10 Undeserving NBA Players in the Basketball Hall of Fame

Josh BenjaminCorrespondent IAugust 22, 2011

10 Undeserving NBA Players in the Basketball Hall of Fame

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    When people hear the words "Hall of Fame," various terms come to mind.  Some of those terms may include greatness, distinction, honor and various others.  Thus, it's fair to expect that those admitted to a hall of fame should be the epitomes of those traits.  Not only should Hall of Famers be great players, but great people as well.

    Yet, as has been evidenced by former NBA forward Dennis Rodman's recent enshrinement in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, personality isn't everything.  While the man known as "The Worm" was one of the top rebounders of his time, he was a complete and utter pest from a personality standpoint and, if you ask me, shouldn't be in the Basketball Hall of Fame or any hall of fame, for that matter.

    Then, it dawned on me.  I recently did a piece on baseball Hall of Famers who shouldn't be there, so why not do the same for basketball?

    Here are 10 players enshrined in Springfield who, despite their reputations in their prime, should not have received this distinguished honor.

No. 10: Drazen Petrovic

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    Drazen Petrovic was one of the first European players to make an impact in the NBA, and he was easily one of the league's top shooters before a car accident tragically ended his life after just four seasons.  He was 28 years old.

    At the time, Petrovic was a member of the New Jersey Nets and had averaged 22.2 points over the last two-and-a-half seasons since being traded to the team from the Portland Trail Blazers, where he had essentially been a non-factor.  I don't mean to put a damper on the man's career and sound like a hater, but I think the idea of letting someone into the Hall of Fame on the basis that their career was cut short and their full potential never realized is kind of absurd.

    That isn't to say that Petrovic was a bad player.  In his four seasons, his career three-point percentage was an astounding 43 percent.  Yet, allow me to use something that I like to call the "Peja Stojakovic Defense."

    When he first came to the NBA in 1998, Peja Stojakovic was a 21-year-old forward who had been a star in his native Croatia.  After paying his dues coming off the bench his first two seasons, he became a regular in the starting lineup of the Sacramento Kings and was immediately averaging over or close to 20 points a game and he was a deadly three-point shooter.

    However, since being traded out of Sacramento in 2005, ironically at age 28, the man has never been the same.  Thus, what's to say that Petrovic wouldn't have experienced the same sort of decline?

    Was Drazen Petrovic a great player in his time?  Absolutely.  Does he deserve to be in the Hall of Fame?  Absolutely not.

No. 9: Earl Monroe

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    As a Knicks fan, it pains me to include Earl "The Pearl" Monroe on this list.  He is a franchise legend who helped the team win a championship in 1973 and also made four All-Star Games. 

    Yet, considering how Monroe played as a point guard, his overall numbers are underwhelming.  While he was a decent shooter who averaged 18.8 points per game in 13 NBA seasons, the same cannot be said for his passing.  He only averaged 3.9 assists, very disappointing for a point guard.

    The way I see it, the point guard is supposed to be the quarterback of the team.  He sets up the plays, creates opportunities—basically, he is the leader on the floor.

    Looking at Monroe's stats; he just seems like a ball hog.

No. 8: Bill Walton

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    Bill Walton was a college superstar who excelled under the legendary John Wooden at UCLA.  The 6'11" center impressed scouts so much that the Portland Trail Blazers selected him with the first overall pick in the 1974 NBA draft.

    While he won a championship with the Blazers in 1977 and another as a member of the Boston Celtics in 1986, Walton is more known for the multitude of injuries that contributed to him playing just one full season in a career that lasted just 10 seasons.  In one instance, Walton did not play for two seasons because he was too badly hurt.

    Thus, to give Walton a spot in the Hall of Fame based on his championships along with his winning the MVP Award in 1978 just doesn't make sense.  His career stats are underwhelming at 13.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game and on top of that, he just wasn't someone who immensely changed the game.

    Were he in the Hall because of his broadcasting career, I would be all for that.  As a player, not so much.

No. 7: Calvin Murphy

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    Calvin Murphy was an electrifying guard at Niagara University in Lewiston, New York.  In his time there, he was a three-time All American and he averaged 33 points per game for his college career.  He was drafted by the San Diego (now Houston) Rockets in the second round of the 1970 NBA draft—I'm guessing because of his small size at 5'9".

    In 13 seasons all spent with the Rockets, Murphy proved to be a solid shooter as he averaged 17.9 points.  Being a point guard, his 4.4 career assist average is disappointing.

    I could use the same argument I used for Earl Monroe, but he at least won a championship and played in multiple All-Star Games.  Murphy has much fewer accomplishments than that, as he made the All-Rookie First Team in 1971 and the All-Star team in 1979.  That's pretty much it.

    Throw in that he fathered 14 children by nine different women plus his 2004 trial for sexually abusing five of his daughters, and his being in the Hall of Fame is just puzzling.

No. 6: Frank Ramsey

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    In the 1950s and 1960s, the Boston Celtics were just plain unstoppable.  From 1957 to 1969, the team won 11 championships.  For seven of those title runs, Frank Ramsey was on the team.

    What makes Ramsey such an interesting player is that he was the first "sixth man," or No. 1 player off the bench who makes valuable contributions game after game.  Over his brief, nine-season career, Ramsey averaged 13.4 points and 5.5 rebounds.

    I don't mean to sound like a hater, but Frank Ramsey is overrated.  Let's be honest: His seven championships are a result of him being in the right place at the right time.

    Were he in the Hall of Fame as a contributor/innovator and not a player, I would understand that.  Yet, had he not played for the Celtics during their dominant period, I don't think we'd be talking about Ramsey at all.

No. 5: Gail Goodrich

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    Gail Goodrich was one of many players who received national attention while playing under John Wooden at UCLA.  He entered the NBA in 1965 and is best known for his two separate stints with the Los Angeles Lakers.

    Despite his relatively small stature at 6'1", Goodrich gained a reputation for being one of the most intense players on the court, exhibiting great basketball intelligence and thus putting up respectable scoring numbers.  In 14 seasons, he played in five All-Star Games and won a title with the Lakers in 1972.  He averaged 18.6 points per game for his career.

    Sadly, there just wasn't much else to Goodrich's game.  He averaged just 4.7 assists for his career and had he not been on some great Lakers squads, he probably would have faded into obscurity.

No. 4: Dave Bing

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    Before he was the mayor of the city, Dave Bing won over the people of Detroit by flashing his skills on the court for the Detroit Pistons.  The team selected him out of Syracuse with the second overall pick in the 1966 NBA draft and the shooting guard immediately impressed, averaging 20 points on his way to being named Rookie of the Year.

    Twelve seasons later, Bing not only had that award under his belt, but had also appeared in seven All-Star Games.  For his career, he averaged 20.3 points per game and six assists, very respectable numbers.

    Yet, I hate to say it, Bing does not belong in the Hall of Fame.  While he was a charismatic individual and a fan favorite, he never won a championship.  That can be attributed to the Pistons being pretty bad during Bing's time with them, but the man just wasn't enough of a game-changer or innovator. 

    All in all, he was just another shooter.

No. 3: Dennis Rodman

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    There's no denying that in his prime, Dennis Rodman was the most dangerous rebounder in the NBA.  In 14 seasons, he averaged 13.1 boards compared to just 7.3 points.  He led the league in rebounding for seven consecutive seasons.

    Rodman's defense earned him five championships (two with the Detroit Pistons, three with the Chicago Bulls), being named Defensive Player of the Year twice and earning two All-Star selections.

    Yet, while he was an elite defensive player, Rodman does not belong in the Hall of Fame because, despite his skills on the hardwood, he was just not a Hall of Fame person.  His career was marred by controversy wherever he went.

    In Detroit, he seemed to just stop caring after the resignation of head coach Chuck Daly, with whom he had a close relationship.  He was traded to the San Antonio Spurs and immediately gained a reputation as a dirty player, head-butting players like John Stockton.  On top of that, he repeatedly clashed with the front office.

    Rodman finally seemed to find his niche again when he was traded to the Chicago Bulls in 1996, but still was viewed as a dirty player and a headcase.  At one point, he was suspended for six games after head-butting a referee.

    After the 1998 season, the Bulls released Rodman and he moved on to the Los Angeles Lakers, for whom he just played 23 games.  The following year, he appeared in 12 games for the Dallas Mavericks before being released and soon after was called out by teammate Steve Nash.

    Rodman may be a Hall of Famer on paper, but his reputation as a headcase and locker-room cancer makes him anything but that.

No. 2: Arvydas Sabonis

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    After gaining a reputation as one of the best basketball players in the world, Lithuanian center Arvydas Sabonis was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers with the No. 24 pick in the 1986 NBA draft.  Yet, he did not appear in the NBA until 1995 due to various injuries and opting to play in Europe.  By the time he finally did come to the NBA, Sabonis was already 31 years old.

    Overall, injuries limited Sabonis to seven NBA seasons and the 7'3" center averaged just 12 points and 7.3 rebounds.  Still, he was enshrined in Springfield just a week ago.

    Simply put, Sabonis shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame, at least not in Springfield.  Last I checked, enshrinement there was reserved for players who had made their mark on the game playing in the NBA and ABA.  Sabonis was not only just an average player in the NBA, but his only accomplishment there was being named to the All-Rookie Team his first season.

    No All-Star Games, no championships and no distinction later, Sabonis is just another face in the crowd in the NBA.

No. 1: Bill Bradley

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    Bill Bradley was a key member of the New York Knicks for 10 seasons before retiring to pursue a career in politics.  A Princeton graduate and Rhodes scholar, Bradley represented New Jersey in the senate for 18 years, even running for president in the 2000 election (he lost the Democratic nomination).

    While he may have been a Hall of Fame politician to some, Bradley's election to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982 is very puzzling.  He won two championships with the Knicks in 1970 and 1973 and was an All-Star in 1972, but that's about it.  In terms of numbers, Bradley was fairly mediocre.

    Over the course of his career, Bradley averaged just 12.4 points and 3.2 rebounds.  His career field-goal percentage is pretty decent at around 45 percent, but that is the only statistic that really jumps out.  Otherwise, he is just an average player who just happens to be in the Hall of Fame.

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