Chris Mullin is in. So is Artis Gilmore. Arvydas Sabonis is in (more for his European career than what he did in the NBA after that). Dennis Rodman will join them (in spectacular fashion).
Those are the NBA players entering the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame on Friday. All of them deserving.
But what current NBA players should make the Hall of Fame?
Chris Tomason compiled a list over at Hoopshype that we generally agree with. We’ll work off that.
There are some gimmes that nobody is going to question (or at least they shouldn’t): Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Kidd.
From there LeBron James is almost certainly in even at this midpoint of his career (two-time league MVP, seven time All-Star, and the best player in the league for a number of years). Dwyane Wade is a little more of a question mark but he’s right there and if these Heat do win rings he becomes a lock.
The other two of the Celtics “big three” — Ray Allen and Paul Pierce — also are almost sure things. Ray Allen is the league’s three point make leader and one of the best pure shooters the game has ever seen (not that those credentials helped Reggie Miller this year). Pierce has been the face of on of the biggest franchises in the NBA for a decade, is a nine-time All-Star and is a finals MVP.
What about Steve Nash? As Tomasson notes, he built his resume after age 30 and is now a two-time MVP (even if you question if he deserved those MVPs, he’s got them and they count). To me he’s a bubble guy, but the old guard sportswriters love him so no doubt he’ll get in.
What about Vince Carter? Eight-time All-Star, rookie of the year, Olympic gold medalist and one of the most dynamic athletes of his generation. But will a legacy of not having the best work ethic and abandoning teams hurt his chances?
Carmelo Anthony has some Olympic gold but may need more NBA hardware to get the call. Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol also need a little more resume padding — some rings and Olympic medals — but they are both on the bubble as well (Gasol in part because of international influence). Chris Bosh and Chris Paul are in that boat too, they need rings and more on the resume.
There are great young players like Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose out there, but it is way too early to start talking Hall with them.
The guy I don’t know deserves it but may get the call anyway — Chauncey Billups.