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[Insider] Who's next for the HOF?

Discussion in 'NBA Dish' started by senter, Apr 8, 2013.

  1. senter

    senter Member

    Aug 5, 2010
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    Interesting read on who could potentially be in the HOF in the coming years. Several ex Houston Rockets mentioned:


    Bernard King and Gary Payton are in. Who's next? We know the NBA members of the 2013 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class, announced Monday morning at the Final Four. But it's never too early to start looking ahead to the players that will become eligible in future years, as well as some other candidates who may fill out upcoming Hall of Fame classes.

    I'll do so with the help of my wins above replacement (WARP) statistic, which is ideally suited to the task because it can sum up career value. By factoring in replacement level, WARP keeps players from piling up extra credit by hanging around long past their prime. Despite the occasionally unpredictable nature of Hall of Fame voting -- remember, it's the Basketball Hall of Fame, not the NBA Hall of Fame, WARP matches up decently with the results.

    A 150 career WARP tends to be the cutoff for inner-circle Hall of Famers; every eligible player who has surpassed that total has been elected. Between 100 and 150 WARP, better than a third of eligible players are Hall of Famers. Anything less than 100 WARP, however, and chances dwindle. A total of 18.2 percent of eligible players between 75 and 100 WARP have been voted in, and just 9.5 percent of players between 50 and 75 -- several of them of players whose careers started before the period WARP covers, dating back to 1979-80.

    Keeping that in mind, let's take a look at who might be next for the Hall of Fame.

    First-Ballot: None
    Likely Hall of Famers: Alonzo Mourning (123.2 career WARP)
    Possible Hall of Famers: Chris Webber (136.2 career WARP)
    Hall of Very Good: Sam Cassell (104.6 career WARP), Steve Francis (74.7 career WARP), Penny Hardaway (73.5 career WARP), Eddie Jones (113.6 career WARP)

    Next year's class, made up of players whose final NBA season was 2007-08, is loaded with interesting names who fall short of Hall of Fame caliber. Steve Francis and Penny Hardaway burned brightly but lack the longevity to be serious candidates, while Sam Cassell and Eddie Jones were consistently solid but never great. It also includes fringe stars such as Shareef Abdur-Rahim (71.3 career WARP), Damon Stoudamire (73.4) and Antoine Walker (79.5).

    Robert Horry (67.8 career WARP) will also surely get some support because of his postseason impact. Grantland's Bill Simmons chose Horry for his Hall of Fame in "The Book of Basketball." Horry's legacy as a member of seven championship teams deserves to be commemorated in Springfield, Mass., somehow, but a spot in the Hall of Fame would be unprecedented for a player who never so much as made an All-Star team. (There are Hall of Famers, such as Bob Houbregs and Arvydas Sabonis, who were not NBA All-Stars but were chosen because of their accomplishments in college or overseas.)

    That leaves two players worth seriously discussing. As one of the greatest defensive players in NBA history, Alonzo Mourning looks like a yes. He ranks 11th on the all-time block leaderboard, won defensive player of the year twice and was a top-five player in his prime (in 1998-99, he finished fourth in WARP and second in MVP voting).

    Chris Webber is a more agonizing choice. Strictly by the numbers, he should be comfortably in. Every season from 1998-99 through 2002-03, Webber was an All-NBA player as the leader of very good Sacramento Kings teams. However, voters are likely to remember Webber falling short in key situations (the infamous timeout in the 1993 championship game, and the 2002 Western Conference finals). The stats do back up that Webber wasn't the same player in the playoffs. I think he will ultimately get in, but it will probably take several years for Webber's accomplishments to overcome his baggage.

    First-Ballot: None
    Likely Hall of Famers: Dikembe Mutombo (141.2 career WARP)
    Possible Hall of Famers: None
    Hall of Very Good: Stephon Marbury (115.5 career WARP)

    Few players reach the Hall of Fame with single-digit scoring averages (he finished his 18-year career at 9.8 points per game). Dikembe Mutombo deserves to be the exception. He's in the discussion for best defensive player in NBA history, ranking second in career blocks; nobody has won the defensive player of the year award more times. Given Mutombo's longevity -- he was a useful reserve into his 40s -- and his humanitarian work, I think he makes it in.

    Stephon Marbury's statistics are borderline at best, and given the ample evidence that they overstated his ability to help a team win, he has zero chance at the Hall of Fame.

    First-Ballot: Allen Iverson (138.5 career WARP)
    Likely Hall of Famers: None
    Possible Hall of Famers: None
    Hall of Very Good: Michael Finley (70.5 career WARP)

    Every eligible MVP winner has been voted into the Hall of Fame, and Allen Iverson will as well despite being near the bottom of this group in terms of career value. The more interesting question is whether Iverson will get in on the first ballot or have to wait for his selection. That could go either way, especially if voters hold the abrupt end of Iverson's NBA career against him. Iverson hopes to delay this decision by returning to the NBA, but that prospect seems remote.

    First-Ballot: Shaquille O'Neal (264.8 career WARP)
    Likely Hall of Famers: Yao Ming (67.2 career WARP)
    Possible Hall of Famers: None
    Hall of Very Good: Peja Stojakovic (74.9 career WARP)

    Barring a change to a Simmons-style Hall of Fame pyramid, which would force voters to rank Shaq against the other great centers in NBA history, there is zero drama in his Hall of Fame election. O'Neal fans can already make plans to be in Springfield in September 2017 to see him inducted.

    O'Neal may be joined by Yao Ming, depending on timing. In 2011, the Hall considered including Yao among the nominees as a contributor, which would have eliminated the usual five-year waiting period. However, Yao's agent asked the Hall to save the discussion for a later date. As a player, Yao's case is borderline, because he played only 486 games over seven-plus seasons, but not unprecedented. (Bill Walton, whose career was similarly cut short by injury, played 468.) Adding in Yao's importance to growing basketball in China and his international career makes him an easier call as a contributor.

    First Ballot: None
    Likely Hall of Famers: None
    Possible Hall of Famers: Tracy McGrady (149.3 career WARP), Ben Wallace (113.5 career WARP)
    Hall of Very Good: Gilbert Arenas (72.8 career WARP), Mike Bibby (86.4 career WARP), Brad Miller (72.6 career WARP)

    While there's still time for Tracy McGrady to make a comeback, if this is it for his NBA career, the Hall of Fame committee will face a difficult choice come 2018. McGrady's case is somewhat similar to Webber's and that of his cousin, Vince Carter (141.3 career WARP, and still adding to that total). McGrady had an MVP-caliber peak, and his six appearances on All-NBA teams would ordinarily bode well for selection. Yet McGrady is remembered best for his teams' inability to win in the playoffs and his lax work ethic. I don't think he will be selected.

    Ben Wallace represents a different kind of challenge. Like Mutombo, Wallace is a four-time defensive player of the year, though his shorter career did not allow him to rack up the same kind of counting stats (he ranks 13th all-time in blocks). I would compare Wallace favorably to recent inductee Dennis Rodman. Wallace made more All-Star teams (4-2) and All-NBA teams (5-2) than Rodman. Yet the Worm's role on five championship teams (Wallace won just one title) may ultimately be the bigger factor for voters.

    Wild Cards

    Besides players just becoming eligible, the Hall of Fame will also consider retired players who have already been on the ballot. Among that group, the leaders in career WARP (table below) are notable.

    Hardaway, a finalist this year, has a good shot at eventually being selected. Even accounting for WARP's obvious bias toward '90s point guards (sorry, Mookie Blaylock is not a Hall of Famer, unless you mean the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame). He is one of seven eligible players not in the Hall that Basketball-Reference.com's Hall of Fame predictor gives a better than 50-50 shot of making it.

    Basketball-Reference also likes Mitch Richmond's chances of potentially putting all three members of Run-TMC in the Hall. WARP is more skeptical of Richmond's candidacy, putting him distinctly in Hall of Very Good territory with 77.0 career WARP. Richmond's effective career was relatively brief, and in his prime he was not as efficient as contemporaries such as Reggie Miller.

    WARP and Basketball-Reference are in agreement that Jack Sikma is the best of the pre-'90s candidates. Sikma's WARP figure above slightly understates his value because it does not include his first two seasons in Seattle, which resulted in a pair of trips to the NBA Finals. Sikma ranks third in Hall of Fame probability, trailing Jo Jo White and Willie Naulls. Yet he has not been one of the finalists in recent years.

    One other candidate worth mentioning is Maurice Cheeks, a finalist in recent years who just barely missed the 100 threshold for career WARP (he had 98.0). Because of his role on Philadelphia 76ers teams that contended perennially in the 1980s and the popularity of pass-first point guards, Cheeks has a good shot at eventually making it in.



    Rick Adelman, George Karl and Gregg Popovich

    As Per Diem predecessor John Hollinger regularly noted, the Hall of Fame's ratio of college coaches to NBA coaches is woefully lopsided. The Hall can even things up by inducting three active coaches.

    Adelman and Karl both have more than 1,000 career wins after Adelman reached the mark on Saturday, putting them in an elite group of the eight winningest coaches in league history. The other six are all Hall of Famers, and Adelman and Karl deserve to join them. Basically the only argument against Adelman and Karl is that neither has won a championship, which (rightfully) did not keep Don Nelson out of the Hall. Both have winning percentages well north of .500, unlike the other eligible coaches with 900-plus wins, Bill Fitch and 2013 finalist Dick Motta.

    Popovich's induction is surely a matter of time. The four other coaches with more than two championships have been inducted, and Popovich is closing in on 1,000 career wins -- he's about two more good seasons away from the milestone.

    Source: http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/page/PerDiem-130408/nba-else-make-hall-fame
  2. Roxs-Redemption

    Jun 20, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Nice read. Thanks for posting.
  3. Pringles

    Pringles Member

    Mar 25, 2006
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    Man, the list is depressing.

    I'm really glad the Rockets were fortunate to have Yao Ming and Dikembe Mutombo to represent the them and the city.

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