Oh no 70sFan not you too
Even if interpreting RAPM data is beyond some people, I will never understand why there is any call to continue to point to BPM and PER when we have a far more rigorous and holistic box-score derivative statistic in PIPM.
And there, from 1996-98, Stockton is +4.3, +3.8, and +4.2. In contrast, from 1996-2000, Gary Payton is +3.93, +4.62, +5.13 (fifth in the league), +2.87, and +5.69 (second in the league), all with higher minutes than Stockton. Stockton gets his usual regular season and low minutes boost, and even then he still cannot really match Payton (save for Payton’s down year in 1999), which is far more reflective of the reality of their positions.
We also have Ben Taylor’s data. Granted you need to pay for that so I know why not everyone uses it, but if you were to find his numbers, you would see 1996-98 Stockton with plus/minus evaluations of 2.75, 2.5, and 2.25, and CORP evaluations of 8.7, 8, and 6.8, versus 1996-2000 Payton with plus/minus evaluations of 3, 3.5, 3.75, 3.25, and 3.25, and CORP evaluations of 8.7, 10.2, 11, 9.3, and 9.1 (he does take a slight portability hit compared to Stockton). There again, we see Payton’s value come through beyond the more inadequate box score metrics like PER.
Just listing out traits like “better shooter” (at low volume and by picking spots so defences are not actually pressured that much) and “more consistent defender” (even though Stockton could never hope to do what Payton did when he was allowed to guard Jordan) is how you end up saying Stockton was better than Nash — not to mention that by similar extension you could argue old Stockton (or more recently, old Manu) was better than the peaks of Westbrook, Rose, Parker...