A continuation of topics brought up in this article.
Several weeks ago, the NBA announced the finalists for induction into the Naismith Hall of Fame in a few months. Twelve players were on it. Serbian-born Lakers and Kings center Vlade Divac wasn't one of them.
Many people feel that this was perfectly acceptable. Divac only had a single All-Star selection, which a recent article declared disgraceful. During his 16 NBA seasons, he was continually berated by commentators for his "flop-a-roo" style of defense. His career scoring average was only 12 points per game.
I'm not one of them. I think Divac should get in.
First off, it's not like Divac's NBA career completely stunk. Divac is in the Top 50 among NBA players in career rebounds and career defensive win shares, and the Top 25 in career blocks. All other players with better total numbers than Divac in all of the "big five" categories of points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks are already in the Hall of Fame, or are pretty much guaranteed to be.
Divac made the NBA Finals once, twice if you consider the 2002 Game 7 debacle. He is also one of two foreign-born and foreign-trained players (Dirk Nowitzki is the other) who have played at least 1,000 NBA games.
Also, you have to remember that there is a different bar for European players. Lithuanian center Arvydas Sabonis is in, despite having a much shorter NBA career than Divac. The two are arguably the two best European-born players of the 1990s, certainly the two best big men.
Both Sabonis and Divac have made the 50 Greatest Euroleague players and 50 Greatest FIBA players. Like Sabonis, Divac has a European Player of the Year award, in addition to World Championship and Eurobasket golds. Both Sabonis and Divac are enshrined in the FIBA Hall of Fame.
To me it boils down to this: If you put Sabonis in, you probably should put Divac in too.
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