Between Shaquille O’Neal, Yao Ming and Allen Iverson, the 2016 Basketball Hall of Fame class was one of the greatest in modern history. Unfortunately, the 2017 class isn’t shaping up to be quite as strong.
Nominees for the next Hall of Fame class in basketball were announced on Wednesday, including three big-name, first-time candidates. Here are the 10 best candidates to be nominated for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and our take on whether they’ll make the cut.
MUGGSY BOGUES (FIRST-TIME NOMINEE)
Bogues averaged 7.7 points, 2.6 rebounds and 7.6 assists in 889 NBA games. He also appeared in Space Jam and once blocked Patrick Ewing, an event the Knicks big man never lived down.
Is he a Hall of Famer? Of course not.
TRACY MCGRADY (FIRST-TIME NOMINEE)
McGrady averaged 19.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game and famously scored 13 points in 33 seconds in one of the greatest scoring bursts in NBA history.
BEN WALLACE (FIRST-TIME NOMINEE)
Wallace averaged 5.7 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game as the defensive anchor of a Detroit Pistons team that knocked off Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2004 NBA Finals.
Is he a Hall of Famer? I love me some Big Ben, but he’s not quite a Hall-calibre player.
Webber followed an infamous college basketball career by averaging 20.7 points, 9.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game in the NBA.
Is he a Hall of Famer? I’d say so. Remember, it’s the Basketball Hall of Fame, not the NBA Hall of Fame. Moreover, the Hall is a museum of the game that tells the story of basketball, and you can’t tell that story without talking about Webber.
Divac averaged 11.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists and an untold number of cartons of cigarettes smoked per game across 16 NBA seasons.
Is he a Hall of Famer? Not in my book, although Divac is a borderline candidate when you consider his time with the Yugoslavian national team.
Price averaged 15.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game, making four All-Star games during his 12-year career.
Is he a Hall of Famer? Sadly, no.
Kukoc averaged 11.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game, winning three titles with the Chicago Bulls.
Is he a Hall of Famer? Kukoc will likely earn more votes than he should based on his proximity to Michael Jordan and his role on the 72-win Bulls.
Hardaway averaged 17.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 8.2 assists per game over a 15-year career with the Warriors, Heat, Mavericks, Nuggets and Pacers.
Is he a Hall of Famer? Only if you believe Hardaway’s patented “UTEP 2-Step” crossover needs to be enshrined for its ability to break opponents’ ankles.
You know Marv. The longtime broadcaster is a candidate as a “contributor” to the game.
Is he a Hall of Famer? Absolutely. Albert is one of the pre-eminent voices of the game.
The man who turned Michael Jordan into “His Airness,” Falk represented Jordan from his rookie season until he retired for a second time with the Chicago Bulls in 1999. He still serves as an adviser to MJ to this day.
Is he a Hall of Famer? When an agent becomes a household name, I have to believe he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. I’d vote for Falk, anyway.