John Stockton and his 15,806 career assists (nearly 4,000 more than runner-up Jason Kidd) is the most accomplished passer of all time. He’s done things like this:
I could make a million assist-related charts encapsulating all or large chunks of Stockton’s career. But I’d rather not. I’d rather zoom in on his 1991-92 season. Why that season? Afterall, it wasn’t ‘even’ one of the three most prolific passing seasons of his career. Well, for starters, check out the assist progression throughout that season of the NBA’s top passers:
There are two inflection points that jump out to me. One is at game 60 — we couldn’t have known it at the time, but after the Jazzman’s 16-assist outing in his 60th game, he could’ve taken the final 22 games off and still have led the league in assists.
The other is up at game 80. At that point Stockton was sitting at 1,082 assists on the season when no one else wound up finishing within 200 of that. Then in game 81, he had 23 assists. Then in game 82, he had 21 assists. Kevin Porter in March of 1975 is the only other NBA player who’s ever pulled off back-to-back games with more than 20 assists.
As for the 44 total assists in the two games, not only has no one else had that many across back-to-back games in the 37 years since Stockton entered the league, but only 2010-11 Rajon Rondo (41) early in the season and 1990-91 Scott Skiles (43 after recording 13 assists in the game following his single-game record 30) have exceeded 40.
And of course that was just the icing. Those 44 assists in two games came to close out a season in which he was already towering over everyone to the point he only needed to play the first 60 games to be the assist king.
That year Stockton also set what I believe to truly be one of the most unbreakable non-grand-slams-in-an-inning records: 77 games in a season with at least 10 assists. The most anyone else has ever had is 67, but in the last 30 years, no one’s even had more than 60:
I can’t imagine we’ll ever again see someone play a full season with no more than five single-digit assist games. Oh by the way, Stockton had either eight or nine assists in four of the five games he didn’t have 10:
And remember, this wasn’t even one of the greatest assist seasons of his career. Sheesh.