Salt City Hoops » John Stockton http://saltcityhoops.com The ESPN TrueHoop Utah Jazz Site Tue, 16 Sep 2014 23:12:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The ESPN TrueHoop Utah Jazz Site Salt City Hoops no The ESPN TrueHoop Utah Jazz Site Salt City Hoops » John Stockton http://saltcityhoops.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://saltcityhoops.com What if: Rony Seikaly had come to the Utah Jazz in 1998? http://saltcityhoops.com/what-if-rony-seikaly-had-come-to-the-utah-jazz-in-1998/ http://saltcityhoops.com/what-if-rony-seikaly-had-come-to-the-utah-jazz-in-1998/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 17:42:56 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=12719 Author information
David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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AP Photo/John Bazemore

AP Photo/John Bazemore

Off the heels of an impressive 1996-97 season, which saw the team go 64-18 en route to its first-ever NBA Finals appearance, the Utah Jazz came back the following year more determined to not only get back to the big stage, but to win the whole thing. All the key free agents were brought back and while there were bumps along the way, the 1997-98 Jazz were a team on a mission. John Stockton suffered the first major injury of his career and a few players started the season slowly, but by midseason, things were falling into place.

While the team was playing extremely well, the front office approached the February 1998 trade deadline with an active desire to improve the roster in preparation for what was hopefully to be another historic postseason run. With this in mind, the Utah Jazz made a trade to bring in center Rony Seikaly from the Orlando Magic.

But he never came to Utah. And the Jazz moved on.

This could be one of the biggest “what ifs” in franchise history. Most are aware of the circumstances: On February 17th, Utah and Orlando consummated a deal that would send to the Magic center Greg Foster, swingman Chris Morris and the Jazz’s 1998 first-round draft pick to the Magic in exchange for Seikaly.

In fact, Foster and Morris were warming up before the start of a game that evening when they were told of the move. Morris seemed quite pleased about the opportunity, as he had established residency in Jerry Sloan’s doghouse. Foster, on the other hand, was visibly shaken. After a very nomadic career, he had become a very viable contributor and had established roots in the community.

For Seikaly, it seemed like a no-brainer. At least on paper. The talented, offensive-minded big man would have the chance to play alongside two Hall of Famers in Karl Malone and John Stockton. And for the first time, he would be part of a contender.

It never happened. Seikaly never reported to Salt Lake City. Some suggested that he was leery of coming to Utah, especially after playing mostly for teams in warm climates (Miami and Orlando). Other reports insinuated that Seikaly wanted his last two seasons guaranteed–something some said Utah was willing to do. If you ask Seikaly, it was the Jazz who nixed the trade, with concerns about his foot injury. It was a matter of he said, they said. Based on some of the comments coming from Magic officials. and players, though, it might have been Seikaly’s call.

Whatever the truth is–and the fans may never know what truly occurred–the pairing of Seikaly and the Jazz did not materialize. Despite reporting to Orlando and participating in a practice, Foster and Morris were brought back to Utah in a very awkward position. Utah’s front office, coaches and the fans did their best to welcome the pair back, but it must have been surreal for them.

What would Seikaly have brought to the team?

Up to that point in the season, Seikaly was averaging 15.0 PPG and 7.6 RPG. While his shooting was a career-low 44.1 percent, he would’ve added a much-needed offensive threat who could shoulder some of the scoring burdens placed on the NBA’s MVP, Karl Malone. Seikaly was a talented player who had a bevy of moves around the basket in his repertoire. For much of his career, he was his team’s focal point on offense, doing so mostly through iso plays. That would not have been in the case in Utah. He would’ve benefitted greatly from Sloan’s dynamic offense that worked efficiently and always made the extra pass (evidenced by the league-leading 49 percent shooting, along with 25.2 assists per outing). Malone had developed into one of the NBA’s best passing bigs and he would’ve done a fine job at setting up Seikaly for easy looks. And Stockton, Jeff Hornacek and Howard Eisley were not too shabby, either.

While his advanced stats were not gleaming, Seikaly was posting a 15.8 PER and 2.8 WS. Those would’ve easily placed him ahead of the troika of Foster (8.9 PER, 1.3 WS), Greg Ostertag (12.5, 2.2) and Antoine Carr (9.8, 1.5). Seikaly essentially would have assumed Foster’s starting role and his 18.5 MPG, along with some of Carr’s playing time. That would’ve obviously brought productivity and potential to the table.

Even though his TRB%, 14.1, was quite a bit below his career average, Seikaly was much better off the glass than Foster (11.7) or Carr (7.5).

He would’ve also smoothed out the rotations. A Seikaly/Ostertag tandem would provide a nice offensive-defensive contrast and could even play a bit together when the Mailman needed a spell. It would also allow Carr to be used more prudently, playing to his strengths as instant offense off the bench. The team would’ve had 30 games to acclimate him in and get everyone used to their refined roles.

Would Seikaly have made a difference in the Playoffs and the Finals? Foster, Ostertag and Carr averaged a combined 11.9 PPG and 10.0 RPG in 49.1 MPG in the postseason. In the Finals? They tallied a total of 44 points and 42 rebounds in 204 minutes. Seikaly would’ve most likely fared much better. At a minimum, he would’ve been someone the Chicago defense would have had to address.

Injuries decimated (and the ensuing controversy behind his not going to Utah) Seikaly’s career. Who knows if he would’ve done better in Utah on that front. Some vets seem to thrive when playing a complementary role for a team that’s winning. At just 32, Seikaly might’ve been a contributor for a few more years.

So, there you have it–one of the more painful “what ifs” in Jazz history.

Author information

David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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52 John Stockton Memories http://saltcityhoops.com/52-john-stockton-memories/ http://saltcityhoops.com/52-john-stockton-memories/#comments Wed, 26 Mar 2014 22:03:42 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=10846 Author information
David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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Glenn James/NBAE/Getty Images

Glenn James/NBAE/Getty Images

In the midst of a rough Utah Jazz season, sometimes it’s good to take a minute to reflect on some better times. In that same spirit, today is the one and only John Stockton’s 52nd birthday. Without further ado, here are 52 memories of and thoughts about #12:

1- One has to start with the absolutely magical relationship Stockton had with Karl Malone. Do Utah Jazz fans realize how lucky they were to have two Hall of Famers giving their all, night in and night out, for nearly two decades? The debates of who was more important or who benefited more from the other are moot. The symbiotic nature of this tandem’s on and off-court unity may never be replicated. They also shared a love for milk, even before they became the dynamic duo.

2- Few were better at the pull-up 3-pointer, quite often when managing a two-for-one situation at the end of a quarter.

3- The absolute respect Jerry Sloan and John Stockton had for each other. Stockton was an extension of Sloan on the court, with the latter calling most of the plays. John never quibbled–he did what was asked and excelled. The mutual love they had for each other was evident on the night the franchise honored him after his retirement, when Sloan teared up, saying “We thought you’d play forever, John.”

4- Stockton’s professionalism. For 19 seasons, he came to work. By all accounts, he reveled in practices just as much as the games. His preparation was unparalleled.

5- At every opportunity, Stockton was quick to acknowledge his teammates contributions, often deflecting attention toward his own accomplishments. On the night he broke Magic Johnson’s all-time assist mark, he said “The guys were making some incredible shots–ones I won’t soon forget.” The epitome of an unselfish leader.

6- Stockton did not exhibit much flashiness. That’s not to say that he never dribbled between his legs or made the occasional behind the back dish–he did. But he was effective and efficient–even when playing in 10 All-Star games.

7- 15,806 assists, seven times surpassing the 1,000 dime mark (with one season with 987). Imagine what that total would have been had he started more frequently his first three seasons. Even as is, it will always be one of sports most unbreakable records.

8- The absolute durability. In 17 of his 19 seasons, Stockton played every game. When he had that injury in 1997, he worked tirelessly to get back, missing on 18 games when others would’ve been sidelined much longer.

9- In the 1987-88 season, Stockton shot 57.4 percent from the floor. He was better than 50 percent for 12 seasons, and never shot worse than his rookie year’s 47.1 percent mark. But, according to Mark Jackson, he was a “good to very good shooter…not to be considered a great shooter.” Okay.

10- Of course, the short shorts. The ladies on Friends loved them.

11- John had a great sense of humor.

12- Stockton donned Nike’s Air Maestro’s in the 1990s. Like many out there, that instantly became my shoe of choice. Here’s John’s Foot Locker ad for said sneaker.

13- Perhaps everyone’s favorite Stockton moment was naturally “the Shot.” What was even more amazing was the complete way he took over the last few minutes of that game. He either scored or assisted on every basket down the stretch.  It was as clutch a performance as there has been.

14- Also from that fateful game in Houston was the image indelibly etched in Jazz fans’ hearts forever–Stockton, Malone and Jeff Hornacek embracing for a brief moment before being surrounded by their teammates.

15- Stockton’s amazing acting abilities, as evidenced here. His singing prowess was also something to hear…

16- 28 assists against the San Antonio Spurs. Oh, and he added 20 points and eight steals that evening.

17- Shocking the whole world, John Stockton penned his autobiography, Assisted. Even the most devout Jazz fans can glean so much by reading this book. It was also enjoyable to see Stockton go about the media circuit, granting more interviews in a few weeks’ time than he seemingly did during several seasons.

18- Not being recognized by anyone in Barcelona, as part of the 1992 Dream Team. Not one of my favorite memories: Stockton going down with a broken leg, thus preventing him from playing much with the greatest team in basketball history.

19- For the analytics junkies, Stockton led the NBA three times in True Shooting Percentage, including a .651 mark in 1994-95. He paced the league in eFG% at .596 the following season.

20- Larry H. Miller loved Stockton–that was very evident. When asked what John was like, Miller’s reply was “He’s everything you think he is.”

21- He was tops in the league in Assist Percentage 15 seasons–including his final year at age 40.

22- A few more advanced stats: 207.7 Win Shares; 121 Offensive Rating and 104 Defensive Rating…for his entire career.

23- Stockton was fiercely loyal to the Utah Jazz. The stories of his contact talks, where Miller and Stockton would each write on a paper what they each thought was a fair number. And that was it. No agents. No posturing. Just two men in a room who respected each other.

24- Stockton’s Hall of Fame speech. To go into the Hall the same time as Jerry Sloan was priceless.

25- 3,265 steals by the NBA’s most prolific thief. He lead the league twice and tallied over 100 each season, minus the lockout year and the season of his injury.

26- Naturally, we have to mention the screens he set. It did not matter if you were Shaquille O’Neal or Hakeem Olajuwon, Stockton was not afraid to go inside. It earned him the “dirty” label, but it seemed like it was just good, tough basketball.

27- Gary Payton saying Stockton was harder to guard than Michael Jordan. Repeatedly, much to many media members’ and fans’ chagrin.

28- The pick & roll. To perfection.

29- Stockton leading the Jazz to victory over the Chicago Bulls despite being down 107-100 with 40 seconds left. One of my favorite Hot Rod Hundley calls of all-time.

30- Back in the late 1980s, Wilt Chamberlain said that if he was starting a team from scratch, Stockton would be the first player he’d choose.

31- The Dean John Wooden saying Stockton was the only guy he’d pay money to watch. “He’s just my favorite player to watch in the pros.”

32- Doling out 24 assists against the Lakers in the 1988 Playoffs to tie Magic’s single-game postseason record.

33- Stockton remained a family man, one who was devoted to his wife and kids.

34- Together with Hornacek, Stockton helped form a truly remarkable back court. These were two guys who could shoot, pass and defend with the best of them, even though they joined forces toward the end of their careers.

35- “The Pass” against the Bulls in the Finals.

36-  Stockton was one of the few players who placed his heart on his chest and sang the national anthem prior to games. .

37- Sharing the 1993 All-Star Game MVP honors with the “Mailman.” Stock finished with nine points, 15 assists and six rebounds, but it was his clutch play down the stretch that helped him earn part of that trophy. That was a great respite in an otherwise difficult season.

38- Making the All-Defensive team five times. Toward the end of his career, Stockton did struggle against speedy counterparts, but in his heyday, he was a tough defender. Mark Eaton and Greg Ostertag did allow him to roam a bit and play the passing lanes, but Stockton was gritty when going one-on-one.

39- Being selected 11 times to the All-NBA team.

40- Being a torch bearer during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

41- At the press conference two months ago, seeing Jerry Sloan in the middle, with Stockton on one side and Malone on the other took Jazz fans back to glory days.

42- Seeing the Stockton statue be unveiled outside of the arena. Likewise, driving through the intersection of John Stockton Drive and Karl Malone Drive just next to EnergySolutions Arena.

43- Stockton being one of the 1996 Olympic team captains.

44- Making the Playoffs each of his 19 seasons.

45- The absolutely classy gesture by the Sacramento Kings fans in giving Stockton and Malone a standing ovation in what would be their final game together. Watching the scene brings chills.

46- Stockton’s retirement ceremony. It was a great opportunity for Jazz fans to deservedly shower #12 with love.

47- Hearing Hot Rod call every  Stockton “leapin’ leaner,”yo-yo,” “belt-high dribble,” and “hippity-hop.” There’s also “With a gentle push, and a mild arc, the old cowhide globe hits home” and, of course, “Stockton-to-Malone.” There was only one Hot Rod. “You gotta love it baby!”

48- Seeing him a few times each season at Jazz games.

49- I grew up not caring much for sports. Then in 1987, my father took me to a Jazz game in the old Salt Palace. There was this speedy, short guard making some incredible passes. I was hooked to basketball, becoming a lifelong Jazz fan thanks to John Stockton.

50- Stockton could have undoubtedly be a 20-22 PPG scorer in the NBA. He was that great of a shooter. Many people’s biggest gripe was his passing up shots at times. Still, his selflessness was incredible to watch.

51-  His taking the time to tutor first Deron Williams and then Trey Burke and Alec Burks this past offseason.

52- John Stockton is truly the greatest point guard to ever play the game.

Thank you for indulging me. Feel free to share some of your favorite John Stockton memories and thoughts below. And Happy Birthday John!

Author information

David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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“Utah Jazz Basketball”: A Look At Assisted Field Goal % http://saltcityhoops.com/utah-jazz-basketball-a-look-at-assisted-field-goal/ http://saltcityhoops.com/utah-jazz-basketball-a-look-at-assisted-field-goal/#comments Wed, 16 Oct 2013 21:45:36 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=8022 Author information
David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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We often hear, when the Jazz win, that the team won by playing “Utah Jazz basketball.” For me, that has always connoted heart, hustle, tough defense, smart offense, and above all, teamwork.

When you think about the best teams in franchise history, they often exuded teamwork – an altruistic mindset. These Jazz squads were the ones who seemed to take joy in making the extra pass and in doing so, everyone got involved. The teamwork and passing was simply contagious. The result were some very successful years and many deep playoff runs. Moreover, they were a complete delight to watch, especially for basketball purists.

They were rosters comprised of many capable and, more importantly, willing passers. While John Stockton and Deron Williams were naturally the catalysts behind these stellar passing teams, the Jazz have had a bevy of excellent passers in Karl Malone, Jeff Hornacek, Andrei Kirilenko, Howard Eisley, and so forth.

One of my favorite statistics to watch: the percentage of the team’s total field goals which were assisted. Let’s call this the Assisted Field Goal Percentage, or AFG%. The team that has the higher percentage often places themselves in a good position to win on a given night. For instance, when the Los Angeles Clippers demolished the Jazz Saturday evening, they did a masterful job executing (especially in a preseason outing). Led by Chris Paul and Darren Collison, they assisted on 29 of their 43 field goals–a 67.4 percent clip. Furthermore, it was much higher through the first three quarters, prior to letting the end of the bench finish the evening out. The Clippers did a lot of other great things that night and the Jazz had a rough go at it, but the high AFG% definitely contributed to LA’s victory.

Here is a historical look at how the Jazz have done on AFG%. Let’s start with the 1987-88 campaign, when Stockton and Malone took the NBA by storm (side note: many people cite this as the first year Stockton started. He did start 38 games his second season.). Besides AFG%, the overall field goal percentage and record are also included.

Season FGs Asts AFG % Overall FG% Record
1987-88 3,484 2,407 .691 .491 47-35
1988-89 3,182 2,108 .662 .482 51-31
1989-90 3,330 2,212 .664 .505 55-27
1990-91 3,214 2,217 .690 .492 54-28
1991-92 3,379 2,188 .647 .492 55-27
1992-93 3,336 2,177 .653 .489 47-35
1993-94 3,207 2,179 .679 .477 53-29
1994-95 3,243 2,256 .696 .512 60-22
1995-96 3,129 2,139 .684 .488 55-27
1996-97 3,131 2,199 .702 .504 64-18
1997-98 2,993 2,070 .692 .490 62-20
1998-99 1,684 1,204 .715 .465 37-13*
1999-00 2,962 2,041 .689 .464 55-27
2000-01 2,960 2,110 .713 .471 53-29
2001-02 2,869 1,999 .697 .450 44-38
2002-03 2,894 2,103 .727 .468 47-35
2003-04 2,690 1,671 .621 .436 42-40
2004-05 2,828 1,826 .646 .449 26-56
2005-06 2,744 1,772 .645 .442 41-41
2006-07 3,069 2,024 .659 .474 51-31
2007-08 3,279 2,165 .660 .497 54-28
2008-09 3,143 2,024 .644 .475 48-34
2009-10 3,227 2,187 .678 .491 53-29
2010-11 3,064 1,921 .627 .465 39-43
2011-12 2,523 1,439 .570 .456 36-30*
2012-13 3,046 1,859 .610 .454 43-39

(*-Lockout seasons)

While pace and scoring have fluctuated greatly in the NBA the past few decades, the Utah Jazz has been consistently high in AFG%. From 1987 to 2009–much of which came under Jerry Sloan’s tenure–the team had an AFG% of 64.4 percent or higher 22 of 23 seasons. During the 15 seasons where the team eclipsed the 50-win mark (including the 1998-99 lockout season where they would have), Utah sat between 66 and 71.5 percent 14 of those years. The high mark in 2002-03 happened to be the final season before #12 and #32 rode off into the sunset. 72.7 percent is simply stellar.

The past few seasons have been much lower, particularly the most recent lockout season. The offense focused on Al Jefferson’s low post abilities, which had some definite positives. It also took away from the more open, free passing offense that has been a stable of Utah Jazz basketball for decades. Likewise, the changing of the point guards–Deron Williams, Devin Harris, Earl Watson, Jamaal Tinsley, and Mo Williams–definitely contributed. Without consistency at the helm, it is difficult to set the tone.

While this season will be a season of some growing pains, along with the defensive foundation that Tyrone Corbin and the front office has been fittingly espousing as a goal for this year, the Jazz would do well to help reestablish Utah’s longstanding focus on smart and effective passing, while boosting the team’s AFG%. Trey Burke’s injury certainly hurts, but with able passers like Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks, and some big guys who can dish, there are some very good pieces in place. As the team rebuilds, if it is to return to the ranks of contenders, keep an eye on the AFG%–it’s a true part of “Utah Jazz basketball.”

Author information

David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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The Greatness of Jeff Hornacek http://saltcityhoops.com/the-greatness-of-jeff-hornacek/ http://saltcityhoops.com/the-greatness-of-jeff-hornacek/#comments Wed, 07 Aug 2013 16:44:25 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=7336 Author information
David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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While some of the different articles out there have varying opinions on how the Jazz off-season has fared (NBA.com’s David Aldridge, for instance, listed Utah 29th of 30), in many ways, I think the Jazz are having a very nice summer.

The combination of their roster moves (the Draft, trades, free agency), as well as their front office efforts (bringing Jerry Sloan and Karl Malone back into the fold, along with the the major upgrades at EnergySolutions Arena), have many Jazz fans optimistic about the direction of the franchise. And rightfully so.

For me, however, there has been one negative this off-season: Jeff Hornacek is no longer on the bench. Like most, I am genuinely happy that Hornacek has been given the chance at a head coaching gig–especially this early on in this part of his career. It is still bittersweet, though, to see him not with the Utah Jazz.

Hornacek was one of the heroes of my childhood. I grew up during the glory days of John Stockton, Karl Malone, Sloan, and Hornacek. I remember fondly the day Utah made the best deadline deal in team history: acquiring Jeff from the Philadelphia Sixers. He automatically teamed up with #12 and #32 to form a truly great trio.

That said, I think we sometimes underestimate how great and underrated Jeff Hornacek truly was. Fortunately he has been given some well-deserved accolades lately in the media.

ESPN Insider’s Tom Haberstroh ranked the Best Big Threes in modern NBA history, using Kevin Pelton’s wins above replacement value metric (WARP). The Jazz troika finished fourth (behind the threesomes for the Celtics (Larry Bird, Robert Parish, Kevin McHale), Bulls (Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant), and the Spurs (Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili). Haberstroh emphasized Hornacek’s contributions to that big three:

A former All-Star and one of the premier shooters of his time, Hornacek probably doesn’t garner the recognition that he deserves. The guy was a beacon of efficiency and nearly joined the 50-40-90 club in field goal percentage, free throw percentage and 3-point percentage, respectively, during his entire run with the Jazz. Easily the best Big Three to never win the title.

My Twitter friend, Curtis Harris of ProHoopsHistory.com, also recently focused on Hornacek with an excellent analysis.

In addition to what these two have written, if you’ll indulge me, here are some reasons why I feel Jeff was great:

  • For the longest time, Stockton had to do the bulk of the ball handling and facilitating. That’s natural, you say, since he was the epitome of a point guard. That said, he needed help, so as to help lighten the load. Before Jeff arrived, John’s backcourt partners were Darrell Griffith, Bobby Hansen, Jeff Malone, and even Andy Toolson. They were all good fits, but none could offer the playmaking expertise Hornacek did. This enabled John to occasionally play off the ball, while Jeff would take turns at the helm. Likewise, Jeff was able to play back-up point guard minutes (before Howard Eisley was acquired). In my opinion, all this helped lengthen Stockton’s career.
  • We could go on and on about his shooting. Perhaps because of his all-around game and unassuming personality, Hornacek is unfairly not included in discussions about the game’s best shooters. One thing I loved: Hornacek’s shooting was especially vital in the fourth quarters. He not only helped spread the floor, but his free throw shooting in the clutch was essential in icing games.
  • He shot between 48-51% each season from the floor, connected on 40%+ from three-point range in each season except one, and never shot lower than 88.2% from the line with the Jazz. Oh, and he led the NBA in free throw percentage with an insane 95.0% clip his final season. That’s 19 of every 20 shots made.
  • Jeff and John were one of the best shooting back courts in NBA history. Remarkably underrated.
  • Hornacek’s defense was steady. He simply could not match his opponents physically, but he played heady position defense, using crafty moves to stick between his man and the basket. He effectively was able to get into others’ heads. Just ask Jerry Stackhouse. Hornacek also effectively played the passing lanes.
  • It was not until Hornacek came to town that the Jazz became an above average road team. That was a thorn in the side of many of those late 80s/early 90s Utah squads. With Jeff, the Jazz became a more potent, more cerebral team. He brought mental toughness that contributed to a big turnaround away from the Delta Center.
  • In six and a half seasons, Jeff missed 10 games. An iron man, just like Karl and John.
  • Utah’s record with Jeff Hornacek: 350-137 (.719), including the three 60-win seasons in franchise history, four visits to the conference finals, and of course, the two series versus the Bulls.
  • The 8-8 three-point night versus Seattle was electric.

Well, there you have it: more reasons why Jeff Hornacek was great. These are just some of the reasons why #14 is hanging in the ESA rafters.

What are your favorite Hornacek moments? Feel free to share in the comments.

Author information

David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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John Stockton Was Really, Really Good http://saltcityhoops.com/john-stockton-was-really-really-good/ http://saltcityhoops.com/john-stockton-was-really-really-good/#comments Wed, 05 Jun 2013 20:13:31 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=6447 Author information
David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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th-5

Within a matter of days, the NBA saw two all-time greats ride off into the sunset. After tremendous careers spanning parts of three decades, Grant Hill and Jason Kidd announced their retirements. The praise for their distinguished achievements that has since ensued is very fitting and deserving. The news has spawned debate as to where this pair fits in the annals of NBA lore.

Specifically, in the case of Kidd, it has lead to discussion of the best point guards in NBA history and where he fits in the pecking order. Seeing the barrage of tweets and articles that highlight Kidd’s career was enjoyable, but the Jazz devotee in me naturally gravitated to one Mr. John Stockton and his greatness.

Several have asked who had the better career: Kidd or Stockton? I won’t go too in-depth on this, as that is a topic for another day. Suffice it to say, that while Kidd has the edge in some areas (better rebounder, stronger defender, earned a championship with Dallas), Stockton has my vote due to his own advantage in others (all-time leader in two major statistical categories, durability, better shooter).

Even the most die-hard of Jazz fans can sometimes underestimate just how good Stockton was. If you will indulge me, I would like add another perspective on his place amongst his fellow elite point guards.

First, we know most of the following statistics and accolades by heart:

  • The all-time leader with 15,806 dimes. Led the league in assists nine consecutive seasons. Tallied 1,000+ assist seasons.
  • With 3,265 steals, also the all-time leader in thefts.
  • 10-time All-Star. Co-All-Star MVP in 1993.
  • 11-time All-NBA selection. Five-time All-Defensive team member.
  • Two-time Olympic gold medal winner.
  • Led the Utah Jazz to the playoffs each of his 19 seasons, including two Finals appearances in 1997 and 1998.
  • Played every game in 17 of his 19 campaigns. Including 182 postseason outings, #12 played in 1,686 of 1,708 possible games (98.7%).
  • Apparently one autobiography.
  • And so on and so on.

Well, here is one more statistic that illustrates Stockton’s mastery: points accounted for. I remember fondly many instances where John Stockton would orchestrate a brilliant quarter where he either scored or assisted nearly every basket for the Jazz. He essentially accounted for almost every point for his squad. This was a rather common occurrence, and one way in which he could quietly dominate.

The formula is simple: (assists x 2) + points scored. Obviously, we cannot accurately ascertain how many of a player’s assists resulted in three-pointers by teammates, but we can figure out the minimum points an individual accounted for during his career.

Along with the 15,806 assists, Stockton scored 19,711 points (which might be a surprising total: he was a very underrated shooter and scorer). While we cannot gauge how many three-pointers John assisted via the likes of Jeff Hornacek, Bryon Russell, and Darrell Griffith, we know that Stockton accounted for at least 51,323 points. Astounding.

Let’s compare him against some of the game’s best playmakers:

 

Name Games played Assists Points Scored Pts Accounted For
John Stockton 1,504 15,806 19,711 51,323
Oscar Robertson 1,040 9,887 26,710 46,484
Jason Kidd 1,391 12,091 17,529 41,711
Gary Payton 1,335 8,966 21,813 39,745
Magic Johnson 906 10,141 17,707 37,989
Steve Nash 1,202 10,249 17,285 37,783
Isiah Thomas 979 9,061 18,822 36,944
Andre Miller 1,126 7,956 15,496 31,348
Bob Cousy 924 6,955 16,960 30,950

These are some impressive numbers by some very impressive players, but Stockton’s total is remarkable. Obviously, his longevity and lack of missed games contributes greatly, as some counterparts accounted for more points per game played. In future posts, I will delve deeper into points accounted for, but for now, this gives you a feel for the impact Stockton had on the game. While Karl Malone and his prolific scoring earned most of the headlines, Stockton’s contributions were amazing.

 

Author information

David J Smith
David J Smith
Besides writing for Salt City Hoops, David contributes to the Utah Jazz coverage for the Deseret News (instant analysis articles), WeAreUtahJazz.com, UtahJazz360.com and previously for Hoopsworld.com. He graduated from BYU and works for LDS Philanthropies. His wife, Elizabeth, is the most patient person in the world and they have four amazing children; Kadence, Tayah, Stockton (yes, really), and Cambria.
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Saint Stock: John Stockton turns 51 http://saltcityhoops.com/saint-stock-john-stockton-turns-51/ http://saltcityhoops.com/saint-stock-john-stockton-turns-51/#comments Wed, 27 Mar 2013 00:01:52 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=6163 Author information
Spencer Hall
Founder Spencer Hall has covered the NBA, Team USA and NBA D-League since 2007 and launched Salt City Hoops in 2009. Spencer is now the news director at KSL.com
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In honor of the NBA’s all-time steals and assists leader turning 51, I offer this masterpiece from the incomparable @beeteeth:

St.StocktonFull_1020

No. 12 John Stockton, “The Patron Saint of Ball Thieves” – 24×36 acrylic on tea-stained paper.

Check out the rest of the amazing work by artist Daniel Lee Christofferson and follow him on Twitter: @beeteeth.

Now watch the fantastic footage of KSL’s Jim Nantz after the Jazz drafted John Stockton. Uploaded by KSL’s Jeremiah Jensen for our Retro Jazz project last summer.

Featuring the aforementioned Nantz, a mustachioed Scott Layden, Frank Layden, and a surprisingly open and upbeat John Stockton. Special appearance by practice jerseys that appear to be stolen from a Jr. Jazz league.

Author information

Spencer Hall
Founder Spencer Hall has covered the NBA, Team USA and NBA D-League since 2007 and launched Salt City Hoops in 2009. Spencer is now the news director at KSL.com
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Stockton and Malone enter the Utah Sports Hall of Fame http://saltcityhoops.com/stockton-and-malone-enter-the-utah-sports-hall-of-fame/ http://saltcityhoops.com/stockton-and-malone-enter-the-utah-sports-hall-of-fame/#comments Wed, 24 Oct 2012 15:26:35 +0000 http://saltcityhoops.com/?p=5653 Author information
Spencer Hall
Founder Spencer Hall has covered the NBA, Team USA and NBA D-League since 2007 and launched Salt City Hoops in 2009. Spencer is now the news director at KSL.com
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via KSL / @jjsportsbeat

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Spencer Hall
Founder Spencer Hall has covered the NBA, Team USA and NBA D-League since 2007 and launched Salt City Hoops in 2009. Spencer is now the news director at KSL.com
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A Stockton Hall-of-Fame montage to cleanse the palate http://saltcityhoops.com/a-stockton-hall-of-fame-montage-to-cleanse-the-palate/ http://saltcityhoops.com/a-stockton-hall-of-fame-montage-to-cleanse-the-palate/#comments Fri, 04 May 2012 00:28:09 +0000 http://www.saltcityhoops.com/?p=5132 Author information
Spencer Hall
Founder Spencer Hall has covered the NBA, Team USA and NBA D-League since 2007 and launched Salt City Hoops in 2009. Spencer is now the news director at KSL.com
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After all the attention given to the now-infamous video of John Stockton and Jim Nantz in a hot tub during Stockton’s rookie season, it’s only right to follow up with this career montage based on Stockton’s Hall of Fame speech.

Thanks to @oaklycon for sending the link. Hopefully it’s just what you needed to wash away that terrible Game 2 loss.

Author information

Spencer Hall
Founder Spencer Hall has covered the NBA, Team USA and NBA D-League since 2007 and launched Salt City Hoops in 2009. Spencer is now the news director at KSL.com
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The greatest video in the history of hot tub videos featuring John Stockton http://saltcityhoops.com/the-greatest-video-in-the-history-of-hot-tub-videos-featuring-john-stockton/ http://saltcityhoops.com/the-greatest-video-in-the-history-of-hot-tub-videos-featuring-john-stockton/#comments Tue, 24 Apr 2012 21:46:53 +0000 http://www.saltcityhoops.com/?p=5097 Author information
Spencer Hall
Founder Spencer Hall has covered the NBA, Team USA and NBA D-League since 2007 and launched Salt City Hoops in 2009. Spencer is now the news director at KSL.com
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Today at shootaround before tonight’s epic Jazz matchup with the Phoenix Suns, I had a conversation with KSL sports anchor Jeremiah Jenson. At some point, Jeremiah casually mentioned that he’d recently found a video in the KSL archives featuring John Stockton talking to then-KSL reporter Jim Nantz. If JJ hadn’t agreed to post the video, I might have rushed the KSL building to post it myself.

There are so many amazing things about this clip. The rookie John Stockton is remarkably upbeat and friendly, especially considering the Jazz lost at home the night before in Game 4 of the first round of 1985 Playoffs against the Houston Rockets. Fortunately the Jazz won the deciding Game 5 the next night on the road in Houston.

Also, Pace Mannion in his pre-analyst role is rocking a mustache and mullet that would be the best in any hot tub, if it weren’t for the presence of All-Stache candidate Rich Kelley. On the other side of the jacuzzi is Bobby Hansen, showing the bravado that eventually led him to get punched by teammate Bart Kofoed.

Lastly, the participatory journalism of a young Jim Nantz is stunning in comparison to his staid personality as host of the Tradition Unlike Any Other at the Masters. Definitely a different era. Also, can you imagine that hot tub scene happening if Jerry Sloan were the head coach?

Regardless, this clip is absolute gold.

Author information

Spencer Hall
Founder Spencer Hall has covered the NBA, Team USA and NBA D-League since 2007 and launched Salt City Hoops in 2009. Spencer is now the news director at KSL.com
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Happy 50th Birthday to John Stockton http://saltcityhoops.com/happy-50th-birthday-to-john-stockton/ http://saltcityhoops.com/happy-50th-birthday-to-john-stockton/#comments Mon, 26 Mar 2012 15:07:29 +0000 http://www.saltcityhoops.com/?p=4981 Author information
Spencer Hall
Founder Spencer Hall has covered the NBA, Team USA and NBA D-League since 2007 and launched Salt City Hoops in 2009. Spencer is now the news director at KSL.com
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In honor of John Stockton‘s 50th birthday, let’s relive some of the greatness:

Author information

Spencer Hall
Founder Spencer Hall has covered the NBA, Team USA and NBA D-League since 2007 and launched Salt City Hoops in 2009. Spencer is now the news director at KSL.com
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