The recent Hall of Fame inductions have got me wondering: what current or former 76ers could wind up in Springfield one day? Here are my (unbiased) opinions at the outlooks of four Sixer fan favorites:
- Allen Iverson - It's only fair to start with the most obvious, and the most likely. Iverson is a sure-fire lock for the Hall of Fame and will have his name called six years after he plays his last game (which is looking like it will be 2016). Only Jordan and Wilt have more scoring titles than his four and there isn't another player 6'0" or under who's within 6000 points of him (Calvin Murphy is next and he's in the HOF). Of the 23 retired players who have won a scoring title, 21 of them have made the Hall. Let's not forget the 11 All-Star selections, the MVP Award, and the passion and fearlessness he played the game with.
The case against AI: Of course there's "practice" as well as his polarizing public image. There's also the presumed selfishness and the fact that 4 teams have given up on him in the past 2 years. Even with that, he's still a lock. Chances of being elected in: 100%
- Maurice Cheeks - An underrated NBA champion point guard who was surrounded by Hall of Famers during his career. That description can be applied to Mo Cheeks just as it was applied to Dennis Johnson who was posthumously inducted last week. Cheeks was arguably the third best pure point guard of the 1980s as only Magic and Isiah had more assists and no one had more steals. He also made five All-Defensive teams and four All-Star games. Cheeks ranked first all time in steals at the time of his retirement and now ranks 5th all time 17 years after playing his last game. He was never considered a star but neither was DJ or Joe Dumars and both of those guys got in.
The case against Mo: Cheeks career average of 11.1 points per game isn't going to wow anyone and no one will ever consider Cheeks "great". He's more along the lines of a Rod Strickland or Andre Miller in that he was a good player for a long time but never truly great. But the recent induction of DJ certainly helps his outlook. Chances of being elected: 40%
- Doug Collins - Realistically the only way our new coach would get into the Hall of Fame is as contributor because he just hasn't done enough in one area to make it that way. He was part of the infamous 1972 Olympic team that lost controversially to the Soviet Union. As an NBA player his career was cut short due to injury but he was pretty good back in his day. He made four All-Star teams and judging solely from his stats, he compares favorably to Richard Hamilton, a good but not great player. His resume as a coach is not yet complete but he would have to be a constant presence in the playoffs and finals to get noticed for this part of his career. Also, he was a commentator for a number of years in between his coaching stints and covered the 2008 Olympics. With his accolades as an amateur, a pro, a coach, and a commentator, it's clear that Collins has devoted himself to the game of basketball and that's what voters like to see.
The case against Doug: As mentioned above, he doesn't really stand out in any one area. Most of the contributors in the Hall are either team owners, league executives, or individuals who made in-game contributions such as the shot clock or rule changes. He still has some work to do as a coach but as of now, the odds are looking too good. Chances of being elected: 10%
- Andre Iguodala - Oh yeah, I went there. Iggy's not even to the halfway point of his career but it's not too early to start speculating. After six seasons Iguodala has over 7000 points, 2000 rebounds, 2000 assists, and 800 steals. Since steals were kept as an official stat in 1974, there have been 9 total players that have accumulated those numbers through their first six seasons. Six are already in the Hall (Jordan, Pippen, Magic, Bird, Drexler, and Dr. J), one is a lock (LeBron), and the others are Iggy and Alvin Robertson. That's pretty good company but what those players have that Iggy doesn't is success in the playoffs and All-Star selections. However, he is still just 26 so those things will come (knock on wood).
The case against Iggy: Team success is a big part of the selecting for the Hall and at this point Iggy has one as many playoff series as you and I have. Let's hope that Iggy finally breaks through à la Kevin Garnett instead of continually fizzing out in the vein of Tracy McGrady. Chances of being elected: 75%