February 18, 2011
Reggie Miller was never a strong defender. Even for shooting guards, his rebounding and assist totals were poor. He averaged over 22 points per game just twice in an 18-year career, 17 of those seasons which were spent starting and playing heavy minutes. His career Player Efficiency Rating was an 18.4, around what Brook Lopez(notes) is averaging this season, and his high-water mark in PER saw him finish the year with a 21.4 PER, which is around where the Los Angeles Clippers' Eric Gordon(notes) was at before he injured himself a few weeks back.
There are legitimate concerns as to whether or not Reggie Miller, for all his celebrity and playoff contributions, is a Basketball Hall of Famer.
But for the guy to be left off the ballot? The Basketball Hall of Fame, in a half-century of low points, has hit another new low.
Miller was considered this year's most heralded nominee, but apparently did not receive the necessary votes to become a finalist in his first year of eligibility. The list of finalists will be officially announced Friday.
Miller was a nominee in the Hall's North American group, which requires him to appear on seven of nine ballots to become a finalist. Finalists then need to receive at least 18 of 24 votes from a different panel to be inducted. The inductees will be announced at the NCAA Final Four in April with enshrinement ceremonies likely scheduled for September.
This is just astonishing. If the voting committee behind this brand of voting can't bother to recognize Reggie Miller, who YOUR GRANDMOTHER knows about, than what hope does North American pro basketball have in this embarrassment of an institution?
Again, Reggie was a shoot-first guy who really didn't contribute much outside of hitting jumper after jumper, so it's perfectly reasonable to question whether or not he deserves a trip to the Hall in comparison to other NBA players of his era. But there shouldn't be any real qualms with voting him in. Discuss it, sure, and be mindful about his place among his peers from the era, but don't overreact.
Overreact about the ballot embarrassment, though. React accordingly, yell a lot, and then overreact on top of this. The NBA needs its own Hall of Fame. David Stern has sold out to that nebulous group of Eddie Haskell-types from the NCAA, and it's a joke that NBA players consistently have to be regarded as second-class citizens to NCAA coaches who just managed to hang around for a while.
In closing, I'll leave you with this. Among NBAniks, it is common knowledge that just approximating your regular-season stats in the playoffs is quite the accomplishment. Because the pace slows so much, teams have hours of game tape to use in anticipation of defending you, and because the competition is so enhanced, just coming close to those regular-season per-game averages that were trumpeted up by a few visits to Clipperville is worth a standing ovation.
Reggie Miller, for all his bluster, brought it in the postseason. He averaged 20.6 points over 144 career postseason games, as compared with 18.2 points in the regular season. And a 60 percent True Shooting mark, which takes into account 3-pointers and free throws, done mostly with a Knick or Bull in his sternum.
It's hard to believe that the last straw regarding the Basketball Hall of Fame has to come in the person who seems tailor-made for their supposed prominence-first, game-second criteria, but here it is. What a joke.