John Stockton Rumors

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John Stockton
John Stockton
Position: None
Born: 03/26/62
Height: 6-1 / 1.85
Weight:175 lbs. / 79.4 kg.
Chandler and Gasol have enjoyed great careers, Brown and Curry not so much. It’s a reminder that betting the franchise’s future on big men is always risky, with the most infamous example coming in 1984 when Hakeem Olajuwon went No. 1, Sam Bowie went No. 2 and the player widely considered to be the best ever in the game was still on the board. A lesser-known blunder from that draft was that 15 teams passed on John Stockton. “You go back to the Olajuwon-Bowie-Jordan draft,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said. “In years past and maybe even today it makes sense to build around a big, but you don’t want to take a big because it’s a big and pass on the No. 3 pick — which turned out to be Michael Jordan.” Hence, maybe taking a guard the wiser move “It can be argued in today’s game that maybe you should do that,” Kupchak said.
Adams has a particular vision for Curry’s defense: He wants Stephen Curry to be the next John Stockton. Adams said “Stockton knew what the other team was going to do, knew how to gum up an offense. I’ve talked to Steph about this before. He has these natural abilities on the ball and away from the ball and in guarding catch-shoot players coming off pins. He’s good at all of that stuff. Now if you can add that aspect of just understanding what every team is trying to do, and the times he does that, he breaks plays up inside of himself.”
Stockton, the NBA Hall of Famer, inarguably king of the pick-and-roll and famous wearer of very short basketball shorts, was at the DICK’S High School Nationals as an assistant coach for the girls basketball team from Gonzaga Prep, and he was answering questions about coaching girls after sending his entire career around the men’s game. He called his time on the bench with the Gonzaga Prep girls “one of the greatest experiences of my life,” (which is saying something), and said that it was the Bullpups’ aggressive drive to learn that made the team special. “I don’t know if coaching girls is always like this, but this group has been amazing,” Stockton said. “They’ve been completely open to coaching and they all really want to learn. And they aren’t afraid to put the hard work in to get better.”
Tramonte is more used to seeing D.C. athletes in his store, including Nene, Stephen Strasburg and Ryan Zimmerman. Brother-in-law John Stockton has also stopped by. “I have a pretty good picture of John Stockton taking a pizza out of the oven,” said Tramonte, who met his wife, a Gonzaga alum from Fairbanks, Alaska, while she was working for the governor of Alaska’s office on Capitol Hill. “My kitchen manager is from Sicily and he said: ‘This guy would be good at making pizzas. He’s got big hands.’ ”
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Me: Do you find there’s extra pressure on any point guard who plays in Utah because of the standard John Stockton set there? Trey Burke: I think so, to a certain extent. The fans do a great job, I think, of embracing anybody who comes to Utah, including myself. They’ve already embraced me and shown me a lot of support. I think there is some pressure with the standard Stockton set, and him being the all-time assist and steals leader in the NBA. When you’ve got a guy that’s the all-time assist leader and steals leader, you’ve definitely got to come in and try to, not fill his shoes, but you’ve got to come in and produce. That’s what they’re expecting. They’ve seen one of the greatest point guards come through this franchise. To me, I’m going to continue to still work hard to get the most out of my game.
Kupchak: If John Stockton were in the D-League, we would have picked up John Stockton. We are trying to win games. With that said, you have to continue to monitor your roster as the season goes on. That’s the job as a general manager. You have to be more realistic. Most of the time, we start the season with a certain ratio in mind. It could be 80 percent looking at the current season, and 20 percent at the next season. If you have a chance to win a title in a given season, maybe you sacrifice the next year to a certain extent. Or, maybe that ratio changes with injuries, from 60-40 in December, to 50-50 in January or30-70 in February looking to the future. Now, the coach is 100 percent focused on winning that year, but part of the manager’s job is to have the future of the organization in mind.
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“In Coach Sloan’s offense, it was more inside the 3-point line, where you could get some kickouts,” Hornacek said. “For the three man, actually, it was easier to get threes, because we were running the three man guy with Karl. John and I were inside the line, and in transition, obviously, we could pull up. But it’s a different game now.” Jackson’s response: “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.”
If there’s anything mysterious or remotely controversial, it would be Stockton’s description of “a stubborn undertow of friction” during his final season of 2002-03, when his teammates — not named — included Carlos Arroyo, Mark Jackson and DeShawn Stevenson. In Friday’s news conference, Stockton said that subject was worth discussing mainly because of how he chose not to address it at the time, which played into his decision to retire at age 41. In turn, he angered his wife and Malone by making his brief announcement the day after a first-round playoff series against Sacramento, rather than telling them first.
Reality bites » The most surprising thing about being an NBA ball boy, Truman says, was seeing what these world-class athletes were consuming. Karl Malone would come in at 4 p.m. to watch “SportsCenter” while wolfing down popcorn, barbecue potato chips and Coke. (Truman says he would wait for the anchors to mention him and inevitably be offended at the characterization.) John Stockton usually took better care of himself, but Truman recalls an exhibition game at the Dee Events Center in Ogden where he snatched five snickerdoodle cookies from the press room. His teammates gave him grief, and he said it didn’t matter; he was only playing 10 minutes. Then he told a ball boy to go grab him some more snickerdoodles.
SI.com: What’s a day in the life of John Stockton these days? Stockton: Well, it’s kind of a mess of activities. There is not the same structure — I don’t have practice at 10, games at 7; I get to pick and choose my spots. But it’s very busy. I’m in a number of businesses. I’m in a couple of construction projects. I’m doing a lot of coaching, some high school, some younger. When I first retired, I was an assistant on seven or eight teams at once.
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SI.com: Did you like playing for Jerry Sloan? Stockton: Loved it. It was an absolute honor. Frank Layden was the perfect guy for me to start with, but Jerry was the perfect guy for all of us to expand. Frank turned the Jazz from a perennially losing team to a team that started to win. Jerry took the winning team he set up and made us believe we could be champions. He was a no-excuse guy. He was demanding but not unreasonable. I can’t give him enough compliments. He took the Jazz to a whole new level and put us on the brink of a couple championships. It would have been difficult without him.
Even more troublesome: Some new teammates began to grumble about their roles behind Stockton and Malone. They complained of favoritism coach Jerry Sloan allegedly showed his 40-something stars by not making them participate in every practice. “Things just started to add up,” Stockton said. “Things that started to worry me had never worried me before. Things that started to bother me had never bothered me before. The aches and pains I felt, I had never felt before. My reaction to it — instead of attacking it — was an indication it was time [to retire]. That was the message.” When told it sounded like his final season was a truly unhappy one, Stockton said, “I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. I had a great time. It was a great part of my life. But you can’t play forever.”
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During his career — spent entirely with the Utah Jazz — Stockton was the NBA’s version of Howard Hughes. He was the league’s mysterious recluse who gave few the opportunity to know him. Stockton avoided the spotlight and fought — stubbornly sometimes — to prevent outsiders from getting more than a glimpse of his life away from basketball. “I’ve been accused sometimes of being a hermit,” Stockton said last week. “[But] my feelings about privacy have never changed and probably never will. Everybody deserves that.” In Assisted, however, the intensely private basketball star successfully makes the transition to entertaining author.
The big surprise of the book is that he actually wrote it. He wanted to get thoughts down for his family, but as his project expanded, it became a book idea. There’s nary a swear word included, making it more than acceptable for Shadow Mountain, a division of Deseret Book. His main criticism comes at his own expense, saying that at the end of his career, small, selfish attitudes had begun to hurt the team. “That was a really tough part to cover,” he said.
Dan asked if he would ever suit up in practice. “I’m not going to suit up in practice,” Kidd said. “Even if we’re shorthanded. And I’m not going to have the uniform under my suit.” Dan also asked Kidd who he thought the best point guard of all time is. He immediately said John Stockton and followed him up with Magic Johnson. Here is Kidd’s all-time NBA team: PG: John Stockton SG: Michael Jordan SF: Scottie Pippen PF: Tim Duncan C: Shaquille O’Neal Dan said “no LeBron?” Kidd said that he could play LeBron at five.
“I think you should never anticipate going in unless you’re Michael Jordan or John Stockton or Karl Malone or someone like that,” he said. “I’m happy for everyone who got in.” Among those who formally will be named for induction Monday is Gary Payton, who will become the first former Heat player to be enshrined in Springfield. Payton helped the Heat win the 2006 NBA title, also spending the following season with the team. “I’m happy for Gary,” Hardaway said.
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One of the things about my game, though, was that I could do all my stuff on my own. I think I’m in the top 20 of players of all time. You take Karl [Malone] — he needed John Stockton. That’s not a knock on Karl. I didn’t need a point guard. I could get mine any time I wanted to. I’ll say it on the record: I was better than Karl. He was great. I was better. The only thing he could do better than me was score and that came down to John Stockton.
Rondo, back in the lineup after sitting out Thursday’s loss in Brooklyn with a sprained right ankle, handed out 20 helpers while adding six points over 32:12 against the Raptors. Ironically, it’s the first time this season he’s failed to register a double-double, but he did stretch his double-digit assist streak to 33 games, with eyes on John Stockton (37) and Magic Johnson (46). Apprised of Terry’s MVP chatter, Rondo didn’t shy away from it. “Well, you know, JT’s on my side, so he’s a little biased, but the MVP is in the picture,” said Rondo. “I would like to be one day. But, we’ve just got to keep winning.” Pressed on the topic, Rondo added: “I mean, who wouldn’t [want to be MVP]? That’s a dream.”
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I asked Brooks if he ever had trouble maintaining a balance between chaos and order, crazy Westbrook and sane Westbrook. He laughed. “Trust me, there are times where my hair is almost out,” he said. But he defended his point guard. “Is he a natural John Stockton type? No, but he never will be. Those guys are done. Those guys are over. You’re not seeing those guys coming back. Russell is a dynamic offensive player. I would be a foolish coach if I said, ‘Russell, I don’t want you to go to the basket and draw fouls and score and put pressure on the defense.’ We need that.” He also dismissed the idea of a rift between Westbrook and Durant. “I’m with them every day. Did they have some competitive moments? Absolutely. But that’s how we work here. We challenge each other. It gets chippy. James and Kevin, Serge and Russell, me and Perk, Thabo and Russell — all of us. If it ever gets on the wrong side of being competitive, I’ll step in. But not once have I had to step in, in five years. If Russell and Kevin have problems, then I didn’t get along with any of my teammates.”
Even when they were apart during the summers, they drove one another in conditioning efforts. Maybe there was some self-interest involved — “If I get down the floor, he’s going to get me the ball,” Malone said — but the real motivation was not letting the other outdo him. Even now, Stockton pictures Malone working out, and they both look as fit as ever. Stockton was predictably brief in his acceptance speech, concluding by saying he was yielding to the floor to the “senator from Louisiana.” They both were very classy in their remarks. Stockton, who lives in his hometown of Spokane, Wash., spoke of Utah as a place where he’s “totally at home” and cited his relationships with former teammates and coaches as something “you can’t find anywhere else in the world.”
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You mentioned you watch film of other players as well – who are the guys you are watching? There are obviously a ton of great point guards in this league right now and certainly there are lessons to be learned from all of them, but are there a handful you focus on the most? Jeremy Lin: I’ve watched everybody and some of the names might be shocking, but the thing is every point guard does something better than me, so the key is learning from whatever that is. Players that I’ve watched – the obvious ones: Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Steve Nash, John Stockton, Gary Payton. And then you can go on to the ones who have very specialized skills: Juan Carlos Navarro and then Chris Duhon and Raymond Felton. They do things that are really, really good and better than me that other people might not see.
MCCALLUM: It’s a good question. You always have regrets after a book, and one of my regrets — and I don’t know if it could’ve been any different — was that I didn’t get a lot out of Patrick [Ewing]. I think I got a lot out of Mullin and Stockton by going to visit them and I saw what that experience meant to them. John’s always on-guard, hands up and everything. But I was kind of able to write about that. And Mullin, with his alcoholism beforehand and what it all meant to him. Patrick I wasn’t able to unlock so much. But a basketball team is a microcosm. It’s the way a team operates.