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Stockton vs. ‘The Glove’: Who was better?

Stockton vs. ‘The Glove’: Who was better?

The biggest shot of his career eliminated Houston and sent Utah to the franchise’s first Finals, and his Jazz also pushed Jordan’s Bulls to six games, losing three of them by four points or less.’ data-reactid=”48″>In 20 playoff games, including a five-game conference semifinals win over the nascent Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant-led Los Angeles Lakers and a six-game conference finals victory against a retooled Rockets team, Stockton averaged 16.1 points (52/38/86 splits), 9.6 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 37 minutes. The biggest shot of his career eliminated Houston and sent Utah to the franchise’s first Finals, and his Jazz also pushed Jordan’s Bulls to six games, losing three of them by four points or less.

It is fascinating to imagine what might have been had Payton and Stockton switched teams those two seasons. Would Stockton’s scoring have soared in the absence of Malone, and could he have made Kemp anything more than the efficient 20-point scorer he already was? Would Malone have been the model of consistency he was with Payton as his point guard, and could a generational defensive guard have pushed Utah over the top in a tight series? If I were a betting man, that last point seems the safest.

Stockton appeared in two Finals in his prime to Payton’s one, and it easily could have been the other way around. Had Stockton not made the buzzer beater to beat Houston in Game 6 of the 1997 Western Conference finals, the Rockets may have taken one of Utah’s appearances. And had Charles Barkley not had the night of his life in Game 7 of the 1993 Western Conference finals, the Sonics may have reached another one. But Stockton did make that pressure-cooker three, and that is a massive point in his favor.

Every other clutch analysis between the two point guards is fairly close.

Stockton averaged 12.3 points (on 50/33/81 splits), 8.8 assists (against 3.4 turnovers), 3.3 rebounds and two steals in 34.9 minutes in his two Finals appearances. Payton averaged 18 points (on 44/33/73 splits), seven assists (against 2.5 turnovers), 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 45.7 minutes in the 1996 Finals.

They faced each other four times in the playoffs, splitting the series, with each outproducing the other twice. Overall, Payton averaged 16.1 points (47/40/70 splits), 5.1 assists (2.5 turnovers), 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 35.9 minutes over their 22 playoff games opposite each other. Stockton averaged 12.3 points (44/35/72 splits), 10.9 assists (3.0 turnovers), 2.9 rebounds and 2.3 steals in 38.5 minutes.

In 11 win-or-go-home playoff games in his prime, (three Game 7’s, eight Game 5’s), Stockton averaged 14.9 points (44/36/88 splits), 11.6 assists (2.6 turnovers), 4.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals. The Jazz finished 6-5 in those games. Payton averaged 19.1 points (43/44/68 splits), 5.1 assists (1.9 turnovers), 4.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals in nine prime win-or-go-home games (four Game 7’s, five Game 5’s). The Sonics finished 4-5.

It should not go unnoticed that Payton averaged 24.3 minutes per game in the playoffs during Miami’s 2006 championship run. He provided a steady hand in a number of close contests, including a couple of clutch buckets in crunch time of the pivotal Game 5 victory against the Dallas Mavericks in the Finals.

Still, in another photo finish, why not take the guy that made one of the biggest shots in NBA history.

Hardware

Would you rather have that championship ring, even if it came as a 37-year-old backup, or be the NBA’s all-time assists and steals leader? I think if the title also comes with a Defensive Player of the Year trophy and your name in the conversation for greatest defensive guard ever, you would take that trophy case.

who just turned 58 years old, is one of the NBA’s most underrated all-time greats. A career spent in small-market Utah before the League Pass boom, and he was largely overshadowed by Malone. For the most part, he has avoided the spotlight, save for the occasional Jazz event or his presence in the crowd at one of his kid’s games. Four of his six children have played college ball, including David Stockton, who had a cup of coffee in the NBA, and Michael, who has played in a couple of NBA summer leagues recently.’ data-reactid=”69″>Stockton, who just turned 58 years old, is one of the NBA’s most underrated all-time greats. A career spent in small-market Utah before the League Pass boom, and he was largely overshadowed by Malone. For the most part, he has avoided the spotlight, save for the occasional Jazz event or his presence in the crowd at one of his kid’s games. Four of his six children have played college ball, including David Stockton, who had a cup of coffee in the NBA, and Michael, who has played in a couple of NBA summer leagues recently.

Stockton was certainly at the forefront of the NBA consciousness throughout the 1990s, regularly appearing in the All-Star Game, playing two Finals opposite Jordan and making the Dream Team. Both Stockton and Payton won a pair of gold medals, but neither was the driving force behind any of them.

Stockton certainly did not have a nickname as cool as Payton’s “The Glove.” The Sonics star was the far flashier performer, making a name for himself as one of the game’s greatest trash-talkers. Those vocal skills have served him well off the court, as he is a regular on the sports talk circuit and has appeared in a number of movies, including roles as himself in “Like Mike” and “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part.”

His son, Gary Payton II, is currently a member of the Washington Wizards.

If you are talking about cultural impact on the game, Payton probably gets a slight nod, given he is still fighting to bring basketball back to Seattle and countless Oakland natives count him among their greatest mentors. His brash style also helped pave the way for the NBA’s embrace of personalities.

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