How Good is David Stockton?

Without a doubt, the biggest surprise during the first two games (other than Mathis Monninghoff) has to be David Stockton for the Zags. Thought of as just another walk-on in the Sorenson and P-Maag mode (e.g. great team guy, but not a guy who's going to do any serious damage on the court), Stockton has gotten off to a stellar start. Against Southern in 11 minutes, Stockton scored 7 points with three assists and a steal. Today against IUPUI in 11 minutes, Stockton scored 6 points on 3-of-5 shooting, and piled four rebounds and an assist (he could have had more if some of his players finished on their end).

Regardless of the expectations Zags fans had of Stockton this year, you have to admit this: those are pretty impressive stat lines, and even more impressive when you consider his main competition (Marquise Carter) hasn't been exactly lighting up either (2-of-8 shooting, four turnovers and four assists in the first two games; though he does have four steals).

So does Stockton have a realistic shot of competing with Carter and Meech for minutes at the point? Or is Stockton pretty much what we think: a nice story (he is J-Stock's son after all) that will probably be regulated to garbage minutes in blowouts.

Why Stockton Should Get More Playing Time.

  • On the fast break, Stockton has looked great these first two games. He pushes the ball well, he has good court vision and he makes solid passes. Tonight, he could have had two or three more assists had his players finished on their end. In terms of point play, I think a true point guard has been the team's weakness the past five or so years. Jeremy Pargo was a tremendous athlete, but he did not have good court vision and often made dumb passes or settled for driving to the rim head down (which often resulted in missed shots and turnovers). As for Meech, while you could argue that Bouldin was the true point (and he really was last year), he often has a tendency to go through the same "Pargo-esque" tendencies (driving to the hoop head down, not looking to pass). Stockton seems to be a pass-first player, which would benefit this team which has many offensive weapons.
  • Stockton doesn't seem to be too mistake prone. He is very composed and plays with a lot of confidence, which is pretty remarkable for a walk-on with no guarantee of playing time or even a roster spot. Like I said, nothing against Sorenson and P-Maag, but they weren't initiating the fast break like Stockton was these past two games. That's not so much a shot on those two, but rather a compliment to show how special Stockton is. He isn't looking to be an end of the bench guy who's looking to solely give high fives and pat butts as the team goes into timeouts. He wants to play and you could tell that he wants to prove he can make the rotation in the minutes he's been out there on the court so far this year.
  • He's John Stockton's son. I mean, this is a guy who tutored Deron Williams and other Gonzaga point guards for years. You're telling me he's not teaching his son the same things?

Why Fans Shouldn't Expect Too Much Out of Stockton.

  • Let's face it: Southern and IUPUI aren't very good. Gonzaga got off to huge leads, which allowed Few to play guys like Stockton and Hart and let them stick out for stretches of time. It's easy to play well when you have a twenty-plus lead, and you know there is backup behind you on the bench waiting to put the nail in the coffin if you can't do it. That being said, how would Stockton perform against better competition? How would he perform in a three point game rather than a 23 point game? While it's not fault of his own, Stockton hasn't proved to GU fans that he can play in big-time minutes and I'm not sure if you take that risk when every game counts as much as it does in College Basketball.
  • Stockton is still small. He's 5'10, but ESPN lists him at 150 pounds. He looks a little bigger than that, but it's safe to say, he's giving up a lot to bigger, more athletic point guards. On the defensive end, Stockton hasn't been awesome, but he hasn't been awful either. It makes you wonder though if he can handle better points like Keion Bell when the Zags reach WCC play. My gut tells me Stockton just isn't physical enough to take on the better, more athletic point guards in College Basketball, and that isn't a good sign for more playing time.
  • He's surprised guys, but what happens when players check on him, keep a little better tabs on him on the defensive end? (e.g. not let him drive and kick like he's been doing the past two games?) What happens when defenders put serious pressure on him? What happens when he goes against physical guard combos like the ones from LMU, Memphis or even San Diego State and Kansas State? Will he still be able to play out in the open? Or will Stockton find little ways to generate points? (Be it by his hand or helping other score?) Or will he go in the tank and get overwhelmed? On the fast break, Stockton has proved to be very dependable, especially when it comes to pushing the ball. But in the halfcourt? I don't know if he's ready, and I don't know if he'll be able to handle the better half court defenses the Zags will see from teams as the season progresses.

Overall, it's been a good start for Stockton. But what are some of your guys opinions? Is Stockton a sleeper? Or were these first two games a flash in the pan?

This post does not reflect the views of the blog authors or SB Nation.

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