What's so unstoppable about Stockton to Malone?

I used to remember the announcers making a big deal about Stockton to Malone, but why was this so special?

Wouldn’t the opposing team know this was gonna happen and figure out a way to stop it?

If it was so unstoppable, why didn’t anybody else copy the scheme?

Because everyone else didn’t have John Stockton and Karl Malone?

Seriously. This is a little like asking “why didn’t teams just triple-team Michael Jordan when they played the Bulls back in the day?” The answer is: they did, and paid for it because it left two other Bulls open. So they had a tough choice: double up on Mike and leave the rest of the team wide open, or just guard Jordan as best you could, let him get his 30 points, and focus on winning the game. Hence the phrase “you can’t stop him, you can only contain him.”

The combination was effective because Stockton and Malone were remarkably talented players, and because the rest of the Jazz franchise, though not great players themselves, also did not suck donkey balls.

Well, of course they’re both very talented, among the best ever at their positions.

More importantly, there’s an amazing connection there- the two know each other so well from years and years of playing together consitently at the highest level.

From '85 to the present they must have played well over a thousand NBA games as starting teammates. That’s very uncommon nowadays and I believe when people hail “Stockton to Malone” they’re referring to this instinctual sense they have of where the other guy’s going to be and what he’s going to be doing at any given time. You cannot substitute for that combination of talent and familiarity.

Pretty much what everyone else said. They know each other very well and run one of the best pick-and-rolls in the NBA, even when they are both pushing 40. I’m not sure there has ever been a duo with as much talent who played together as long as those two have. I’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Another reason it has moved from good play to catch phrase fodder is the simple fact that they have done it so well for so long. There may have been better connections in the history of the game (Baylor to Chamberlain) but none that involved two of the greatest players ever for their entire careers that spanned close to two decades.

It is also looked upon favorably because it is maddeningly simple and maddeningly effective. The pick and role is one of the basest plays good players can accomplish. When performed well it is hard (but not impossible) to guard well. The fact that a large portion of NBA players (we are looking at you Mr. Jason Williams) prefer to fail regularly at ineffective aesthetic passing while 2 players have achieved a large portion of their historical significance from a move learned by most grade schoolers is a nod to the basketball purists among us.

Indeed. Or you could have simply watched Bibby and the Kings run pick and rolls all day against the Mavs in last year’s playoffs - it made you wonder if they had ever heard of it before. They couldn’t even stop the sloppy ones.

And did you mean “most basic” rather than “basest,” Mullinator? I mean, they’re both correct, but would give the sentence two different meanings. :slight_smile:

Ummm, yeah. I think my fingers were moving a little faster than my brain on that one. Most basic it is.

can you say chemistry

As a side note, this will probably continue to be the referred to combination for years to come. The odds of one superstar, let along two, sticking with one team and having this type of on-court relationship is pretty low.

Agreed. Even more than that, you would need two superstars with one who routinely passes to the other. I mean, you never hear “Malone to Stockton” the same way you hear “Stockton to Malone!”

Maybe if the Grizz draft a stud point guard who sticks with Gasol for his career (Hinrich to Gasol!), since they are both pretty young and would ascend to greatness together (provided Gasol and the PG in question did, in fact, ascend to greatness).

I disagree.

There just aren’t a lot of pass first point guards with the basic skills to fit into the duo. I used to think Andre Miller, bt his lack of teammates in Cleveland seems to have doomed him to a shoot first point. Unfortunately, the trend seems to be favoring shooting guards masquerading as a point. I also thought Marbury and Garnett had a chance, but that clearly didn’t work out. And Jason Kidd is the closest thing to Stockton around, but there is no forward sized Yin to his guard sized Yang.

Well, there are forward sized yin, but they don’t play on the Nets. Maybe if the Nets were able to land Duncan…

But as for pass-first point guards, there are others. Mike Bibby runs the Kings offense quite splendidly and is very unselfish with the ball. It sometimes gets unnoticed since the Kings are a very unselfish team to begin with, having several very capable passers. Steve Nash is another one. And while Steve Francis is currently a shoot-first PG, he has become more inclined to dump it into Yao in the post as the season has gone on. I think next season, after Yao has had time to rest and get up to speed on the offense, you will begin hearing Francis-to-Yao a bit more often, but it will have to last for a long time to replace Stockton to Malone.

Anyway, I don’t think the problem is so much on the point guard end, but more on the dearth of truly great post players in the NBA. A lof of PF make their livings off the dribble and on the perimeter nowadays (see Nowitzki and Garnett).

Anybody that can rank 3rd all-time in the NBA is far removed from the category of sucking donkey balls.

As for Greg Ostertag, I can not be expected to come up with a defense for the indefensible. I sometimes wonder what makes a team choose to spend money in obscenely stupid ways.

If Jason Kidd decides to move to San Antonio this summer (as I think he should), we may well have a new contender in “Kidd to Duncan.”

Uhh, cause the refs never call travelling on Malone?

I’ll take back the comments about Eaton but will substitute Olden Polynice/Todd Fuller/Adam Keefe/Greg Foster…

Not to mention (late in their career) when the P&R didn’t work they could always dish outside to Jeff Hornacek.[sub]The 12th most accurate from beyond the arc in NBA history.[/sub]

Travelling is a violation in the NBA? You gotta cite for that? Next you’re going to be telling me that double dribble, spending 3 seconds in the lane, and entering the lane on a free throw before the ball hits the rim are violations. All of these so-called violations were abolished long ago. Soon, we’ll see the complete elimination of the idiotic rule against fouls away from the ball, and it’s about time.

In defense of my position I’ll cite Bill Walton: “Come on! This is [the playoffs, finals, the all star game, Tuesday, a hardwood floor, some other important occasion], you’ve gotta let them play.”

LOL big 6!