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Reggie Miller not on Hall of Fame finalists ballot. Somehow.

Feb 18, 2011, 10:27 AM EDT

reggie-miller

Is Spike Lee more powerful than we all thought?

Because aside that I’m at a loss to explain the news from Jonathon Abrams of the New York Times that Reggie Miller is not one of the finalists on the Hall of Fame ballot. Those finalists will be formally announced later on Friday.

We’d tell you who to be mad at, but the Naismith Hall of Fame election procedures make the election of a new Pope look like a public process. The NYT explains.

Basketball’s Hall of Fame, unlike baseball’s, seldom turns to milestones, like 3,000 hits or 300 victories, as guides to induction. It attempts to evaluate the most important contributors to the sport throughout the world, not just in the N.B.A., so it is somewhat difficult to weigh the merits of Uljana Semjonova, a women’s player from Latvia, against Dan Issel, a former All-Star and A.B.A. co-rookie of the year, although both were selected in 1993….

To become a finalist from the North American group, nominees must receive approval on at least seven of nine ballots. The other committees require approval from at least five of the seven. To be selected for the Hall, a finalist needs at least 18 of 24 votes from what is known as the Honors Committee, a group consisting of Hall of Famers, basketball executives, members of the news media and other contributors to the game. Committee members are not aware of one another’s identities.

Just so we’re clear, a number of people we don’t know — maybe as few as three people we don’t know — are not convinced one of the best pure shooters in NBA history and, until a week ago, it’s greatest three point shooter, is worthy of the Hall of Fame. These are three people inside basketball in some form. Amazing.

Who might be more worthy than Miller? Other North American guys eligible to be finalists are the NBA’s all-time winningest coach Don Nelson, Chris Mullin (college star, two time gold medalist, heart of the Warriors for a decade), Mark Jackson (third all time in assists), Bernard King, Dennis Rodman, Maurice Lucas, Jamaal Wilkes, Rudy Tomjanovich, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Tex Winter, Spencer Haywood, Maurice Cheeks, Ralph Sampson, Bill Fitch, referee Dick Bavetta, Rick Pitino, and more. Chet Walker was nominated by the Veteran’s committee. Arvydas Sabonis and Sarunas Marciulionis are on the ballot from the International committee, while the women’s committee nominated Tara VanDerveer and Teresa Edwards.

I do not wish to disparage the names of the fine people on that expanded list. They all are deserving of our respect, and some of them should be in the Hall.

But seriously, it is time for the separate NBA Hall of Fame. Because every year we realize just how screwed up the process for the current one is.

  1. hnirobert3 - Feb 18, 2011 at 10:36 AM

    Nothing against Reggie Miller, but I wish the NBA would tighten up who gets in. Reggie Miller has no right getting in before Dennis Rodman.

    • Kurt Helin - Feb 18, 2011 at 11:06 AM

      hnirobert3, I agree with you about Rodman. He should be in. Must be really, if you are talking about the game on the court. But know this is not the NBA, they have little to do with the HOF. Almost nothing, oddly. They need to start a second, separate NBA HOF.

    • loungefly74 - Feb 18, 2011 at 11:41 AM

      agree…dennis over reggie.

  2. smashmouthrb25 - Feb 18, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    That is a tough decision to make…Reggie or Dennis…I would stay say Reggie though not trying to take anything away from Rodman at all…both were great and did much for the game.

  3. gnyj85 - Feb 18, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    Rodman over Reggie??? Crazy..Rodman was a great role player but Reggie was the main man. Kudos for staying on the same team all career too. Disappointing if this is true..

    • zblott - Feb 18, 2011 at 10:05 PM

      Miller made 5 All-Star teams, 3rd-team All-NBA only 3 times, and has 0 rings. If that’s all it takes to make the HOF, it’s about to get a whole lot bigger.

  4. lswingly - Feb 18, 2011 at 1:12 PM

    It’s truly ironic how WRONG this author is. Not only are they correct to leave him off the ballot but his feud with Spike Lee is as big a reason as any why he’s actually considered and why the author thinks this is a travesty. Those two Knick games have made people think Reggie Miller was a FAR better player than he ever was.

    The funny thing is I was one of the only people I knew growing up who actually really liked Reggie Miller. Most people hated him because he was so cocky. Now I find myself to be one of his few critics.

    The bottomline though is while he was an amazing pure shooter, he was a one dimensional player. He may have been able to come off a screen and hit a jump shot like no one else in the league, but he couldn’t rebound, he couldn’t pass, he couldn’t dribble, he couldn’t play defense. All he could do is shoot, and he couldn’t even get his own shot off to do it. They had to concoct an elaborate offensive system where Reggie ran through multiple screens to get open.

    He couldn’t function in the Utah pick and roll, or the Triangle, or the motion offense. He was a LIMITED player.

    Moreover he was never considered anything better than the 3rd best shooting guard in the NBA at any point in his career. Only 5 All-Star Games and 3 all NBA third team mentions. Call me when a guy like Mitch Richmond gets into the Hall of Fame who could do everything that Reggie Miller couldn’t do and still shot the three ball very well to boot. Then talk to me about Reggie Miller. Until then you’re letting the two games where he scored 25 in the fourth quarter and 8 points in 9 seconds completely cloud your judgment.

    • davidly - Feb 19, 2011 at 5:12 AM

      Just because his pure-shooting ability overshadows just about everyone else’s, does not lend merit to the exaggeration that he “couldn’t rebound, he couldn’t pass, he couldn’t dribble, he couldn’t play defense.” He may not have been the greatest defender over the course of the game, but he was clutch down the stretch in all aspects of the game. Put all the players on this page on a list and I guarantee that Magic or Bird or Jordan would pick Reggie to be on the floor in the last minute of a tight game. I think that alters the “one-dimensional” label just a bit.

      • lswingly - Feb 19, 2011 at 12:28 PM

        You’re wrong. Like I said I’m a Reggie Miller fan. However the simple facts are be was well below average in all those facets if the game I mentioned. He was a one dimensional player who’s career is being romanticized in hindsight because he provided some of the iconic moments of the past twenty years. But moments don’t make a hall of fame career.

        Speculating as to who stars might want taking the final shot is meaningless. I’d love to have Steve Kerr taking the final shot. Doesn’t make him a hall of famer. When this is what you have to result to in order to build a case you know you don’t have one. Miller is a classic accumulator who has gaudy totals due to longevity who had the ability to take over a given game but never was a dominant player.

      • davidly - Feb 21, 2011 at 4:17 AM

        First of all, I wasn’t speculating. Look at what his contemporaries have to say, then get back to me.

        Secondly, I wasn’t talking about the last shot. I was talking about the end of the game. Granted, somebody as clutch as Miller proved himself to be – again and again – a great candidate to take the last shot, but I was talking about his ability to get the ball back and score against insurmountable odds.

        I mean, come on: eight points in eleven seconds at the end of a playoff game in front of his most hostile audience in Madison Square Garden qualifies as just a little more than “a moment”.

        Like you, I’m a Reggie Miller fan. But apparently, I’ve seen him play more than you, because nobody, I repeat, nobody used screens more effectively than Miller. The only reason he doesn’t have any championship rings is because of there was always a better team in the way. But they were always there, knocking on the door.

        He may be “a classic accumulator” (how dare his longevity!!), but he’s number fourteen on the all-time scoring list, and – the most important factor of all, regarding inclusion in the game of basketball’s hall – he could flat out play ball.

  5. genericcommenter - Feb 18, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    Alright. I know people on baseball blogs tend to look at advanced statistics and Hall of Fame probability prediction stats for stuff like this. While I’ve been a fan of basketball my whole life, I don’t read that many basketball blogs, and I guess I don’t have as much of a feel for how people interpret these things.

    I do have a feeling, if this were HardballTalk, and Reggie Miller were a baseball player of equivalent accomplishment, his case for HOF inclusion would not be that strong.

    Let me say, I’m not sure how basketball-reference.com caclulates these things, but his Hall of Fame probability rank is very low, ranked 190th. He is behind such current players as Baron Davis and Richard Hamilton and retired players like Otis Birdsong and Shawn Kemp. Miller is ranked slightly ahead Mo Cheeks and Lamar Odom. Again I don’t know how that is figured, but baseball writers and commenters will often point to baseball HOF stats standards and comparable players.

    Now, on to my opinion. The best thing Miller has going for him is he is a stat accumulator, but really only in 1 stat- points. AND, his point totals are only that high because of such a long career. As much of a shooter as he was, he was never really a high SCORER. Scorers average 20+ ( or more) points year in and year out. He peaked really early as a scorer and for most of his career averaged in the teens.

    He only averaged 18 points per game, and in his last 8 years he never broke 20ppg. He only ranked in the top 10 scorers once in his career. Plus, he didn’t really do anything else. His rebounding and assists numbers are almost non-existant.

    So he was a one-dimensional player, though he was GREAT ( one of the best) at that one skill-shooting. Shooting is very important, but how many shooting specialists are in the HOF? It’s hard for me to look at the stats of a shooter, no matter how great/efficient, and really see HOF performance, unless he was also a big time-scorer. If he averaged 20 for his career and had at least some 25ppg years mixed in, it would look a lot better, IMO.

    When I think of Reggie Miller, my first thought is Ray Allen as a comparable. So then I wonder why Ray Allen’s HOF probability ranking is so much higher ( 55 compared to 190th). Well, among other things, Ray Allen is still over 20ppg for his career. I don’t know how much longer he’s going to play, but his averages will probably continue dropping, and he might not match Miller’s accumulated points total, but he will be close.

    Ray Allen went a 8 year stretch when he never averaged less than 21.8ppg and was closer to 25 for much of that time. He also averaged 5 boards and 4 assists for most of his career, something Miller never did. Allen’s FT and 3% are just slightly higher. I think Miller has the edge in true shooting.

    So to me, Miller looks like one of those guys who hung around and accumulated a lot of points, but he was never really one of the greats while he was playing. He may have been a top player on his team, but his team never won anything. I think to be a sure fire HOF at 18ppg, you better have some combination of the following: multiple rings, defensive reputation, high assists and/or rebound numbers- I’m thinking close to averaging a double/double or >5 of each ( Kobe and Jordan type numbers), or at least be considered one of the elite players for a large chunk of your career. Miller only made 5 AS teams and was only 3rd team All-NBA 3 times.

    Now, my FEELING is he should get in, but see above.

    • lswingly - Feb 19, 2011 at 12:34 PM

      Ray Allen is a much more complete player than Reggie Miller was, especially when you compare their prime years. Better defender, better rebounder and a much better ball handler. Thats why ray’s probability is so much higher. ThE biggest difference is Ray could get his own shot whenever he wanted. And again Reggie needed screens to get free.

  6. bigtrav425 - Feb 18, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    Rodman,Rudy T (as a coach),Reggie and Mullin….thats it..the rest are not even close..even tho Jackson was pretty good in his own right..and to damn Bad Sabonis had to choose to not play in the NBA till he was to old

  7. bababenny - Feb 18, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    I’m a die-hard Knicks fan—-and even though I don’t like saying it, I have to…

    Reggie Miller is most definitely a Hall of Famer and it’s a crime not having him on this ballot. There…I said it. Now I have to go wash my mouth out with soap.

  8. shackdelrio - Feb 18, 2011 at 3:03 PM

    I know people complain about the baseball HOF but having the toughest standard clearly makes it the best HOF. Someone the caliber of Ralph Sampson or Mark Jackson would not even be considered for the baseball HOF.

  9. steelyres211 - Feb 18, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    I love Chris Mullin and Ralph Sampson, but there’s no way that either one of those guys should get in before Reggie Miller.

  10. smashmouthrb25 - Feb 18, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    Ralph Sampson has more of an argument…he and Olajuwon were the original twin towers

    • profootballwalk - Feb 18, 2011 at 10:25 PM

      Ralph Sampson? Ralph Freakin’ Sampson? Are you delerious? Go look at his stats, and then come back.

      • zblott - Feb 21, 2011 at 8:03 PM

        Sampson certainly doesn’t deserve to be in the HOF as a pro, but it’s not the NBA HOF, so understand that the reason he’s a finalist is in a large part because he was a 3-time NCAA Player of the Year.

        But getting back to the league, he played in 4 All-Star games in 9 years (Miller: 5 in 15), made 2nd-team All-NBA in 1985 (Miller was never higher than 3rd-team), finished 10th in the 1985 MVP voting (Miller never finished higher than 13th), plus he finished 5th in RPG twice and 3rd in BPG once (Miller was 8th in PPG once, that’s it for per-game stats). His career averages are 15 ppg, 9 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.6 bpg. Miller averaged 18 ppg, 3 rpg, 3.0 apg.

        Again, Sampson is not a HOF’er based on his NBA career, yet it can be argued he showed more dominance in the league than Miller. Miller has no place in Springfield.

  11. zblott - Feb 18, 2011 at 4:54 PM

    He made 3 3rd-team All-NBA lists and only once cracked the top-10 in ppg in a season (and his big thing was scoring). He made only 5 All-Star teams, and did so consecutively only once (95, 96). He was a poor defender, rebounder, and passer. Too many people are letting a few post-season games cloud their judgement with Miller. For the record, his career playoff numbers are 21 ppg (on 45% shooting, 39% 3FG), 3 rebounds, and 2.5 assists. I saw a couple moments or games of his that should be shown on a TV in the HOF, but nothing even close to a HOF career.

  12. fouldwimmerlaik - Feb 18, 2011 at 5:12 PM

    Reggie Miller will get into the HOF someday. He was probably kept off of this ballot because he is such a dik and they just wanted to let him know that they know he is a dik. But, they will still vote him in sometime. Being a dik won’t keep him out (and I am not saying it SHOULD keep him out). Maybe they could put an asterdik by his name when he gets in.

  13. genericcommenter - Feb 18, 2011 at 8:28 PM

    I see my comment and the other rational arguments were “voted down.” BTW, I DID say I thought he would/should get in, but I gave all the logical reasons he might not.

    How many guys who averaged 18ppg who didnt pass, create, rebound, play defense, or win any rings are in the HOF?

    I don’t look at Chris Mullin as a surefire HOFer, and he was actually an elite player for around 5 years.

  14. profootballwalk - Feb 18, 2011 at 10:27 PM

    Ralph Freakin Sampson? This is a joke, right? The best he ever did was a streak of Rookie of the Month awards. One of the NBAs great underperformers. This is a joke.

    And Reggie doesn’t belong in the HOF based on his career.

  15. waldodanto - Feb 18, 2011 at 11:55 PM

    Reggie was an absolutely amazing playoff performer. Statistics are overanalyzed: Give me a player who we REMEMBER over a guy who averages 25 and disappears in the playoffs. Reggie made an indelible mark on professional basketball (he was pretty excellent at UCLA as well, though I am a Bruin and biased), and for that alone he deserves the hall over other, statistically impressive but ultimately not interesting players.
    Other non-statistical things Reggie has going for him:
    – part of the best basketball sibling pairing ever (Cheryl, obviously, being the other part)
    – hugely clutch player, maybe the most clutch shooter ever
    – NOBODY was on any of his teams, but he still carried the team to the playoffs EVERY year

    We love Rodman for his rebounding, even though he was essentially a one dimensional player, and then knock Reggie for being one dimensional? Great player, I’d be more upset by this news if it wasn’t for the fact that he will obviously make the hall in the next couple years.

    • zblott - Feb 19, 2011 at 1:30 AM

      3 3rd-team All-NBA selections – that’s as good as he ever got – not a HOF’er

    • passerby23 - Feb 19, 2011 at 1:45 AM

      So Reggie should be in the HOF because he was Cheryl Miller’s brother?

      Nobody was on his teams? When they went to the conference finals and NBA finals, he had some of the best veteran talent in the league – Rik Smits, Mark Jackson, Antonio Davis, and then excellent role players (Jalen Rose – remember the playoff game they each scored 40? Derrick McKey, etc.).

      There are fond memories of Reggie’s clutch shots and stellar playoff performances, but not a HOFer for his body of work.

      • zblott - Feb 25, 2011 at 3:06 AM

        Gotta agree with passerby 23 – Miller never had the most outright MVP votes on his team. He once finished 13th in MVP voting, tied with Rose. Another time he finished 16th in voting, tied with Smits. Miller got MVP votes only two times, and he never could top all his teammates.

    • davidly - Feb 19, 2011 at 5:16 AM

      Neither Rodman, nor Miller is one-dimensional. This term has been thrown around a little too loosely on this thread. Both would belong on just about any greatest players off all time list.

  16. zblott - Feb 19, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    Miller is not a HOF’er – here’s a breakdown of why:

    http://www.behindthebasket.com/btb/2011/2/19/reggie-miller-not-a-hall-of-famer-stop-complaining.html

  17. smashmouthrb25 - Feb 22, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    @passerby 23
    Thank you I am glad somebody put the actual lineup Reggie played with…the thing with old school teams is that they do not have any particular ‘stand out’ players…the old pacers team was a team that was filled with vets who knew their role and performed their role…this is one reason why Reggie never put up awe inspiring #of points.
    I was lookin at the top 10 pacers (not saying that I agree with this list, just using it)
    Reggie Miller, Rik Smits, Jermaine O’neal, Dale Davis, Mark Jackson..Smits is kind of the bubble b/c he was on the way out as O’neal was on the way in…but either way w/ this lineup it was all role players..not to mention having Chris Mullins who also shot 40% from three from 97′-2000′ and Antonio Davis from 93′-99’…Reggie did what he was required to do…if he scored 15 pts…it was 15 pts that his team needed at that time…if they were down 5…his clutch shooting gave them the lead…I am not saying that his stats are fantastic…yes it leaves plenty of room to argue if he is hall of fame worthy or not…regardless if you like it or not he is still one of the purest shooters the league has seen….he did not mind taking a back seat to other players on the team but when it came time to win the game…who did they give the ball to?

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