Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Hornets - Game Three

What active players are bound for basketball’s Hall of Fame?


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.

Kristaps Porzingis grew up a Kobe fan. Still is one.


When you hear player comparisons for Knicks rookie, the most common is Dirk Nowitzki — a European big with ridiculous shooting range and potential to embarrass anyone.

So did he grow up idolizing Dirk? Not so much.

Rather, like many of his generation, he grew up idolizing Kobe Bryant, he told Mike Francesa of WFAN.

“My favorite player growing up was Kobe. The Lakers were my team and I still love him.”

There is an entire generation of NBA players — and just fans — who would say the same thing.

In the interview, Porzingis laments his missed shots and turnovers, he thinks he can be a lot better. That is exactly what you want out of a rookie. It’s a huge adjustment playing at the NBA level, the speed of the game and IQ is a leap from Europe (or college). Recognizing the challenge is part of it.

There’s a lot to like in Porzingis. He could be special (we don’t know yet, we see only the potential). But idolizing Kobe — and if you understand the work he put in, the passion for the game — can be a good start.

(Hat tip NBA reddit)

Warriors’ interim coach Luke Walton’s car stolen

Luke Walton

If you’re looking for a “when are things going to go wrong for the Warriors” moment, we have one for you. But it may not be what you had hoped for.

Warriors’ interim head coach Luke Walton — the guy on the sidelines for the 15 (soon to be 16) game winning streak — had his car stolen during a crime spree, reports NBCBayArea.com.

One of the cars stolen during an Oakland Hills crime spree belongs to Golden State Warriors coach Luke Walton, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said late Monday.

Walton’s Mercedes Benz was stolen Tuesday by two suspects, who police believe are also responsible for a violent attack on a 75-year-old woman outside her home on Thursday. The suspects also took the woman’s car during the attack, according to police.

Yikes. That’s serious.

I’m sure Steve Kerr has like 14 cars, he can loan one to Walton.

Pacers guard George Hill returns Tuesday against Wizards

Paul George, Marcus Morris
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Pacers guard George Hill returned to the lineup Tuesday night against Washington after missing three games with an upper respiratory infection.

Hill is averaging 14 points and just under 37 minutes in 10 games this season. He was on the bench in case of emergency in Saturday’s victory over Milwaukee.

Coach Frank Vogel said Tuesday Hill’s infection had improved “to the point where he’s fine to play,” but would keep an eye out for fatigue after an 11-day layoff.

Hassan Whiteside on intentional fouls: “It’s not working, so keep fouling me”

Hassan Whiteside

Remember how Adam Silver was preaching that the league didn’t want to change the intentional foul rule — the hack-a-Shaq strategy — because it was really about two players (DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard) and a handful of others now and then. The fact that it’s not basketball didn’t matter.

Well, it’s not just two — Miami’s Hassan Whiteside has gotten the treatment this season. He’s a 53.4 percent free throw shooter this season.

And he says bring it on. From Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post:

“I’m enjoying this,” he said. “Foul me so I can get a double-double and we can win. It’s not working, so keep fouling me.”

He’s even smart at not getting fouled.

Whiteside also is liking that teams are looking at their options against the best defense in the NBA — yes, Miami at 94 points allowed per 100 possessions, is the best defense in the NBA right now — and deciding to attack Whiteside.

“There’s teams that’s out there that say ‘Stay away from Hassan,’ and there’s teams that say, ‘We don’t care if Hassan’s down there. Attack Hassan.’ I love them teams that do that. God bless them coaches. I love them teams.”

Whiteside is not as great a defender as the block totals would indicate — if he doesn’t see a block in it, his rotations can be a bit slow. One scout recently called him a selfish defender to me recently, suggesting he is in it for the numbers, not the sacrifices needed for an elite defense. True or not, the Heat have an elite defense and Whiteside is at the heart of it.

And if the strategy is to try to exploit him, Whiteside plans to make people pay.