Here are the players I have ranked over AI that year:
Here is the post I had about Stockton vs AI and how close that comparison was:
Let's start off with team results:
Jazz: 53-29, 5.00 SRS (3rd)
76ers: 56-26, 3.63 SRS (7th)
AI's main argument stems from the 76ers playoff success. In reality, that was a byproduct of playing in a historically bad eastern conference.The East was so bad that its head to head record vs the West (38.3 win%) is the 2nd worst since the NBA merger, only behind 2004. It comes as no surprise that the 76ers record was padded vs the East, 40-14 (.741), in comparison to the West, 16-12 (.571). The Jazz were simply a better team that had to play in a tough conference.
It's also historical revisionism to say that AI's teammates were awful. He had the 6th Man of the year, Coach of the year, and Defensive Player of the Year. The 76ers went 6-5 in the 11 games AI missed. AI was carrying them offensively, but the team was winning on the backs of their 5th ranked defense
AI's best argument comes from his team making the finals. The only reason they made it was the atrocious Eastern Conference competition they faced.
Indiana: 41-41, -0.77 SRS
Toronto: 47-35, 1.69 SRS
Milwaukee: 52-30, 3.14 SRS
Dallas: 53-29, 4.61 SRS
If Utah played the 76ers opponents, they would have the made the finals too. If the 76ers were in the West, they would have lost in the 1st round.
On Court Play
We established that the jazz were on the same level if not better than the 76ers. How did those teams do with their star on the court?
Stockton: +12.2, +18.5 On/Off
Iverson: +5.7, +4.1 On/Off
With Stockton on the court, The Jazz outscored opponents by over twice the amount of Iverson. The Jazz played like a significantly better team with Stockton. When you adjust for the tougher competition, the gap widens.
We already know that Stockton was on another level defensively compared to AI. Stockton was an All-NBA level defender while AI was a liability. AI's best argument comes from Offense. I'm not convinced that AI was better offensively.
Jazz: 107.6 O rating (3rd)
76ers: 103.6 O rating (13th)
Stockton: 112.8 O rating, +14.3 On/Off
Iverson: 104.1 O rating, +3.9 On/Off
It's not outrageous to say that Stockton was better offensive player than Iverson. Stockton dominates AI at his best traits (shooting and passing). Stockton's 61 TS%,+9.2% rTS (Best in the NBA) is noticeably higher than AI's 51.8 TS%, +0.0% rTS. If you look at B-R's Points added because of True Shooting, Stockton is at 114 points above average compared to Iverson's 1 point. That's 113 Points (1.4 PPG) alone that Stockton is adding over AI based on efficiency.
Iverson made up for that with the playmaking created by all of the attention he received. Unfortunately for AI, playmaking is Stockton's best trait. Stockton had a 10.7 Assists per 36 average (best in the NBA), while AI only had a 3.9 Assists per 36 average. Their turnover numbers were comparable too. There is nothing in the stats that showed AI as a better offensive player.
Stockton's team had a legendary 7 year stretch from 95-01 as an elite offensive club.
Rank in O Rating:
5 Top 3 finishes in 7 years. Stockton, alongside Malone, being the engine of that offense.
How is AI Better?
Based on the above, Stockton was better on both Offense and Defense than AI. His team played better too. So what exactly is AI's argument over Stockton? The only argument he has is minutes played. AI played 42 Minutes Per Game compared to Stockton's 29. On a per-possession basis, Stockton is better than AI. That gap is reduced only when we account for the massive disparity in playing time. Either way it makes sense that this stat which is a per possession stat would rank Stockton well above AI.