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NBA Saturday: Who’s Headed for Hall of Fame?
Posted By Joel Brigham On August 31, 2013 @ 6:00 am In NBA | No Comments
Hall of Fame Probabilities for Retired Stars
With the announcement this week that Tracy McGrady has retired from the NBA, a conversation about whether he’d make the Hall of Fame started making the rounds, and it’s a conversation worth having. Taking the San Antonio Spurs’ Finals run out of the equation this past spring, of which McGrady played almost no part, the forward never made it out of the first round of the playoffs despite unbelievable talent and seriously impressive numbers throughout his career.
We’ll find out in five years, which is how long a player must wait after retirement to discover whether they’ll make the first ballot. Basketball-Reference.com has a great Hall of Fame Predictor feature, which looks at a player’s career stats and accomplishments and tries to determine whether or not they’ll make the Hall. McGrady, for example, has a 58.2 percent chance of making it in, according to this particular formula.
What does that mean, really? Well, Cliff Hagan and Dennis Rodman, the two players on either side of McGrady in these Hall of Fame probability rankings, both made it in, and of the 10 eligible retired players who hit the same career statistical benchmarks as McGrady, nine of them were inducted. In other words, it’s better than 50/50 that he gets in, but it’s by no means a sure thing.
The McGrady debate has been done to death this week, though, so here’s a look at some other players that have either recently retired or have been on the Hall of Fame bubble for a number of years. How many of these talented former All-Stars will get themselves enshrined? We could wait for time to tell, but what’s the fun in that?
Career Stats: 26.7 PPG, 6.2 APG, 2.2 SPG, 20.9 PER
Hall of Fame Probability: 99.8%
Every HOF-eligible MVP in the history of the NBA has made the Hall of Fame, and all of the active MVPs (with the exception of maybe Derrick Rose, who still has a lot more to prove) are well on their way. If that argument isn’t convincing enough on its own, consider his 24,000 career points, four scoring titles, 11 All-Star appearances and seven All-NBA team selections. His talent was clearly transcendent, even though some argue that his character shortcomings work against him. If Dennis Rodman can get in, though, so can Iverson, especially with a resume like the one he has. He never won a ring, but he carried that 2001 Philly team to the Finals with very little help. A 99.8 percent probability rating feels just about right.
Career Stats: 12.6 PPG, 8.7 APG, 6.3 RPG, 1.9 SPG, 17.9 PER
Hall of Fame Probability: 94.9%
While he was never a dominant scorer, Kidd is without question one of the best point guards the NBA has ever seen. He was the 1995 Co-Rookie of the Year, a ten-time NBA All-Star, a ten-time All-NBA team selection and a five-time league assists leader. He also won an NBA title with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011, showing that he could still be an effective player late into his career. He only played fewer than 66 games in a season twice over a 20-year run, and in one of those seasons he was 38 years old. According to Basketball-Reference.com, there’s a 5.1 percent chance he doesn’t make the Hall of Fame, but that seems too high. This guy is a lock.
Jo Jo White
Career Stats: 17.2 PPG, 4.9 APG, 4.0 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 14.2 PER
Hall of Fame Probability: 84.5%
It’s easy to assume that every iconic Boston Celtics player is already in the Hall of the Fame, but White is one of the very few eligible members from those teams that is deserving, yet not already admitted. His career numbers are relatively underwhelming on the surface, which is likely why he has not already been voted into the Hall, but White was always better in the postseason than he was when the games didn’t matter quite so much. The best evidence of this was White’s 1976 NBA Finals MVP award, which makes him one of only two Hall-eligible players in league history to not be inducted. His career numbers are better than Hall-of-Famer Joe Dumars’ career numbers, but many argue that White’s stats would’ve been even higher had he not been on a team that was already loaded with so many legendary players. In essence, he’s been penalized for having played on a team that was too good. One has to hope he’ll eventually get in, but it’s been 27 years (and counting) of waiting for White.
Career Stats: 20.7 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 4.2 APG, 1.4 SPG, 1.4 BPG, 20.9 PER
Hall of Fame Probability: 74.6%
If you compare Webber’s career numbers to Tim Duncan’s, it’s surprising how similar they are. Duncan has averaged 20.2 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists so far, which really isn’t markedly different from what Webber did over the course of his own career, but there is one major difference between the two big men: jewelry. While Duncan has four rings, Webber never even played in an NBA Finals despite playing with a number of teams that had the talent to get there. He never was great in “The Moment” (see the 1993 NCAA National Championship game), but he is one of a very small group of NBA players to have posted a career PER over 20. No one doubts his talents, but his lack of crunch-time dominance and championship rings are what may hold him out of the Hall.
Career Stats: 15.6 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.0 SPG, 17.3 PER
Hall of Fame Probability: 65.9%
It’s impossible to imagine a modern-day player being drafted eighth overall out of a tiny D-III school like Illinois Wesleyan, but that’s what the Seattle SuperSonics did when they took Sikma back in 1977, and it was a move that would help them win a championship in 1979 due in large part to Sikma’s contributions. He was a banger and a double-double machine in the pros, and he’s the only center to ever lead the league in free throw shooting (92.2 percent from the charity stripe in 1987-88). He was named an All-Star seven times, but his defense was a little shaky throughout this career (except for 1982, when he was named to the All-Defensive second team), which apparently is what is keeping him out of Hall of Fame.
Career Stats: 19.0 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 1.9 BPG, 23.0 PER
Hall of Fame Probability: 37.7%
As far as NBA numbers are concerned, Yao looks iffy at best as a potential member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, but considering he already was nominated as a contributor to the game back in 2011, almost immediately after retiring, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that he’ll find his way in. As an ambassador for basketball in Asia, there has never been a more influential or important player, so even though his NBA career was disappointing due to a never-ending train of injuries, the fact that he introduced the game to such a huge international fan base is something that the Hall can’t ignore. He wants to wait the requisite five years and get in as a player rather than as a contributor (which doesn’t require any waiting period), but however he gets in, he’ll eventually be there. No doubt about it.
Career Stats: 16.7 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 4.1 APG, 1.2 SPG, 19.0 PER
Hall of Fame Probability: 35.5%
Earlier in Hill’s career, this looked like a no-brainer. He went to the Final Four three out of his four years at Duke, winning the national championship twice, and then won Co-Rookie of the Year and led the league in All-Star voting his first full season in the NBA. The man was a triple-double machine, clearly the most talented up-and-comer the league had seen in years… and then he broke his ankle in the 2000 postseason and was never the same player. Despite the slew of injuries that took him out of commission for the next six seasons (he only played more than 30 games once between 2000 and 2006), Hill still has an impressive career resume. The fact that he’s so ridiculously likeable will probably work in his favor, too, which means despite his relatively low Hall of Fame probability number, he seems more likely than not to be inducted.
There are plenty of other players worth discussing in terms of Hall of Fame probability: Mitch Richmond, Tim Hardaway, Alonzo Mourning, Kevin Johnson and many, many more, but obviously not everybody can get in. Basketball’s Hall of Fame has one of the weirdest and most convoluted induction processes of any sport, but in the end the guys who deserve to be there usually are.
The above players still are waiting, but hopefully they all get a fair shake at hoops immortality.
Grizzlies Release Fab Melo; Raps Do Same With Quentin Richardson
Just over two weeks after trading for Fab Melo, the Memphis Grizzlies announced on Friday that they had already released him.
Melo and his $1.3 million contract came to the Grizzlies from the Boston Celtics in exchange for Donte Green and cash considerations. When the move was originally made, it seemed Memphis had their sights set on an inexpensive former first-round pick that, with the right tutelage, could have become something worth holding onto.
It only took a couple of weeks for them to decide that he was not in fact worth holding onto, so Memphis placed him on waivers and are now waiting to see if someone claims him so they’re off the hook for his money this year.
Memphis already has Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Kosta Koufos and Ed Davis in the frontcourt rotation, so Melo wouldn’t have seen much floor time, anyway.
Toronto, meanwhile, released Quentin Richardson, who came to the Raptors in the Andrea Bargnani trade a couple of months ago. Unlike with Melo, though, Richardson’s release was expected. He’ll get the guaranteed $1.4 million salary he received by agreeing to be in the deal, but the chances of him latching on with another team at this point are pretty minimal.
Richardson has averaged 10.3 ppg and 4.7 rpg over the course of his career playing for the New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Miami HEAT, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers.
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