John Stockton Sets NBA Assist Record – January 21, 1995
John Stockton Sets NBA Assist Record, January 21, 1995
His 9,992nd assist tops Magic Johnson. Stockton will dish off 5,814 more times, bringing his NBA assist record up to 15,806.
How many of John Stockton’s 15,806 assists were delivered to the Mailman, Karl Malone? Nobody seems to know the exact number.
We do know that Stockton’s assist record of 15,806, is 3,912 more than the second most prolific passer in NBA history, Jason Kidd. We also know that Karl Malone’s 36,928 points are the second highest in that category. (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has 38,387.) If you really feel like it, go ahead and take away the 415 assists that Stockton had during the 1984-1985 season, the year before Malone came into the league. You can also back out the 554 points Malone had when he played for the Lakers during the 2003-2004 season, the year after Stockton retired.
That leaves Stockton with 15,391 assists during the same 18 seasons that Malone was scoring 36.374 points. There are probably score-books filed away somewhere in Utah where somebody with the time and motivation could reconstruct the 1.400+ games that Malone and Stockton played together, and then we could all know for sure just how many of Stockton’s assists were delivered to Malone.
Or maybe a statistician with the skills and resources of a Nate Silver could devise a less tedious method of giving us the answer, with a margin of error of no more than 1%.
This much we do know. In the history of the NBA, there is no other combination of passer and scorer that even comes close to Malone and Stockton. The second most prolific pass-scorer pair was probably Magic Johsnon and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but their numbers pale in comparison to Malone and Stockton. Magic and Kareem only played 10 seasons together. During those 10 seasons Jabbar scored 16,246 points and Johnson landed 8.025 assists.
Westbrook and Durant are the top pass-score combo among active players.
Among active players, Oklahoma City’s Russel Westbrook throws a lot of passes that Kevin Durants drops for field goals. They’ve been together since the 2008-2009 season. During that time Durant has scored 9.500+ points while Westbrook has passed for 2,450 assists. This season Westbrook is averaging 8.3 assists a game and Durant is averaging 29.3 points a game. Stockton had a career average of 10.3 assists per game. Malone only averaged 25 points per game. So if Durant and Westbrook stay together for another 13-15 seasons, and if they stay injury free, and if they can keep their current level of productivity for another decade and a half, then they just might have a chance of catching Stockton and Malone.