Saturday, July 14, 2012

John Stockton: Should he have been on the Dream Team?

When Jason Whitlock wrote that the only reason Chris Mullen, John Stockton, and Christian Laettner were added to the Dream Team in 1992 was because they were white, he opened up a can of racial worms. He’s wrong of course. I’ll just give you reasons why Stockton should’ve been on the team, and ignore the others for now.

Stockton is the all-time assists leader. His passes helped Karl Malone become the second all-time scorer in the NBA. He was tough, savvy, and a great team leader. He is the all-time steals leader as well. He wasn’t a great one on one defender, that’s true, but not many in the league are.

So he was definitely a great player, and one that has been named to the top 50 all-time. Not that Isaiah Thomas wasn’t a great player. He was. But Whitlock makes the claim that it wasn’t Jordan’s negative response to Thomas being on the team that kept him off, but Stockton’s whiteness. That’s a racist comment. Jordan has recently come out and said that he did not want Thomas on the team. That’s plain and simple. They wanted the best player in the world on the team, and that was Jordan, so in order to get him, they left Thomas off. But that doesn’t mean Stockton was undeserving.

As for the current debate in question of whether the 2012 team could have beaten the ‘92 team, a lot of that has been centered around the point guards as well. Many think that the trio of Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams, and Chris Paul could’ve eaten Stockton’s and Magic’s lunch.

While there’s no way that Stockton could’ve stayed with Westbrook and the others through an entire game, that was never his strong point. He played the passing lanes. I’m sure he’d have picked their pockets a number of times, leading to fast breaks going back the other way. And was Isaiah Thomas ever known as a great defender?

The author of DREAM TEAM: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever, Jack McCallum said in an interview recently that the only players on the 2012 team that would’ve even made the ‘92 team are LeBron, Kobe, and Durrant. Think about that. He didn’t mention any of the point guards.

No comments: