Breathe in. Breathe out. Heart racing like Secretariat in 1973. Every sense is heightened. The soft murmuring of thousands causes sweat to form. Nervousness is not something unfamiliar, but it just seems that this time...this time it is different. This time, there are not any other huge men running and jumping. This time, there are not loud squeaks, heard by all. This time, there are not thousands screaming, while millions more observe from the comfort of their homes. This time it is different. Walking out, shaking hands, tears streaming down, I prepare to pour my heart out to the people who loved me like family for many years. I clear my throat, compose myself, the gates open, and I am off.
The above describes the feelings one must endure when being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The achievement alone merits the nerves and tears, but the work required to be able to reach such great levels is a whole different story. The Hall of Fame is something majestic. It is a place for only the best of the best. Jerry West, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan -- the greats are able to live on forever thanks to this hall. While most of the people in the Hall of Fame were much more than worthy, many players who are on their way into the Hall of Fame in future years are not worthy.
The following is a list of the 15 Current NBA Players who will get into the NBA Hall of Fame, but do not deserve it.
15 Marc Gasol
Marc Gasol has always been a solid player. Some people like to call him a star, which I do not understand. Yes, he and Zach Randolph have been a very good duo in Memphis for the Grizzlies, but he is not great. His career averages are just 14.4 ppg, 7.7 rpg, and 1.5 bpg (blocks per game). Maybe I am the only person who believes Marc Gasol is not going to get into the Hall of Fame, but I just cannot see why he would. Pau Gasol has had a much better career than his brother and I do not even think Pau is a shoo-in.
Based purely off of his play, Marc Gasol is not a Hall of Famer. Maybe if you take into account his international career he is, but in terms of just his play in the NBA, he has been good, but not great.
14 DeMar DeRozan
DeMar DeRozan will probably get into the Hall of Fame. He has been a very good player so far in his seven years, but he really has done nothing to deserve being a Hall of Famer. DeRozan has career averages of 18.5 ppg and 2.7 apg. While these are very good stats and he has only gotten better and better as his career has progressed, DeRozan has yet to lead his team to anything or even be effective in a playoff series. He is a very good, maybe even great player in the regular season, but when playoff time comes around, DeRozan has not yet proven that he can handle the pressure.
DeMar DeRozan may surprise some people. It is possible that he turns his playoff game around and leads the Toronto Raptors somewhere, but as of right now, he is just a good player.
13 Kevin Love
Kevin Love is a very good player. Hall of Fame worthy though? Sure, in a statistics driven league, Kevin Love will have a very good chance of getting in. His current career stats are 18.4 points per game, 2.4 assists per game, and 11.5 rebounds per game. In the voters' eyes, those statistics will be very interesting. The issue with these stats though is that Love played the majority of his career with an awful Minnesota Timberwolves team. While he was a great player for the Timberwolves, he failed to make the playoffs even once. Sure, he has won one championship in two seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but Love really did not have much to do with it. In the 2016 NBA Finals, he averaged 7.3 points per game and 5.9 rebounds per game. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are the two reasons the Cavaliers were able to win the 2016 NBA Championship.
Kevin Love will most likely make it into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame due to the numbers he put up with a terrible team and the playoff appearances/championships he will win with a super-team, but at the end of the day, his play never really looks anything like a Hall of Famer.
12 Vince Carter
Vince Carter is a tough one to choose. He has had an extremely long and very, very solid career. An eight-time All-Star, Vince Carter will almost definitely get into the Hall of Fame. The issue I have with it though is that he has never been a game-changer. Sure, early in his career he scored a ton of points and was an amazing dunker, but he never found his way to an NBA Finals in 18 seasons. For me, if you are unable to even make it to a Finals in that many seasons, you just were not good enough to make it to the Hall of Fame. Just like Kevin Love, Vince Carter has all of the statistics (18.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, and 3.4 apg), but he just does not have the results.
Just like Kevin Love, Vince Carter will most likely get into the Hall of Fame because of his statistics and his durability, but in 18 years, he should have at least gotten to an NBA Finals by accident. You could always count on him to score, but he just was not great enough to get his team over the hump.
11 Manu Ginobili
Manu Ginobili is going to get into the Hall of Fame. He was part of the famous San Antonio Spurs "Big Three." Along with Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, they won four NBA Championships together (Tim Duncan has won five). That, paired with Ginobili's mediocre statistics, would probably be enough to get him into the Hall of Fame, but in reality, Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich were the main reasons the Spurs won all of those championships. Ginobili only has career averages of 13.9 ppg, 3.9 apg, and 3.7 rpg.
Manu Ginobili has been a very good player in his 14 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, but he has not been a great player. He has come off of the bench for the majority of his career and does not have the statistics to even be in the conversation for the Hall of Fame.
10 John Wall
John Wall was shaping up to be an automatic Hall of Fame point guard, but has suddenly fallen off of the wagon. Sure, he is still playing well (career: 18.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg, and 9.0 apg), but he has stopped leading his team. The Washington Wizards have all of a sudden become a terrible team that does not even look like it will compete for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference this year. Earlier in his six-year career, Wall looked like a player that could lead a team to the playoffs every year and push for a Finals appearance. Right now though, Wall looks lost and needs to get back to his old self if he wants to make a Hall of Fame push.
9 DeMarcus Cousins
DeMarcus Cousins will almost certainly make it into the Hall of Fame, but I do not think he deserves it at all. Sure, he has been a dominant center (20.4 ppg, 10.7 rpg) ever since he came into the league, but what has he really accomplished? He has a temper and attitude that has gotten him ejected many a time, has gotten most of his coaches fired, and has run teammates out of Sacramento. In his six years, DeMarcus Cousins has not even come close to making it to the playoffs and probably will not ever make it if he cannot clean up his act. He has all of the talent to be a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, but at this point in time, he does not deserve it.
8 Klay Thompson
Klay Thompson has a fairly good chance of at least being considered for the Hall of Fame. He currently has one championship in five seasons with the Golden State Warriors and has been to another. He played a huge role on the best regular season team ever (73-9) and has very respectable statistics (18.5 ppg, 2.3 apg, and 45% FG).
Thompson has had a very good career so far. I think he would actually fair better if he were to leave the Golden State Warriors and go to a team that is currently struggling to see if he has what it takes to lift a team to greatness, but either way, I believe he will probably make it into the Hall of Fame. He has the stats and has the wins, but his play just does not scream Hall of Famer. He is now the third option on his team and has struggled thus far this season. If Klay stays on his current team, he will struggle to make any kind of case for the Hall of Fame (unless Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant were to leave).
7 Derrick Rose
Derrick Rose may get into the Hall of Fame, but if he does, it will be greatly unwarranted, not just in my opinion but likely in the opinion of many others. Rose has scored 19+ points per game and dished out 6.1 assists per game in his career, but he was great for one year. Derrick Rose has won an MVP, yes, but everyone knows that LeBron James should have won that year. Derrick Rose is a pretty easy choice here because just about everyone now knows that he is a mediocre player at best who will probably make it into the Hall of Fame because of an MVP award and because of how he looked pre-knee injuries. Most would argue that those are not enough to warrant his placement in the Hall of Fame.
6 Chris Paul
Chris Paul more than likely will get into the Hall of Fame. The reasons he will get in seem to be pretty apparent to other people, but not to me. I see that he almost averages 10 assists per game in his career and has a decent 18 points per game average, but that is all I see. Sure, Chris Paul has been a very good point guard in this league. In many years, he has been arguably the best, but besides being very good at his position, what has he done? In New Orleans, he was very good, but never was able to lead his team anywhere. With the Los Angeles Clippers, Paul has put up good numbers, but has never made it out of the Western Conference, even with a great team.
To me, Chris Paul has always been an overrated player. He is a star in this league because of the assist numbers and because of how many All-Star appearances he has, but in reality, he does not have the accomplishments or the statistics to back up being a Hall of Famer.
5 Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard has had quite the interesting career. He went from a great star in the NBA to an average, hated player. He has averaged a career double-double with 17.7 ppg and 12.7 rpg, but like most of the other people on this list, Howard does not have much else to show. Yes, he led his Orlando Magic team to a Finals appearance, but after that, he did absolutely nothing. He has made a few playoff appearances throughout his career, but has never been anything even resembling great since the year that he took the Magic to the Finals.
Dwight Howard had the potential to possibly be the next Shaquille O'Neil, but ended up just being a good center with ego issues -- not a great combo.
4 Blake Griffin
Blake Griffin is most likely going to get into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. A former first overall pick out of Oklahoma, Griffin has averaged 21.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg, and 4.1 apg over the course of his career for the Los Angeles Clippers. Those numbers scream Hall of Fame, but for me, Blake Griffin should just miss it. Yes, he was a 1st overall pick that has played up to that level, but he just does not do enough for me to warrant being put into the Hall of Fame. Maybe the problem is that I think of all of the great players in the Hall of Fame and then try to compare all of these younger players to them, but how else can you determine who is good enough and who is not?
Blake Griffin will more than likely get into the Hall of Fame, but he has yet to do anything in his career worthy of that honor.
3 James Harden
James Harden is a lot like Russell Westbrook. He takes a ton of shots, he puts up big numbers, and he wins some games. The issue with both of them though, is that neither of them can win without another star on their team. James Harden had Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, and then he had Dwight Howard. He has averaged 21.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg, and 5.1 apg over the course of his career. Even with putting up these stats while on the same team as these other players though, James Harden has yet to win anything. Sure, he has been to the playoffs and has won some games there, but he has not done anything beyond that.
Look, maybe I am crazy with this one and the next two, but I just do not see how players who do not win anything, or those who cannot lead their teams single-handedly (i.e. Allen Iverson) to a Finals appearance or win deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.
2 Russell Westbrook
Look, Russell Westbrook is a great player. Hands down, he is great. He has more athleticism than the league has ever seen and has great statistics. The only issues I have with Westbrook is that he takes a ton of shots and he cannot win on his own. Sure, his current team is not very good, but he should be able to do more than he is. I believe that great players make the others around them better and Russell Westbrook just has not done that.
Westbrook's 21.8 ppg, 7.7 apg, 5.7 rpg, and 2.4 spg (steals per game) will be enough to get him into the Hall of Fame, but for me, until Russell Westbrook is able to win a significant number of games without another star on his team, I do not believe he deserves it.
1 Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony is a star. He has been a star for a long time now, but to me, he is not worthy of the Hall of Fame. Anthony has played for 13 years in the NBA, but has never made an NBA Finals appearance. It has been a pretty common theme here that if you cannot win, then you really should not get into the HOF. There is no question that Anthony will get in the HOF, but he really just does not deserve it. He has taken a ton of shots for the entirety of his career and has never played defense. Anthony struggles to make the players around him better and has never made a playoff run.
Look, 25 ppg is really, really good, but 3.1 assists per game over the course of 13 seasons? Carmelo Anthony is a great individual player. For that, he will most likely get into the Hall of Fame, but for me, to get into the Hall of Fame, you have to be more than just a great player. Anthony will never win anything if he continues taking 20-30 shots a game and playing no defense, but if the Hall of Fame is what he has his eye on, then he will be okay.