This Saturday, the finalists for the 2015 class of the James Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame will be announced. It's unknown how many finalists will be named, but last year there were eight finalists, four of whom were inducted into the Hall. Top candidates this year include Dikembe Mutumbo, Buck Williams, Rudy Tomjanovich, Jeff Hornacek, and Mark Jackson.
To be eligible for the Hall of Fame, you must be retired from the game for at least five years. The finalists are then selected by the Hall of Fame, chaired by Jerry Colangelo, and inductees are voted on by a mysterious shadow government known as the Honors Committee. You need 18 of 24 votes to be inducted.
Basketball-reference.com recently released a list of 181 players who are eligible for induction this year. They limited their list only to players with at least fifty win shares. A win share is basically the amount of wins a specific player contributed to his team. On this list, there were twenty-nine players who spent time in a Seattle SuperSonics uniform. We took those twenty-nine players and calculated the likelihood of them making the Hall this year. Here are our results:
The Likely Suspects
1) Spencer Haywood
So, full disclosure, we both agree that Jack Sikma should top this list. However, Spencer is DUE. If Haywood is in fact named a finalist on Saturday, it will be the third year in a row. Last year, he was even told that he would be inducted, only to be unpleasantly surprised to not hear his name called. Haywood was a five-time All-Star, four-time All-NBA, one time All-ABA, and won both the ABA Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same year. He won an NBA Championship in 1980 with the Los Angeles Lakers. He averaged 20.3 points and 10.3 rebounds for his career. His number 24 is retired by the Sonics.
2) Jack Sikma
The fact that Sikma's name has never been mentioned in conjunction with the Hall (aside from a 2014 article from some random blog) is unfathomable. Sikma had career averages of 15.6 points and 9.8 rebounds. He made the NBA All-Star team seven times. He won a championship with the Sonics in 1979, averaging 14.8 and 11.7 during that season's playoffs, and is the best center the team ever had (sorry, Calvin Booth). His number 43 is also retired by the Sonics.
3) Fred Brown
The man known as "Downtown" was a key part of the Sonics championship in 1979. He averaged 14.6 points over his 13-year career, eight of which were before the introduction of the three-point line. He also averaged 1.4 steals per game, leading the league in 1975 and 1976. He was an All-Star in 1976 and his number 32 is, you guessed it, retired by the Sonics.
4) Tom Chambers
Leigh Ellis's favorite player was a four-time All-Star and was the game's MVP in 1987. He was two-time All-NBA and had career averages of 18.1 points and 6.1 rebounds. Not winning a championship moves him down the list.
5) Gus Williams
Williams was a two-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA, and an NBA Champion in his ten-year career. He averaged 17.1 points and 5.6 assists during that time. Those averages were even higher during his six years with Seattle, when he averaged 20.3 points and 6.0 assists. His number 1 is... you've figured this out by now.
The Outside Chances
6) Horace Grant
Most tend to forget the one year that Horace Grant spent in Seattle during the 1999-00 campaign where he started at PF for most of the year, averaging just over 35 minutes over 76 games played. His totals as a Supersonic weren't far off his career totals 8.1 points as a Sonic to 11.2 points for his career while he averaged 8.1 rebounds for his career to 7.8 as a Sonic. He won four titles, in Chicago and LA, and was an All-Star during the 93-94 season.
7) Shawn Kemp
A fan favorite in Seattle who will one day have his jersey hung in the rafters of our new arena and probably have a statue somewhere around it. Kemp was a six time All-Star (five with Seattle, One with Cleveland), averaging a double-double during the prime of his career. He never won a title, but came close a couple of times. Kemp averaged 14.6 points and 8.4 rebounds per game for his career.
8) Detlef Schrempf
Det, another big fan favorite in Seattle and also a world renowned actor from his spots on Parks and Rec, has a career average of 13.9 points a game and 6.2 boards. He was a three time All-Star, two of those times coming as a Sonic. He made the NBA Finals once and never captured a championship.
9) Paul Silas
A two time All-Star and a three time NBA champion as a player (two with Boston and one with Seattle). Silas was never a big numbers guy. His best years was in the 1971-72 season was he was putting up 17.5 points and grabbing 12 boards a night. Solid numbers and it got him to the All-Star game that year. For his career though, he averaged just over nine points and just under ten rebounds a contest.
10) Maurice Lucas
Mo played just a single season in Seattle, coming off the bench to give the Sonics 8 and 5 a night during the twilight of his career. He was a seven time All-Star and won a championship with Portland in 1977. He averaged 14.6 points a night and pulled in just about ten rebounds.
all stats courtesy of basketball-reference.com