Is Grant Hill a Hall of Famer?

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Is Grant Hill a Hall of Famer?
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Grant Hill with the Orlando Magic

Nineteen years after entering the NBA, Grant Hill has finally decided to hang up his sneakers after battling chronic injuries over the last decade and a half.

That, of course, begs the question of where Hill ranks among the all-time greats. In particular, will he get into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame?

Hill doesn't have a championship ring. That's one strike against him. 

Hill's stats aren't particularly earth-shattering: He's not in the top 75 in career player efficiency rating, and he's 72nd all-time in win shares. He's 81st all-time in career points; only once did he finish in the top five in scoring in a season (25.8 points per game in 2000).

Hill won a Rookie of the Year Award. That's not exactly a good predictor of making the Hall of Fame; past Rookie of the Year winners include Mike Miller, Damon Stoudamire and Don Meineke.

Hill never won an MVP, but perhaps a better stat to look at is career MVP award shares, which account for the number of second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-place votes a particular player receives over the course of his career.

With a third-place finish in 1997, one of five straight top-10 finishes from 1996 to 2000, Hill's career share is 0.529, good enough for 50th all-time. Of the 32 players ahead of him who are eligible for the Hall of Fame, only Sidney Moncrief has not made it to Springfield.

Hill made seven All-Star squads, five with Detroit and two with Orlando. Most players with seven All-Star selections have made it to the Hall of Fame, with Jo Jo White and Jack Sikma being the most notable exceptions. In addition, a preponderance of players with six selections have made it to Springfield.

Hill garnered five All-NBA selections but made only one All-NBA First Team, in 1997. The track record of getting into the Hall of Fame with a single All-NBA appearance is mixed. Of the enshrined, a number did not get in on their first opportunity.

However, it is worth noting that a number of people have made it into the Hall with no All-NBA First Team selections at all.

What about a Hall of Fame metric, such as baseball-reference.com's Hall of Fame monitor?

I developed a stat based on those statistics that awards certain numbers of points based on a player's career point, rebounding, assist and win shares totals, plus points for the number of championships, MVP award shares, All-NBA selections and All-Star appearances a particular player made. It also awards points for a player's career averages in scoring, rebounding, assists and PER.  

Higher scores indicate a more successful career.  Generally speaking, scoring at least 100 means you'll probably make it to Springfield, and 200 makes you an all-time great.  To contextualize this, two players (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Jordan) have scores in excess of 300, while recent inductee Gary Payton clocks in at 144.6 and reigning MVP LeBron James is currently sitting at 224.5.   

Hill's number? 112.6.  This is arrived at by awarding him points according to the table below.

Stat PTS REB AST PPG RPG APG MVP Shares
Grant Hill, Career 17137 6169 4252 16.7 6.0 4.1 0.529
Points awarded 17.137 6.169 4.252 16.7 6.0 4.1 5.29
Stat Champs All-Star All-NBA 1st All-NBA 2nd All-NBA 3rd WS PER TOTAL
Grant Hill, Career 0 7 1 4 0 99.9 19.0  
Points awarded 0 7 5 12 0 9.99 19.0 112.638

 

When will Grant Hill get in to the Naismith Hall of Fame?

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To add to that, Hill has a decent amount of college hardware. He also has a gold medal from the 1996 Olympics and could be the 10th Hall of Famer from the Atlanta squad, operating on the assumption that Shaquille O'Neal is enshrined when first eligible in 2017.

One item of particular interest in Hill's trophy case is the 1997 IBM Award. IBM calculated the award from 1984 to 2002, using a sabermetric formula that was a forerunner of PER. Every eligible IBM Award winner has gone on to Hall of Fame enshrinement; the other winners who haven't reached eligibility are Shaq, Tim Duncan and Dikembe Mutombo. Mutombo isn't an absolute look, but I'd say it's better than even money he gets in.

Bottom line: It's by no means a clear-cut decision, but, based on his numbers, I predict that Grant Hill will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 2021, in his third year of eligibility.

All stats courtesy of basketball-reference.com.   

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