John Stockton is recognized as one of the game's greatest playmakers during his years with the Utah Jazz. Stockton was the best playmaker in the league for years, averaging 10.5 assists per game for his career. His pick and roll with HOF power forward Karl Malone was one of the most unstoppable plays in NBA history.
On the other end, Chris Paul is recognized as one of the best leaders in NBA history. Paul could do it all on both ends, including scoring over 20 points per game and locking down the opposing point guard on the other end. Despite his miniature size, Paul was also one of the toughest players in his generation.
It is clear both guys are of the upper echelon when it comes to point guard play. But who comes out on top?
Inside Scoring - John Stockton
Chris Paul is mainly a perimeter scorer, but can also get buckets when he drives to the basket. Despite his miniature size, he can handle contact and has enough skill to finish around defenders. Not to undermine Paul's ability, but Stockton was just a master at making cuts to the rim and finishing for easy buckets.
Many former NBA players swear by Stockton's ability to keep on the move, whenever he did not have the ball, and find himself wide open under the basket. With the ball, he was also great at dribble moves and penetrating to the basket. Stockton takes the first one.
Outside Scoring - Chris Paul
Stockton was a phenomenal shooter from the perimeter and was just money as soon as he let it fly. Normally, he would take this one. But Chris Paul is so great at creating his own shot from the outside, that he must take this one over Stockton.
Paul has always been a near-perfect mid-range scorer, and can often get the shot off whenever he wants. He can dance on the defender, and let it fly when he has little space. From three, he is also effective and he is known to make big shots from there as well. Bus shot-creating ability gives him the edge here.
Playmaking - John Stockton
While Magic Johnson is regarded as the best playmaker of all time John Stockton is right in that argument. He has the most assists in NBA history and averaged over 12 assists per game for his career. While many will credit Karl Malone for giving him all the assists, Stockton was simply a master at moving the ball and finding angles to make perfect passes.
As good as Paul is at playmaking, and he is great, Stockton was just a step above almost any point guard in history when it came to providing assists.
Athleticism - Chris Paul
This one is a little bit difficult since Stockton was never a fantastic athlete. He wasn't particularly quick, strong, or tall- and standing at 6'1", he would hardly make an impact physically.
As a result, Paul might be a better overall athlete. Paul is miniature, standing at 6'0", but was very quick and surprisingly strong for his size. He has thick shoulders and can take and dish out contact very well. While neither of them is special athletes by any means, Paul has the edge here because he was quicker with the ball and strong enough to handle contact well.
Defense - Even
This is a very interesting one because both players can make a case why they are the better defender. Paul is the better one-on-one defender and has an amazing ability to provide leadership at that end of the floor. He can read opponents' moves very well and is a master at bothering opponents' shots. Not to mention, he is a great player at stealing the ball.
Stockton, on the other hand, is a master at reading passing lanes and he is the league leader in all-time steals. Having that amount of defensive statistics is a huge advantage on Stockton's end. He was also a stout defender and a great leader as well.
This one is too close to call, and they are even here.
Rim Protection - Even
While they are both miniature players, they are even once again. Even though Stockton was an inch taller, Paul's bulldog approach in the paint more than makes up for the slight height difference. Both guys loved playing hard, and the defense was a big factor in their games. To be fair, they are once again defensively.
Rebounds - Chris Paul
Barring any unusual cases, such as with Russell Westbrook or Magic Johnson, point guards are hardly judged by their ability to rebound. But Chris Paul was a great rebounder for his size. He would hustle and fight for boards, and even finished multiple playoff games as his team's leading rebounder. Paul also averaged 4.5 rebounds per game for his career which is more than respectable.
Stockton was a decent rebounder and was more concerned about getting the ball in a fast break instead of snatching rebounds. As a result, Paul gets the advantage here.
Clutch Factor - Even
When it comes to the clutch factor, players need to have the desire to take big shots along with a proven track record of making big plays when it matters most. Stockton was always a big-time player, and would almost always make winning plays for his team. Whether he would draw a foul and sink free-throws or hit outside shots, Stockton was a lethal offensive player with the game on the line. More often than not, he would make the correct passing play (often to Karl Malone) for an easy bucket.
CP3 is a very clutch player and could do it all when the game is on the line. Paul can create his own shot and score very well, even though he prefers to pass the ball and find others for open shots. Especially in the pick and roll, Paul can almost always make a winning play when the game is on the line. He is money from the perimeter, the free-throw line, and has no problem finding open shooters for easy buckets.
Since both players are not scared of the moment, and always show up in big moments, it is even here.
Leadership - Even
Chris Paul and John Stockton are two of the greatest point guards in NBA history. Their leadership on both ends of the floor is renowned, and they were always the main figures on their teams. When it comes to CP, he would often lead by example through his hard play and hustle.
Even when he was the most talented player on the roster, Paul would play the hardest. Not to mention, he is a very vocal leader who holds everyone accountable.
Stockton led by example, as one of the most unselfish players in NBA history. He only cared about winning and even managed to have a crack at the NBA Finals. Stockton often stuffed the stat sheet and would play extremely hard on both ends. His attitude and skill set made him a phenomenal leader and point guard for his team. Another even one here.
Basketball I.Q. - Even
Once again, this one is even for both players. Paul has a very high basketball I.Q because he could do it all on the floor with very high efficiency. He almost always had great shooting numbers and was always active on the defensive end with steals.
Similarly, Stockton knew the game perfectly and always managed to make an impact with his passing and shooting. Even when the going got tough, Stockton kept his composure and simply knew how to make things happen on the floor. Thanks to their activity on both ends of the floor, and their ability to make the right play at all times, this one is even.
Scoring - Chris Paul
Stockton had an excellent jump shot from the perimeter and could hit his shots with ease. He was also an automatic from the free-throw line, shooting a very high percentage over his career. But Paul was a better overall scorer because he has a special ability to create his own shots with ease.
Chris Paul has excellent handles, body strength, and amazing shooting ability which allows him to make a ton of shots from the perimeter once he dances on defenders. Paul has a higher scoring average over his career, and this is due to his incredible shot-making ability.
Impact - John Stockton
Since both players have similar skillsets and abilities on the floor, this one is very hard to gauge. Paul impacts the game on both ends of the floor and has done it for a very long time. Even when Paul has a tough shooting night, he can manage to influence the game on the defensive end while making the right passing plays.
While Stockton is similar to Paul in this regard, he had a slightly better impact on the floor because he actually experienced playing in an NBA Finals. One of the biggest knocks on Chris Paul was his inability to make an NBA Finals despite playing on some pretty good teams such as the Clippers and Rockets. Stockton never missed the playoffs when he was at the helm with the Jazz, because his impact was too great.
1 on 1 Game - Chris Paul
1 on 1, Paul is a better scorer with a wider array of moves. He can create space with his dribbling and then find his shot in rhythm. Paul is exceptional at stepping back for open jumpers, finishing around the basket under bigger defenders, and drawing fouls when defenders sneak a hand in. Despite being more of a playmaker, Paul is an amazing scorer for his size.
Stockton was a good inside scorer, mainly thanks to his off-the-ball movement and rim run. He was also an exceptional outside shooter because of his sharpshooting ability, but Paul gets the edge in terms of pure one on one offense.