So this was originally going to be a post about Pau Gasol.
I was reading some article on ESPN about this year's offseason and the implications of various players signed, traded, or drafted, and the author passingly mentioned how Pau Gasol is a Hall of Famer. I tried to keep reading on, but that one point really stuck in my craw, so I did what Joe and Joe always do: I went to Basketball-Reference and pored over stats.
I reviewed similar players statistically, like Mark Agguire and Tom Chambers (non-HOFers) and Alonzo Mourning and Robert Parish (HOFers). The differences were unexceptional; usually it was a matter of championships. But can you really just declare that, because Mourning got a title as the 6th option on the 2005-2006 Heat, that puts him over the top? Seems inappropriate.
So, my investigation took me further, comparing this player to that player, trying to adjust across eras, and taking into consideration various players from the game today who are "lock" HOFers (Dwyane Wade, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett), and who oughtn't be but you could see people sticking up for (Lamar Odom, Antawn Jamison).
But as I try to get more information, more questions arise, and I have no answers. Will Chris Bosh be a member of the Hall of Fame when it's all said and done? He's likely to finish with numbers around Gasol's, and he's got a pair of titles with the Heat. Tim Duncan is a surefire Hall of Famer; what about Parker and Ginobili? They were obviously vital to the Spurs' success, but wasn't Horace Grant also instrumental to the Bulls' success in the mid-90s? Less than Jordan or Pippen, but still important. Grant went to one All-Star game in his career; Ginobili's been to two. And Jamison has scored an awful lot of points. Will that be enough to warrant immortality? It wasn't for Bernard King, but who knows.
Baseball used to be easy to wrap your head around. Certain statistics were benchmarks, but then came the steroid era, throwing that into the wind as well. So now, we rely on a combination of statistics, championships, anecdotes, and a "smell test" to determine who deserves to be enshrined forever. Is Alonzo Mourning on that list? Apparently. And if he is, I suppose Gasol deserves to be there too.
I'm not really sure where this blog post ended up. But I think you can count on more posts about the Halls of Fame.
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