The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is a prestigious and elite club. In the current NBAm there are several players who make a case to join it, but these five are almost certainly locks.
The NBA is currently in one of its most productive eras ever. The advent of analytics in sports has improved player efficiency in historic ways, as has the improvement of training at younger ages. But numbers don’t tell the whole story; context is important too.
Those who vote on the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class each year know this, and will choose only the best from this generation. Even though some good-not-great players from the 2000s and 2010s will make strong statistical cases, the time period must be accounted for. That will make exclusions tougher than inclusions.
Before getting into the active players who deserve to get in, it’s important to look at recent history to determine the standards for inclusion. Of players who made their biggest impacts in the NBA (rather than internationally), the standard is quite high for a given generation. Paul Westphal just got in last year, and the three NBA players getting enshrined this year (Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett) are top-25 all-time players.
The Hall doesn’t just include NBA greats, of course, but for these purposes I will only be looking at those whose stateside resumes have the best cases. Take Carmelo Anthony, for example: He will likely get in just for his Olympic and collegiate achievements (three gold medals, NCAA championship as a freshman), but his career in the pros paints a different picture.
So out of those whose achievements were mostly in the NBA, here are five active players who are guaranteed to get into the Hall of Fame.