Part two of looking at the current generation of players, and who is expected to make the Basketball Hall of Fame – from the Western Conference.
As per The Basketball Hall of Fame: who gets in from today’s players in the NBA’s Eastern Conference? - same rules apply!
Kobe Bryant - One of the true greats. It’s a pity so many find him so polarizing, because they’re missing out on one of the historically great basketballers ever, hamstrung by their own small-mindedness.
Steve Nash – One of the best shooters to ever play the game… never mind the distribution skills!
Tim Duncan – A player for the ages. History will remember Tim Duncan fondly.
Jason Kidd – Incredible durability paired with near-unmatchable point guard skills and leadership.
Dirk Nowitzki – Dirk’s come so far. From being considered as a perennial choker to being the undeniable man in the NBA Finals – verily against two of the best players in the NBA. A clear choice.
Pau Gasol – As with Dirk, when you consider what he’s done both internationally and in Europe, the guy is one of the best big men to play in this generation.
Questions still exist on the following…
Kevin Durant – At this point in time, I’m going with nuh-uh. Durant has enormous potential, and his Thunder could well be one of the powerhouses of Western Conference basketball. But to this point in time there’s just not enough on his resume in a league that’s more star-studded than a Gaga costume. Poignant tho’, that at this point in time we’re even considering him. Greg Oden is on the verge of becoming a cautionary tale… I wonder how often Portland wonder “what if?”
Marcus Camby – Actually closer than a lot of people are going to give him credit for. We all know his NBA career, but he had a better HS career than most NBA players, and College? He is second all-time in total blocked shots at the University of Massachusetts and the fourth-ever college player to have at least 300 total career blocked shots (336). In the ’95/96 season, he was generally accepted as the best player in college hoops – winning the John R. Wooden Award and the Naismith College Player of the Year. In the NCAA tourney that year – he broke records with 43 blocks in 11 games. There was a bit of infamy involved that year too – Camby accepted cash from sports agents, and the UMass Final Four was nullified. Regardless, the guy was an amazing college player.
It’s a near thing, but I’m gonna go with yes.
Deron Williams – It’s difficult, but at this point in time I don’t think D-Will’s done enough to warrant inclusion… tho’ I think by the time all’s said and done, he’ll most likely achieve enough to come close. But for now: no.
Ron Artest – I think the possibly-soon-to-be-Metta-World-Peace is one of the more intriguing nominations here. If you take away *who* he is, then he has the resume. One of the best defenders of our generation: an intimidating, lock-down defensive presence who could score as well. However, *who* he is and *who* he has been absolutely must be addressed too. But who is he? Is he the absolute menace who was moved from team-to-team, the centerpiece of the worst night in the history of the NBA? Or the guy who seems genuinely repentant for his past misdeeds, a spokesperson for mental health that recently won the J. Walter Kennedy Citizen Award.
I’m going against what I expect to be the grain, and I’m gonna say “yes”. I think the distance he’s traveled is amazing, and the guy deserves recognition.
Vince Carter – His dunk over Frederic Weiss deserves to be in the Hall, but Vince doesn’t. No.
Grant Hill – A well-known and outstanding college career saves the guy – one of the best college defenders of this generation. There was a time where he was expected to be the next Jordan… before a series of soul-crushing injuries turned him into merely a ‘good player’. Yes.
Tony Parker – 3 time NBA champion, Finals MVP and a European player of the Year. It’s a near thing, but the guy’s in.
Manu Ginobli - Manu’s achievements internationally, in Europe and in the NBA make this one of the easier choices: yes.
Shawn Marion – Umm… guy was only ever the 3rd wheel on good teams. No.
Peja Stojaković – His NBA career doesn’t hold up to HoF standards, but his international and European credentials do. 3 times European Player of the Year? Yes.
Chris Paul - It was recently pointed out to me that nearly every NBA player was a superhero in high school. This is true, but Chris Paul? As a senior – 30.8 points, 9.5 assists, 5.9 rebounds, and 6.0 steals per game. That, is insane. He dominated and now holds nearly every offensive category record at Wake Forest, and has had a stellar NBA career matched with some phenomenal play internationally. In.