Reggie Miller and 7 Other Overrated Hall of Famers
It's hard to call a guy overrated. First, you have to determine where he should be rated, and that is usually a very subjective matter to begin with. How do you take someone who is great and begin to diminish their greatness by suggesting they received too much attention or too many unwarranted accolades?
Ergo, some of my criteria in defining these guys as overrated isn't fair to them in the strictest sense of the word. How can one hold players accountable for playing against weaker competition? Is it a player's fault if he is viewed as a franchise saver by GMs when he should merely be a complementary player?
These are strange questions, and the very nature of coming up with a list like this is an oddity in terms of projecting estimated impacts in today's game.
It's important to understand that all of these seven players are legitimate Hall of Fame talents, but the underlying similarity between them, at least in this columnist's opinion, is that they received a disproportionate amount of appreciation compared to their actual skill level, talent and overall greatness as a player.
I understand why George Mikan is looked upon the way he is. He was a pioneer for big men. He has a drill named after him which focuses on improving hand-eye coordination around the hoop. There's no denying he was a ground-breaking player.
What he was not, however, was any kind of talent that would have produced more than an average career today.
It's evidenced in his rival Dolph Schayes, who produced a clone son of himself named Danny, who was nothing more than back-up fodder despite his seemingly high pedigree. Many of the greats from Mikan's epoch might not even be on rosters if they were transported to today's era.
I don't believe Mikan to be any exception.
Calvin Murphy was a great little man, but that's all he really was—not a great player. I think if he played in today's era, he would still be very good, but no better than former Raptors and Trail Blazers guard Damon Stoudamire. They are actually very similar players. Murphy only made the 1979 All-Star team, yet the respect he is given in basketball circles would suggest he was an annual participant.
I'm not saying Murphy isn't great, but some of the players with similar win shares include Andre Miller, Jason Terry and Hersey Hawkins. That is the level he should be considered on, and none of those three are going to be in the Hall of Fame.
How can I call Rick Barry overrated?
The eye test and the pedigree test…
Barry's skill set rendered him an effective scorer, but I don't believe his success would be the same in the league today. Most of his moves created shots that he wouldn't be able to make with today's bigger defenders. His sons were nothing more than replacement-level players, notwithstanding the fact that Brent won a dunk contest. Jon Barry was just an average bench player.
That's what leads me to believe their father would be nothing more than a fringe All-Star today at the best. Like father, like son; like son, like father—to use an old cliché in reverse.
Gail Goodrich was a five-time NBA All-Star and posted a career scoring average of 20.6 points per game. However, he won only one NBA Championship, and that was done on the shoulders of Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain.
His greatness would not stand alone without premier players to share the ball with, and he didn't truly have alpha dog talent, despite the fact that he made the 1973-74 All-NBA First Team. It was a peak season, and Goodrich's peak was great, but he isn't a legendary talent.
His win shares are on the same level as Brent Barry, who we just mentioned as a middling talent in today's league; Mike Bibby has a similar win share as well. Bibby is not a Hall of Fame talent either.
Chris Mullin was the worst active NBA player on the most legendary team of all time in basketball—the 1992 Dream Team. As to why Mullin made it instead of Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins, I am still not sure. Mullin was a very good success story as an alcoholic who overcame the disease to have an All-Star career. But he wasn't better than Dominique Wilkins.
Mullin's smooth lefty stroke ranks among the prettiest in the game, and he could certainly put the ball in the basket, but the level of greatness attributed to Mullin seems disproportionate to the amount of talent he actually had.
Ralph Sampson's induction has more to do with his college career than his pro. He was the Naismith winner in 1981, '82 and '83 and the Wooden award winner in 1982 and '83. He was a consensus first-team All-American three times as well.
But injuries derailed his NBA career. He made three All-Star teams before his knees would just no longer allow him to play basketball.
He has to be in the hall due to his accolades at the NCAA level, but there are a lot of guys that will never get into the Hall of Fame who are much greater talents than the 7'4" forward from Virginia.
Reggie Miller was one to thrive on the big stage. He was clutch, and he had a great career. He's the second best three-point shooter ever, but for all that says about Reggie, it doesn't say he deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the true all-time greats. He was never the kind of talent to be a true alpha dog, and he needed more help on the Pacers to capture a ring, something he was never able to do.
I love Miller's game, but he was not a franchise talent. Despite that, he served as one for the majority of his career. He's beloved by Pacers fans and many others around the league, but he's just not top-50 all-time material, though many feel he is.