Overlooked NBA Players Who Should Be In The Basketball Hall Of Fame

The halls of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, are full of memorabilia from some of the greatest players to ever lace up a pair of sneakers. All-time NBA greats like Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were all obvious first-ballot entrants, but there are plenty of outstanding players who have been left waiting for years for their name to be called.

We’ve picked some of the players who had stellar NBA careers but have never been honored with induction into the Hall of Fame, despite having more impressive figures than some of the guys who are in. To be eligible for induction, a player has to have been retired from basketball for at least three full seasons. Here are the eligible players we think are due for a spot in Springfield.

Buck Williams (1981-1998)

Buck Williams ranks in the all-time top 30 for several notable stat categories, including games played, minutes played, total rebounds and shooting percentage. The power forward was arguably the best Nets player in franchise history, averaging 16.4 points and 11.9 for the eight seasons he spent there and 12.8 points and 10 rebounds per game for his entire career. His 4,526 offensive rebounds ranks as the fourth-most in history and most for any eligible player who isn’t in the Hall of Fame.

Paul Silas (1964-1980)

Defensive specialists don’t get enough credit when it comes time for Hall-of-Fame voting, unless they win six rings like Scottie Pippen, and Paul Silas is a prime example. A total beast of a defender and a rebounder during his entire career, going back to his time at Creighton, Silas averaged 9.4 points and 9.9 rebounds per game for his 16 seasons in the Association. He was named to the coveted NBA All-Defensive Team a remarkable five times and he won three titles with the Celtics and the SuperSonics. Nearly 40 years after his retirement, he’s still ranked in the top 25 for total rebounds.

Mark Jackson (1987-2004)

Mark Jackson’s career as a head coach ended without much fanfare, but his tenure as a player was fantastic. He ranks in the top 25 for games played, but that’s not the most impressive figure of his career. As a pure point guard, Jackson is in rarified air, with his 10,334 career assists ranking fourth in history. In fact, he’s one of only five players to ever earn at least 10,000 assists and the only one not in the Hall of Fame. His exclusion from induction may be because he never won a championship and only made one All-Star Game.

Ben Wallace (1996-2012)

If you ask most hoop heads who watched the game in the last 30 years about snubbed Hall of Famers, Ben Wallace will likely come up. The Pistons fan-favorite was a beast on the boards, averaging 12.6 rebounds per game from 2000-2007 and 9.6 for his long career. Wallace was named the NBA’s defensive player of the year an astonishing four times, which is a feat only he and Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo accomplished. He was a member of the All-Defensive squad six times and was instrumental in helping Detroit win the championship in 2004, further cementing his legacy as a should-be inductee.

Tim Hardaway (1989-2003)

An underrated point guard from recent NBA history, Tim Hardaway was a great player on some pretty forgettable teams in the 1990s. His career figures tell you all you need to know about his credentials, though, as he averaged 17.7 points and 8.2 assists per game for the 13 seasons he played across several franchises, most notably the Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors. He was a five-time member of both the All-Star Team and All-NBA squad and his total numbers are among the all-time greats. He ranks 13th for assists per game, 17th for total assists and 31st for three-pointers. Those are Hall-of-Fame numbers.

Shawn Marion (1999-2015)

Another guy who put in an insane amount of time on the hardwood but has been overlooked by voters is Shawn Marion. He spent more than 40,000 minutes in NBA games, ranking him in the league’s top 35 all-time for that statistic. Beyond just his longevity, Marion was contributing 15.2 points and 8.7 rebounds per game during that marathon career — and 13.9 points and 8.6 rebounds per game in 109 career playoff games. He won a ring with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011 and was a four-time All-Star. According to Basketball Reference’s respected statistic of value over replacement player, Marion is 30th in NBA history and the highest-ranked player not in the Hall.

Steve Kerr (1988-2003)

For his impressive career coaching the Golden State Warriors to three NBA titles since 2015, Steve Kerr belongs in the Hall of Fame, but we’d argue he should already be in for his playing career. He won five championships as a player, including four with the Chicago Bulls, and was considered that team’s secret weapon, coming off the bench to hit clutch baskets time and time again. Kerr was arguably the greatest pure three-point shooter in basketball history, holding down the best shooting percentage beyond the arc of all time, draining more than 45% of his shots from that distance.

A.C. Green (1985-2001)

Anyone who sets a major record that will likely never be touched should be inducted into their sport’s hall of fame, and that’s why A.C. Green needs to be in Springfield. The NBA’s “Iron Man” missed just three games in his entire career and set the record for consecutive games played with 1,192. Let that sink in for a moment. Green played what is the equivalent of more than 14 full NBA seasons without missing a game. To put that into perspective, the second-longest streak was 906 games and the current longest streak is just over 300. Also, Green won three NBA championships and averaged 9.6 points and 7.4 rebounds for his career, showing he was contributing during that long streak.

Alvin Robertson (1984-1996)

During his relatively short career, Alvin Robertson accomplished some incredible things including defensive numbers that others guys have never earned with many more NBA seasons. His 2,112 career steals rank him 10th in NBA history and are the most of any eligible player that’s not in the Hall of Fame. He led the league in that stat category three times in the 10 seasons he played and was on the All-Defensive Team six times. He’s also one of only four players to ever record a quadruple double and is the only one not in the Hall. That needs to be remedied in a hurry!

Derek Fisher (1996-2014)

If not winning a title is keeping guys like Mark Jackson out of the Hall, there’s no conceivable reason for Derek Fisher to be excluded. A player that has been praised constantly by legendary teammates and coaches like Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson, Fisher won five rings in his 18 seasons in the NBA. He was a clear leader of the most recent Los Angeles Lakers dynasty, and the franchise has not won a title in the 2000s without Fisher on its roster. His 259 career playoff games played are the most in NBA history, making him the ultimate postseason presence.

Mark Eaton (1982-1993)

While long NBA careers often lead to impressive stat totals, some guys are able to put together Hall-of-Fame-caliber careers in a short tenure. Jazz legend Mark Eaton is one of those guys and was arguably the best shot-blocker in basketball history. His career average of 3.5 blocks per game is the best ever, and he’s the only eligible player with at least 3,000 career blocks not to be in the Hall. In just 11 seasons, Eaton was twice named the NBA’s defensive player of the year, led the league in blocks four times and was named to the All-Defensive Team five times.

Chris Webber (1993-2008)

Sticking out among some more obscure players on this list, Chris Webber is probably the most popular great player to not make it into the Hall of Fame yet. He’s one of a small list of guys who averaged more than 20 points per game for his career but has been denied induction. Along with his 20.68 points per game, Webber also averaged 9.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists every time he hit the court. He was a five-time All-NBA and All-Star selection and a former NBA rookie of the year.

If you needed more evidence that he should be inducted, check out his player efficiency rating at Basketball Reference, which is the highest of any eligible player not in the Hall and better than inductees like Allen Iverson and Kevin McHale.

Horace Grant (1987-2004)

The best big man who ever played alongside Michael Jordan, Horace Grant is another defensive specialist who never got his due. He currently ranks 15th in NBA offensive rebounding — grabbing more than Hall of Famers like David Robinson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — giving his teammates a ton of second chances at points. Grant was a four-time champion with the Bulls and Lakers and a four-time member of the NBA’s All-Defensive squad. His career averages of 11.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game also aren’t too shabby when you consider he shared the floor with behemoth scorers like Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.

Kevin Willis (1984-2007)

Longevity in professional sports is often an undervalued trait, but Kevin Willis’ run in the NBA was nothing short of remarkable. He spent 23 years of his life playing basketball at the world’s highest level and came close to averaging a double double for that entire span. The journeyman chipped in 12.1 points and 8.4 rebounds per game for his career and helped the San Antonio Spurs win a championship in 2003, as his tenure was winding down. He currently ranks in the top 10 for both games played and offensive rebounds and is one of only two players with at least 4,000 offensive rebounds who’s not in the Hall of Fame.

Cliff Robinson (1989-2007)

Another overlooked player who retired in 2007 and has yet to be called by the Hall of Fame was Cliff Robinson. Robinson only started about 60% of the 1,380 regular season games in which he played, but he was a constant presence in the postseason for nearly 20 years and was a pioneer as a 6-foot-10-inch player who could shoot threes. In his 18 seasons in the NBA, Robinson’s teams only missed the playoffs once, but he never won a title. He ranks in the top 25 for total minutes played in NBA history and played the most of any eligible player who’s not in the Hall of Fame.

Charles Oakley (1985-2004)

When you consider how much East Coast bias can play into an athlete making it into their sport’s Hall of Fame — see Joe Namath as a prime example — it’s shocking that Charles Oakley has never made it into Springfield. He was a star for the New York Knicks during the 1990s, helping lead the team to 10 straight playoff appearances from 1988-1998. “Oak” lived up to that nickname during his long career by constantly guarding the rim and leading the league in rebounding twice but placing in the top 10 six times. Oakley played in at least 75 games in 12 different seasons and played in all 82 six times, ranking him in the all-time top 30 for games played.

Dale Ellis (1983-2000)

The NBA didn’t allow three-point baskets until 1979, and Dale Ellis was one of the first guys to take advantage of the new rule. The journeyman shooting guard sank more than 1,700 three-pointers in his career, retiring with the second-highest total in history. His total has since been squashed by today’s three-happy shooters, but he still ranks in the top 25. He averaged 15.7 points per game for his entire career, making him ahead of his time as a sharpshooting sixth man. He deserves a place in the Hall of Fame for showing guys they could live beyond the arc and contribute plenty.

Antawn Jamison (1998-2014)

Antawn Jamison was one of those great players who was just never in the right place at the right time. While some guys collect championship rings with meager stat lines, Jamison averaged 18.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game for 16 years, never once winning a title. From 1999-2012, he was averaging 20 points per game and playing constantly, appearing in all 82 games for five of six seasons from 2000-2006. Unfortunately for him, he spent his career in places like Washington, Golden State and Cleveland, when the latter two were bad teams, which is why he only made the All-Star Game twice.

Rasheed Wallace (1995-2013)

It’s been argued that Rasheed Wallace holds the most unbreakable single-season record in the NBA. During the 2000-2001 season, he picked up 41 technical fouls for arguing with referees during games. The former NBA champion with the Detroit Pistons was also ejected 29 times during his career, which is by far the most early exits of any player in league history. Perhaps ironically, Wallace is known for his charitable efforts and great personality off the court, making him a fan favorite. In addition to his love for debating refs, Wallace was simply a great player, making four All-Star Teams and averaging 14.4 points per game for his 16-season career.

Chauncey Billups (1997-2014)

In case you hadn’t noticed, we consider the members of the 2003-2004 Detroit Pistons championship team to be highly underrepresented in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Along with Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace, that team’s NBA Finals MVP, Chauncey Billups, should also be inducted for a great career. His 1,830 career three-pointers rank 14th in NBA history — more than beloved icons like Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash — and are the most of any eligible player not in the Hall. In addition to averaging more than 15 points per game for his career, and more than 17 in the playoffs, Billups has the fifth-highest free throw shooting percentage in history.

Peja Stojaković (1998-2011)

The NBA has been home to plenty of outstanding European players in the past few decades, but Peja Stojaković was one of the continent’s early stars and one of its best ever. The Serbian sharpshooter was deadly from long range and currently ranks in the top 20 for three-pointers made in NBA history, and his shooting percentage at the free-throw line was .895 over 13 seasons, which is the fourth-best mark in history. The three-time All-Star also won a title with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011, at the end of his career, and averaged 17.0 points per game for his career.

Mark Price (1986-1998)

Before LeBron James came onto the scene, Mark Price was probably the best player to ever wear a Cleveland Cavaliers jersey. He averaged 15.2 points per game for his career and that number jumped to 17.4 in his 47 career playoff games. In 12 seasons, Price made four All-Star Teams and four All-NBA squads, showing he attracted a good bit of attention despite playing in a smaller market.

Price was absolutely deadly at the free-throw line, finishing his career as one of just three players in history to make more than 90% of his free throws, the others being Steve Nash and Stephen Curry. Price’s playoff free-throw shooting percentage of 94.4% is the best ever among retired players.

Kevin Johnson (1987-2000)

Former NBA point guard Kevin Johnson was able to get elected as mayor of a major city but has so far been unable to be elected into the Hall of Fame. The former mayor of Sacramento spent 12 seasons in the league and was an All-NBA selection five times. His player efficiency rating is higher than Hall of Famers like Jerry Lucas and Bill Russell, and his career averages of 17.9 points and 9.1 assists per game are worth consideration for a place in Springfield. In fact, Johnson’s assists-per-game figure is seventh in NBA history and he’s the only eligible player who averaged more than nine assists per game not to be inducted.

Bob Dandridge (1969-1981)

A stud for the Milwaukee Bucks during the team’s dominant era in the 1970s, Bob Dandridge has watched four of his former teammates get inducted into the Hall of Fame while he sits and waits for his own call. A huge presence for two Bucks championship teams, Dandridge was a four-time All-Star and averaged 18.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game for his entire career. But he really turned it on during the playoffs, where he averaged 20.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game in 98 career postseason contests. A performance like that during the most important games should have made him a guaranteed inductee.

Larry Foust (1950-1962)

Back in the old days of the NBA, the power forward position wasn’t a huge factor on most teams, but Larry Foust helped pioneer it as a key spot. Foust was an eight-time All-Star in 12 seasons and he averaged 13.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per game for his career. Sadly, Foust has been largely forgotten, likely because he died young at the age of 56 in 1984, and all three teams on which he starred have since moved their locations: the Fort Wayne Pistons, the St. Louis Hawks and the Minneapolis Lakers. His player efficiency rating is better than guys like Pete Maravich, Grant Hill and Chris Mullin, all of whom have been inducted in Springfield.