The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame recently welcomed in its 59th class of inductees on Oct. 8. Of the 11 players enshrined in Springfield, Massachusetts, only Tracy McGrady and George McGinnis had NBA experience. The NBA does not have a Hall of Fame itself which means that it is quite difficult for players to get elected.
With that in mind, several deserving NBA players will never ever get their plaques showcased in Springfield. A few NBA players could be included in the class of 2018, including first-year eligibles Jason Kidd and Grant Hill. Kevin Johnson, Sidney Moncrief, Rudy Tomjanovich and Chris Webber are among the holdovers from this past year’s class who get at least another chance to be elected.
The following is my list of the 10 NBA players most deserving of a spot in the Hall of Fame who will likely never get in.
Ben Wallace is one of the best defenders and rebounders in NBA history despite being undersized as a power forward and center. What makes Wallace a Hall of Famer is his high-motor and toughness along with his rebounding and defensive prowess.
Wallace grabbed 10,482 rebounds for his career, which ranks 37th all-time in NBA/ABA history. Wallace ranks in the top-27 all-time in both offensive rebounds (18th) and defensive rebounds (27th). He led the NBA in offensive rebounds twice, defensive rebounds once and total rebounds twice.
The Virginia Union product also ranks 15th all-time in blocks and 60th in steals. He finished in the top-10 of the league in blocked shots seven times and steals twice. In addition, Wallace ranks first all-time in defensive plus-minus and fifth in defensive ranking.
On the negative side, Wallace was not flashy or a real scoring threat. Wallace averaged 5.1 points and 9.7 rebounds a game in 1088 career games. The 16-year pro won an NBA championship with the Detroit Pistons in 2004. He was also a four-time all-star and earned 11 All-League selections, which includes being named to the All-NBA team five times.
Final word: Wallace is given a 45.3% chance to make the Hall of Fame, which does not bode well for his chances as only four players with a worse percentage are currently enshrined in Springfield. However, he produced the 33rd best value over replacement player with a 47.6 rating and his win share numbers are similar to Hall of Famer Chris Mullin. Only two players with a better value over replacement player are not currently in the Hall of Fame or will not likely make it. Wallace is also 16th all-time in win shares, where every player ahead of him on the list is a Hall of Famer and several HOF’ers are behind him.
Wallace was a 2017 Hall of Fame candidate.
Sikma was known as one of the first real big men to possess a quality perimeter game. The 6-11 center could not only score and shoot the basketball, he was also a quality rebounder and good perimeter passer. He averaged 15.6 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game while shooting 46.4% from the field and 32.8% from beyond the arc for his career.
The seven-time all-star ranks in the top-100 in NBA/ABA history in several offensive categories. He ranks 88th in history with 17,282 points and 92nd in field goal makes (6,396). He also got to the free throw line a lot, attempting 5,053 (80th) and making 4,292 (65th) at an 84.9% clip (61st)
Sikma ranks 32nd all-time in total rebounds (10,816) and 17th in defensive rebounds (8,274). He also was a quality defender, producing a 17.2 PER and is 30th in defensive win shares. He ranks 88th in blocks (1,048) and 98th in steals (1,162).
Final Word: Sikma is given an 87.0% chance of making the HOF. Sikma received MVP Votes in five of his 14 NBA seasons, though he never finished higher than ninth, and is one of six players to have their number retired by the Seattle Supersonics. He ranks 49th all-time in value over replacement player.
Sikma was a 2017 Hall of Fame candidate.
Tim Hardaway was one of the pre-eminent point guards in the NBA during the early-to-mid 1990s. He was known for his killer crossover and formed run “TMC” with Mitch Richmond and Hall of Famer Chris Mullin for the Golden State Warriors. The 6-footer could score, pass and handle the ball as well as many of the all-time great lead guards.
Hardaway, a five-time all-star selection, earned five All-League accolades.He averaged 17.7 points along with 8.6 assists and 1.6 steals during his 13-year career. Hardaway finished in the top-20 of MVP voting four times, placing fourth in 1997.
Final Word: Hardaway is given a 79.2% chance of making the Hall of Fame. His win-share numbers compare favorably to current Hall of Famers Isaiah Thomas and Tiny Archibald. He ranks 16th all-time in assists (7,065), 12th in assists per game (8.2) and 13th in assist percentage (37.2). He is also 23rd in made three-pointers (1,542) as well as 52nd in steals (1428).
Shawn Kemp was an athletic scoring power forward-center who came directly to the NBA from high school. He was also a good rebounder as well as a very good defender.
The six-time all-star averaged a double-double for six straight seasons from 1991-97. Overall, he compiled 14.6 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 1,051 games during his 14-year career. He ranks in the top-64 all-time in several categories including free throws made (64th), offensive rebounds (31st), defensive rebounds (49th), total rebounds (61st), and blocks (50th).
Final word: Kemp is given a 38.4% chance at being enshrined in Springfield.What works against him is that he was not a good shooter, was turnover prone, and got into foul trouble a lot. Kemp also only ranks 100th all-time in player efficiency rating and is unranked in value over replacement player.
Chris Webber had a vastly underrated NBA career. Part of the reason for that is Webber only appeared in 821 in 15 seasons or 54.2 games per season.
Webber was a scoring big man who could basically do everything that you would want from a power forward in today’s game with the exception of shooting from beyond the arc. His range essentially extended to 20 feet. He was also a monster on the boards during his mid 20s through the age of 29, leading the league in 1998-99. Webber, who compiled 442 double-doubles along with 20 triple-doubles for his career, recorded between 31and 50 double-doubles each year between 1996 and 2003.
The five-time all-star averaged 20.7 points along with 9.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists for his career. He produced six seasons of at least 20 points and 10 rebounds. Webber, a five-time All-League selection, ranks in the top 100 all-time in several categories.
Final Word: Webber deserves a lot of credit for getting Golden State and Washington, two perennial losers, into the playoffs his first two seasons in the league. He also helped turn Sacramento from a helpless dormant squad to an NBA title contender.
Webber is given just a 14.6% chance to make it to Springfield. The biggest drawback, besides his durability, is that Webber was not an efficient shooter. However, he does rank among the top-52 players all-time in PER and value over replacement. Webber also finished in the top-10 in MVP voting five times, topping out at No. 4 in 2000-01.
The case for Grant Hill’s induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame is very intriguing. Hill will be eligible for the first time in 2018.
I believe that Hill is a Hall of Famer. There are several reasons why that he deserves enshrinement. First and foremost, you always knew what you were going to get from Hill. Hill was a fierce competitor who would go all out every day. His production was quite consistent as well as you could pencil him for at least 15 points, five rebounds and five assists a game. Obviously, he was quite capable of surpassing those numbers on any given day. Hill compiled 29 triple-doubles and 180 double-doubles in his career.
The reason that Hill is not a sure-fire Hall of Famer is that he was slowed by injuries during the middle years of his career. The 18-year pro appeared in 74-plus games seven times in his career. He also did not appear in more than 67 games during the six seasons that he spent in Orlando (2000-07). Overall, Hill averaged 16.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 1,026 games.
Final Word: The seven-time all-star revolutionized the small forward position due to his versatility. Hill had the ability to play four positions, the lone exception being point guard, though he was certainly a capable passer and ball-handler. However, he was not much of a threat as a three-point shooter.
Hill was named an All-NBA performer five times and finished in the top-10 of MVP voting on five occasions, placing third place in 1996-97. He ranks in the top-100 of the American professional basketball in field goals (96th), free throws made (68th), defensive rebounds (79th), assists (94th), steals (80th) and points (93rd).
The 2014 Hall of Fame inductee has been given an 89.1% chance of his plaque placed in Springfield.
Sidney Moncrief had a great, albeit relatively short NBA career. Moncrief, the No. 5 overall pick in 1979, was considered one of the best shooting guards during the 1980s. The 6-4 two-guard was very versatile though he was best known for his defensive tenacity.
Moncrief accumulated five all-star appearances and five All-NBA selections, including a first-team nod in 1983. He was also named to the All-NBA defensive team five times (four times to the first team), winning Defensive Player of the Year twice in 1983 and 1984. For his career, Moncrief averaged 15.6 points along with 4.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists over 767 games.
Moncrief produced five seasons of at least 19 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. He shot 50.2% from the field for his career and ranks 31st all-time with a 59.1% true shooting percentage. Moncrief is also seventh in offensive rating, 90th in offensive win shares and 82nd in value over replacement.
Final Word: Moncrief, who made the playoffs in each of his 11 seasons, is given a 49.9% chance of making into the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame. While Moncrief had a fabulous career, it was too short.
Kevin Johnson was one of the point guards during his era because of his shooting and playmaking ability. Johnson, who was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award for the 1988-89 campaign, produced three straight seasons of at least 20 points and 12 assists after arriving in Phoenix via a trade from Cleveland. He is one of three players to accomplish the feat along with Oscar Robertson and Isaiah Thomas.
The three-time all-star averaged 17.9 points, 9.1 assists and 1.5 steals while shooting 49.3% for his career. He had five seasons where he averaged at least 20 points a game. But it was the playoffs where Johnson really thrived.
Johnson reached the postseason in 11 of his 12- year career. During that span, Johnson upped his play to a tune of 19.3 points along with 8.9 assists while shooting 46.3% from the field. On five occasions, he tallied 20 points and nine assists during the Suns’ playoff run.
Johnson ranks 21st all-time in assists (6,711) and seventh in assists per game as he finished in the top-10 of the league seven times. He also ranks in the top-100 in free throw makes player efficiency rating, true shooting percentage and offensive rating.
Final Word: Despite his illustrious career, Johnson will never make it to Springfield. The main reason for that is he only played in 793 career games. He also was never a first-team All-NBA selection though he made the second team five times. Johnson is given a 19.9% of being enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
Williams was a hard-nosed, physical big who was renowned for his rebounding as well as his efficiency around the basket.
Williams, the No. 3 overall pick in the 1981 draft, got his career off to a blazing start by averaging a double-double in seven straight seasons (points and rebounds). During that span, he produced at least 15.5 points and 11.9 rebounds for the Nets. He was traded to Portland prior to the start of the 1989 campaign.
While Williams didn’t put up the numbers that he did in New Jersey, he was still highly effective. The three-time all-star compiled 10.7 points and 8.7 rebounds a game while shooting 55.0% from the field in his seven seasons with the Blazers. He twice led the league in field goal percentage as a member of the Blazers. In addition, Portland made the playoffs all seven seasons he was with the Blazers, including two NBA Finals.
Williams ranks fourth on the all-time list in offensive rebounds (4526), 14th in defensive rebounds (8491) and 16th in total rebounds (13017). The 6-8 power forward is 98th in scoring (16,787), 17th in field goal percentage and 33rd in true shooting percentage (58.7%).
Final Word: Williams is given an 8.0% chance at making the Hall of Fame. Williams will likely not ever get enshrined in Springfield because he did not score enough and only was selected to the All-NBA team twice. He also never finished higher than seventh in MVP voting.
Mark Aguirre was a terrific scorer throughout his NBA career. The No. 1 overall selection in the 1981 draft reeled off six consecutive years of 22-plus points and 5.5 rebounds. For his career, the two-time NBA champion produced 20.0 points along with 5.0 rebounds and 3.1 assists while shooting 48.4% for his career.
Final Word: Aguirre did not much more than score. While he could score a variety of ways, he was not much a threat from beyond the arc. Plus, Aguirre was selected to just three all-star games and was never chosen to an All-NBA team. He is given an 8.2% chance of reaching Springfield.