David Stockton Has Proven All of Us Wrong


Gonzaga basketball has held its surplus of surprises throughout the past couple of years. There have been numerous unanticipated events that rocked the Bulldogs’ fan base recently – some confusing, some exciting, and some that are absolutely mind-blowing.

Who would’ve guessed that Kelly Olynyk was going to voluntarily take a redshirt year in the middle of his collegiate career (which turned out to be a trend-starter)? Or that the Zags would be rematched with UCLA in the Sweet 16, exacting their revenge on the Bruins from The Game That Shall Not Be Named back in 2006.

Well, this trend of unexpected twists and turns continued just a few weeks ago, when David Stockton was inked to a multi-year contract with the Sacramento Kings, with his contract extending through the 2015-16 season.

Now, before I go any further, I want to make note that David Stockton was a great point guard throughout his time at Gonzaga. I think, at times, he was unfairly judged at the point guard position simply because he didn’t shoot/make as many treys as Kevin Pangos did. I believe he was undervalued and served a great role as a Zag.

That being said, if someone had told me that one day David Stockton would be playing in the National Basketball Association and signed to a multi-year deal, I would’ve shot them a glance that said, “You’re kidding, right?” And don’t lie, a vast majority of you would’ve done the same. We know David’s great at basketball, but the NBA? C’mon now.

And yet here we are. There’s a Sacramento Kings No. 9 Stockton jersey framed in the bowels of the McCarthey Athletic Center, next to the jerseys of fellow Zags that have made it to the Association, and David already has his own highlight reel up on YouTube in one of his first NBA games against the Los Angeles Lakers, in which he recorded five points, seven assists, and two steals, including an incredible and-1 layup that garnered a collective gasp from the Staples Center attendees.

David began his professional career with the Kings’ D-League affiliate, the Reno Bighorns, in which he became a triple-double machine and standout amongst his peers. He averaged 20.1 points, 9.4 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 30.5 minutes per game in Reno. His determination and numerous impressive performances convinced the Kings to initially sign Stockton to a 10-day contract back on February 20.

Once this contract had ended, though, Sacramento had decided not to re-sign David to his second 10-day opportunity. He soon found himself back with the Bighorns in the D-League, determined as ever to  reclaim his spot on the Kings’ official roster. Stockton continued his string of rampant performances in Reno, stealing the audience’s attention with one incredible game after the other.

Sacramento’s front office kept notice. A few weeks later, on April 12, David got called back up, earning his current multi-year contract. The Kings’ NBA season ended after they failed to reach the playoffs, so while Stockton’s time in the pros was cut short, he got a taste of the action and has a good shot at making the roster next year, given his impressive performances continue into next year’s summer league.

Assuming that is the case, David will serve an extremely valuable role with Sacramento. As we’ve seen in his small NBA sample size, he’s followed his father’s footsteps in being a great distributor and playmaker, finding the open man and setting him up perfectly for a good look. More so, his versatility and keen eye will make for smoother transitions for the Kings.

Stockton would also be teammates with Andre Miller, who knows a thing or two about distributing the rock, as he sits ninth in the all-time assists category.  Now, obviously, David’s already gotten some good practice in that field, you know, being the son of the King of Assists and what not. But, David hasn’t had a mentorship from an assist guru that also happens to be a teammate, so this could potentially be an entirely new experience for him that will only improve his overall effectiveness on the court.

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In the recent article, “Sacramento Kings: How David Stockton Can Fit In,” John von Volkli so cleverly stated that, “Stockton’s raw talent, size, quickness, and voracious appetite to prove himself may just make the Kings a safe, small-market organization with whom to grow.” And he couldn’t be more spot-on. Sacramento is a great fit for David and will provide an exceptional environment for the small point guard’s development into a solid NBA player.

Also, let’s all just take a moment to recognize what an incredible accomplishment this is for David Stockton. When he left Gonzaga, his name wasn’t exactly filling up the draft boards. Most Zag fans figured his success would be found solely in the D-League or playing internationally.

Couple these assumptions with the pressuring expectations of being the son of a hall of famer, and David’s work only becomes more and more impressive. He is proof that with enough hard work and determination, anything can be accomplished.

Congratulations, David. You’ve proven all of us wrong and have attained a goal that many dream of but few achieve, even when the odds weren’t in your favor. Your story and relentless work ethic is inspiring, and Zag nation can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you.