At the latest Bloguin Basketball Discussion Group meeting (chaired by Jeff Fox of Hoops Manifesto), we explored the notion of who would be Hall of Fame players from the current (or thereabouts) era. First up, the Eastern Conference.
Let’s get into this.
For the Hall of Fame, we need some way to compare/contrast. So I’ll be using the Australian basketball fan’s universal measure of greatness, the Sean Marks quotient (1-5).
Kevin Garnett – Despite my misgivings about who he is as a human being, KG is one of the best players of our generation. An amazing competitor, and whilst he spent his best years as a T-Wolf, my memories of him will be wearing green. Which is only right, as I despise him anyway. Sure-fire HoFer.
Shaquille O’Neal – There are players that as a fan you have to feel blessed to have lived in the same era, to be able to watch him play. Shaq is such a player. Entertainment, humor and heart, all wrapped up in a cretaceously big package. Kinda hurts to think of him as “Eastern Conference” when discussing the Hall. He’ll go in as a Laker tho’.
Ray Allen – Holder of the NBA’s all-time leader in regular season three-point field goals made stat, and NBA champion. Should have won the MVP for the ’08 Finals too.
Paul Pierce – The one-time self-proclaimed “Best Player In The World”. I think history will remember him as a better player than he was. For my money, he’s questionable as a “lock” for the Hall.
The “non-locks” of our era.
Dwyane Wade – I think when the dust settles on Dwyane Wade‘s career, he’ll be in the Hall of Fame. For my money, he deserves to be in the Hall more than Paul Pierce does. Would a ring or two more help his case? For sure, but probably only the difference between being a first or second ballot.
So that’s a “yes”.
LeBron James – In my mind, LeBron James is the best player in basketball player in the world today. But that doesn’t mean history will remember him that way. Because if he doesn’t win a few rings, then he’ll still get in, but it becomes “probably” rather than a certainty. Because of all the “Kobe or LeBron” arguments, until LeBron does a little bit more at the very end of the season then there’s really no discussion at all.
Even so, that’s a “yes vote”.
Amaré Stoudemire - Simply put, no. Amaré Stoudemire‘s been a great player thus far, and he has the potential to be at the forefront of a New York revival that will be at the very least, most entertaining – if not amazing. That’s going to take some mighty big changes tho’ – both from the perspective of what the Knicks can put on the hardwood, and what happens in the front office. But for now, that’s just a pipe-dream. Just as Amaré in the Hall is.
Chauncey Billups - It’s hard to watch Chauncey now, and think “that’s a Hall of Famer”, especially looking through the lens of how many teams he’s played for. But despite his early nomadic years, in the days of his ascendancy, Mr Bigshot was one of the most feared players in the NBA. The guy was the head/brains/ of the Detroit Pistons team that took the 2004 title off the mighty Lakers.
Billups may not get into the Hall in his first try, but he will get in.
Tracy McGrady - There were years where T-Mac’s game was held in such high esteem that he was only just below Kobe Bryant. Hard to believe now. After injuries, the “first round hoodoo” and lack of effort decimated his game, Tracy McGrady‘s clearly not a Hall of Fame candidate.
Ben Wallace – One of the best defensive players to play in our generation, Ben Wallace‘s story is a testament to hard work and perseverance – he played with a toughness and will that belied his size. Part of the Billups-lead Pistons, and if Billups was the brains of the operation, then Big Ben was it’s spine. Call him “the anti-TMac”.
Dwight Howard – Perhaps the toughest call on this end of the list. At this point in time, no. Dwight’s going to have to do more than just be a great player on a bridesmaid team. Not yet.
Joe Johnson – Again, I find myself uncomfortable at a name even appearing here. A guy who’s not even counted in the best ten players in the league today? Nuh-uh.
Rasheed Wallace – I’m surprised that Sheed’s not included, but I’m gonna put him up. If Billups/Big Ben are voted on, why the hell not Sheed? I cannot fathom why we’d have the brains and the spine of the Detroit Pistons, but leave out the heart and soul. But that’s just me. Yes.
What did the rest of the Bloguin Discussion crew think? Head over to Hoops Manifesto to read up on it.