Basketball Hall of Fame 2022: Manu Ginobili among former NBA players eligible for induction next year

For the second time this year, the Basketball Hall of Fame will welcome a new class. 

Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce, Ben Wallace and Chris Webber headline the Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021, which includes 16 worthy inductees, each of whom will be presented by a current member of the Hall of Fame at Saturday’s enshrinement ceremony. Earlier this year, the Class of 2020 — which included Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan — was officially enshrined after the original ceremony was delayed due to COVID.

Who could soon follow in their footsteps? Let’s take an early look at the former NBA players who will be eligible next year and evaluate their chances.

MORE: Vanessa Bryant’s full HOF speech honoring Kobe

Basketball Hall of Fame 2022: First-time eligible NBA players

In order to be eligible for enshrinement, players must be fully retired for four full seasons. That means players who ended their careers after the 2017-18 NBA season will be eligible to join the Class of 2022.

Basketball Reference compiled a list of candidates highlighting players with at least 50 career win shares. (No single statistic is perfect, but win shares, which estimates the number of wins contributed by an individual player, is a good way to cut down the field.) If you take that list and sort the players by their final seasons, you find eight first-time candidates:

  • Manu Ginobili (106.4)
  • Jason Terry (102.0)
  • David West (85.9)
  • Richard Jefferson (83.0)
  • Joe Johnson (82.8)
  • Zach Randolph (81.1)
  • Al Jefferson (71.0)
  • Josh Smith (51.0)

Ginobili is a lock for the Hall of Fame. He has an impressive resume that features multiple NBA championships and All-Star appearances, and his accomplishments as a member of the Argentinian National Team, which won an Olympic gold medal in 2004, solidifies his case.

Beyond Ginobili, there doesn’t appear to be a slam-dunk first-timer. Joe Johnson is the most interesting player in that group, as he was named an All-Star seven times and scored more than 20,000 points in his career. Basketball Reference’s Hall of Fame probability calculations put Johnson’s chances at almost exactly 50 percent.

Basketball Hall of Fame 2022: Other top candidates

Sorting that Basketball Reference list purely by win shares regardless of the final NBA season produces this top 10:

  • Shawn Marion (124.9)
  • Chauncey Billups (120.8)
  • Buck Williams (120.1)
  • Horace Grant (118.2)
  • Terry Porter (110.4)
  • Elton Brand (109.6)
  • Larry Nance (109.6)
  • Detlef Schrempf (109.5)
  • Jeff Hornacek (108.9)
  • Manu Ginobili (106.4)

Marion has one of the more fascinating Hall of Fame cases in recent memory. He was never the No. 1 offensive option, and his stats weren’t mind-blowing (15.2 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.1 blocks for his career). Yet he was a valuable contributor on winning teams, including the 2010-11 Mavericks squad that won the NBA championship. He was also way ahead of his time in terms of his ability to play positionless basketball.

KEY UPCOMING DATES FOR THE 2021-22 NBA SEASON

Not far behind Marion is Billups, who should eventually get in. He was a five-time All-Star, three-time All-NBA selection and NBA Finals MVP with the Pistons. Basketball Reference has his Hall of Fame probablility at 84.4 percent for a reason. Perhaps Wallace being inducted will open the door for Billups.

There will be other candidates considered outside of that top 10, of course, such as Tim Hardaway and Marques Johnson. It’s possible that a few former players who had been on the fringes could sneak in given that it will not be a loaded class. Hall of Fame debates are always highly subjective, though, so there will undoubtedly be some snubs next year.

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