Utah Jazz 40 at 40: John Stockton is still the point god

Steve Dykes

Over the last 20 years there have been numerous changes to the game, the rules of the game, and who perception tells us "has game." One thing doesn't change. It's that if the game is playing point guard, John Stockton is still the Point God.

Now I know what you're thinking -- "Oh, it's a Utah Jazz blog, so obviously they're going to say John Stockton is good." Sure. Believe that what I'm saying is just because I know my audience. But when I say that John Stockton has no peer in his era, or after his era I mean it's a scientific fact. It's a mathematical proof. If you understand that the essence of basketball's success, wins and losses, are a fixed interval ratio game that is purely quantitative -- the easier it becomes for you to accept the greater truths of the game. If the game is about winning, the winner is the guy who has more points at the end of time. And the guy with the biggest number . . . is John Stockton.

Sure, Kidd has a ring. Nash has MVPs. Payton has the nickname. Paul has the media attention. And Rose has the marketing department. But Stockton is still the best. And he will remain the best unless something crazy happens in the next 12 years.

Here is a table that shows 25 of the most searched point guards of the last 20+ seasons, and what their PER scores are at each of their ages in the NBA.

Career # PER at player age
Player PER Seas 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
1 J.Stockton 21.8 19 13.3 17.0 19.0 23.2 22.9 23.9 23.4 22.8 21.3 22.5 23.3 21.9 22.1 21.8 21.9 22.4 22.3 21.9 21.0
2 J.Kidd 17.9 19 15.1 17.8 16.9 16.4 22.5 18.4 19.4 19.1 22.2 19.7 19.5 19.2 19.4 16.7 16.9 17.2 14.4 13.1 13.5
3 S.Nash 20.0 18 10.8 15.6 10.9 13.5 19.6 20.7 22.6 20.5 22.0 23.3 23.8 21.1 19.5 21.6 20.8 20.3 16.0 6.6
4 G.Payton 18.9 17 13.2 13.1 17.0 17.8 21.3 19.6 21.8 21.6 23.1 23.6 22.1 22.9 21.1 17.3 15.1 10.7 9.0
5 C.Billups 18.8 17 13.6 15.1 10.5 14.1 17.6 20.4 18.6 19.0 23.4 21.3 23.6 18.8 20.2 18.7 16.1 15.0 5.9
6 T.Porter 17.2 17 14.8 16.2 18.1 17.7 20.0 21.7 18.1 17.0 16.4 13.7 15.4 14.5 17.3 16.9 16.6 15.5 13.9
7 M.Jackson 16.0 17 15.7 18.3 14.3 18.2 17.8 16.6 14.8 14.0 15.9 15.7 17.2 17.9 17.7 14.9 16.3 12.2 8.9
8 A.Iverson 20.9 14 18.0 20.4 22.2 20.0 24.0 21.9 21.2 19.3 23.2 25.9 19.6 20.9 15.8 13.4
9 A.Hardaway 17.4 14 17.4 20.8 24.6 21.4 15.9 16.7 17.9 16.6 13.9 13.0 11.8 9.0 2.0 9.0
10 T.Parker 19.1 13 11.7 16.5 15.7 18.0 20.8 21.4 20.0 23.4 16.4 20.4 22.0 23.0 20.0
11 T.Hardaway 18.6 13 16.0 20.9 19.1 19.7 18.3 18.7 20.8 20.6 18.8 16.4 16.7 13.6 14.7
12 I.Thomas 18.1 13 14.5 18.9 20.9 22.2 21.2 18.8 18.2 17.1 17.3 17.4 16.0 15.4 15.2
13 B.Davis 17.8 13 12.9 16.6 18.2 16.9 20.7 20.8 18.3 21.0 19.8 14.5 17.4 17.0 10.0
14 D.Rivers 16.6 13 14.9 18.1 17.4 19.9 20.4 18.4 17.2 16.2 13.8 14.6 12.9 12.2 9.6
15 K.Johnson 20.7 12 15.5 20.5 22.8 23.7 19.9 18.1 20.6 21.0 22.8 22.9 15.6 17.3
16 M.Price 19.6 12 11.3 17.6 20.6 21.1 21.7 22.7 22.1 22.7 20.6 10.3 16.5 14.9
17 C.Paul 25.7 9 22.1 22.0 28.3 30.0 23.7 23.7 27.0 26.4 27.4
18 D.Williams 19.2 9 12.4 17.1 20.8 21.1 20.6 21.1 20.3 20.3 18.1
19 R.Rondo 17.2 8 13.1 15.6 18.8 19.1 17.1 17.5 18.1 12.8
20 R.Westbrook 20.7 6 15.2 17.8 23.6 22.9 23.9 21.4
21 D.Rose 19.6 5 16.0 18.6 23.5 23.0 0.0 10.1
22 S.Curry 19.6 5 16.3 19.4 21.2 21.3 22.5
23 T.Lawson 18.4 5 16.4 17.9 19.4 17.9 20.1
24 J.Wall 18.2 4 15.8 17.7 20.8 20.5
25 K.Irving 21.0 3 21.4 21.4 19.9

Yes, CP3 looks good, strong, lots of deep greens there. But hey, people thought D-Rose was nice for a minute too. If you want to be King under the mountain you have to be able to withstand time itself and come out on top. If you take the average of different age groupings it becomes painfully obvious that Stockton was a dominant force way past his physical peak as an athlete. A lot of these younger guards rely so much on their athleticism. It's obvious too that they'll never be the best.

Career # PER at player age
Player PER Seas 19 - 20 21 - 25 26 - 30 31 - 35 36 - 40
1 John Stockton 21.8 19 18.1 22.9 22.3 21.9
2 Jason Kidd 17.9 19 17.7 19.8 18.3 14.6
3 Steve Nash 20.0 18 12.7 21.1 21.9 15.9
4 Gary Payton 18.9 17 15.3 21.5 21.4 11.6
5 Chauncey Billups 18.8 17 14.2 20.5 19.5 10.5
6 Terry Porter 17.2 17 16.7 18.6 15.6 15.3
7 Mark Jackson 16.0 17 16.6 15.8 16.7 12.5
8 Allen Iverson 20.9 14 20.9 22.3 17.4
9 Anfernee Hardaway 17.4 14 21.1 16.2 9.0
10 Tony Parker 19.1 13 14.1 19.2 21.0 20.0
11 Tim Hardaway 18.6 13 18.7 19.6 16.0
12 Isiah Thomas 18.1 13 14.5 20.4 17.2 15.3
13 Baron Davis 17.8 13 12.9 18.6 18.2 13.5
14 Doc Rivers 16.6 13 17.6 17.2 12.3
15 Kevin Johnson 20.7 12 20.5 21.1 16.5
16 Mark Price 19.6 12 17.7 22.0 13.9
17 Chris Paul 25.7 9 22.1 25.5 26.9
18 Deron Williams 19.2 9 18.4 20.0
19 Rajon Rondo 17.2 8 13.1 17.6 15.5
20 Russell Westbrook 20.7 6 15.2 21.9
21 Derrick Rose 19.6 5 16.0 15.0
22 Stephen Curry 19.6 5 20.1
23 Ty Lawson 18.4 5 17.9 20.1
24 John Wall 18.2 4 15.8 19.7
25 Kyrie Irving 21.0 3 21.4 19.9

And again, Paul looks good. He's going on strong right now. Bu we'll talk in another 12 years. All of the guys who were supposed to be better than Stockton, Nash, Kidd, and Payton, all fell pretty hard when age caught up to them. John at a PER score of 21.0 at the age of 40. That's better than all but one of Steph's seasons, and better than all of Wall's career.

Of course, I hear you protesting -- "PER isn't the only metric to use!" Okay, you wanna talk All-Time Leader in Assists and Steals then? If you agree that winning is what matters, and winning is determined by the bigger number, then there is no other possibility than to accept that John Stockton has no peer among point guards.

General Managers and coaches make Championships. Point guards make teams. And the best point guard from his era onwards is John Stockton.

YouTube Doubler

He remains King under the Mountain.

(Also, Press "Play" on both videos, but 'mute' the one on the left. Then watch the one on the left.)

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