The 2022 Hall of Fame finalists have been announced. I have a few thoughts about their picks and can offer a few of my own as well for consideration.
First off, Manu Ginobili is a lock and will almost certainly make it in. He was a 4x Champion and a key part of the Spurs dynasty. Added on to his international career (where he actually beat Team USA in the Olympics) he’s a lock.
This year’s hall of fame class won’t look as glamorous as the previous 2 years. The other guys are all kind of borderline hall of famer types. Here are also some of my personal considerations:
–Chauncey Billups. 5x All-Star, 3x All-NBA, 2x All-Def, 1x Finals MVP. Career 15/3/5, Playoffs 17/3/6.
He’s one of only 2 NBA Finals MVPs not to be inducted (the other is Cedric Maxwell who was a 0x All Star). Known for raising his game in the playoffs and being a clutch shooter. He has roughly the same career win shares as Dwyane Wade.
–Amar’e Stoudemire. 6x All-Star, 5x All-NBA, career 19/8/1, playoffs 19/7/1.
During his prime he was considered the best PF not named Dirk, Duncan or KG. 5x All-NBA is proof of that. Paired with Nash he was dominant, including averaging 30/11/2 in the 2005 playoffs.
–Michael Cooper (on the finalist list). 5 Champ, 8x All-Def, 1x DPOY.
If we value defense and winning (as we should) then Cooper should be in there. Sure he’s a 0x All Star, but his defense was instrumental in those Showtime Lakers championships.
–Kevin Johnson. 3x All-Star, 5x All-NBA, career 18/3/9, playoffs 19/3/9.
He’s top 6 all time in APG. His career was cut short by injuries, but in his prime he was a top 3 PG in the league. He’s one of only a handful of players to have more All-NBA than All-Star selections.
–Freddie Lewis. 4x All-Star, All Star Game MVP, 3x Champion, 1x Finals MVP. career 16/4/4, playoffs 19/4/4.
Remember – this is Basketball Hall of Fame. He’s probably the best remaining ABA player not to be in. a 3x champ and a finals mvp? if he had played in the NBA he would have been in long ago, but since he’s ABA, he might not be considered anymore since the Hall of Fame decided that after George McGinnis (who was the last remaining big ABA snub) got in, they won’t consider any of the lesser ABA snubs. Still though, worth to mention him.
–Alvin Robertson. 4x All Star, 1x All-NBA, 6x All-Def, 1x DPOY. career 14/5/5, playoffs 20/5/6.
He’s the all time leader in SPG. He’s the only guard to have a quadruple double and to do it with steals. Like Michael Cooper, if you value defense, then he should be in.
–Marques Johnson (on the finalist list). 5x All Star, 3x All-NBA. career 20/7/4, playoffs 21/8/4.
He had a short career but I think his NBA case for HoF comes from his gaudy numbers when he was a Buck. But, you add in his great UCLA career, and now you have a pretty good case for HoF.
–Shawn Kemp. 6x All Star, 3x All-NBA. career 14/8/2, playoffs 17/10/2.
Reign Man had a short but dominant prime, a top 2 player on a Finals team (and honestly nobody on that Bulls team was stopping him that series). One of the greatest dunkers ever.
–Maurice Lucas. 5x All-Star, 1x All-NBA, 2x All-Def. 1x Champ. career 15/9/2, playoffs 14/9/3.
The Enforcer’s case for HoF comes from really one big reason: he was the second best player on the 1977 Blazers, which as an underdog came from behind to beat the Dr J / McGinnis 76ers. Besides Walton and Mo Lucas, there was very little star power on that team. He’s also known for being a gritty defender.
–Walter Davis. 6x All-Star, 2x All-NBA. Career 19/4/3, playoffs 19/4/3.
The Greyhound is the all time leading scorer in Suns history. 19k points. Was he Alex English lite? quiet but consistent buckets, and as a result one of the more forgotten scorers in NBA history.
–Warren Jabali. 4x All-Star, 1x All-ABA, All-Star Game MVP, 1x Champ, 1x Finals MVP, Career 17/6/5, playoffs 18/9/3.
Nobody remembers this guy because his career was short, and he played in the ABA. But during his prime he was remembered as an absolute beast. In the 1969 ABA Finals vs a loaded Pacers team (Roger Brown, Freddie Lewis, Mel Danels, Bob Netolicky), Jabali averaged an insane 33/14/4 and won the championship, with the best Oaks player Rick Barry sidelined due to injury. This would have been a bigger deal had he done it in the NBA.
–Buck Williams. 3x All-Star, 1x All-NBA, 4x All-Def. Career 13/10/1, playoffs 11/9/1.
He scored 17k points and grabbed 13k rebounds. He still holds many Nets all time records. If longevity is a consideration then I think Buck has a case.
-Larry Nance. 3x All-Star, 3x All-Def. Career 17/8/3, playoffs 16/8/4.
16k points, 7k rebounds, 110 career WS, great all around stats. The main issue is Nance didn’t get anywhere as the main guy, and his playoff success came when he wasn’t the main guy (on the Cavs with Mark Price and Brad Daughtery)
–Dan Roundfield. 3x All-Star, 1x All-NBA, 5x All-Def. Career 14/9/2, playoffs 15/10/2.
A great defender, a forgotten player. Dr Rounds had two things going against him that makes him easier to forget: he played for the Hawks, and he was mainly a defensive guy. Ask Mookie Blaylock. These two things are guaranteed to make you forgotten.
-Tim Hardaway (on the finalist list). 5x All-Star, 5x All-NBA. Career 18/3/8, playoffs 17/3/7.
Very good numbers, a fair amount of accolades, had a memorable team (1997 Heat). Had a signature move (the crossover). Has probably one of the stronger cases on this list.
-Shawn Marion. 4x All-Star, 2x All-NBA, 1x Champ. Career 15/9/2, playoffs 14/9/1.
Marion is an interesting player, who was kind of like a jack of all trades on the court, but never good enough in any specific category. Clearly he was a best fit as a third wheel guy, which he was one of the best third wheels of his era.
-Bill Laimbeer. 4x All-Star, 2x Champ, 1x Rebounding leader. Career 13/10/2, playoffs 12/10/2.
Yes Laimbeer was not a likable player. But he was a crucial part of the Bad Boy Pistons, one of their main defenders and rebounders. After Isiah and Dumars, there is a case to be made that he was the third best player on that team.
-Mark Aguirre. 3x All-Star, 2x Champ. Career 20/5/3, playoffs 17/5/3.
The Mav’s first superstar (his number still has not been retired), Aguirre was one of the great 80s scoring wings, but found the most success pairing up with his buddy Isiah, a replacement for Adrian Dantley (who Isiah didn’t like) to win with the Bad Boy Pistons.
-Gus Williams. 2x All-Star, 2x All-NBA, 1x Champ. career 17/3/5, playoffs 19/3/5.
The Wizard was a crucial part of the late 70s / early 80s Sonics, and arguably could have won the 1979 Finals MVP over his backcourt teammate Dennis Johnson, as he averaged 29/4/4 in the Finals. He’s known for raising his game in the playoffs.
–Brad Daughtery. 5x All-Star. Career 19/9/4, playoffs 19/10/3.
Short career due to injuries, but I feel like either him or Mark Price should be inducted to have something to show for that early 90s Cavs team. That early 90s Cavs team was really good and if it wasn’t for Jordan, could have had a run at the title.
-Tom Chambers. 4x All-Star, 2x All-NBA, All star game mvp. Career 18/6/2, playoffs 15/5/2.
He’s one of only two players to have scored 20k points not to be in the HoF.
-Norm Van Lier. 3x All-Star, 1x All-NBA, 8x All-Def. 1x Assist leader. Career 12/5/7, playoffs 14/5/6.
An 8x All-Def player who led the league in assists probably should be better remembered, and that 70s Bulls team was always a piece away from a title (thanks Artis for jumping to the ABA!) but Norm’s number (and Artis’s) should *at least* be retired by the Bulls and he doesn’t even get that honor, which is sad.
-Larry Foust. 8x All-Star, 2x All-NBA, career 14/10/2, playoffs 12/10/1.
Why am I bringing up Larry Foust? Nobody on this board is old enough to remember him. Still, it’s just so weird that he was a top 2 player on 2 different Finals teams with the Fort Wayne Pistons, an 8x all star (most all stars not to be in the HoF), and you have guys like Arnie Risen and Harry Gallatin in the HoF but not him? Why not?
-Penny Hardaway. 4x All-Star, 2x All-NBA, career 15/5/5, playoffs 20/5/6.
One of the great what-ifs. Out of the 90s, we had Penny, Petrovic and Grant Hill (and Sabonis if you count him) as the great what if players. Penny had everything in his game, except for longevity.
-Lou Hudson. 6x All-Star, 1x All-NBA, career 20/4/3, playoffs 21/5/3.
Sweet Lou had the numbers and I want to say his case is like Mark Aguirre except he didn’t get to play on a loaded team later in his career unfortunately
-Mark Price. 4x All-Star, 4x All-NBA, career 15/3/7, playoffs 17/3/7.
His case is similar to KJ’s and Penny’s. In his prime he was one of the best PGs in the league, and an incredible shooter. His numbers aren’t quite as good as KJ’s or Hardaway’s though.
-Deron Williams. 3x All-Star, 2x All-NBA, career 16/3/8, playoffs 16/3/7.
Remember when D-will was one of the best PGs in the league? Just like KJ, Penny and Price he was great in his prime but his prime wasn’t long enough. I would probably put those guys just a smidge ahead of D-will at their peaks, but its all pretty close.
Yes I know most of the guys on this list are very very borderline Hall of Famers, but for the 2022 class we don’t really have many obvious choices here. My personal picks (aside from Manu who is a lock), would be Kevin Johnson, Amar’e (who I think if Bosh and Webber got in he should too), Leroy Edwards, and Chauncey Billups but that’s just me.
Also, consider the Hall of Fame has indeed inducted many borderline candidates before: Maurice Cheeks, Paul Westphal, Chris Mullin, Charlie Scott for example I think are all just as borderline as the guys I mentioned. thoughts?