Our Basketball Hall of Fame monitor for Basketball looks at the following criteria:
The most significant factor we look at is how each active player measures up to the last fourteen players who were chosen. To be specific, we are focusing only on players who were voted through the conventional means and not through any special committee. What this means that no Direct-Elect Committee Inductees will part of the comparisons. The Direct-Elect categories are Contributors, Early African-American Pioneers, International, and Veterans. Please note that at present, we are not ranking women, but may make a separate list in the future.
Inspired by Jay Jaffe’s JAWS statistic that looks at the best seven-year stretch of a baseball player according to bWAR, we are doing the same with current basketball players. Specifically, we compiled the average PER, Win Shares and VORP for each of the past Hall of Famers based on their best seven-year period. The additional thinking behind this is that in Basketball, there is an additional focus on periods of greatness as opposed to sports like Baseball, where compiling statistics is more glorified.
As opposed to what we have done with Football, we are not isolating these metrics by their position as the PER, Win Shares and VORP considers everything.
We are also looking at the amount of All-Star Games and All-NBA Selections. In terms of the All-NBA and All-Defensive Selections, we are compiling in a weighted fashion. In terms of Third Team All-NBA Selections, one point will be assigned, Second Team All-NBA Selections will have two points will be granted, and First Team All-NBA Selections will have three points.
So, let’s continue!
We have made one huge change, as we added the members from the 2020 Class, thus raising the sample size from 14 to 16. We have also removed Vlade Divac, who we included last year despite being inducted through the International Committee.
The 16 players from the last five induction classes who we are using for the composite averages are:
Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant, Maurice Cheeks, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Bobby Jones, Grant Hill, Allen Iverson, Jason Kidd, Tracy McGrady, Yao Ming, Sidney Moncrief, Steve Nash, Shaquille O’Neal, Jack Sikma and Paul Westphal.
With the addition of Bryant, Duncan and Garnett, the Averages have all gone up.
Here are the averages:
Based on their elite seven-year stretch the average PER of the last 16 Modern Era Hall of Famers is 22.5. In our previous tally, it was 21.5.
Based on their elite seven-year stretch, the average Win Shares of the last 16 Modern Era Hall of Famers is 70.9. In our previous tally, it was 65.1.
Based on their elite seven-year stretch, the average VORP of the last 16 Modern Era Hall of Famers is 32.0, up from 27.8 last year.
With All-Star and All-NBA Selections, we look at the entire career of the player.
The average All-Star Selections of the last 16 Modern Era Hall of Famers is 9.4, up from 7.4 last year.
The average All-NBA Selections (based on the pointed average of one for a Third Team, two for a Second Team and three for a First Team Selection) is 14.6, again significantly higher than the 9.8 from last year.
We are also adding NBA Championships. Often, players in this team sport more than any other (except for NFL Quarterbacks) are judged by the number of rings they have. Perhaps, that shouldn't be as regarded as it is, considering the average amount of titles of our last 16 Modern Era Hall of Famers is a little more than 1. Specifically, it is 1.1, although with Bryant, Duncan and Garnett, 11 more titles were added. This is way up from the .79 last year.
Wrapping this up in a bow, the six variables we are looking at Elite Period PER, Elite Period Win Shares, Elite Period VORP, All-Star Games, Weighted All-Pro Selections, NBA Championships.
This is all simple enough, right?
A few more notes before we begin:
As the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame recognizes College and International accomplishments, we will mention those if any are significant. Those add-ons can (and have) pushed a bubble candidate to immortality in Springfield.
This list is based on the beginning of the 2020-21 Season:
Please remember that this list is based on accomplishments and not necessarily future potential. Think of it as where they stand if their career ended today.
Any asterisk in front of a statistic indicates that this metric exceeds the average.
**In front of a player means that the seven-year elite period was up to last season and could extend, thus potentially increasing their averages.
***In front of a player means that he has yet to play seven seasons.
Ray Allen, Maurice Cheeks, Vlade Divac, Bobby Jones, Grant Hill, Allen Iverson, Jason Kidd, Tracy McGrady, Yao Ming, Sidney Moncrief, Steve Nash, Shaquille O’Neal, Jack Sikma and Paul Westphal.
Please note that although the International Committee chose Vlade Divac, we include him due to his long NBA career. He is the only exception to our rule.
James has become every bit of the Hall of Fame lock that pundits said he would be when he was drafted 1st Overall in 2003. James doesn't just exceed our six criteria; he destroys them. Already a bona fide Hall of Famer years ago, the only question left is where he finishes in terms of the greatest of all-time. Last year, under the rigors of the COVID-19 bubble, James took the Lakers to a championship, earning his fourth, and leading three teams to the promised land. He isn’t done yet. Previous Rank: #1.
As each year goes by, Kevin Durant becomes less and less media-friendly, but does it matter? It shouldn't, as his legend is officially secured. Now that his run with the Golden State Warriors is officially over, he did exactly what he set out to do in winning a championship, which he won two. The former MVP enters his second season with Brooklyn, with the first one being on the disabled list. Saying that we can't wait to see his third act begin, which will be with the intriguing Nets and Kyrie Irving as his new teammate. Previous Rank: #2.
James Harden had another intriguing NBA season; in that he was a scoring machine but was on a team that was unable to make the NBA Finals. Coming off his third straight scoring title, and another First Team All-Star, he is entering this season seeking a trade out of Houston. Regardless of what happens moving forward, Harden is a former MVP and three-time Scoring Champion, and that is more than enough to get him into Springfield. Yet to taste an NBA Title, Harden might have a hard time winning it this year. The narrative on Harden is changing for the negative, but the stat line grew, which will supersede the negative for Hall consideration. Previous Rank: #4.
Chris Paul is already a Hall of Fame player, but he is missing an NBA Championship. Last year, in what was his only year in Oklahoma City, he rebounded with his first All-Star year after a three-year drought, and the Point Guard was also named a Second Team All-Star. Paul was traded to Phoenix in the offseason, which makes it hard for him to get that elusive ring, but his work as an elder statesman to a young Suns squad will only add to his legacy, that is if he embraces that role. Previous Rank: #3.
Steph Curry has two MVPs and three NBA Championships, and we can say that he is a Hall of Famer now as nobody who has done that has been kept out of Springfield. The interesting thing now will be to see how well Curry and the Warriors perform in a season where they are not expected to win the West, while also coming off an injury-plagued year. Previous Rank: #5.
After nine years with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Russell Westbrook joined the Houston Rockets, but in what turned out to be his only year there, the results were the same. Westbrook scored a lot, was an All-NBA Selection, but he couldn’t get Houston far in the playoffs. Openly disgruntled, Westbrook was shockingly traded to the Washington Wizards, and all eyes are on what he will be able to do in the Capital City. While he does have some accomplishments (namely a Championship) that he is still chasing, the former MVP and above stats show him as a Hall of Famer already. This should be a strange year for the well-dressed superstar. Previous Rank: #6.
Howard falls short on the Elite Period VORP, but this was a player who at one time was considered the best Center in the NBA and was also, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year. Howard was considered a Hall of Fame lock seven years ago, but since then he has bounced around the league and it also doesn't help that a plethora of former teammates have said they were happier without him. That narrative went away when he performed well in a reserve role with the Los Angeles Lakers, and was an asset in their championship win. Howard joined the 76ers this year, and he could win another title. Previous Rank: #7.
Everybody has known for years that Anthony Davis is a phenomenal player, but he never had anyone close to his level to play at his side. That was until he joined the Los Angeles Lakers and suited up next to LeBron James. He is entering his second year as a Laker, and in his first his desire to leave New Orleans proved accurate as he won the NBA Title with LeBron. Davis could easily win more, and his elite period metrics can still increase. Previous Rank: #11
Pau Gasol has just enough on his NBA merits alone to make a Hall of Fame case, but when you add his accomplishments for Spain, he should have no problem getting in. He is 40, and he does not have a lot left in the tank, but he should be a second or third year ballot Hall of Fame inductee. He could even be in the first ballot is there are not many heavyweights around him in his first year of eligibility. As of this writing, Gasol is not on any team, and could be retiring this year. Previous Rank: #9.
Carmelo Anthony waited for what had to feel like forever until he was picked up by the Portland Trail Blazers, but he proved he still has something to offer, and he was resigned by Rip City afterward. Anthony only makes one of the above six thresholds, but the common belief is that he is a Hall of Fame worthy player at this moment. For those who say he never won an NBA Title (which you can see that many haven’t), Melo is a three-time Gold Medalist and NCAA Champion. We have to reiterate that those accolades matter in terms of Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame selection. Previous Rank: #8
Leonard won two NBA Championships with two different teams (San Antonio & Toronto) and was the MVP in both Finals. That fact alone makes him a Hall of Famer in many eyes. He falls below the Elite Period Win Shares and VORP, but he is still in that period, and those stats will climb. If he leads the Los Angeles Clippers to a championship, it will never matter what stats he posts after. Previous Rank: #13.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is the reigning two-time MVP and is still improving. He has only played seven seasons; and as his rookie year was just okay, his Elite Period numbers are likely to skyrocket. Nobody in our top twenty has greater upside than the “Greek Freak” and another monster season will propel him over the Elite Win Shares and VORP average. While no two-time MVP has ever failed to get in immediately, a deep playoff run would help his legacy, especially considering he has yet to taste the Finals. Previous Rank: #14.
Lillard is not discussed much in terms of the Basketball Hall of Fame, but small-market Portland has one of the best players that few people talk about. Lillard is now a five-time All-NBA player, and after his last year, he sped past three of our thresholds, despite the fact that the MPA numbers rose. If you don’t watch the Trail Blazers, you are missing out, as his star is still rising. Previous Rank: #19
When we were putting this together, we actually thought Kyrie would be higher in terms of his advanced stats, but his elite period is still on. Irving's reputation may have taken a slight tumble with the way things went in Boston, but if he takes Brooklyn deep into the playoffs and a title, later on, all is forgiven (except in Boston). Irving's international accomplishments also help him, should his game fall off a cliff, but now that he is healthy and with an equally healthy Kevin Durant as a teammate, this could be a pivotal year for his Hall chances. Previous Rank: #15.
George would have the best year in the second of two years in OKC. Joining the Los Angeles Clippers last year and joining his friend, Kawhi Leonard, should have proved fruitful for George, but it was a down year, resulting in a setback for Springfield. Nevertheless, George is still young and the Clippers are again top contenders. An NBA Championship, even as the “number two” would be colossal for George. Previous Rank: #12.
Unless his elite period shifts (which it could), Griffin will fall short on Win Shares and VORP but is very close. Two things bode well for his Hall of Fame candidacy. The first is that he had a comeback year in 2018-19, being named Third Team All-NBA after a four-year absence from an All-NBA accolade. The second is that he is a former National Player of the Year at Oklahoma, and this counts in the overall picture. Previous Rank: #16.
Kevin Love was brought in to be the third piece of the Cavaliers with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, and it resulted in an NBA Championship. His All-Star days are likely behind him, and there is a good chance that there won't be a significant addition to his resume. He probably has enough now, but the career narrative on Love is not as strong as it used to be. Previous Rank: #18.
Aldridge has been an All-Star for seven of the last nine years. He will, however, fall short with the Elite Period Win Shares and VORP and might need a bit of help in terms of a title or that aforementioned eighth All-Star to help put him over, as his elite run appears to be over. Previous Rank: #17.
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Jimmy Butler has had a tumultuous career but after a year with Miami where he took the Heat to the Finals his stock has skyrocketed. His Elite Period metrics also rose, but as much as he is entering this season as an upper-tier player, he still has a lot of work to do. Notably, he is also a four-time Second Team All-Defensive Player. Previous Rank: #26.
There is a good chance that the Elite Period for Lowry is over, and if it is, he has six All-Stars on his resume and an NBA Title. With the raised thresholds, Lowry no longer exceeds any of these plateaus but the respect that he has around the league has grown. What will we say if he adds a seventh All-Star? This could certainly happen. Previous Rank: #20.
Marc Gasol just made history as the second player to win the NBA Championship and FIBA World Cup in the same calendar year. The Spaniard is not the dominating presence he once was, but his International accomplishments have some pundits painting him as a lock. It will have to as his overall NBA accomplishments show him as under the bar, but he does have that Defensive Player of the Year on his ledger. Now that he is with the loaded Los Angeles Lakers, a second NBA Title would be huge for his cause. Previous Rank: #21.
Oh boy. Derrick Rose is in grave danger of becoming the first former NBA MVP not to make the Hall of Fame. If you look at his overall numbers, Rose probably shouldn't be inducted. Rose had a fantastic comeback last year with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and also in his first year in Detroit, but he needs to keep that going. His chance for the Hall relies on compiling stats, his MVP and sentiment. Previous Rank: #27.
Thompson missed all of last season on the IR due to a torn ACL, which obviously negates him from adding much to his Hall of Fame cause. He should return this year, but what kind of player will he be? Previous Rank: #22.
Rondo's Elite Period is well in his rear-view mirror, but he was already an NBA Champion when he was with the Celtics. It also needs to be reiterated how much he helped them win that title. Rondo won another with the Lakers last year, which helps his cause, albeit in a secondary capacity. It also should be discussed that in terms of traditional stats, Rondo is a three-time Assists Champion and one-time Steals Champion. Previous Rank: #24.
Horford joins the Oklahoma City Thunder after what can be best described an average year in Philadelphia. His All-Star Selections may be behind him, but an NBA Championship could change the narrative. His Elite Period stats are hampered by two seasons where he missed a ton of games, but he is an excellent player who is still compiling good numbers. That might have to be his route to Springfield. Previous Rank: #23.
Already a three-time NBA Champion, Draymond Green's key to the Hall of Fame will be his defensive acumen. He is already a former Defensive Player of the Year and has been named to three First Team and two Second Team All-Defensive rosters. Green’s Elite Period numbers rose slightly last year, but he needs a more significant statistical year to get into the Hall of Fame hunt. Previous Rank: #25.
When Andre Iguodala was asked if he was a Hall of Famer, he said no. The odds are against him, but he is in the conversation more than he gives himself credit for. While his Elite Period is in the past, his VORP was actually above the average before it was raised this year by Bryant, Duncan and Garnett. The three Titles, the two Gold Medals, but mostly that Finals MVP will always keep Iguodala’s name in the Hall of Fame conversation. If he compiles and leads over the next few seasons, he could sneak in. Previous Rank: #30.
We made a huge error in forgetting DeRozan in our inaugural rank last yar, as he certainly has a resume worthy of discussing on a list like this. DeRozan is a very good player, but that is the increasing narrative on him, especially after his Spurs are treading water, and his former team, Toronto, won the title on the strength of trading him for Kawhi Leonard. Narratives can be stronger than statistics. Previous Rank: Unranked.
DeMarcus Cousins hasn't had a lot of luck in his career, especially in the last 24 months. After being injured for much of his brief run in New Orleans, the former Sacramento King signed for a one-year contract with Golden State in a chase for a title, but it didn't go well. "Boogie" didn't play for much of the season after recovering from an Achilles injury, and when he returned, he wasn't the same All-Star player. To make matters worse, the Warriors didn't win the NBA Title. He joined the Los Angeles Lakers last year but a torn ACL kept him out the entire season, and he never he played a game for them. He is now a Houston Rocket, but have the injuries taken their toll? He rose in this rank by default, but this is a make-or-break year for Cousins. Previous Rank #33.
Last year, we thought it would be the end for Jordan’s elite period, and it looks like we were right. Nevertheless, his advanced stats are much better than his lone All-Star Game Selection reflect. Still, Jordan will need a lot of help for Springfield enshrinement, and it would have to come in the form of multiple titles, which is marginally possible as a Net. Previous Rank: #29.
We wrote this last year “When we redo this at the end of the 2019-20 Season, Nikola Jokic could very well be the person who rises the most on this rank.” He did. Jokic is a dark horse candidate for the MVP as his Nuggets are for the NBA Championship. The Joker is one of the top players in the NBA right now, and he is trending in the right direction. Previous Rank: #42.
After seven years of NBA purgatory in Charlotte, Kemba Walker took over the Point in Boston, and got to enjoy life in the playoffs. Walker enters his second year in Boston and with Jayson Tatum as a teammate, he is on a potential championship team. Walker is still in his Elite Period and he enjoyed moderate increases in his three advanced statistics, but he needs to see that again over the next few seasons. Previous Rank: #34.
Gobert has played only seven seasons so far, thus is in his Elite Period PER by default. The Center finally made his first All-Star Game last year, is a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, and is also a three-time All-NBA Selection. We look for him to have one of the biggest gains on this list, especially if he can take Utah into a deep playoff run. Previous Rank: #36.
Millsap may not have the credentials for the Basketball Hall of Fame, but that change if he has a great season and Denver wins the Championship? The Nuggets are good, and this is not out of the realm of possibility. This has to happen as Millsap is in obvious decline. Previous Rank: #32.
Wall has been downward trending for the past three years, and he missed last year with a torn ACL. Surprisingly traded to the Houston Rockets before this season, it looks like his Elite Period is over, and if that is true, he is a bubble candidate; which would have been such a strange thought three years ago. Previous Rank: #28.
With Towns, it feels so familiar in that we have a star Timberwolves player who has to be getting frustrated playing for a team that is going nowhere. We know this is a player with only five seasons under his belt, so clearly, his Elite Period stats are going to grow, and his PER is already over the threshold. Already a two-time All-Star, this is a player that we are going to be watching intensely for the next ten years. Previous Rank: #41.
As of this writing, Noah again begins the season loooking for work in the NBA, and his career in the premier league of Basketball may be over (we wrote the same this year too). The chances are that the former Defensive Player of the Year won't add anything else to his resume. Previous Rank: #35.
Andre Drummond was traded from the Detroit Pistons to the Cleveland Cavaliers during last season and he is the reigning three-time Rebounding Champion. Drummond may have peaked and if that is the case, there will be no future call from Springfield. This year could be critical for any Hall of Fame chance. Previous Rank: #37
While we know that Embiid had only played four seasons in the NBA, his advanced metrics are very strong. In terms of traditional numbers, he has been a 10-20 player the last three seasons, and is a two-time Second Team All-NBA Selection. Previous Rank: #39.
It is worth noting that he is one (as of this writing) of 88 Players who have over 100 Win Shares and is higher than Carmelo Anthony and Andre Iguodala. Throw in the three Gold Medals, Defensive Player of the Year and NBA Championship, could a second NBA Championship in a limited role with Houston this year mean that he is a dark horse contender for Springfield? Probably not. Previous Rank: #31.
Beal averaged over 30 Points per Game last year with a career-high 23.8 PER. He now enters his ninth NBA year, and while he has been good, he needs to have a transcendent type season to enter the conversation. Previous Rank: 44.
After 12 seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies, Mike Conley is entering his second year with Utah. While never an All-Star, he was close to it many times and had good elite period numbers, but will need to elevate his game to another level. At age 33, that is a tall order. Previous Rank: #38.
Serge Ibaka won his first NBA Championship with the Raptors two years ago, and he is still a very good player. Having never been an All-Star hurts Ibaka’s chances, but he is a three-time First Team All-Defensive Selection. Now a Laker, a second NBA Title would be colossal. Precious Rank: #40.
Injuries have piled up quickly for I.T., but he has time to rebound if his health permits, though it isn’t looking good. That moment where he was a star Celtic seems life a lifetime ago. It would not surprise us, if he is unranked next year. Previous Rank: #43
Lopez should have been ranked last year, though it would not have been much higher than what he is this year. A title with the Bucks this year could put him on the fringe of the discussion. Previous Rank: Unranked
Hayward is entering his first season with Charlotte, but he hasn't come close to doing what he did in his last few seasons with Utah. Hayward was missed his entire first season in Boston due to a broken leg, but his return last year yielded just an average campaign. He needs to do much better this year to have any realistic Hall of Fame chance, but a ring or two won’t hurt. Playing for Charlotte will make that difficult. Previous Rank: #48.
Khris Middleton has been to two All-Star Games, but the second banana to Giannis Antetokounmpo needs a title to enter any Hall of Fame conversation. Previous Rank: #Unranked.
Dragic is one of the most underrated players in the game, and he is healthy again. There are more accomplishments left in his tank, and he is coming off a good year with Miami, albeit one where Dragic was used off of the bench. Previous Rank: #45.
Injuries held Oladipo to 55 Games in the last two years, and it has held back the two-time All-Star. He needs a bounce back year badly, as his stock is plummeting. Previous Rank: #47.
Korver was an All-Star in 2015 and has been an excellent role player for the majority of his career. He has been in two Finals with the Cavaliers, and he could go to a third with Milwaukee this year. Previous Rank: #50.