With the recent inductions of NBA legends Shaquille O'Neal, Allen Iverson, and Yao Ming to the NBA Hall of Fame, I thought it would be a good time to look at some of the great basketball names who have not been awarded this prestigious title. When looking back at some of the great names to not be inducted into the Hall of Fame, I was surprised at some of the amazing talent that will not go down in the history books as some of the best players ever.
In this article, we will be looking at the top 15 greatest NBA players to not make the hall of fame. We obviously will not be including players such as LeBron James or Kobe Bryant, as even though they are not in the Hall of Fame just yet, they will undoubtedly be added to the list once they're eligible. While the Hall of Fame is a one of the best honors an NBA player can get, these guys on this list had amazing NBA careers nonetheless.
Here are the top 15 NBA players to not make the Hall of Fame. As always, feel free to suggest any others that you believe belong on this list.
15 Larry Nance
Larry Nance was drafted by the Phoenix Suns with the 20th pick in the 1981 NBA Draft, and ended up having a fantastic career. He became a well known player in the league by winning the 1984 Dunk Contest, as he was a high flyer, which you could see in his genes through his son, Larry Nance Jr., currently on the Lakers. After becoming an all-star with the Suns, Nance was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers where he had much success. He helped the Cavs become a serious contender in the East, on his way to becoming a two-time All-Star and three time All-Defensive team selection on the Cavs. Nance had a great career, as he averaged about 17 points and 8 rebounds over the course of his career.
14 Maurice Cheeks
Mo Cheeks was a great point-guard in his day, as he played solid defense and had good court vision making him an all around player. Selected in the second round by the Philadelphia 76ers, Cheeks was an absolute steal, as he went on to have as some would say a Hall of Fame caliber career. Even winning the championship with the Sixers in 1984, Maurice Cheeks was a heck of a player who led the team at the point guard position. He is 11th on the NBA assists list and 5th in steals, as he averaged 11.1 points, 6.7 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 steals in 31.6 minutes per game over his 15 year NBA career. He then became a head coach in the NBA, and was recently named the assistant coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
13 Walter Davis
Walter Davis was drafted with the 5th pick in the 1977 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns, and stunned many with how good he was right off the bat. Winning the Rookie of The Year award, Davis was adept at scoring from early on, and went on to be selected to five all-star teams with the Suns. Back problems and a drug scandal is what threw Davis' successful career off-course, as he was a great scorer in the NBA and even came in 5th for MVP voting for the 1977-78 season. In 15 NBA seasons, Davis averaged 18.9 points, 3.8 assists, three rebounds and 1.2 steals and is 44th on the NBA's all-time scoring list, which is very impressive. Davis is definitely one of the best NBA players not to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
12 Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway
Penny Hardaway had a fantastic NBA career, and even though he still may be selected to join the Hall of Fame, he is one of the best players not given the honor. A great point guard with excellent athleticism and speed, Penny had a lot of sweet highlights throughout his playing days. After a fantastic two seasons at Memphis State, Penny was drafted by the Golden State Warriors with the 3rd pick in the 1993 NBA Draft. He is mostly known for his playing time with the Orlando Magic though, and he and the young Shaquille O'Neal were a dominant force in the NBA. Helping lead the Magic to their first Finals appearance in 1995, Penny Hardaway will go down as an NBA legend deserving of the highest honor in being named a Hall of Fame player.
11 Shawn Kemp
Shawn Kemp was one of the most exciting NBA players to ever step on the hardwood. Kemp was a total steal with the 17th pick in the 1989 Draft, and the SuperSonics were the lucky team to take a chance on the high-flying Kemp. He earned three All-NBA team nods and made it to five All-Star teams during his time in Seattle, and he even helped lead the SuperSonics to the 1996 NBA Finals, where they were ultimately beaten by the highly talented Chicago Bulls. Kemp wasn't just a flashy dunker, however, as he was a great defender as well. In 14 NBA seasons, Kemp averaged 14.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.1 steals, which are very solid numbers for a 17th pick in the draft.
10 Alvin Robertson
Alvin Robertson is not a well known NBA player, but he is one of the greatest defenders in the NBA's great history. Robertson was drafted with the 7th pick in the legendary 1984 NBA Draft, and even though he isn't remembered as one of the best players picked on that night, he had a great NBA career. He won the Defensive Player and the Most Improved Player in the 1985-86 season, and was selected to six All-Defensive teams throughout his career. Robertson played for the Spurs, the Bucks, the Pistons, and ended his career with the Raptors in 1996. Alvin was a great defensive guard who is completely underrated considering his great NBA career. This makes him one of the best players to not be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
9 Paul Westphal
Paul Westphal was drafted by the Boston Celtics with the 10th pick in the 1972 NBA Draft. He had a great career with USC, and the Celtics liked what they saw with Westphal by taking him with a top ten pick. Westphal won the NBA championship in 1974 with the Celtics, but wasn't much of a factor as he only averaged 4.9 ppg throughout the grueling seven game series. Westphal was then traded to the Phoenix Suns, where his career really took off. He was a four-time All-Star with the Suns, and was even selected to four All-NBA teams. Paul helped lead the Suns to the 1976 NBA Finals, where they ultimately ended up losing to the team from which drafted him four years earlier, the Boston Celtics. In 12 NBA seasons, Westphal averaged 15.6 points, 4.4 assists, 1.9 rebounds and 1.3 steals in only 25.5 minutes per game.
8 Mark Price
Mark Price was one of the leagues' best guards due to his excellent shooting and great overall game as a guard. He was drafted in the second round, yes, the second round by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 1986 NBA Draft. His first year was spent as a backup, but Price hit the ground running in his sophomore season. He led the NBA in free throw percentage multiple times, and was selected to four All-NBA teams during his time with the Cavaliers. A great shooter with an ability to distribute nicely, Price averaged 15.2 points, 6.7 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals over the course of his career. He had a great career in the NBA, and is one of the best players not to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
7 Marques Johnson
Marques Johnson is one of the most underrated scorers in the NBA's great history. He was taken with the third overall pick in the 1977 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, and the rest was history for the scorer from UCLA. Johnson was a dynamic scorer who even averaged over 25 points per game in his second season in the NBA, but sadly, that was his best season scoring wise as his stats pretty much decreased from there. In 11 NBA seasons, Johnson averaged 20.1 points, seven rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.3 steals. His 20.1 points per game is currently the 50th best in the NBA of all-time. Not many people know about Marques Johnson, but they should, considering he is one of the best scorers of all-time.
6 Kevin Johnson
Kevin Johnson was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 7th pick in the 1987 NBA Draft. However the Cavs already had a point guard in Mark Price, who is number #8 on this list. Kevin was traded to the Phoenix Suns the next year, and his career took off from there. He won the Most Improved Player and an All-NBA team nod, which solidified himself as one of the best players in the league. With the Phoenix Suns, Johnson was a three-time All-Star and a five-time All-NBA pick and helped his team to the 1993 NBA Finals, where they ultimately fell to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. Johnson is 19th all-time with 6,711 assists and sixth in NBA history, with an average of 9.1 assists per game.
5 Tim Hardaway
Tim Hardaway is one of the most iconic NBA superstars of all-time, and it is surprising that he is still not in the Hall of Fame. Tim was drafted with the 14th pick in the 1989 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors. He patented the "killer crossover" as he caught many defenders off guard with his through the leg then crossover move. He was a great scorer with excellent court vision, and has a long list of accolades attesting to his greatness in the NBA. Whether he was balling with the Warriors or with the Heat, Tim Hardaway was one of the best guards in the history of the league. In 13 seasons in the NBA, Hardaway averaged 17.7 points, 8.2 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals.
4 Chris Webber
Chris Webber had an outstanding career at Michigan, and that translated into him being drafted with the first overall pick in the 1993 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic. Webber was then traded for Penny Hardaway and three future draft picks to the Golden State Warriors. Webber won the Rookie of The Year with the Warriors, but problems with his coach, Don Nelson, led to Webber being traded to the Washington Bullets. Webber was an all-star caliber player with the Bullets, but was hampered by injuries which stalled his greatness on the court. Webber's career stats are outstanding. In his 15 NBA seasons, Webber averaged 20.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.4 blocks. He is certainly worthy of being named to the Hall of Fame.
3 George McGinnis
George McGinnis played for the Indiana Pacers in the ABA for four years, until he was signed into the NBA by the Philadelphia 76ers. His time in the ABA was very successful, as he won two championships and won the MVP in 1975. He was a great player for the Sixers, as he was a two-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA pick and helped the 76ers to the 1977 NBA Finals, where they lost to the Portland Trail Blazers. His ability to score from anywhere on the court and grab rebounds effortlessly allowed him to dominate in both the ABA and then in the NBA. In 11 professional seasons, George averaged 20.2 points, 11 rebounds, 3.7 rebounds and 1.9 steals. McGinnis is easily one of the best players to not be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
2 Bobby Jones
Like George McGinnis, Bobby Jones had an excellent career in the ABA before moving into the NBA. With the Denver Nuggets of the ABA, Jones was an All-Star and a two time All-Defensive selection, and even helped lead the Nuggets to the 1976 ABA Finals. Jones then moved into the NBA with the Nuggets, but when was then traded to the Philadelphia 76ers two years later. Jones made a very high percentage of his shots, as he even led the NBA in field goal percentage one season. He was very skilled at the defensive end of the ball, and was selected to seven All-Defensive teams. In 12 professional seasons, Jones averaged 12.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.4 blocks, proving himself worthy of being named to the Hall of Fame.
1 Sidney Moncrief
Sidney Moncrief was drafted with the 5th pick in the 1979 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. However, Moncrief needed a few seasons to develop before he did any real damage in the NBA. Once he hit his prime, Moncrief became one of the best players in the league. He racked up a ton of awards during his career with the Bucks, as he was a five-time All-Star and a two-time Defensive Player of the Year award winner. Moncrief will not just go down as one of the greatest Milwaukee Bucks of all-time, but one of the greatest players in all of the NBA's great history. Sidney Moncrief had an excellent NBA career, and is the best player to not be inducted into the Hall of Fame.