The start of the 2020-21 NBA season is coming up. It took a long time to get to this point with this pandemic plaguing us all. I spent a lot of time watching old highlights and that had me thinking about the Basketball Hall of Fame. The NBA has always been filled with talented players and not all of them make the Hall of Fame. When people think of the HOF they think of the NBA. That is not the case. It is the BASKETBALL Hall of Fame. Professional leagues outside the NBA, (like FIBA, ABA, Euroleague) college careers, Olympic accomplishments, and executive careers for guys like Jerry Krause and Ron Thorn are all considered.
There are over 400 members of the Hall of fame in total the majority of them having played in the NBA. I along with Robert Cordero thought that it would be a good idea to create a top ten of the least deserving Hall of Famers. We each made our own list of picks which was very difficult to do. The way we decided to make this list fair is that any players that were professional and active since 1970 will qualify. It wouldn’t be fair to include everyone because 70 percent of the list would just end up being filled with players from the 50s’. Once again this is the Basketball Hall of Fame. College (or High School), pro accomplishments (including FIBA and Euro league), and their Olympic achievements will all be taken into consideration.
Emir: Gail Goodrich was a really good college player at UCLA. The two-time champion at UCLA and consensus All American. Mainly spent his career with the Lakers. Goodrich was a five-time All-Star who made the All-NBA team one time. Gail Godrich had a solid career. He was playing with Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlin, and Pistol Pete Maravich. You see where I’m going with this. Gail Goodrich was never the best player on the team. Also, he became a trivia question. Goodrich got traded to New Orleans for a pick that ended up being Magic Johnson. So yeah he’s number 10 for me on my Basketball Hall of Fame list.
Robert: The first guy I’m going with is Mitch Richmond. Mitch Richmond was the definition of an “all-star” player, but not a “superstar”. He won rookie of the year in 1988, won two Olympic medals (bronze in 1988 and gold in 1996), and was selected to the All-NBA second team three times. So why is he on this list? He won his only NBA championship on a team that was carried by Shaq and Kobe. He also never made All-NBA first team and was only a six-time All-Star.
Emir: I went with Black Jesus on this one. This was a tough choice for me because I am a Knicks fan. Jesus was the original scoring point guard putting up 26 points a game at Winston-Salem State. He immediately impacted the Washington Bullets making two of his four All-Star appearances in Washington. Monroe was also a key part of the Knicks winning their second title but he wasn’t the same guy. The point guard is supposed to pass the ball really well. For his whole career, even in Washington. He never recorded more than five assists per game and made the All-NBA team once. He was more of a pure scorer than a point guard.
Robert: Ralph Sampson was one of the most dominant collegiate big men of all time. He won the Naismith Award three times, the Wooden Award twice, and was a three-time consensus first-team All American. Once he got to the NBA, he was only a four-time All-Star, while not doing much else to distinguish himself from the rest of the league. His collegiate play was what kept him from being any worst on my list.
Emir: This one was a hard choice for me. For those of you that don’t know, the ABA was a league whose main goal was to merge with the NBA which they did successfully. The ABA was so good the NBA copied it. David Thompson was one of the stars of the league. He was one of the best college players of all-time at NC State; arguably top 10. He was great for four years then it went downhill with injuries and drug addiction. A two time All-NBA player and five-time All-Star is not enough for a player of his caliber. He was Vince Carter before Vince Carter and has a Vince Carter trophy case.
Robert: Dantley was a prolific scorer in the NBA. The knock on him was he played 15 seasons in the NBA while managing just 2 All-NBA nods and 6 All-Star appearances. He was never the best in the league at any point in his career since he never made first-team All-NBA. He also never won a championship. This is why he unfortunately makes the list.
7. Louie Dampier/ Earl Monroe
Emir: This one was hard for me too. It was either Paul Westphal or Louie Dampier. Another ABA entry, Dampier is not the caliber player David Thompson was. He was a good college player and a very good ABA player. A seven-time All-Star in the ABA and four-time All-ABA, with one ABA title. He is very interesting because he can’t score more than 20 points a game unless he is playing for more than 40 minutes. The year they won the ABA title he only scored 16 points a game and he did not play well once he actually got to the NBA.
Robert: Earl Monroe was great in college as he is still the leading scorer in CIAA History. The issue with Monroe was he needed help to win. He was known as a scorer, but only had career averages of around 18.8 points, 3 rebounds, and 3.9 assists as a starting point guard in the league. Also, the only championship he won, he was on a star-studded Knicks team.
6. Maurice Cheeks/ Robert-Vlade Divac
Emir: I really like Maurice Cheeks. He’s a solid player who fit in really well with the Sixers in the ’80s. He was a true point guard. Cheeks was a four-time All-Star and five-time All-Defensive. Being on a defensive team is not easy, but he made it look easy. Not having an All-NBA mention or any other mention for that matter doesn’t really help his case for why he should be in the Basketball Hall of Fame, to begin with. Look at all the guys he played with at once. Dr. J, Moses Malone, Bobby Jones, and Charles Barkley. I can’t say he was the most important player on the team at any point in his career, but he had a solid career.
Robert: Divac is without a doubt, regarded as the pioneer of European basketball. He is a legend in the Eurobasket and FIBA circuit and absolutely deserves to be in the FIBA Hall of Fame. However, his NBA career was mediocre by Hall of Fame standards, which makes his induction into Naismith a little peculiar. His NBA career achievements were being selected to the All-Rookie team in 1990 and one All-Star appearance in 2001. That’s it. He did receive 10 medals in international play, which makes him not the worst selection into the Hall of Fame. But at the highest level of competition, he was not even considered anywhere close to being one of the best, which puts him on my list.
Emir: Now if you watched The Last Dance you probably saw how they tried to elevate the Pacers in 1998 and how it went to seven games. Reggie Miller is the most overrated basketball player I have ever seen (@ me on Twitter, I’m sorry he’s not special.) I still don’t understand how the non GOAT struggled with that team. He was a five-time All-Star and couldn’t get above third-team All-NBA. Yes, he was a good college player but he didn’t really lead his team anywhere.
He has hit some big shots and is one of the best shooters in the history of the game. Honestly, most of his career is literally based on beating the Knicks and losing to every other team in the playoffs not named the Knicks. He made the finals one time because he beat the Knicks. See my point. He also might be the slowest guard in the history of basketball. He is not a Hall of Famer in my book.
Robert: Jamaal Wilkes had a great collegiate career as he played with Bill Walton to form one of the most dominating college teams of all time. Due to how dominant UCLA was, Wilkes was selected as a consensus first-team All American from 1972-1974 even if he only averaged 15 points and 7.5 rebounds. Once he got to the NBA, he did win Rookie of the Year in 1975 but was only a three-time All-Star. Similar to other players on the list, he did win four championships as part of star-studded teams. He did not even play during the Lakers’ 1985 finals series championship win since he was out with an injury, but still gets credit for it. Wilkes had a lot of great teammates during his career from Bill Walton to Rick Barry to Magic Johnson that helped him get the accolades needed to get into the Hall of Fame.
4. Charlie Scott/ Gail Goodrich
Emir: If it seems like this is a list of me dog piling on the ABA it’s not. It just so happens that the guys that made that transition to the NBA mostly seem to get injured or change their style of play. Scott is on the latter side. He had the most points per game in an ABA season. Once he got to the NBA in his first year his field goal attempts dropped by eight and his scoring dropped by nine points a game. The majority of his success came in the ABA. Rookie of the Year, 2x All-ABA, and 2x ABA All-Star.
He was solid in the NBA with the Suns. He made the all-star team in his first three full years in the NBA. After his last all-star year in 1975 where he scored 24 points a game. Charlie Scott never got past 18 points per game. He won a title with the Celtics as well. He was a great player but he is not Basketball Hall of Fame worthy.
Robert: Goodrich won an NBA championship in 1972 and was a five-time All-Star.He also won two championships in college and was a two-time All-American. That’s not enough to have him excluded from my list. My biggest issue was if you were never the best player on your own professional team, let alone the NBA during your career, why should you be inducted into the Hall of Fame? Also, he was never selected to any All-NBA teams. For these reasons, it’s hard not to put him as one of the least deserving players.
3. Calvin Murphy/ Calvin Murphy
Emir: Younger fans may not know who Calvin Murphy is. Murphy is like if Kevin Hart grew four inches and trained to actually be an NBA player. Calvin Murphy was super quick. He did have Basketball Hall Of Fame speed and he could really score the ball. Murphy is one of those curious cases of why that individual wasn’t looked at for more All-Star appearances. This one surprised me. I would rank him higher if this was solely based on how I felt but I’ve based this list on their accomplishments. So that’s why I have him placed at number three. If he were a few inches taller then this would be a different discussion.
Robert: We finally agreed on a ranking. Calvin Murphy dominated in college being selected as an All-American three times from 1968-1970. Once he got to the NBA, It was a different story. He did make the All-Rookie first team in 1971, but besides that and his lone NBA All-Star appearance in 1979, he didn’t do anything else. No All-NBA or defensive team selections and no championships, yet he was inducted. He had NBA career averages of 17.9 points 4.4 assists, and 1.5 rebounds. It almost feels like any decent guard can make the Hall if he made it, no offense.
2. Vlade Divac/ Bill Bradley
Emir: The top three was really hard for me. I went with the original flop daddy Vlade here. The understanding of international impact is somewhat important. To be fair it’s not like that individual was one of the best European players to ever come to America. Not a top-five player. He has very pedestrian stats. Once someone looks at those stats, you would’ve thought that they coming off the bench. I get how Yugoslavia and Croatia impacted the NBA but they do not need to put all those guys into the Basketball Hall of Fame because they were all not that great. All this individual is known for is the infamous Kobe trade. Vlade is also known for getting cooked like a BBQ pitmaster from Memphis by Shaq for the early part of the 2000s.
Robert: There’s not really much to say about former Senator Bill Bradley that would convince you that he did belong in the Hall. All I have to show are his career stats. He averaged 12.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists. His best overall year scoring average was 16.1 ppg and he only made one All-Star appearance. I guess the bright spot is that he did win two NBA Championships and was a consistently great college player garnering multiple players of the year nominations and being named as a consensus first-team All-American twice. But as much as we want to look at everyone’s body of work besides the NBA, it’s really hard to ignore how someone with those averages managed to be in the Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, he is my pick for the least deserving NBA player in the Hall of Fame, but at least he played in the NBA.
1. Bill Bradley/ Marques Haynes
Emir: I really wanted to put Vlade here because why not? Listing the individual there would be biased. To be fair and attack the former senator of New Jersey he is number one on my list. More known for politics than basketball, I honestly don’t know how he made the Basketball Hall of Fame. He was on the Knicks championship team back in the day, but that’s all he really did in the NBA. There’s not much to really say about it other than that. He was just a rotational player at best. He was a one-time All-Atar and I don’t know the hell that happened. He’s got to be one of the worse all-stars of all time. He was the Al Horford of his time but wasn’t worse than Kyle Korver.
Robert: Previously, I said Calvin Murphy was the least deserving NBA player in the Hall of Fame, but here is someone who did not even play in the NBA. This is Marques Haynes, the Harlem Globetrotter. I respect everything Haynes has done for the community, his revolutionary dribbling style, and his time with the game of basketball. But in my opinion, you just can’t put him in the same tier as the other pros who reached the highest level and succeeded in their career. This is almost like inducting someone in the Pro Football Hall of Fame because he knew how to throw perfect behind the back spirals. Basketball is more than just about dribbling a ball. I rest my case.
Thoughts on Robert’s List
Personally, I think his team would blow out my team by twenty points. I got guys with knees as flexible as uncooked ramen. There’s also a senator that can certainly win the celebrity game MVP trophy and I also have the slowest player in the history of basketball on my team. Robert got guys that were all-time great scores and a freaking Harlem Globetrotter. I believe my team is way worse. They would lose every game if they had a Basketball Hall of Fame league.
Thoughts on Emir’s list
I will say that my list is full of players that can score the ball, but being a Hall of Famer means much more to me than that. Were they a huge part of their team’s success? Did they play defense? Were they truly above or on the same tier as other players in the Hall? I think not. What I have is a list of good players (not HoF worthy) and someone who only knows how to dribble a basketball. I think by far, Reggie Miller and Maurice Cheeks make Emir’s team better than mine. Reggie is one of the best shooters ever and on top of that, is one of the best in the clutch. I would definitely take him over Richmond.
Also, Cheeks deserves a lot more credit for what he has done defensively. Cheeks is considered one of the best perimeter defenders ever and that absolutely deserves to be in the Hall. He would lock up so many people on my list. Overall though, even if we agreed on certain players, let’s be real…the list that has a Harlem Globetrotter on it would not beat a team of actual NBA players.
If there is someone that you think we did not mention Please leave us a comment. This is a pretty damn impressive list of less than impressive people.