We recently saw a bunch of hoop legends get the ultimate recognition as they were officially enshrined into the Naismith Basketball Hall-of-Fame.
The night was loaded with greatness as per usual, and sprinkled with memorable moments. There are tearjerkers, from Dwyane Wade calling his father onto the stage, Pau Gasol giving a passionate shoutout to Hall-of-Famer and late former teammate Kobe Bryant, and Becky Hammon emotionally thanking co-inductee and former San Antonio Spurs colleague Gregg Popovich; and some nice laughs, like Dirk Nowitzki joking about “dunking” on Marc Cuban’s “head,” and Popovich faking out everyone that his speech is over.
With all of that, you can’t help but look forward into next year’s ceremony to wonder who the candidates are and which ones should get in. It’s always interesting to gauge.
What’s good is while the 2024 pool reveals that it’s not as decorated and star-studded as this year’s class, it still has very considerable names and some all-time showmen, ones who didn’t have accolades but got a good deal of admiration.
Before we look at the group, here’s a quick note: players and coaches are eligible four years after they retired, but latter may be considered despite being active if he/she has coached for at least 25 seasons.
“Half-man, Half-amazing” Vince Carter, widely regarded as the greatest dunker of all-time, is likely to be a headliner should he get in. Basketball-Reference has his HoF probability at 94.5%, so all that puts him at an awesome chance.
Carter was in the league for 22 years, from the 1998-99, all the way to the 2019-20 season, making him the first NBA player to play in four different decades: 90s, 00s, 10s, and 20s.
He was the 1999 NBA Rookie of the Year and earned eight All-Star and two All-NBA selections, topped off by scoring 25,728 points, which currently places him 20th all-time.
As one of the best, if not the best, “microwave guards” in NBA history, Jamal Crawford is a highly beloved hooper despite the lack of rings and individual feats. He’s a ball-handling, sweet-shooting, streetball-moving player, so there’s a lot to like.
Crawford ranks 58th in all-time scoring at 19,419 points and 10th in three-point field goals made with 2,221. To top it off, he’s tied for most Sixth Man of the Year awards, with three, capturing it in 2010, 2014, and 2016.
Regarded as among the purest shooters during his time and in league history, it’s great to imagine Kyle Korver hitting his prime at present time, as opposed to the mid and early 2010s. He could’ve easily been far more effective and important. Still, his potential consideration is a testament to how good he was.
Korver’s 2,450 made threes is currently good for fifth all-time, while his 42.9% is at 10th.
Other key candidates
Included in the pool of first-year eligibles are big men Tyson Chandler and Joakim Noah, two rebounding and defensive juggernauts during their time. They each have three All-Defensive team selections and a Defensive Player of the Year award, winning it in 2012 and 2014, respectively. The former also played a key part in Dallas Mavericks’ championship run in 2011, while the latter is widely known for his tenacity throughout his career.
Non-first ballot players
Headlining the non-first ballot guys are a handful of household names back in their heydays. After being unable to get in in their previous candidacy, some still have a high HoF probability according to Basketball-reference.com, so we’ll see: Larry Foust (94.2%), Chauncey Billups (84.4%), Shawn Marion (75.6%), Amare Stoudemire (72.9%), Shawn Kemp (38.4%), and Jermaine O’Neal (31.8%).
It’s a nice list, with countless All-Star, All-NBA, and All-Defense selections between them, as well as great numbers all around. Kemp, as you know, was an electric superstar in the 1990s, particularly during his tenure with the Seattle SuperSonics, while Billups, Stoudemire, O’Neal and Marion were all perennial All-Stars in the 2000s, constantly leading title contenders in the playoffs. Billups and Marion have each won a championship.
Take a good look at this second-time candidates. Plenty of them could very well join Vince Carter in the 2024 class.