NBA: Each Team's Most Likely Hall of Famer

Anthony Rizzuti@@Anthony_RizzutiSenior Analyst IIIAugust 21, 2011

NBA: Each Team's Most Likely Hall of Famer

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    On August 12, Dennis Rodman and Chris Mullin highlighted the 2011 class of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. This distinguished group also included Artis Gilmore, Tex Winter, Arvydas Sabonis and Tom "Satch" Sanders.

    That night, legends were present, memories were revisited and legacies were cemented.

    So with the 2010-11 season in the books and the 2011-12 season in serious doubt, let's talk about possible Hall of Fame candidates while we are away from the game.

    Here is a list of each NBA team's most likely Hall of Fame player. 

Atlanta Hawks: Al Horford

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    Accomplishments: 2x All-Star, All-NBA Third Team (2011), NBA All-Rookie First Team (2008)

    NBA Career Statistics: 12.8 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.1 BPG, .536 FG%

    HOF Chances: Unlikely

    When glancing over the Hawks' roster, three players stood out as possible candidates. Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Al Horford were the three who could have an outside chance of getting into the Hall. 

    However, Horford is the one that may have the best shot in the group. Joe Johnson has had a very solid 11-year career, but has not done anything extraordinary to justify a spot.

    Josh Smith has also put up an impressive career of seven years, but just as Johnson, hasn't accomplished anything that is considered Hall of Fame worthy.

    That left Horford as the leading candidate on Atlanta's roster. Big Al has already racked up two All-Star appearances in his four years as a pro, and continues to steadily increase his yearly stats.

    Being that he has only played four seasons in the NBA, the almost 7'0" center has more time to build a Hall of Fame resume, as opposed to his teammates Johnson and Smith. 

Boston Celtics: Kevin Garnett

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    Accomplishments: NBA MVP (2004), NBA Champion (2008), Defensive Player of the Year (2008), 14x All-Star, 4x All-NBA First Team, 3x All-NBA Second Team, 2x All-NBA Third Team, 9x All-Defensive First Team, 2x All-Defensive Second Team

    NBA Career Statistics: 19.5 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 4.1 APG, 1.6 BPG, 1.4 SPG

    HOF Chances: Definite

    The Big Ticket is the first "Definite" on this list. And just as the other "Definite" players, Garnett needs little to no explanation as to why he is going to be enshrined. 

    KG has cemented his legacy with tenacious defense, highly-effective offense and an unmatched intensity for the game.

    Kevin Garnett is one of the most well-rounded players the NBA has ever seen.

Charlotte Bobcats: Kemba Walker

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    Accomplishments: None

    NBA Career Statistics: N/A

    HOF Chances: Not clear

    I am not hyping up Kemba Walker, nor I am a passenger on his ever-growing bandwagon. However, if you go up and down the roster in Charlotte, there isn't anything to write home about. 

    Since Walker has yet to play a game in the NBA, his career has yet to be determined. That's what makes him the leading candidate on this Bobcats team. Walker can either become one of the league's best scorers or could become a backup guard who tallies up six points a game. 

    Whichever he becomes, Walker certainly has a greater chance at Springfield than guys like Gerald Henderson, D.J. Augustin and dare I say, Kwame Brown.

Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose

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    Accomplishments: NBA MVP (2011), Rookie of the Year (2009), 2x All-Star, All-NBA First Team (2011), All-Rookie First Team (2009)

    NBA Career Statistics: 20.9 PPG, 6.7 APG, 3.9 RPG, .468 FG%

    HOF Chances: On his way

    After his 2011 campaign, Derrick Rose made believers out of everyone who watches the game. He led the Bulls to 62 wins, he easily nabbed this year's MVP honors and achieved career highs in every statistic except field-goal percentage.

    D-Rose drastically improved his game, and was undoubtedly the most consistent player in the 2010-11 season. If Rose continues his spectacular play, he is almost assured a spot in the Hall.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Kyrie Irving

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    Accomplishments: None

    NBA Career Statistics: N/A

    HOF Chances: Not clear

    Here's another instance where a talented rookie has the best shot on his team. Just like Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving holds a greater chance of making the Hall over the rest of his team. 

    The No. 1 overall selection literally has an entire career to create a worthy resume, and certainly has the tools to do it. Irving can grace the court with his amazing passing ability, pure athleticism and high basketball IQ.

Dallas Mavericks: Jason Kidd

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    Accomplishments: NBA Champion (2011), co-Rookie of the Year (1995), 10x All-Star, 5x All-NBA First Team, All-NBA Second Team (2003), 4x All-Defensive First Team, 5x All-Defensive Second Team, All-Rookie First Team (1995)

    NBA Career Statistics: 13.2 PPG, 9.1 APG, 6.5 RPG, 2.0 SPG

    HOF Chances: Definite

    Are you surprised that this isn't Dirk Nowitzki's slide? Well if you are, here's why I went with Jason Kidd.

    There's no doubt both Dirk and Jason are surefire, first-ballot Hall of Famers. They both carry storied legacies that will both end up in the Hall. When it's all said and done, Dirk will be regarded as one of the most skilled big men in the history of the game, and Kidd will always be remembered for his well-rounded play.

    But since Kidd is closer to retirement than Dirk is, he makes this list. His 11,578 assists (2nd all-time), 2,477 steals (3rd all-time), 1,795 three-pointers (3rd all-time), and 107 triple-doubles (3rd all-time) are already worthy of a plaque in Springfield. 

Denver Nuggets: Ty Lawson

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    Accomplishments: None

    NBA Career Statistics: 10.2 PPG, 4.0 APG, 2.3 RPG, .507 FG%

    HOF Chances: Unlikely

    Denver may carry a legitimate playoff contender, but none of their players have any sort of chance at the Hall. Their roster of composed entirely of decent veterans and young role players. 

    Ty Lawson is the pick here because he has the most promising future as an NBA player. Lawson can certainly become a dynamic point guard for Denver in the upcoming years.

    But it may not, and most likely will not translate into a legendary career.

Detroit Pistons: Ben Wallace

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    Accomplishments: NBA Champion (2004), 4x Defensive Player of the Year, 4x All-Star, 3x All-NBA Second Team, 2x All-NBA Third Team, 5x All-Defensive First Team, All-Defensive Second Team (2007) 

    NBA Career Statistics: 6.0 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 1.4 APG, 2.0 BPG, 1.3 SPG

    HOF Chances: Unlikely

    If there is a borderline Hall of Famer on this list, it's Detroit's Ben Wallace.

    Wallace has made himself a living off of his defense alone. He won Defensive Player of the Year four times, was selected to five First Teams, and made four All-Star games. He even received All-NBA honors for the Second and Third Teams on a number of occasions. 

    But the question is if he can make it to the Hall on just defense. To that I say, maybe. If Dennis Rodman just did it, why can't Big Ben?

    Compare these honors:

    Rodman: NBA Champion (5x), Defensive Player of the Year (2x), All-Star Selection (2x)

    Wallace: NBA Champion (1x), Defensive Player of the Year (4x), All-Star Selection (4x)

    Crazy Dennis Rodman may have won four more times, but Wallace has more Defensive Player awards and more All-Star selections.

Golden State Warriors: Stephen Curry

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    Accomplishments: All-Rookie First Team (2010)

    NBA Career Statistics: 18.0 PPG, 5.9 APG, 4.2 RPG, 1.7 SPG, .439 3P%

    HOF Chances: Unlikely

    As far as the Hall of Fame goes, the Warriors have some good news, and some bad news.

    The good news is that Chris Mullin was just inducted. Mullin spent 13 seasons with the organization and easily became one of the greatest Warriors of all time.

    The bad news, however, is that it doesn't look like any player on the current roster has a chance. In fact, the last time a Warrior was in an All-Star game was Latrell Sprewell back in 1997. (And he was just trying to feed his family. Zing.)

    Anyway, Stephen Curry looks as if he has the best shot. He has an entire career ahead of him and can use his deadly shot as his ticket to the promised land.

Indiana Pacers: Danny Granger

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    Accomplishments: All-Star (2009), All-Rookie Second Team (2006), Most Improved Player (2009)

    NBA Career Statistics: 18.2 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.0 SPG

    HOF Chances: Unlikely

    Just like Curry and the Warriors, Granger is the default choice here. 

    Is he talented? Absolutely.

    Is he an All-Star caliber player? Yes.

    But can he become great enough to be considered one of the best ever? Probably not.

Houston Rockets: Marcus Morris

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    Accomplishments: None

    NBA Career Statistics: N/A

    HOF Chances: Unlikely

    Marcus Morris may be honored by this mention, but he is the least likely to have a Hall-worthy career on this list.

    So why did I go with him?

    Again, he's another rookie that has his whole career ahead of him to sculpt. We just have to see if Morris can carry his college success over to the pros.

    I could have gone with Kevin Martin or Luis Scola in this spot. However, both are well into their NBA careers and do not look to be building any kind of unique resume. Scola and Martin are very good but they are not Hall of Fame good.

Los Angeles Clippers: Blake Griffin

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    Accomplishments: Rookie of the Year (2011), All-Star (2011), All-Rookie First Team (2011)

    NBA Career Statistics: 22.5 PPG, 12.1 RPG, 3.8 APG, .506 FG%

    HOF Chances: On his way

    If you want to talk about bursting onto the scene, look no further than Blake Griffin.

    After missing his true rookie season in 2009, Griffin came back from a devastating knee injury in 2010 and turned in an incredible year. Blake averaged a double-double, became the first rookie since Yao Ming to play in the All-Star game, and captured T-Mobile's Rookie of the Month honors all six months of the season.

    His extraordinary efforts easily won him the 2010-11 Rookie of the Year distinction, and looks to be well on his way to being one of the best this game has ever seen.

Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bryant

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    Accomplishments: NBA MVP (2008), 5x NBA Champion, 2x NBA Finals MVP, 13x All-Star, 2x Scoring Champion, 9x All-NBA First Team, 2x All-NBA Second Team, 2x All-NBA Third Team, 9x All-Defensive First Team, 2x All-Defensive Second Team, All-Rookie Second Team (1997), 4x All-Star Game MVP

    NBA Career Statistics: 25.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 4.7 APG, 1.5 SPG

    HOF Chances: Definite

    He has five rings, two Finals MVP's and holds numerous scoring records. Kobe is simply the closest thing to Michael Jordan we've ever seen. 

    In fact, he may be the best of all time when it's all said and done. 

    Enough said.

Memphis Grizzlies: Rudy Gay

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    Accomplishments: None

    NBA Career Statistics: 17.8 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.3 SPG

    HOF Chances: Unlikely

    The Memphis Grizzlies boast a playoff-contending roster, but lack any sort of over-the-top talent. 

    So, Rudy Gay would have to be the best bet on the team. He plays a well-rounded game, is constantly improving and is still pretty young. 

    But unless he catapults to the top of the NBA out of nowhere, we're not going to see a Grizzlies player in the Hall too soon.

Miami Heat: LeBron James

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    Accomplishments: 2x NBA MVP, Rookie of the Year (2004), 7x All-Star, Scoring Champion (2008), 5x All-NBA First Team, 2x All-NBA Second Team, 3x All-Defensive First Team, All-Rookie First Team (2004), 2x All-Star Game MVP

    NBA Career Statistics: 27.7 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 7.0 APG, 1.7 SPG

    HOF Chances: Definite

    Love him or hate him (probably hate him), LeBron James will be retiring his talents in Springfield. He is the league's most physically-gifted player and perhaps the league's most skilled. James can score, dish and rebound all at extremely high levels. He has already accomplished so much and is only 26-years-old.

    Here's an interesting fact for you:

    Every player who has ever won an MVP award has been inducted into the Hall. The only players who have not are Allen Iverson, Shaquille O'Neal and a handful of active players. The active players include Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, Steve Nash and Derrick Rose.

    O'Neal, Iverson and the active players are not yet eligible for the Hall, but will certainly be there when they can.

Milwaukee Bucks: Andrew Bogut

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    Accomplishments: All-Rookie First Team (2006), All-NBA Third Team (2010), Blocks Leader (2010-2011)

    NBA Career Statistics: 12.7 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.6 BPG

    HOF Chances: Unlikely

    You know where I'm going with this one. Bogut is the best talent on a lackluster team and has the best shot. He is without a doubt one of the best centers in the league, but has a minuscule chance of going to the Hall.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Love

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    Accomplishments: All-Star (2011), Most Improved Player (2011), All-Rookie Second Team (2009), Rebounding Champion (2011)

    NBA Career Statistics: 15.0 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 1.9 APG

    HOF Chances: On his way

    Holy hell! Is that a typo? 15.2 rebounds per game for Kevin Love?

    Unless you were in a coma for the 2010-11 season, you had to have known about Love. Here's his breakout season in a nutshell:

    Love averaged 15.2 boards, racked up 53 consecutive double-doubles and played in his first All-Star game. Love's 15.2 boards was the most since 2003, and his 53 double-double streak was the most since 1974.

    If Love continues his ridiculous play, we will be seeing him make a speech in Springfield sometime in the near future.

New Jersey Nets: Deron Williams

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    Accomplishments: 2x All-Star, 2x All-NBA Second Team, All-Rookie First Team (2006)

    NBA Career Statistics: 17.2 PPG, 9.2 APG, 3.2 RPG, 1.1 SPG

    HOF Chances: On his way

    When you're talking elite point guards, Deron Williams has to be near the top of the conversation. Williams may be the best point guard basketball, plain and simple. 

    He is more than capable of putting the ball in the basket, he has clear-cut court vision and has quite a defensive game to turn to. Over the past four seasons, Williams has averaged at least 18.0 points and 10.5 assists per game.

    If he can pick up some more All-Star selections and maybe an MVP award, Williams will be in the Hall of Fame discussion.

New Orleans Hornets: Chris Paul

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    Accomplishments: Rookie of the Year (2006), 4x All-Star, All-NBA First Team (2008), All-NBA Second Team (2009), All-NBA Third Team (2011), All-Defensive First Team (2009), 2x All-Defensive Second Team

    NBA Career Statistics: 18.7 PPG, 9.9 APG, 4.6 RPG, 2.4 SPG

    HOF Chances: On his way

    From one top-tier point guard to another.

    Chris Paul is not only one of the best points in the NBA, he's flat out one of the best players in the world. Paul is a highly-skilled guard that can do a little of everything. He can score at will, dish out to his teammates, and pick your pocket when you're not looking. 

    He has the best handle in the game today, and also plays some of the best pick-and-roll offense in recent memory.

    Chris Paul is undoubtedly on his way to legendary status.

New York Knicks: Carmelo Anthony

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    Accomplishments: 4x All-Star, All-NBA Second Team (2010), 3x All-NBA Second Team, All-Rookie First Team (2004)

    NBA Career Statistics: 24.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.1 SPG

    HOF Chances: On his way

    Carmelo Anthony is easily one of the game's top 10 players. His scoring game needs no explanation, and his ability to take over games is almost unmatched. 'Melo will definitely be seeing more All-Star games and will be earning more All-NBA selections.

    The only question regarding New York's forward is if he can win. If Anthony can lead a struggling franchise to a title or two, he will cement his legacy and become one of the game's all-time greats.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Durant

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    Accomplishments: Rookie of the Year (2008), 2x All-Star, 2x Scoring Champion, 2x All-NBA First Team, All-Rookie First Team (2008)

    NBA Career Statistics: 25.9 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.2 SPG

    HOF Chances: On his way

    When you look at Kevin Durant, you are looking at a man on a mission. 

    His mission, you ask? Becoming one of the best of all time, while leading his team to a ring in the process.

    And quite frankly, Durant's play is increasing at a dangerous rate. He has captured two straight scoring titles, has fine tuned his one-on-one defense and keeps inching the Thunder closer to the Finals.

    With more age and experience, Kevin Durant could very well end up as a Hall of Fame talent.

Orlando Magic: Dwight Howard

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    Accomplishments: 3x Defensive Player of the Year, 5x All-Star, 4x All-NBA First Team, All-NBA Third Team (2007), 3x All-Defensive First Team, All-Defensive Second Team (2008), All-Rookie First Team (2005) 

    NBA Career Statistics: 18.2 PPG, 12.9 RPG, 1.5 APG, 2.2 BPG

    HOF Chances: On his way

    The only way to describe Dwight Howard's game is dominant. His steady offense and unmatched defense easily makes him the most dominant center in the NBA.

    Do you know who else was a dominant center?

    Bill Russell was a dominant center. So were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon and Wilt Chamberlain.

    If Dwight Howard keeps on his path, he will be a dominant center in the Hall of Fame just like the aforementioned legends.

Philadelphia 76ers: Evan Turner

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    Accomplishments: None

    NBA Career Statistics: 7.2 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.0 APG

    HOF Chances: Unlikely

    Don't try to crucify me yet, let me explain.

    This pick came down to two factors. One was the current roster and the other was Turner's upside. 

    As far as Philly's roster is concerned, no one stands out as a true threat to the Hall. Andre Iguodala and Jrue Holiday are their best players, but do not, and have not displayed any signs of Hall-worthy talent. Don't get me wrong, Holiday and Iggy are great players with immense talented.

    But are they extraordinary? No.

    Now for Evan Turner's upside. A few years back at Ohio State, Turner was arguably the best player in the nation. Turner was a consistent scorer, a poised leader, and carried the Buckeyes through the Big Ten tourney.

    If Evan Turner can translate his collegiate success into the pros, we'll be looking at a much better candidate.

Phoenix Suns: Steve Nash

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    Accomplishments: 2x NBA MVP, 7x All-Star, 3x All-NBA First Team, 2x All-NBA Second Team, 2x All-NBA Third Team

    NBA Career Statistics: 14.6 PPG, 8.5 APG, 3.0 RPG

    HOF Chances: Definite

    Steve Nash led the entire league in assists last season with 11.4 per. He was 37-years-old, and his best options were an old Vince Carter, Channing Frye and Marcin Gortat. 

    That should tell you enough.

Portland Trail Blazers: Brandon Roy

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    Accomplishments: Rookie of the Year (2007), 3x All-Star, All-NBA Second Team (2009), All-NBA Third Team (2010) 

    NBA Career Statistics: 19.0 PPG, 4.7 APG, 4.3 RPG

    HOF Chances: Unlikely

    Choosing a guy from Portland's roster may have been the toughest task on this list. After glancing through it, the picks came down to Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Marcus Camby and Greg Oden. So I proceeded to narrow it down by taking out Aldridge, Camby and Oden.

    Aldridge needs to be more consistent, Camby hasn't done quite enough and Greg Oden is well, Greg Oden.

    That left me with Brandon Roy.

    When healthy, Roy is one of the game's best. He can score at will, is extremely clutch and he can take a game over when needed. If Roy can keep his knee injuries at bay, he can have an outside chance.

Sacramento Kings: DeMarcus Cousins

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    Accomplishments: All-Rookie First Team (2011)

    NBA Career Statistics: 14.1 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 2.5 APG

    HOF Chances: Unlikely

    DeMarcus Cousins was whiney as hell in his first NBA season, but you can't doubt the talent he displayed. Cousins averaged more than solid numbers for a rookie and flashed signs of future greatness.

    There is no doubt he has an extremely high ceiling when it comes to skill. However, his maturation process could be a major problem. Sacramento's big man hasn't had the best attitude and needs to be able to take some criticism.

    If he can really dedicate himself to becoming better, Cousins could become that "once in lifetime" talent the Kings were looking for. 

San Antonio Spurs: Tim Duncan

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    Accomplishments: 2x NBA MVP, 4x NBA Champion, 3x NBA Finals MVP, 13x All-Star, Rookie of the Year (1998), 9x All-NBA First Team, 3x All-NBA Second Team, All-NBA Third Team (2010), 8x All-Defensive First Team, 5x All-Defensive Second Team, All-Rookie First Team (1998), All-Star Game MVP (2000)  

    NBA Career Statistics: 20.6 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 3.1 APG, 2.3 BPG

    HOF Chances: Definite

    It's Tim Duncan. He's the best power forward to ever touch a ball.

    Next...

Toronto Raptors: Jonas Valanciunas

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    Accomplishments: None

    NBA Career Statistics: N/A

    HOF Chances: Not clear

    Take it from me, I'd be the last guy to promote a foreign product, especially a rookie.

    However, when I looked over the Toronto roster, Jonas Valanciunas was the only player with a shot. This 19-year-old big man may be young and raw, but he does have some skill.

    Valanciunas has some touch down low, some promising rebound ability and is great on off-the-ball offense. Valanciunas is just another pile of clay waiting to be sculpted.

    Will it be a masterpiece or will it be a dud? 

Utah Jazz: Enes Kanter

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    Accomplishments: None

    NBA Career Statistics: N/A

    HOF Chances: Not clear

    Enes Kanter is in the same position as Valanciunas. He is a raw rookie on a roster short of any extraordinary talent. However, Kanter is much more primed for the NBA than Valanciunas is.

    Kanter has a nice touch around the bucket, forceful rebounding ability and has a good feel on the game. He also runs the floor well, exhibits good footwork down low, and even has a mid-range shot in his arsenal.

    He displayed all of those skills at the 2010 Nike Hoops Summit where he dropped a record 34 points and a bulky 13 rebounds.

    If developed correctly, Kanter may become one of the game's more dominant big guys.

Washington Wizards: John Wall

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    Accomplishments: All-Rookie First Team (2011)

    NBA Career Statistics: 16.4 PPG, 8.3 APG, 4.6 RPG, 1.8 SPG

    HOF Chances: On his way

    The 2010 No. 1 pick certainly didn't disappoint in his first NBA season. He put up very assuring numbers, ran the point pretty well and foreshadowed signs of greatness in Washington.

    To put it simply, I look as John Wall as a carbon copy of Derrick Rose. Both are good passers, both have a rough but steady offensive game, and both have blinding speed. Both point guards are incredibly talented and were definitely born to play ball.

    As long as Wall continues to hone his skill and improve his game, we will be looking at yet another elite point guard.