton is the NBA all-time assist leader with 15,806 career assists — well ahead of second-place Jason Kidd’s 12,091 — and a Hall of Famer.
While his early career did not prove to be anything special, Stockton is one of the best point guards to ever play basketball. At the 16th pick in the draft, that is a complete steal.