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The All-Time MVPs of Every NBA Franchise: Northwest Division

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

The 2023 NBA season officially kicks off TONIGHT at the time of posting. As the hype for the 78th season of The Association grows, we here at 4QWI are bringing you a fresh blog series where we give our takes on who is the best single player of all time from each NBA franchise as of 2023.

In each installment, 4QWI members will be providing their takes. Some teams have a clear-cut GOAT in their histories, while others have a handful of contenders. Join Noah Drouin, Brett Shevlin, and Jay Rooney, along with the occasional guest, as we look at the All-Time MVPs of Every NBA Franchise. Bear in mind these are merely opinions, and not concrete listings. We invite you to share your thoughts in the comments below, or connect with us on social media, @4QWIHQ everywhere. And if you haven't already, check out Part 1 featuring the teams of the NBA's Atlantic Conference, Part 2 featuring the Central Division, and Part 3 showcasing the Southeast Division.


Today we'll finally be going to the Western Conference for the NBA's Northwest division, made up of the Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trailblazers and Utah Jazz. For today's installment, our typical three panelists are joined by 4QWI members Tom Lapointe and Austin Specht, along with Noah's father Dana, affectionately known as Big D. Big D has the advantage of having been alive for many of the player's runs that the others have not. Because he is old.


Here we go!


Denver Nuggets


A franchise that has generally been in the middle of the NBA pack over the course of its history, the Denver Nuggets have had its fair share of talent come through its doors, and only recently was the debate for its greatest player ever generally up for debate.


Noah

Nikola Jokic

Brett

Alex English

Jay

Nikola Jokic

Tom

Nikola Jokic

Big D

Nikola Jokic

Specht

Nikola Jokic


The Case for Alex English


Alex English

Brett decided to take the path less travelled and chose Alex English as the GOAT of the Denver Nuggets franchise. One of the premier scoring threats in the entire league in the 1980s, English spent 11 of his 15 NBA seasons with the Nuggets and was the kingpin of the Western Conference in terms of scoring. The 6'8 Small Forward produced a massively impressive eight year stretch from 1982 to 1989 wherein he earned all 8 of his NBA All Star appearances while averaging 27.3/5.4/4.7 on a highly efficient 51.2% shooting. This run included taking home the 1983 Scoring Title averaging 28.4 points per game, which wasn't even his career high (29.8 in 1985-1986). All of this was good for three All-NBA Second Team selections in 1982, 1983 and 1986.


From a team perspective, English and the Nuggets were generally successful, with highlights including nine straight playoff appearances from 1982 to 1990 that was generally composed of first or second round exits. The Nuggets did make it to the 1985 Western Conference Finals, but would lose in five games to the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers. English currently stands as 3rd all time in Win Shares for the Nuggets, and ranks 45th all time in career points per game in NBA History, and for this he makes a solid case for the greatest Nugget ever.


The Case for Nikola Jokic


Nikola Jokic

Then, we have the Joker. Drafted 41st overall in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Nuggets, the Serbian product Nikola Jokic was likely not seen as the man to lead Denver to its first NBA Championship. Jokic's first two seasons in the NBA was humble, were humble, with splits of 13.2/8.4/3.6 on 55.1% shooting. Jokic's true breakout season came in the 2018-2019 season, where he led Denver in scoring, averaging 20.1 points per game while including 10.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists. This came at the same time as Denver's ascent to a perennial mainstay in the Western Conference; the Nuggets won 54 games in 2018-2019, tied for the third most wins in franchise history. Jokic would take home his first All-NBA First Team nod during this season as well. The Nuggets in 2020 would make the Western Conference Finals, again losing in five games to the eventual champion Lakers just like in 1985. What this did mean for the Nuggets however, is that they were becoming primed for an even deeper push into the NBA playoffs, which would come sooner rather than later.


Following the 2019-2020 season, we were introduced to Jokic the NBA superstar. Greatly increasing his individual excellence into the 2020-2021 season, Jokic in the past three seasons has accomplished more than almost any other NBA player of all time in the same amount of time. In these three seasons, Jokic has averaged splits of 26.0/12.2/8.7 on an incredible 59.1% shooting. For his efforts, Jokic was awarded back-to-back MVP awards in 2021 and 2022, along with to more All-NBA First-Team selections (2021, 2022) and one Second Team selection (2023). On the team front, of course, Jokic led the Nuggets to become the NBA Champions for the first time in franchise history off of a playoff/Finals performance by Jokic that was nothing short of a masterclass. For the playoffs as a whole, Jokic led the entire NBA in points, rebounds, assists and Win Shares. In the finals, Jokic averaged 30.2/14.0/7.2 on 58.3% shooting leading to a Finals MVP Award in a gentlemen's sweep against the Miami Heat.


At just 28 years old, Jokic's all-time ceiling appears to raise every single season. Simply put, in the past 5 seasons Jokic has already made several cases for himself: best passing big man of all time, one of the most unguardable player in the NBA today, one of the greatest European-born NBA players of all time, and of course, the greatest Denver Nugget of all time.


Minnesota Timberwolves


Next franchise up is the Minnesota Timberwolves. To put it simply, one of the most historically bad franchises in the history of the NBA. In fact, the Timberwolves boast the worst regular season winning percentage of all current NBA franchises, winning just 40.2% of all regular season games since its inaugural season in 1989-1990. If it weren't for the person we are about to talk about, we'd be looking even more negatively at this franchise.


Noah

Kevin Garnett

Brett

Kevin Garnett

Jay

Kevin Garnett

Tom

Kevin Garnett

Big D

Kevin Garnett

Specht

Kevin Garnett


The Case for Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett


Kevin Garnett comes selected as the greatest Timberwolves player ever, the only unanimous panel vote of today's article. When breaking down the difficult history of the franchise, and what KG accomplished there from individual and team performance standpoints make the reason for this selection is very apparent. Selected straight out of high school with the fifth pick in the 1995 NBA Draft by the T-Wolves, Garnett would go on to play 14 total seasons with the team, with the first 12 of his career coming from in a row from his draft day. Let's break those seasons down. Garnett boasts 20.5/11.4/4.5/1.4/1.7 splits on 49.1% shooting, while being selected for 10 All Star appearances in that span. Garnett's performance as an individual peaked into the new millennium: from 2000 to his final season in his first T-Wolves stint in 2007, KG averaged 22.5/12.7/5.0 on 49.3% shooting. This also led to the 2003-2004 NBA MVP Award for Garnett, in which he nearly won unanimously, earning 120 out of 123 possible First Place votes (Jermaine O'Neal earned two and Peja Stojakovic earned one).


From a team perspective, Garnett effectively brought the Timberwolves to prominence for the first time in the franchises' history. When Garnett was drafted in 1995, the Timberwolves had averaged just 21 victories per season for the first six seasons of the franchises' life. As is the case with most other players we have covered in this series, Garnett's ascent as a player led to the ascent of the T-Wolves. From KG's sophomore season on, the Timberwolves averaged doubled their average wins per season to nearly 43 from 1996 to 2002 and this included eight straight postseason appearances from 1997 to 2004; prior to this Minnesota had never earned a playoff berth as a franchise, period. But, making it to the playoffs and succeeding are two different things as we know, and in those eight straight playoff appearances, KG and the Timberwolves would be the victims of a first round exit seven seasons in a row. The furthest the Timberwolves have ever gotten as a team to this day was in KG's MVP season of 2003-2004 wherein they landed in the Western Conference Finals, losing to the Lakers in six games. Minnesota would go on to not make the playoffs for 13 straight seasons, and to date has only made the playoffs three times in the last 19 seasons since this WCF appearance, all three appearances ending in first round exits.


KG's final years of his first Timberwolves run would be marked by continued dominance as a player but for an ailing franchise. Spats with the front office would lead to Garnett exiting for the Boston Celtics and continuing his own legacy as a player. Despite how it ended, it is without question that Kevin Garnett put the Minnesota Timberwolves on the map as a franchise and simply made them better. Garnett would end the final year and a half of his career back in Minnesota and retired at the age of 40.


Oklahoma City Thunder


On to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Formed in 1967 as the Seattle SuperSonics, the Thunder as we know them was established in 2008. Over the years, this franchise has been a generally solid team, currently ranking sixth all time in franchise regular season win percentage, winning 53.3% of all regular season games since 1967. Despite this regular season success, the Supersonics/Thunder can only claim one NBA Championship (1979) and four NBA Finals appearances. As you'll see, several players can make a claim for the greatest player in the history of this team, and all three players we are about to talk about were present for an NBA Finals appearance for their team. Also apparent is that with a panelist of six people, we dead-locked at a 2-2-2 vote for these players. Let's get into it.


Noah

Russell Westbrook

Brett

Kevin Durant

Jay

Kevin Durant

Tom

Gary Payton

Big D

Gary Payton

Specht

Russell Westbrook


The Case for Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant


We begin our Seattle/Oklahoma City debate with the one and only Kevin Durant. Where to begin? Selected second overall in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Seattle SuperSonics, Kevin Durant has carved out a spot as one of the greatest players in the history of the entire NBA. Despite this, it is important to remember that now entering his 16th season in the league, Durant played just nine total seasons in OKC, and some of his most legendary accomplishments occurred in another uniform. As a SuperSonic, Durant immediately paid dividends in his rookie season. KD averaged 20.3 points per game in his rookie year; 20 points per game for a rookie has turned out to be a historically good marker for things to come in a player's career, and that'll be an article on our website some day. Durant would lead the final iteration of the Seattle SuperSonics: a challenging final year where the team went 20-62 and subsequently landed the 4th pick in the 2008 NBA Draft where they selected a certain Point Guard out of UCLA. Wonder who that is.


Durant quickly ascended to NBA Superstardom into the 2010's and was an integral part of newly-branded Thunder's turnaround in the new decade. Durant achieved his second highest career points per game average of 30.1 in the 2009-2010 season. This season also marked KD's first All Star appearance, an accomplishment that he has earned every single season since. As a player on the Thunder, he earned seven All Star nods. Further, with this 30.1 ppg average, Durant took home the first of his four career Scoring Championships, and would go on to win two more in a row. This overall stretch of seven seasons until his exit from OKC was marked by premier scoring on elite efficiency in equal measure, which sent Durant well on his way to be regarded as one of the most lethal scorers of all time.

From a scoring perspective, perhaps Durant's best season came in 2013-2014, where he captured his first and only MVP Award on 32.0/7.4/5.5 on 50.3% shooting, winning a fourth scoring title in five seasons.


From 2009 to 2016, Durant and the Thunder enjoyed regular season success, averaging 53 wins a season in that span. From a postseason perspective, this also marked the most consistent postseason contention in the franchises' history since the 1990's. This included two Western Conference Finals appearances (2011, 2016) and an NBA Finals Appearance in 2012. In the Finals specifically, Durant did just about all he could from a statistical standpoint, leading all players in points, averaging 30.6 points per game on 54.8% shooting. Despite this, the Thunder would lose in 5 to the James-Wade-Bosh Heat. Without touching on the controversy surrounding his exit from the Thunder, all told, Durant averaged 27.4/7.1/4.3 48.3% shooting in 9 seasons and 641 regular season games with the SuperSonics/Thunder.


The Case for Gary Payton

Gary Payton

Next we've got Gary Payton. Drafted second overall by the SuperSonics in the 1990 NBA Draft, Payton would go on to be the de facto kingpin in Seattle for the next 13 years. Landing a starting spot right out of the gate, Payton's counting stats in his first few years speak to the Sonics team he joined that was spearheaded by NBA veterans such as Ricky Pierce, Xavier McDaniel and Eddie Johnson (whom Xavier McDaniel was traded to the Suns for). Payton's rookie season coincided with the Sophomore season and first starter-season for longtime Seattle co-star Shawn Kemp and the two would come up together in the early 1990's as one of the best one-two punches of the decade.


For his part, Payton quickly ascended up the Seattle hierarchy and established himself as a defensive pest and highly efficient scorer. Never averaging less than 1.8 steals a game throughout the 1990's and landing on the All-Defensive First Team nine years in a row gave Payton reason to have the nickname "The Glove". Those nine straight First Team selections still stand as an NBA record to this day. On the offensive side of the ball, Payton was no slouch to be sure. Averaging 20 points per game or more seven times as a SuperSonic, Payton supplemented this by averaging 47.2% shooting throughout the 1990s. In exactly 999 regular season games for the SuperSonics, Payton started in all but six and posted 18.2/4.2/7.4 on 46.9% shooting, along with 2.1 steals per game.


Perhaps Payton's best and most complete season occurred in the same season the Sonics made it to the NBA Finals for the first time in 17 years: the 1995-1996 season. From an individual standpoint, Payton averaged 19.3/4.2/7.5 along with 2.9 steals per game; landing him not only his only career Steals Champion recognition, but also the only Defensive Player of the Year Award of his career, the latter makes him part of an elite class of just six guards who have ever won the award as of 2023. On the team side, the 95-96 SuperSonics finished the regular season with a 64-18 record; to date the best in the history of the franchise. Like other strong contenders of the 1990s, Payton's team fell in the Finals however, losing in six games to the Chicago Bulls. The Sonics franchise only missed the playoffs twice in Payton's 13 seasons with them, and other than the 1996 Finals berth, the second furthest they made it was the 1993 Western Conference Finals in which they lost seven games to the Phoenix Suns. From a regular season perspective, the mid 1990's especially were a high point for Payton and the Sonics: averaging a ridiculous 59.5 wins per season between 1992 and 1998.


When the SuperSonics brought in Howard Schultz as their new owner for the 2002-2003 season, Payton, having a bad relationship with him, was traded to the Bucks 52 games into the season for a package including Ray Allen, thus ending his time with the team. Gary Payton remains first all time in Win Shares for the SuperSonics/Thunder and goes down as one of the best defensive guards of all time. Combine that with strong team success under his watch, and he makes a compelling case as the greatest Sonic/Thunder player in franchise history.


The Case for Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook

Finally, Russell Westbrook's case as the greatest player in Seattle/OKC history. Drafted fourth overall by the Seattle SuperSonics just before their rebrand/relocation, Westbrook came out of UCLA to immediately be earmarked as the Point Guard of the future for the franchise. Right out of the gate, Westbrook made a mark by earning a spot on the All-Rookie First Team and coming in 4th place for Rookie of the Year honors. Westbrook quickly improved over the course of his first few seasons landing his first All Star appearance in the 2010-2011 season, his third in the league. Russ's improvement was also marked by an early reputation as an 'Iron Man'; for the five seasons of his career, he never missed a game and even to this day Westbrook remains a steady presence on the court for whatever team he plays on.


Spending the first eight seasons of his career running the Thunder with Kevin Durant and James Harden, Westbrook flourished both as a distributor and a scorer on a young team that was putting the league on notice. Westbrook especially was able to showcase his scoring prowess in the 2014-2015 season; a season in which Kevin Durant missed the majority of due to injury and as such Russ had to step in as the main facilitator and scorer on the team. Posting 28.1/7.3/8.6 on 42.6% shooting, Westbrook took home his first Scoring Title. Westbrook's production would dip the following season with a healthy Kevin Durant back, in what would be the latter's final season with the team.


Durant's exit would immediately lead to Westbrook's best season in the NBA as a player: 2016-2017. As the undisputed face of the franchise, Russ went insane averaging a triple double on 31.6/10.7/10.4 splits, en route to a scoring title, his first and only MVP award, an All-NBA First Team selection, on top of being only the second player ever (to this day) and the first player in 55 seasons to average a triple double in a season. Westbrook would go on to average a triple double in the next two seasons as well. Westbrook remains the second player to accomplish this on a season, and is the only player in NBA history to have multiple of them.


In terms of team success for most of his run in Oklahoma City, please refer to Durant's entry above as they were there together. However, it is worth nothing what Russ accomplished in the absence of Durant. As the kingpin of the team, Russ led his Thunder to multiple playoff appearances with additional costars being added to milquetoast levels of success such as Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Three straight first round exits between 2017 and 2019 led Westbrook's eventual exit from the team before going to the Rockets to join former costar James Harden in the 2019-2020 season.


All told, Russell Westbrook spent 11 seasons and 821 regular season games with the Thunder. In that time, he posted 23/7.0/8.4 averages on 43.4% shooting. This era of his career includes eight All Star appearances, two scoring titles, an MVP Award, and seven All-NBA nods: two First Team, and five Second Team.


Portland Trail Blazers


Next, the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers are a team that generally make an appearance in the playoffs almost every season, and to date have the seventh highest regular season win percentage in the history of the league (53.1%). Boasting some of the grittiest and iconic players of several generations of basketball, the Blazers have a few contenders for who their all time MVP is. Our panel chose two different people.


Noah

Damian Lillard

Brett

Clyde Drexler

Jay

Clyde Drexler

Tom

Clyde Drexler

Big D

Damian Lillard

Specht

Clyde Drexler

The Case for Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard


Well this is a little topical...Damian Lillard gets first mention on this entry. Drafted sixth overall by the Trail Blazers in the 2012 NBA Draft out of little known Weber State, Lillard has gone on to be one of the defining players of the last decade of the NBA, both for his prowess on court, his ventures outside of it, and his loyalty to the city of Portland despite ups and downs. We'll get down to the nitty gritty first: All 11 seasons of Lillard's NBA career up to this point were spent in Portland. In his time as a Trail Blazer, Lillard has won the Rookie of the Year Award (2013), has been a seven time time All Star, and has also landed on seven All-NBA Teams: First Team in 2018, Second Team in 2016, 2019, 2021 and 2021, and Third Team in 2014 and 2023. Over the course of his career Lillard has been lauded as one of the premier scorers in the league and for having one of the most natural clutch genes of his generation of hoopers.


As we know with his impending regular season debut as a Milwaukee Buck, Lillard's time in Portland has been a roller coaster of team success. Dame made it to the playoffs with the Blazers eight seasons in a row from 2014 to 2021, which included five first-round exits. Despite it all, Lillard has gone on to create moment after moment in the playoffs and is responsible for some of the most iconic buzzer beaters of the 21st century NBA; this includes sending the Thunder home and advancing to the 2019 Western Conference Semifinals by pulling up from 36 feet in Paul George's face and sinking it as time expired. Or, sending the Blazers to the Second Round in 2014 by nailing a catch and shoot inbound 3 from 25 feet with .9 seconds left to beat the Rockets. One thing has been certain about Dame since he entered the league, when the lights are brightest and the pressure is at its peak, he will not shy away.


In those 11 seasons in Portland, Lillard has career splits of 25.2/4.2/6.7 on 43.9% shooting and 37.2% from three. His points per game average of 25.2 lands him 11th all time in NBA history in that category. For the stellar career he has had thus far, Lillard earned an ultimate honor by being named to the NBA's 75th Anniversary Team. For his longstanding loyalty to the city of Portland, his individual excellence and all the moments he has afforded to the team that drafted him, Damian Lillard should be considered in the conversation for the greatest Trail Blazer of all time.


The Case for Clyde Drexler

Clyde Drexler

Four of our panelists selected Clyde Drexler as the greatest Blazer ever. Clyde "The Glide" was drafted 14th overall by the Trail Blazers in the 1983 NBA Draft and was immediately thrust into the tough landscape of 1980's basketball. The 6'7 oversized Shooting Guard spent the first 12 years of his career with the team and in that time set himself up as one of the hallmark players of the era. The Blazers with Drexler at the helm made it to the playoffs all 12 of those seasons and included two NBA Finals appearances, wherein they lost to the Pistons in 1990 and the Bulls in 1992. The early 1990s era of TrailBlazer basketball was headlines by some of the best regular season performances in the history of the franchise, and Drexler as at the center. This includes a 63-19 record in 1990-1991, which still stands as the best Trail Blazers record in the history of the team.


Over the 12 years he spent in Portland, Drexler averaged 20.8/6.2/5.7 with 2.1 steals on 47.8% shooting. These efforts season by season led to eight All Star appearances as a Blazer (1986, then 1988 to 1994), and five All-NBA appearances, with a First Team spot in 1992, Second Team in 1988 and 1991, and Third Team in 1990 and 1995. This also led to the honor of being named to the NBA's 50th and 75th Anniversary teams in 1996 and 2021. Drexler goes down as one of the greatest Shooting Guards in NBA history known for high flying on the court while tangling with the best the NBA had on offer in the 1980s and 1990s. His Blazers team were always in the playoff mix and maintained regular season success to boot.


Utah Jazz


And finally, the Utah Jazz. The Jazz, like a few of their counterparts from this list, also stand in the top tier of NBA regular season teams. Joining the NBA in 1974, the Jazz are fourth all time in NBA history in regular season win percentage (54.3%) behind only titans of the league's annals: the Spurs, Celtics and Lakers in that order. Despite this, the Jazz remain one of 11 teams to have never won an NBA Championship.


Noah

Karl Malone

Brett

Karl Malone

Jay

Karl Malone

Tom

Pete Maravich

Big D

John Stockton

Specht

John Stockton


The Case for Karl Malone


First up is Karl Malone, a near-lifer for the Jazz. Selected 13th overall in the 1985 NBA Draft by the Jazz, Malone carved out a spot in the starting lineup off the bat, Malone made it known that he was going to be a fixture in the NBA for years to come and in fact spent two decades in the league and even as his age came on, his production only decreased marginally. Malone and his career-long counterpart, whom we'll get to in a bit, maintained excellence in Utah, and Malone never once missed the playoffs with a Jazz uniform on.


The Jazz were a fixture of the Western Conference playoff picture for 20 years, and in that time, highlights included NBA Finals appearances in 1997 and 1998, along with Western Conference Finals berths in 1992, 1994 and 1996. During this time, Malone remained as one of the top players in the league, consistently towards the top of MVP voting. Malone's accolades as a player on the Jazz are an essay's length and include: 11 Straight All-NBA First Team selections from 1988-1999 two Second Team nods in 1988 and 2000 and Third Team in 2001. Malone also took home the NBA MVP Award in 1997 and 1999, the latter of which which occurred when he was 35, making him the oldest NBA MVP in history to this day. Further, Malone also made three straight All-Defensive First Teams from 1997 to 1999 and made Second Team in 1988. All of this made Malone as easy a choice as any for the NBA's 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams.


Malone simply established himself as one of the best Power Forwards not only of his era but of all time. Over his 18 seasons and 1,434 regular season games, Malone averaged 25.4/10.1/3.6 on 51.7% shooting. Known for his dominance and durability in equal measure throughout his career, Malone has one of the most complete resumes in NBA History, and possibly the greatest player to never win an NBA title.



The Case for Pete Maravich

Pete Maravich

Tom voted for "Pistol" Pete Maravich, the first true superstar of the Jazz as they were formed in New Orleans. Coming over from the Hawks for the Jazz's inagural season in 1974, the 6'5 Shooting Guard Maravich was already an established talent in the NBA, but truly peaked individually once he landed in New Orleans. Maravich's case as is different from his two co-contenders on the list due to the fact that he only played five and a half seasons for the team. Despite this, Maravich shined and remains one of the most iconic players of 1970s NBA basketball.

Owing to playing for a newly established franchise, Maravich's Jazz never made it to the playoffs. However as a player Maravich was dynamite. In his time with the Jazz, he averaged 25.2/4.3/5.6 on 43.4% shooting, which was good for three straight All Star selections from 1977 to 1979. Maravich also took home the 1977 Scoring title, averaging 31.1 points per game on 43.3% from the field. This era also included back to back All-NBA First Team appearances in 1976 and 1977, and a second team selection in 1978. His time with the Jazz solidified Maravich as a creative and crafty playmaker who could score at will.


Maravich's time in Utah came to an abrupt end in 1980 as he was placed on waivers after not attending practices due to injuries. He signed a deal with the Celtics and played out the end of his tragically short 10 year run in the Association. Pete Maravich remains one of the true icons of the sport of basketball and has claimed a hollowed spot on the NBA 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams. His time with the Jazz burnt brightly and as such he gave the franchise a spark right out of the gate and for that deserves to be in the conversation for the greatest to play for the team.


The Case for John Stockton

John Stockton

The final player nominated for the Jazz is John Stockton, a true Jazz lifer who needs no introduction, but we will give him one anyway. A 6'1 guard out of Gonzaga, Stockton spent the first three years of his career in a reserve role before being given the keys to Utah's offense in his fourth season in 1987. What followed from this season on was a masterclass of long term excellence from the Point Guard position, as Stockton led the NBA in Assists for nine straight seasons from 1987-86 to 1995-96 averaging 13.1 assists per game. Aside from facilitating, Stockton was a pest of a defender, leading the NBA in steals twice in 1989 and 1992. This was good for five All-Defensive selections, making the Second Team in '89, '91, '92, '95 and '97. Stockton was also a highly efficient scorer in his career, averaging 13.1 points per game on 51.5% shooting, including a solid 38.4% from three.


Stockton's Jazz playoff success coincides with his career-long costar Karl Malone, but one moment of note to mention is Stockton's game winning three pointer as time expired to send the Jazz over the Rockets to the 1997 NBA Finals in Game 6.


On his career, Stockton played all 19 of his seasons with the Jazz and remains a bona fide legend to this day. He played in every single game of 17 of those seasons. Not only that, but he maintained the pace of 82 games per season, doing so four straight years into the end of his career at age 40. Stockton's career averages of 13.1/2.7/10.5/2.2 show the kind of player he was; a solid scorer, a thief on the defensive end, and a distributor as pure as they come. Stockton remains one of the gold standards of the Point Guard position and for his efforts was named to the 50th and 75th NBA Anniversary teams. His claim to the title of greatest Jazz player ever is as valid as his claim as one of the greatest to ever play his position.




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