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Isiah Thomas was BETTER than John Stockton

slash787
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Isiah Thomas was BETTER than John Stockton

I keep seeing all of these all time lists and everyone keeps listing John Stockton ahead of Isiah Thomas. I understand everyone hates Thomas due to his life after basketball (terrible GM moves, sexual harassment, bad coaching gigs, etc, etc). Now go ahead and neg but I ask you to reply and read my post before you do. Stockton had a longer career and has compiled better numbers. I will not disagree on that point. Just because he had better numbers doesn't mean he was a better overall player (Russell vs Wilt).

Isiah has a National Championship in college. Stockton does not (yes I know he played for Gonzaga but a ring is a ring).

Isiah was the best player on the bad boy Pistons and led that team to 2 NBA titles and basically iced Jordan from a Championship for a couple of seasons and had to go through the Celtics to the title. They beat the Blazers and Lakers in those two Championships. I also want to stress the knocked the Bulls out of the playoffs for 3 straight Seasons and Thomas was the best players on those teams that led the way.

Stockton played with another top 20 all time player in Karl Malone and they never won a title together. They could not get through those Jordan teams and on top of that Malone was the best player on that team not Stockton.

Thomas has led his teams and was the best player on 3 Championship teams (1 College 2 pros). The Thomas led Pistons beat Jordan and Bird on the way to the Finals. They went on to beat Magic, Kareem, Drexler in those Finals.

I will gladly take the player that led his team to those Championship against stellar competition of Stockton who was not even the best player on his team that compiled stats while LEADING HIS TEAM TO NO TITLES.

I understand a lot of players (mainly Jordan) hated Thomas because he is a jerk and he was iced out of the Dream Team but you cannot deny his body of work in his career.

Now before everyone goes on to say Thomas had better teams you need to take a look. Obviously both players played on tremendous teams but the Pistons had much stiffer competition to get the Finals (Jordan and Bird) and then had to face more competition (Magic, Kareem, and Drexler). Stockton played with Malone who is better than any player that Isiah ever played with.

Would you rather have Stockton's compiled numbers or Isiah's rings and stellar numbers which aren't as impressive as Stockton's but still very very good.


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I think we can all agree that

I think we can all agree that if Malone/Stockton played in the 80s, they would have won a title and if Isaiah Thomas played in the 90s, he would not have a title.

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There's no shot in H***

There's no shot in H*** Malone and Stockton would have won a title in the 80's. They weren't beating the Lakers or Celtics...Give me Magic, Worthy, and and older still effective Kareem over Malone/Stockton. Bird, McHale, Parish, Dennis Johnson over Malone and Stockton allllll day. The competition in the 80's was extremely high. The Lakers, Celtics, Pistons, 76'ers were all stacked. Malone and Stockton were great and I am splitting hairs but they were not winning any titles in the 80's with that team compared to the power house teams listed.

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Dude, what?

You know John Stockton is like, one year younger than Isiah, right? That he came into the league three years afterwards. Who in the hell is Utah beating for a title in the '80's? The Lakers or Celtics, who were much deeper teams? Sure, they did not have Michael Jordan, but I do not see a prime Stockton or Malone team messing with those guys. Not to mention, the Bad Boys were TOUGH.

Isiah was tough as hell. He may not have been well liked, but he was a much quicker player and much better scorer than John Stockton. He was pretty much what Chris Paul is, while having a better second option and a lot of rebounding/defensive big men having his back. John Stockton was awesome, but I think it is safe to say that if he had been at the helm of the Pistons, it is doubtful they win the chip. You always bring up Stockton with Malone. I know Dumars won the first finals MVP, but when you think of those teams, you think of Isiah.

Lets throw in the fact that the Bad Boys crushed a 57-25 Lakers team with four former #1 picks in the draft (plus Byron Scott and AC Green) 4-0 in 1989. Than, in 1990, they beat a 59-23 Trail Blazer team 4-1. This team had 5 guys who were near All-Star level, including a Hall of Famer in his prime in Clyde Drexler, plus had Drazen Petrovic coming off the bench. Utah's teams had a great record during their time, but it is far from a guarantee that those teams beat the Bad Boys when they were on all cylinders. Explosive scoring guards, bad @ss big men and Dennis Rodman was still good enough to really piss off Karl Malone on D. Just fully disagree with your statement being factual. Plus, have a look see:

http://bkref.com/tiny/vN5J1

John Stockton was a great player, just think it is easy to make a case that Isiah was better. Not to mention, hardly a guarantee the Jazz win in the 80's, they were always missing a piece. Plus you can argue that Isiah may have had Hall of Famer's, just no one at the level of Karl Malone. To me, Isiah was Chris Paul before Chris Paul. Some people like Steve Nash more than Chris Paul from a career perspective and for winning 2 MVP's. John Stockton is still better than Steve Nash to me, because he was a much better defender. Isiah is better than both of them and if he were in the league now, I think would be in the running for best PG honors with CP3.

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As you can see above I agree

As you can see above I agree with you on the fact there is no way Malone and Stockton are winning a title in the 80's. Apparently with the positive and negs people think the Jazz would win a title in the 80's but have nothing to say probably because they can't formulate anything articulate to prove their point. To the people throwing out negs to me saying there is no way the Jazz would win a title in the 80's please speak up. Because if they could win one in the 90's what makes you think they would win one in the 80's?

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I am not saying what to you

I am saying it to TOL-23. I agree that Isiah was better than John Stockton. Both fantastic players, just think Isiah was indeed the superior All-Around player, with his two championship rings and courageous Play-off performances capping it off. Was just replying to TOL and asking what makes him believe Utah would have been that much better in the 80's as opposed to the 90's. Not to mention this having nothing to do with comparing the two as players, other than supposedly devaluing Isiah's title rings. That he won in the late 80's, early 90's. Including beating teams led by Michael Jordan. That the Jazz, you know, didn't.

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Absolutely agree.

To begin, I am a well documented Stockton apologist. I believe he is one of the most underrated players in history.

That said, the argument that the Pistons under Thomas faced tougher competition than the Jazz under Stockton needs more analysis.

Pistons: The Pistons had to fight the Cs (and lost until the Bird-era Cs began to decline). The Pistons faced tough competition in the finals. The Lakers teams led by Magic and the Blazers led by Clyde were very good teams. The Pistons kept down the Bulls through MJ's first few years, but once MJ hit his stride it was over and the Bulls dominated them.

Jazz: Stockton & Malone's first year starting together was 87-88. For the next 6-7 years they lost in the playoffs to Clyde's Blazers (twice), Magic's Lakers, and the Rockets featuring Hakeem + Clyde (twice). Clearly they had difficulty w/great 2-guards. They manhandled Hakeem's Rockets (pre-Clyde) and Robinson's Spurs more than once. They finally broke through in 1996-97 beating the 2-time champion Rockets to go to the finals. They lost in six games vs. the Bulls at their peak, probably the best team ever assembled. The next year the Jazz beat the Hakeem/Clyde-led Rockets, the Robinson/Duncan-led Spurs (young Duncan) and swept the Shaq/Kobe-led Lakers (young Kobe). Again, they faced the Bulls and lost in six.

I think the Eastern Conference of the 80s has a tremendous amount of mystique. Larry's Cs, the bad boys, the young Bulls, and even some of those 76ers teams. However, I really don't think they were tougher than Magic's Lakers, Hakeem/Clyde's Rockets, Robinson/Duncan's Spurs or Shaq/Kobe's Lakers of the mid to late 90s. Moreover, the three best teams ever assembled were probably the 95-96 Bulls, the 96-97 Bulls and the 97-98 Bulls. They were certainly at a different level than the bad boys of Detroit or any of the teams Detroit beat in the playoffs/finals.

I sincerely congratulate Isiah on his rings. He was a great player on a great team. His team peaked at the right time. If he had peaked at a different time he may have had 5 rings. However, if he had peaked in 1995, he'd have 0, just like the Jazz.

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You can spin it anyway you

You can spin it anyway you want. The fact of the matter is the NBA is extremely competitive and it's not easy to win an NBA title is any given year. When the Jazz beat Hakeem and Clyde those guys were in the later stages of the career just like Bird and McHale (wash). Duncan was a rookie when they beat them in the playoffs and Robinson had one more year left in him so how is that any more impressive than beating the a young Bulls team with Jordan and Pippen reaching their prime? Wow they beat the Lakers with a 19 year old Kobe Bryant and no Phil Jackson....The Pistons beat the Bulls with Jordan, Pippen, and Phil Jackson... I guess that is easy not to mention that was just to get to the Finals.

Like I said you can spin it any way you want. The fact is it is HARD to win a championship. There is no such thing as an easy title run. You can say the Bulls peaked at the right time after Bird, Magic, and Zeke aged if you want to keep playing these what if scenarios. Do the Spurs win the title the year after Jordan retires if Jordan doesn't retire? Guess that was an easy title for them to win....

Zeke led the Pistons to 2 championships. How many titles did the duo of Malone and Stockton lead the Jazz to?

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The Facts are...

That the Bulls didn't get to the NBA Finals until they got by Detroit. In fact the Pistons got to the NBA finals 3 times (I believe) winning 2 of them. And his teams routinely beat the Chicago Bulls led by Michael Jordan.

So while I love Stockton... I must agree with the original poster in saying that Isaiah was the better player. Stockton played longer which is why he compiled more statistics. But I'm not sure anyone who watched either player can say with a clean conscious that they believe Stockton was a better basketball player than Zeke.

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Negative, I don't agree.

Negative, I don't agree.

bouncem24949
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last i checked

Stockton and Malone played together in the 80s, they didnt get it done. Know your facts don't guess your facts.

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The argument for me comes

The argument for me comes down to titles. Thomas has two, Stockton has zero. all else being more or less equal, you gotta say thomas was better.

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I am with you on that. Zeke

I am with you on that. Zeke might leave a lot to be desired as a guy, but his peak was much higher than Stockton. If you watched both of them in their primes, you know this isn't debatable. Most people who think Stockton is better form their opinion off of stats. Thomas was a killer on the court.

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Peak

Zeke has four years where he was statistically far better than at any other time in his career. Stockton's peak is longer. However, comparing best four years:

Zeke: 21 ppg, 11.5 apg, 2 spg
Stock: 17 ppg, 14 apg, 3 spg

To be clear--Zeke's #s are insane here. However, at their best they were pretty close to Stockton's best. However, Stockton was far more efficient at all times. The further you draw this out (best 7 years, 10 years, etc.) it goes more and more in Stockton's favor.

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You're missing the point how

You're missing the point how about we look at playoffs. You know the important games.

Zeke
20.4ppg 8.9 apg 2.1 spg 4.7rpg

Stockton
13.4 ppg 10.1 apg 1.9spg 3.3rpg

I think we can see who the better player was when the games mattered. Zeke's numbers were clearly better in the playoffs and that is what matters in the NBA. Take the regular season numbers all you want and I will take the titles. I'm sure Wilt would trade his regular season numbers with Bill Russells playoff success.

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Great argument.

Zeke only went the playoffs w/great teams and was almost always in his prime. He made the playoffs 9 times in his career--Stockton was there 19 times. When Zeke left his prime his team fell apart and they failed to make the playoffs. Stockton's career stats are very similar to his playoff stats, but they include 10+ years when he got low playing time or when he was well past his prime. A fairer comparison would be to compare Zeke's playoff numbers to Stockton's playoff numbers during his best 10 years.

Stockton's Playoff Averages during his peak 10 years: 15.5 ppg, 11.75 apg, 2.0 spg, 3.9 rpg.

An argument can be made that at their best, Zeke was probably a little better than Stockton in the playoffs. And in their respective best season, Zeke may have been a better player. The playoff numbers are much closer than those you originally posted, but this is probably the best possible argument for Zeke being a better player.

slash787
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Ok take Stockton's 10 best

Ok take Stockton's 10 best playoff years and they still aren't as good as Zeke.

Zeke
20.4ppg 8.9 apg 2.1 spg 4.7rpg

Stockton
15.5 ppg, 11.75 apg, 2.0 spg, 3.9 rpg.

Longevity - Stockton
Regular Season Numbers - Stockton
Better player in their prime - Zeke
Playoff Performance - Zeke
Championships - Zeke

Zeke wins 3 out of those 5 criteria. Like I said it's splitting hairs.

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I mean, if you make your own

I mean, if you make your own criteria, of course it looks like Zeke is better. Hell, I can make my own criteria and it'll look like Stock is better.

For example:

Olympic gold: Stockton
All-NBA Team: Stockton
All-Defensive Team: Stockton
Assists leader in season: Stockton
Career points: Stockton
Career assists: Stockton
Career steals: Stockton
Playoff appearances: Stockton

Hell, even your criteria is debatable while mine isn't. More examples
Longevity: Stockton
Regular season numbers: Stockton
Championships: Zeke

Those are for sure

Better player in their prime:
It isn't as clear cut as you think.
Let's take their 8 best years in their career. Stockton from 87-95 and Thomas from 82-90, shall we?

Stockton
16ppg while taking 11 shots a game
13.3 apg
2.7 spg
3.4 topg
2.9 fpg
3.0 rpg

Thomas
20.4ppg while taking 17 shots a game
10 apg
2.1 spg
3.8 topg
3.2 fpg
3.8 rpg

I mean, the only stats that Thomas was better than Stockton during their prime is scoring and rebounds but you can't seriously tell me that if Stockton took 6 more shots a game, he would't average 4 more points? If Stockton took as many shots as Thomas, my raw estimation is that he'd average about 24 points per game.

Now off to playoff performance:
Thomas had 7 fantastic playoff appearances while he fell off in the last two so let's only count the ones he did fantastic in, for fair arguments sake.
We'll also look at Stockton's 7 best playoff appearances so we're comparing the best 7 appearances by both players. Again, for fair arguments.

Thomas:
21.7 PPG off 17.8 shots (roughly 1.22 points per shot, measured at 15 shots per game: 18.3 points per)
9.0 APG
4.8 RPG
2.3 SPG
3.2 TOPG
3.3 FPG
Not bad right?

Stockton:
16.5 PPG off 12.2 shots (roughly 1.35 points per shot, measured at 15 shots per game: 20.5 points per)
12.8 APG
3.4 RPG
2.3 SPG
3.2 TOPG
3.1 FPG
So even when we look at their best stats, Stockton still seems to be on-par or even better than Thomas in the playoffs.

Now, let's pretend you believe in PER (you might not though, and that's fine)
Stockton's career PER during the regular season: 21.8
Thomas' career PER during the regular season: 18.1

Stockton's career PER during the playoffs: 19.8
Thomas' career PER during the regular season: 19.8

But, it's splitting hairs right?

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Lol you have all of these

Lol you have all of these what if scenarios to try and make your point. What if Stockton took more shots, what if Zeke played in the 90's, what if the Jazz played in the 80's. You can what if all you want smarty pants. You can neg all my points that make sense. I will tell you the FACTS.

FACT - John Stockton led his teams to zero championships.
FACT - Zeke led his team to two championships.
FACT - Zeke had better numbers in the playoffs no matter how many ways you try to slice it.
FACT - Stockton has better regular season accolades and numbers
FACT - In the prime of his career Zeke was a more impressive player and more vital to his team.
FACT - John Stockton was not the best player on his team.

You can give me 50 what if scenarios but those are the facts listed above. Zeke led his teams to CHAMPIONSHIPS. Stockton led his team to NOTHING or I should rephrase. Malone led his team to NOTHING while his right hand man compiled impressive stats and never STEPPED UP IN THE CLUTCH TO WIN THE BIG GAME.

FACT.

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FACT - John Stockton led his

FACT - John Stockton led his teams to zero championships.
- I'll take that. He does have 2 gold medals, which Thomas does not though.

FACT - Zeke led his team to two championships.
- Well, he did only win one Finals MVP so it's not like Zeke led them alone.

FACT - Zeke had better numbers in the playoffs no matter how many ways you try to slice it.
- I just showed you the numbers and Stockton is clearly on-par, if not better. Don't know how much clearer I need to make it.

FACT - Stockton has better regular season accolades and numbers

FACT - In the prime of his career Zeke was a more impressive player and more vital to his team.
- Again, this isn't a fact. It's an opinion. Winning only 1 Finals MVP out of a possible two shows that he wasn't the ONLY piece on that team.

FACT - John Stockton was not the best player on his team.
- This is true, he played with a top-3 PF of all time but it's debatable whether or not Thomas was the premier guy on that Pistons team because of the fact that they were the true definition of a team.

"Lol you have all of these what if scenarios to try and make your point."
I have ZERO "what if" scenarios, just hard stats. Take them or leave them but they are the numbers, and numbers never lie.

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Your first post was a GIGANTIC "what if" scenario

So, there's that. Plus, while "numbers never lie", your's definitely do not tell the whole story. In particular the points per shot making John Stockton a better scorer, when he and Isiah clearly had different roles. Not to mention, Stockton having one of the premier inside threats in the league and Isiah, not. Inside out makes scoring easier. John Stockton got better shots, but was he the better scorer? Do not think so. In order for the "points per 15 shots" thing to work, the guy should maybe have averaged more than 12 shots per game in any one season. Rather than, once again, not.

You know how people always claim that Allen Iverson had to take those shots for his teams to stay competitive? The same applied to Isiah. Yes, Joe Dumars won the first Finals MVP. Also remember that it is the "Finals MVP". It was also a blow out of a series against the Lakers where Isiah still was the teams best player, though Dumars averaged 27.3 ppg over 4 games. Tony Parker won the 2007 Finals MVP, but was Tim Duncan not the teams best player bar none? Could the same not be said for Paul Pierce in 2008 with Kevin Garnett also on his team? The year before, mind you, the Pistons were a one point loss and a three point loss from winning a championship. Including a 6th game where a hobbled Isiah scored 25 points in a quarter.

Also, what about the pace in which each of them played? Can numbers not sometimes be elevated by that? There were a number of years where if you adjusted the pace, you could probably see the statistics be much closer than they even appear in the 36 minute numbers I listed. PER clearly leans towards the guy who puts up the bigger assist numbers, shoots a better %, yet takes nothing of the players role into account. That is why PER people tend to find Kobe Bryant overrated.

By the way, when did we use Olympic Medals to analyze players NBA careers? This is not a Hall of Fame argument, they are both easy first ballot guys. Think that was a weak argument to the two title thing. Not to mention, still see 0 evidence that Utah would have won in the 80's. Breakdown how they were better than the Bad Boy Pistons and how Stockton was better than Isiah during that time for me, cool? Also, tell me how their play-off stats looked when they were actually contending. That, to me, is more important than them having the same play-off PER.

John Stockton is amazing. You are entitled to your opinion and the stats obviously are in Stockton's favor as the all-time assist and steals leader (though Isiah did make more All-NBA 1st Teams, which is something). Still, when is winning "only" one Finals MVP, in your 2nd consecutive Finals win on a team that made three consecutive, not a major accomplishment? Circumstance is obviously important, but one could argue that Isiah was in a more difficult circumstance in not having one of the games 20 best players of All-Time playing next to him. That can matter. How many teams have won championships, without a major post scoring threat, led by a 6 foot PG? To me, that is huge. I think many people agree that Isiah should not be dismissed in the way you did originally. Not to mention, that Olympic medals mean nothing in this discussion surrounding who is the better NBA player.

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I even think Gary Payton was

I even think Gary Payton was better than Stockton. I know Stock has better career numbers, but anyone who saw them play against eachother in their primes understands where I'm coming from. Payton used to mop the floor with John Stockton on both ends of the court.

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bunch of bitter Jazz fans are

bunch of bitter Jazz fans are gonna neg me but they know its true. I remember in 1996-ish, Utah played the Sonics at the key, and stockton flopped on a payton post up to draw and offensive foul. On the next posession, Payton called for another post up, hip checked stockton about three feet into the press area, and banked an uncontested left hander. it was great.

Slightly off topic, people forget how great Payton's post game was. absolutely sick.

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Zeke was a fantastic point

Zeke was a fantastic point guard, but I think the makeup of the Bad Boys may cut into his legacy. Zeke was the best player on those teams, but these were teams with 6 double digit scorers, and Rodman cleaning the glass and the likes of a balanced bench attack. In 88-89 they had 10 guys averaging 7 or more points per game and over 16 minutes per game. That kind of balance stands alone. The Bad Boys were a great team with a unique team identity, they were poised for success and lead by an All-Time great; however, I do feel the balance and team philosphy has taken away from Thomas' individual legacy while Stockton and Malone were the Jazz while the Bad Boys were the Pistons.

Thomas also trailed off hard and retired at 32 after two sub par seasons in which the Pistons failed to make the playoffs, while Stockton played until he was 40 ranking 5th in the NBA in assists per game as a 40 year old. Despite never winning a title John Stockton lead the Jazz to the playoffs 19 years in a row which is pretty insane when you think about it while his iron man production sat him alone atop the career lists of steals and assists. Stockton put together a hell of a resume, and I'm not going to rag on anyone who thinks Zeke was better because he's great in his own right, but Stockton was something else. 8 years in a row averaging more than 12 apg, a career 50+ % shooter as a guard, career assist to TO ratio of 3.75 19 straight playoff appearances, career leader in 2 categories, a superior defender and more efficeint player when compared to Thomas. 10 All-NBA teams to Thomas' 5. 5 All Defensive teams to Thomas' 0. Stockton makes a pretty good case, even without the rings.

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Isiah was hurt

During those last two years. Yes, I know Stockton had longevity over Isiah, just think that it comes down to when they were at their best if anything. I think at Isiah Thomas' best, he was literally carrying a franchise. Stockton was a vital cornerstone, but he had a guy who was always the main option in Karl Malone. Not to mention, the Pistons may have been the Bad Boys, but Isiah Thomas was the leader of the Bad Boys.

Also, if the Bad Boys cut into Thomas, than how does playing with arguably the best non-Center PF of All-Time not cut into Stockton? To me, these glory years of their prime are what it comes down to and while Stockton finishes ever so slightly ahead in individual accolades, lets look at when all the cards were put on the table.

Per 36, you have Stockton at 15 and 12 (amazing) and Thomas at 19.1 and 9.2. In the play-offs, 13.7 and 10.3 to 19.3 and 8.4. Also, look at the Play-off numbers versus when Thomas' Pistons were contending and Stockton's Jazz were. That has to play into it as well. Stockton's longevity was amazing, but I do not think it beats out just how incredible Isiah Thomas was in his prime. He was the #1 pick PG you built your team around and won some titles with. How many non-6'9 PG's can you say that about?

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No question Thomas had an

No question Thomas had an amazing run, he put up some freak seasons in his own right before that Bad Boys got over the hump and started winning rings, and two great seasons when the were collecting hardware. In 1989 would I choose Stockton or Thoams? I'd choose Thomas, but man everytime I look up Stockton's body of work I just walk away impressed, especially since he wasn't particuarly athletic. When looking at careers as a whole, Stockton's insane body of work and logevity leave me astounded.

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I understand you're impressed

I understand you're impressed by stocktons numbers and longevity as am I but I can't put him ahead of Magic Oscar and Zeke. Stockton never led his team to a title or was apart of any championship ever. Zeke led his team to two titles. That says a lot. Yes he didn't age as gracefully as Stockton but he was great for 10 years and has 2 titles to show for it. Stockton has 20 years of great numbers and that's it. He never led the Jazz to the promise land and was never the of the team like Malone was. I think Stockton is the 4th best point guard of all time so I obviously think he's great but if you have to split hairs he never led a team or won a title. Zeke did both of those while putting up great numbers.

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This.

I was about to go into Stockton's stats and I read this. Great post. I fully agree. Isiah did some amazing things in his time and he does beat Stockton 2-0 in the ring category, but Stockton's accomplishments are mind blowing.

To further magnify Stockton's amazing stats: During Stockton's best four years he averaged 17 ppg, 14 apg & 3 spg.

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And During Zeke's best 4

And During Zeke's best 4 years he averaged 21 ppg, 11.45 apg and 2.2 spg and he has 2 titles. I think I will take the slightly lower apg and spg along with the two titles.

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Lol he played 3 games in

Lol he played 3 games in those playoffs. Looks like he made a big difference for his team. Talk about sample size. Zeke has the best two out of three. Better playoff performance and more rings. You can have the regular season. Argue til your blue in the face but Zeke has more rings, he was clearly better in the playoffs. Would you rather route for your team and over a 20 year span they win no rings or have 10 great seasons win 2 titles then rebuild.

slash787
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Like I said in a previous

Like I said in a previous post Stockton had great regular season numbers but when it came to crunch time and when the games mattered Zeke's were better.

Zeke
20.4ppg 8.9 apg 2.1 spg 4.7rpg

Stockton
13.4 ppg 10.1 apg 1.9spg 3.3rpg

bloodshy
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See my post above.

Zeke made the playoffs 9 total times--almost all in his prime. Stockton was there 19 times, including a couple of years when he wasn't playing major minutes and many seasons after his prime. Compare the numbers during their prime and you get a different outcome. In the '89 playoffs Stockton averaged 27.3 ppg, 13.7 apg, 3.7 spg and 3.3 rpg. Reke never averaged that many points or assists in any year in the playoffs.

Overall, I think Reke was, on average, a little more dominant than Stockton in the playoffs. However, at their best they were very close (regular season and playoffs). These career averages show nothing of how good they were compared to each other.

No_Left
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Malone was better than any of

Malone was better than any of Isiah's teammates, but the Pistons were a more sound team as a whole (especially on the defensive side of the ball).

mikeyvthedon
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You know how crucial Isiah was to the Pistons?

The Pistons were a really good team. Isiah Thomas was the player who made them a championship team. He had a similar value to that team that Derrick Rose has to the Bulls. I think people just seem to think of the Isiah Thomas as the coach/executive/jerk rather than think of Isiah as one of the best PG's in NBA history. Had the best basketball player in the world not hated his guts, Isiah absolutely would have been on the Dream Team. I do not think they would have cared what Pippen thought, think it landed more on Mike.

Nonetheless, Isiah may be two faced, I absolutely believe he orchestrated the freeze out on Jordan during his rookie season at the ASG. I also have heard numerous other d!ck moves by Isiah. I did not care for him as a coach, I know he did alright, just always felt his teams fizzled out and underachieved. His work as an executive with the Knicks was, interesting, to say the least. Not to mention his running the CBA (it used to be a league, kiddos, rather than the agreement between players/owners) into the ground and his abrupt end when he had issues buying the Raptors. All of this aside, the guy was a franchise player and I think people tend to forget just how good he was.

I just know he was one of the grittiest, toughest competitors out there. This is why I have such a hard time saying that Stockton was the better player. They are comparable in many ways and I think Stockton was the better shooter, but Isiah definitely had many more ways to score. I think he was also close to the passer that Stockton was also making his teammates much better by playing with him. He came staggeringly close to winning three straight championships and I urge people to read about his Game 6 performance in the 1988 Finals:

http://www.nba.com/history/isiahheroic_moments.html

People here seem to think more of Stockton, which is fine. I like John Stockton as a person better than Isiah Thomas. I just think Isiah was indeed the better player, plus saying that the 90's Jazz were guaranteed a ring in the 80's is unfounded. Possible, maybe, just do not think it even necessarily means that Stockton would be better than Isiah. All in all, they played pretty damn close to each other and while Stockton's durability was incredible, I do not think this means he was the better player or his career makes him the better player per se. The Pistons were a better team, but Isiah was their leader. You mention Stockton, you think of a baller, but you always think of some other guy he played with as well.

Narc
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You make an excellent

You make an excellent point...Isaiah was just plain mean on the court. He has one of the hugest killer instincts the game has ever seen. You never really think about Stockton like that (not taking anything away from him as a playmaker.) and he helped shape the identity of that Bad Boys team because if you remember beforehand they played absolutely ZERO defense when he was with Kelly Tripuca and company.

Another thing I would like to take into consideration is when Thomas retired he was the NBA's fourth leading assist man and second in steals all time.

ItsRainingNegs
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How many of you all actually

How many of you all actually watched them play? And if you did you really watch or did you just see a couple of games and let history do the rest?

bjcart53
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I didn't even think this was

I didn't even think this was an argument.

slash787
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Lol I like how I go from well

Lol I like how I go from well over 600 points to losing over 40 points in 10 minutes. Can you say multiple accounts? The lengths some people will go to try and prove their point. Get a life.

llperez
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id take Stockton over

id take Stockton over Thomas

I mean you could argue stats all day. BUt just watching them I think Stockton did a better job of running a team and making sure his team got quality shots. I know the ability to score on your own is very important and Thomas had that over Stockton for sure, but Stockton always found a way to get his points and do it efficiently. Plus he was a better defender and set screens like no pg ever has. And while Stockton did have Malone, Malone Thomas didn't have any scrub teams he won with either. I mean he was surrounded by all-star caliber talent.

Plus, not to take too much away from Thomas's first ring in 89, but that laker team was devastated by injuries. Magic played in 3 games of the finals at 24 minutes per and didn't have it. And his backcourt mate Byron scott was out the whole series.

mikeyvthedon
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My friend Kris Habbas

Wrote a very good article about it:

http://dimemag.com/2011/09/whos-better-john-stockton-or-isiah-thomas/

He agrees Isiah was the better player and brings up some stats, things that had not necessarily been addressed. Not to mention, the folks at SLAM, a publication I know a lot of you read religuously, had a poll for the best 50 players of All-Time, Isiah came in at 19 and Stockton at 23. Close, but Isiah is higher. So, to say this is not at least an argument is just not even close to true. Plus, I know a lot of people love Bill Simmons. He has Isiah ranked 23 and Stockton at 25. However, that puts Thomas a whole level higher on his "pyramid" ranking and has him in front of Scottie Pippen. Just saying, Slash and I are not alone, even if it seems that way in this topic, lol.

slash787
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I wish I saw these articles

I wish I saw these articles before. More people agree with us than it appears. Someone and I won't say who I think it is has multiple accounts and is negging anyone on the Thomas side because in the matter of 10 minutes I saw someone gain 10 positives and myself lose 40 points which is sketchy considering the thread has been posted for over 5 hours. Anyway based on slam and Simmons respected opinions its good to see they agree with obvious logic.

But hey I guess Dan Marino is a better QB than Joe Montana because his regular season stats are better and if he played a decade earlier he would have a ring and if Montana played a decade later he would have no rings.

Ang Puti Lalaki
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Puff puff give

stockton may be the greatest pure point guard of all time. Thomas kissed a man (that has nothing to do with what kinda playrr he was. )

ItsVictorOladipo
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I think we can all agree that

I think we can all agree that if Malone/Stockton played in the 80s, they would have won a title and if Isaiah Thomas played in the 90s, he would not have a title.
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What? I'm really confused at this statement and at how many people agreed with it. Stockton and Malone DID play in the 80s. They were actually in their physical prime with a strong supporting cast in 1989 and 1990 the 2 years Detroit won titles, and they didn't get past the first round of the playoffs.

In 1989 Malone was 25 and put up 29.1 PPG and 10.7 RPG, Stockton was 26 and put up 17.1 PPG, 13.6 APG, 3.2 SPG. Thurl Bailey put up 19.5 PPG as the third option, Darrell Griffith was a former 20 PPG scorer who was relegated to 4th option despite being only 30 years old and averaged 13.8 PPG in that role. And at center they had a two time DPOY who averaged 10.3 RPG and 3.8 BPG. They got swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Warriors.

The following season Malone put up 31 PPG and 11.1 RPG Stockton put up 17.2 PPG and 14.5 APG. The Jazz won 55 games but still lost in the first round of the playoffs to a really well balanced Suns team.

BigChamp12
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^^^^^ Spot on!

DH is spot on! I was reading all of the points and was wondering why no one thought about the fact that Stockton and Malone played in the 80s and couldnt win then. DH pretty much said what I wanted to say. Nonetheless, this thread was very entertaining to read and everybody supported their points with great reasons and numbers to support them. No homo, but i really enjoy REAL ADULT DEBATES like this one.

d_money31
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Ok, here is the most; these

Ok, here is the most; these guys are both great players. And had completely different playing styles. Thomas was a scorer while Stockton is the ultimate "true-point guard" There is no point in comparing the two.

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For those of you

Who insist that Isiah Thomas was better than John Stockton because he won 2 titles and Stockton won zero, I humbly submit Derek Fisher, who won FIVE titles. Clearly, he must be better than Isiah and Stockton combined.

For that matter, there are EIGHT Boston Celtics who rocked a dynasty together from 1957-1969 (and a couple more in the 1970's), winning 7+ titles EACH, led by Bill Russell with 11 titles. The only other player in NBA history with 7 rings is Robert Horry. So I suppose that, under this logic, any all time list needs to start and end with Celtic green.

Titles are nice, and they have to be factored into any discussion, but it certainly can't "come down to the number of championships won" in a logical discussion. Unless, of course, you feel that K.C. Jones is better than Lebron James, since he has over twice as many rings.

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Stephen A. Smith on Yo Bi*** **s

No. Just no. Don't even care to read all the back and forth on this. Go have a martini w/ Stephen A. on this topic as he has run it dry. Isaiah Thomas was awesome and a baller. Better player MAYBE. Better point guard?? NO WAY IN HELL.

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I give thomas the edge personally.

I look at things this way. If I had to build a team with one of these two people as my core player to center a team around it would be thomas.

fennisdembo
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Stockton himself has said

Stockton himself has said repeatedly that he felt Thomas was a better player than he was and he was right. Both players were amazing talents but I remember watching them go head to head and it was always clear Thomas was better. Hell even Stockton had Thomas by his side for his hall of fame induction. Stats Stockton wins, you have these two face off in their primes and Thomas dominates, saw it with my own eyes. I'll never forget the first time they played after the dream team was picked. Thomas crushed him, seriously showed the world by putting up 40 until the mailman delivered an elbow to Thomas' eye that required many stitches. How I miss the old NBA

fennisdembo
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http://www.basketball-referen

http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/h2h_finder.cgi?request=1&...

head to head box scores, clearly Thomas was better

surve
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plus 1 for the username.

plus 1 for the username.

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