Even with today’s Smack comments turning into a debate over Manu Ginobili‘s Hall of Fame merits — for the record, I think Manu would get in if he retired today — that isn’t even the most controversial HOF two-guard topic of the day.
With the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame set to announce its 2011 finalists later today, word has leaked that Reggie Miller isn’t on the list in his first year of eligibility. The HOF inductees won’t be announced until Final Four weekend, so it’s not just that Reggie isn’t getting in — he’s not even under serious consideration. Others expected to hear their names called today are Chris Mullin, Dennis Rodman, Don Nelson, Arvydas Sabonis and Mark Jackson.
Donnie Walsh, who drafted Miller in 1987 with the Pacers, told the New York Times, “I just know this: If he’s not a Hall of Fame guy, I don’t know who is. He took a very troubled franchise and ended up in the Eastern Conference finals six times. That’s pretty impressive for a guy who weighs about 185 pounds, and in the years that he did it, he was a marked guy and he relished it. I feel very thankful to Reggie to what he did for the Pacers and I just feel he deserves that honor, whether it comes now, later or whatever.”
Miller’s career has been a popular topic lately, since Ray Allen just surpassed his NBA record for career three-pointers made last week.
While admittedly I am biased because Reggie was one of my two or three favorite players growing up, but I still think he is the greatest shooter of all-time and at least in the class picture for the best clutch performers of all-time.
Consider this: The three-pointer wasn’t implemented in college basketball until Reggie was a senior at UCLA, so for those first couple years as a pro, he was still familiarizing himself with the art of sticking treys. He hit 61 and 98 triples his first two seasons with Indiana, before dropping 150 in Year Three. Ray Allen, meanwhile, grew up shooting threes. His first two pro seasons, he hit 117 and 134 treys. His third year was shortened by the lockout, but at his pace of 1.48 threes per game that season, he would have finished an 82-game slate with 121 triples.
Either way, Reggie is undeniably a top-five shooter of all-time, and that’s being conservative. He was one of the best players of his era and one of the few guys who gave Michael Jordan problems. For him to not even make the group of finalists doesn’t make sense.
What do you think?