With everyone talking about who will be this year’s NBA MVP, we seem to be forgetting about another major accomplishment – the Hall of Fame. The league changed the rules recently, and a player only needs to have been retired for three years in order to qualify. On Friday night, 13 former players were inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Players of note include – Grant Hill, Jason Kidd, Ray Allen, and Steve Nash. Who do we think will be eligible in 2019? Well, the pool of first-time eligible players for next year isn’t as glamorous as it has been. Or even will be. But that could work in favor of a group of players who might not be top picks:
15.2 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.5 SPG in 16 NBA seasons
“The Matrix” was a four-time All-Star and won a title with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011. His career averages don’t necessarily scream Hall of Famer, but his longevity and the success of his teams help his case. Marion logged 109 playoff games while taking his teams to the postseason 11 times in 16 NBA seasons.
16.2 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 52.1 FG Pct in 13 NBA seasons
Boozer has a strong basketball resume that includes winning a national title at Duke and a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics. The question is whether he did enough as an NBA player to sway those with votes. Boozer’s best basketball of his career came in Utah, where he earned a pair of All-Star appearances and landed on the All-NBA third team in 2008 (averaging 21.1 points and 10.4 rebounds that season). The lack of an NBA title works against him, but Boozer essentially averaged a double-double for his career.
11.8 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 2.7 APG in 13 NBA seasons
Kirilenko’s international accomplishments (four-time Russian Player of the Year, 2012 EuroLeague MVP during a one-year break from the locked-out NBA) only strengthen his Hall chances. Kirilenko scored 9,431 points in 13 NBA seasons, the most by a Russian-born player. He earned only one All-Star honor but was a three-time All-Defensive team selection. He also won a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics.
What about 2020? Well, that’s a different story:
25.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.7 APG in 20 NBA seasons
There is no doubt in my mind that Kobe Bryant will be inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame. Bryant is a five-time NBA champ, a two-time Finals MVP, the 2008 league MVP, and an 18-time All-Star. We are already looking forward to his speech.
17.8 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 3.7 APG in 21 NBA seasons
Garnett cemented his legacy by helping Boston to the 2008 title, but his resume includes the 2004 league MVP and 15 All-Star appearances. Garnett headlined the prep-to-pro revolution and left an indelible mark on the way big men play the game.
19.0 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 3.0 APG in 19 NBA seasons
The Big Fundamental will head to Springfield with his five NBA titles, two MVP awards, three Finals MVP trophies, and 15 All-Star appearances. In typical Duncan fashion, he won’t even be the headliner on this night given the star power and loud personalities around him, but he’ll also probably be perfectly fine with that.
In 2021, we’re looking at Paul Pierce, Luis Scola, and Deron Williams. What’s interesting is the difference in statistics between the 2019 and 2020 classes. Of course, there’s a difference in caliber of play, which makes you wonder who, if any, should be inducted in 2019?