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

Aug 11, 2011, 12:21 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Hornets - Game Three Getty Images

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.

  1. savocabol1 - Aug 11, 2011 at 12:34 PM

    CHRIS BOSH? What have you been smoking? What a joke.

  2. therookie773 - Aug 11, 2011 at 12:52 PM

    Where is Allen Iverson? Hate him all you want, nobody changed the game the way he did after mj. Period

    • blueintown - Aug 11, 2011 at 1:12 PM

      He’s not a current NBA player.

    • borderline1988 - Aug 12, 2011 at 9:00 AM

      He didn’t change the game much – he just helped to influence an African American culture. That doesn’t amount to hall of fame status.
      Anyways, he shot himself in the foot with the whole practice rant. These voters love work ethic, toughness, success measured in rings, etc. Iverson was nothing more than a dynamic talent who’s attitute towards the game hampered his success and that of his teams’.
      It’s an interesting question to ask whether Nash or Iverson deserves it more. Although, in the end everyone loves Nash and he’ll get the nod over Iverson.

      • mikeewright7 - Nov 4, 2011 at 8:05 PM


  3. eazye76 - Aug 11, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    Your love affair with The Bosh isn’t even the same boat as Chris Paul. There are a lot of players who will never get in that are better than him.

  4. themanchine - Aug 11, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    Reggie Miller V Ray Allen: Jesus Shuttlesworth is a much more versatile scorer than Reggie was and has also become a solid defender since joining Boston.

  5. eazye76 - Aug 11, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    Your love affair with The Heat is well documented, but Bosh isn’t even in the same boat as Chris Paul. There are a lot of players who will never get in that are better than Bosh.

  6. urallstupid - Aug 11, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    bosh is not even close to being on the bubble, he’s done nothing so far in his career that would make me say “hey this is a hall of famer”. he’s a pretty good player, but he doesnt scare teams like a kobe, a lebron, a wade even.

  7. cosanostra71 - Aug 11, 2011 at 1:36 PM

    If LeBron is a given, I don’t know why Wade isn’t.

    • louistaylored - Aug 11, 2011 at 2:56 PM

      100% co-sign this. Wade is the one with the ring and Finals MVP. Has had great numbers, clutch, dynamic, superstar. If LeBron is in and Im pretty sure he is, Wade is too

    • david8726 - Aug 11, 2011 at 4:48 PM

      Agree completely. Wade has a ring, and he’s put up some absolutely insane statistical regular seasons.

      • borderline1988 - Aug 12, 2011 at 9:12 AM

        Well, Lebron has 2 MVPs and is generally considered to be a better all around player. It may have not translated into Championship success yet for Lebron, but many people would argue that championships have a lot to do with setting.
        The Heat under Wade have never been much more than a .500 team except for the Shaq and Lebron years. And that includes a 15 win season in 2007/2008.
        Lebron’s teams were consistently at the top of the NBA standings, year after year, since 2005. Throw in the MVPs and the better individual statistics in almost every category:
        Lebron career: 48% FG, 27.7PPG, 7.1 RPG, 7 APG
        Wade career: 48% FG, 25.4 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 6.3 APG

        I’m not a huge Lebron fan (he’s an arrogant arse, and a Finals failure) although I would definitely put him in the Hall of Fame before Wade.

  8. nvaliant - Aug 11, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    According to you Bosh(if he collects some hardware) will deserve it more at the end of his career than Chauncey?! Any hardware Bosh collects will most likely come as the third best player on the team. Chauncey is a Finals MVP, one of the best floor generals of the last 10 years, and as clutch as it gets from the point guard position. Look at the impact he had on the Nuggets when he was traded from Detroit. They went from a team that had no chance of winning a playoff series to almost making the Finals. He’s incredible, much better than Ru Paul, I mean Chris Bosh

  9. trbowman - Aug 11, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    Carmelo Anthony has no business even sniffing the hall.

  10. david8726 - Aug 11, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    I’m absolutely floored that you believe that Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and LeBron are sure things, yet you think that Dwyane Wade is a bit of a question mark.

    Dwyane is a stone cold lock to go to the hall on the first ballot, no questions asked. He’s clearly a better player than either pierce or Allen, and many think he’s the real leader of the Heat.

    Dwyane is already a finals MVP and has put up some of the greatest statistical seasons that a SG has ever had.

    If Wade remains healthy, I believe history will look at him as the third best SG of all time behind Jordan and Kobe. The dude is simply incredible.

    • passerby23 - Aug 12, 2011 at 2:23 AM

      Agreed. Dwayne Wade has been a top 5 player in the league for the past several seasons, has an NBA championship, Finals MVP, another Finals appearance, two Olympic gold medals, a consistent stat stuffer, and solid defender. The guy is in.

      I agree that it’s early for Chris Paul, but it’s generally assumed if he keeps up his usual incredible play, he’s in. Dwight Howard should get in as well by the time his career is all said and done.

      Gasol is not in, in my opinion. Too soft, too inconsistent, and not dominant enough.

      • Kurt Helin - Aug 15, 2011 at 12:37 AM

        Was Gasol soft when he outplayed Dwight Howard in the finals. Was he soft when he put up 18 and 19 on te Boston front line in Game 7 of the finals. You can find things to criticize about Gasol, but he has earned a pass on the soft BS.

    • mikeewright7 - Nov 4, 2011 at 7:59 PM



  11. zblott - Aug 11, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    Here’s a new series that looks at current/recent greats and examines how much their presence has affected their teams’ W-L totals with and without them. The first article below is for Dirk Nowitzki, with Tim Duncan, Jason Kidd, Shaq, and Kobe Bryant on the horizon. As you can imagine, most of them have been very positive toward making their teams win more games (but not all of them).

  12. georgeanderson2 - Aug 11, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    What about Manu? He has rings, all star apperances and important part of international growth.

  13. heat332 - Aug 11, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    You have to be on the strongest drug in the world if you think that dwayne wade is a questionable hall of fame candidate. Lebron is a future hall of fame then dwayne wade would get in easy no questions asked. He has a championship ring with more to come guranteed, and he is a finals mvp which will not be his last either. He will also break records for the heat and nba soon as well.

  14. mytthor - Aug 12, 2011 at 2:09 AM

    I agree Wade should be considered a lock if he stays healthy, but who’s to say he’s going to stay healthy? He’s had problems with that. As for the dude saying he was going to break records; which ones? His main elite skill is scoring, and if you think he’s passing Kareem you’re a lunatic. Nobody’s a lock because they own the record for free throws in the last 3 games of a playoff series.

    I know everyone wants to hate on LeBron right now and there are valid reasons to do it but numbers-wise there’s no WAY he doesn’t get into the hall. FOR HIS CAREER he averages 28-7-7. Clyde Drexler’s in the hall of fame for gods sake.

  15. mikeewright7 - Nov 4, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    Seriously what record can Wade Break, Lebron deserves to be a hall of famer over Wade, Minus the Ring what has Wade done that Lebron hasn’t other then the ring he won with Shaq? Lebron has broken records achieve numerous things in the NBA, He’s the youngest to do it, Wade, Melo, durant, and many other Elite players get “shadowed out” by Lebron…be serious and if you think Wade deserves a HOF ballet more then Ray Allen or Pierce you or out of your mind, Ray Allen should def be a HOF as well as Steve Nash, and Paul Pierce

  16. bigtoti - Jan 22, 2012 at 2:54 AM

    Wade, hands down a future HOF. He single handidly won the 2006 championship for Shaq. Wade, got LeBron and Bosh to come to Miami. Never afraid to miss the last shot of the game. He simply has that killer instinct that Jordan and Kobe have, that LeBron Dosen’t. You can pad stats all regular season. Look at wade vs lebron in NBA Finals stats and tell me who is better? I rest my case.

  17. tcclark - Feb 9, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    I don’t like to predict the future so when I pick the Hall of Famers, i just imagine what would happen if they retired right now. Therefore:

    The Locks:
    Ray Allen

    The Questionables:
    Steve Nash
    Paul Pierce – his numbers look great and he’s passing seriously great players in the Celtics record books, but never at one point was he considered the best player or even one of the top 3 or 4 players in the league. That doesn’t sit right with me. He’s been consistently great, just not elite.

    The “Unless they get injured”s

    The “too early to tell”s

    The “Not gonna happen”s
    Chauncey – great career though
    Vince Carter – Hell f***kin no. The most overrated athlete in sports history. His game is more overrated than Derek Jeter’s defense. 8-time all-star but probably should’ve only had like 3.

    The “hahahahahahahahahaha”s
    Carmelo – lol
    Gasol – lmao
    Bosh – bahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha……. bosh?……. bahahahahahahahahaha
    hahahahahahahahahahaha. Is LaMarcus Aldridge a Hall of Famer too?…….

    • Kurt Helin - Feb 10, 2012 at 12:58 AM

      Nash is in. Also, remember it is the Basketball hall, not the NBA Hall, so Gasol will be in on account of the World Championship and Euro title he helped win Spain.

      • tcclark - May 31, 2012 at 8:44 PM

        Kevin Johnson has much better career numbers than Steve Nash for the exact same team and has the same number of Championships. Kevin Johnson isn’t even close to getting into the Hall (Wrongfully so), what makes you think Nash is such a lock?

        I understand that it’s the Basketball Hall of Fame, not the NBA Hall of Fame, but International play does not carry as much weight as NBA play does with the voters. If it did, Arvydas Sabonis would be a Hall of Famer. Gasol has been great in the NBA, but the Hall of Fame is for the Elite, and Gasol is only Elite against lesser competition.

    • wordpressacct1 - May 28, 2012 at 10:11 PM

      You’re off a little. As of now, LeBron and Wade are both locks- no question.. How are they not? 9 seasons in the league is enough. Nash and Pierce aren’t questionable- they are also locks (maybe not 1st ballot HOF’ers but still future hall of famers). Billups is another hall of famer. Same with other guys like Tony Parker (underrated career), Pau Gasol, Manu Ginobili. It’s the ”Basketball” Hall of Fame- and they have the international accolades to get them in. Carmelo proably isn’t a hall of famer yet but within the next 2+ yrs, he’ll be a lock as he’s a top scorer.. He has better career averages than Pierce but Anthony only doesn’t have a ring that Pierce has.

      • tcclark - May 31, 2012 at 9:15 PM

        9 seasons isn’t enough. Ask Brad Daugherty. He played 8 and hasn’t even been close to the Hall. Players can play their way out of the Hall of Fame. Look at Ron Harper. Harper averaged 20 points, 5 assists, 2 steals, and a block for the first 10 years of his career before he took on lesser roles with the Bulls and Lakers so he could win 5 NBA Championships. Those aren’t Hall of Fame numbers but they’re a lot better than Reggie Miller’s 18-3-3. Ron went from scoring 20.1 ppg in 93-94 to 6.9 in 94-95.

        Dwayne Wade’s numbers are not that much better than the first ten years of Ron Harper’s career. If he were to have a similar drop in production, it would be hard to say that he was a lock for the Hall of Fame. I’m not saying that he won’t get in. I think most people would agree that his (and Lebron’s) chances are great, but I can’t put them in the lock category for a couple more years. Guys like Kobe, KG, and Duncan couldn’t do anything to ruin their chances, Dwayne and Lebron still have that tiny window.

        As for your others, I just disagree. Look at my comment to Kurt for Nash. Pierce has been very consistent throughout his career, but no one has ever looked at him as one of the best players in the game. He’s been great, just not elite. The Hall is not for great players, it’s for the best players. I don’t think Paul has ever finished higher than 7th in any MVP voting. Being the 7th best player in the NBA during your best season does not sound like a Hall of Famer. I like him and he will probably get in eventually, but I’m not sold enough on his resume to put him as a lock.

        Billups has been good and has comparable numbers to other questionable Hall of Famers, but two wrongs don’t make a right. I love Chauncey but Stephon Marbury has a better resume and Marbury shouldn’t even be allowed to visit the Hall.

        Tony Parker = no. Good, but not elite.
        Pau Gasol, i just don’t understand. How can everyone trash this guy day in and day out about how soft he is and how the Lakers need to trade him and then say he’s a lock for the HALL OF FAME. that makes negative sense. Euro ball is not even close to the NBA. I mean Deron Williams had his number retired after playing like 2 months in Turkey.
        Manu = also no. never even been close to elite
        Carmelo = Bernard King, but worse. He scores a lot, just like King, but he does it at a terrible shooting percentage and King still scores more. Anybody can shoot 30 times a game. That doesn’t make you hall worthy. he’s not even as good as Paul Pierce and you know how I feel about Paul.

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