Mark Jackson has never really been one for subtle statements. The Golden State Warriors coach stirred up a tempest recently when he appeared to downplay the shooting skills of NBA legend John Stockton.
The quote, via a David Aldridge article for NBA.com, was as follows:
"Hornacek -- great shooter. John Stockton -- good to very good shooter. Not a great shooter. Don't get me wrong. He was an all-time great player. But John Stockton would not be considered a great shooter."
Those who follow the Utah Jazz closely took Jackson's words with a large pinch of salt:
John Stockton shot above 50% 12 of his 19 seasons. His career low was his rookie season at 47%. @MarkJackson13— David J. Smith (@davidjsmith1232) January 7, 2014
Now, for some context. Jackson wasn't really looking to single out the retired point guard and 10-time All-Star. He was basically sticking up for his own players while asserting that Stockton wasn't quite the shooter that his longtime partner-in-crime Jeff Hornacek had been.
This dates back to a statement Jackson had previously made about the shooting prowess of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. His claim, according to Aldridge, is that his "backcourt is the greatest shooting backcourt tandem in the history of the game. And it's not even close."
Mark Jackson: Curry/Thompson "greatest shooting backcourt" ever? Agree?— Cari Champion (@CariChampion) May 12, 2013
Aldridge dug deeper into the matter by assembling a list of some of the greatest shooting tandems of all time, including the Portland Trail Blazers' Clyde Drexler and Terry Porter, the Philadelphia 76ers' Mo Cheeks and Andrew Toney, the Cincinnati Royals/Milwaukee Bucks' Oscar Robertson and Jon McGlocklin, the Indiana Pacers' Vern Fleming and Reggie Miller, the Cleveland Cavaliers' Mark Price and Craig Ehlo, the L.A. Lakers' Jerry West and Gail Goodrich and, of course, the Jazz's Stockton and Jeff Hornacek.
The question of the Splash Brothers' greatness was put to some of the above-mentioned greats, getting a lot of good opinions back in return. Jackson, predictably, wasn't backing down, going through Aldridge's list with typical aplomb.
Asked about Jerry West and Gail Goodrich, the Warriors coach commented, "Both of those guys were great players. Jerry West, obviously, all-time great. But neither one of those guys were great shooters."
Mama, there goes that man again—stirring up trouble left and right. Still, it was the Stockton reference that seemed to get the most play.
Speaking to Aldridge, Hornacek took the high road without necessarily giving ground, saying, "We shot the ball well. Steph can pull up off the dribble, in traffic. They're two of the better guys we've seen at those positions. But John and I could shoot it a little, too."
The discussion will no doubt continue, and it's doubtful that Jackson will ever run out of words to say about it.