Stockton vs Nash: Which Point Guard Would You Start Your Franchise With?

Steven ResnickSenior Writer IMarch 26, 2010

19 Dec 2001:  Point guard John Stockton #12 of the Utah Jazz dribbles the ball during the NBA game against the Orlando Magic at the TD Waterhouse Centre in Orlando, Florida.  The Magic defeated the Jazz 98-90.  Mandatory Credit:  Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

I was reading an article the other day on Steve Nash and how he's not slowing down at the age of 36.

This led me to make some comments on the subject and see what other NBA fans had too say about Nash's abilities at 36. 

There was one comment that just made me shake my head... 

Someone suggested that Nash was better than John Stockton. 

I've never been a fan of Utah or Stockton, and as I've written before, I'm no fan of Nash either. But to say that Nash is better than Stockton is ridiculous. 

Stockton was known as a tough, pesky defender, and his bread and butter was the pick and roll with Karl Malone. Nash, like Stockton, has had a similar counterpart in Amare Stoudemire.

The only difference is that no NBA fan could confuse Stockton's defensive abilities with Nash's. 

In terms of style of play,  Stockton's Jazz and Nash's Suns are polar opposites. When Stockton was playing, it was a slower, more physical style of play with Stockton controlling the ball and finding Malone. 

Phoenix, on the other hand, wants to run up and down the court and get as many as possessions as possible.

As for the comparisons between Stockton and Nash, it's really not a fair comparison for Nash.

While Nash will always be considered great for his high assist numbers and creative play in the open court, he will never come close to what Stockton accomplished in his career. 

Nash's only edge over Stockton is that is that he is a better pure scorer, willing to drive to the net. Nash has a career average of 14.5 points per game, while Stockton ended with an average of 13.1 points per game. 

In terms of assists, Stockton averaged 10.5 apg for his career to Nash's 8.3 apg. Even if you compared Stockton's first three years with Nash's first four, Stockton consistently put up better assist totals. 

Stockton had nine seasons with over 900 assists, while Nash has never made it to 900  in a season. Nash did come close with one season with 898, and if Nash remains healthy for the rest of the season he should finally eclipse the 900 mark. 

He also

Among those nine seasons he had seven seasons over 1,000 assists, a number that hasn't even been approached by Nash.  Nine seasons is also the amount of times that Nash lead the NBA in assists. Nash has led the NBA in assists three times and this season should be his fourth. 

Stockton had 10 seasons in which he averaged at least double digits in assists, while Nash has had five (including this season). Stockton's best season was when he tallied 14.5 apg, while Nash's high has been 11.6 apg. 

Defensively, Stockton had 10 seasons with over two steals per game and never averaged less than 1.3 steals per game. Nash, on the other hand, has never made it to two steals per game or even 1.3 steals per game for a season.

Steve Nash has only had three seasons of averaging a steal per game and that's it.

In terms of shooting, Nash does have another edge in three point shooting at 43.1 percent and free throw percentage at 90.3 percent. Stockton has the better field goal percentage at 51.5 percent.

Those numbers are the reasons why Nash averages 1.4 points per game more than Stockton did for his career. 

Yet, no matter which way you look at it Stockton, is was a far superior point guard than Nash has ever been. Stockton's assists numbers are better than Nash's, his toughness in only missing 22 games in a 19 year career trump's Nash's, and his defensive abilities are far superior to Nash's. 

There's a reason why Stockton has the most assists in NBA history as well as the most steals.

He worked hard at both ends of the court, something that cannot and will never be said about Nash.