The 2012 Hall of Fame class was inducted yesterday with Pacers sharpshooter Reggie Miller, Rockets big man Ralph Sampson, Lakers forward Jamaal Wilkes, and NBA mainstay Don Nelson leading the class.
While it’s premature to think that the Pistons might have a Hall of Famer on their roster right now, considering a large core of the team is still under 30, it’s not unlikely. Whether they make it because of offense, defense or other reasons, here are the current Pistons that could make it to Springfield.
Wallace’s actual roster spot on the 2012 Pistons is still unsure of, considering his back-and-forth stance on retiring after last season. As of right now, the team has a full roster and unless a trade is made or someone is released, Wallace might have to follow through with his retirement plans. Once he does go, however, his place in NBA history should be solid. Despite going undrafted in 1996, Wallace came to Detroit in 2000 and went on to become one of the most feared defenders in the last decade, using his athleticism, instincts and fearlessness to oppose anyone who came into the paint.
- NBA Champion (2004)
- 4-time NBA All-Star (2003-2006)
- 4-time Defensive Player of the Year (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006)
- 5-time All-NBA First Defensive Team, 1-time All-NBA Second Team
- 3-time All-NBA Second Team, 2-time All-NBA Third Team
- 2002 and 2003 regular season leader in rebounds per game (13.0, 15.4)
- 2002 regular season leader in blocks per game (3.5)
- 2001 and 2003 regular season leader in total rebounds (1,052; 1,026)
- 2001 regular season leader in total defensive rebounds (749)
- 2003 and 2006 regular season leader in total offensive rebounds (293, 301)
- 2002 regular season leader in total blocks (278)
- Career scoring average of 5.7 points on 47.4% shooting
- Career free throw average of 41.4%, one of the worst percentages in NBA history
- Started just 912 games out of 1088 played
While his offensive game is nowhere near good enough to get Hall of Fame consideration, his defensive abilities are unparalleled, especially considering his NBA beginnings.
Jerebko is a unique example of a possible Hall of Famer on Detroit’s current roster. He is a former second-round pick who has been in the league for just three seasons, sporting career averages of 9.0 points on 47.5% shooting and 5.5 rebounds. His ticket to Springfield might not be his statistical achievements, but moreso his cultural influence.
When the Pistons selected him in 2009, the 6’10” forward became just the second Swedish-born basketball player ever drafted; Miles Simon is the first, but he played in just five total games with the Orlando Magic in 1998. He should be an integral part of the Pistons future, giving him plenty of opportunities to accumulate stats. He has also become a focal point for the Swedish national team, with which he has already earned 10 caps (appearances) despite playing professionally for just seven years.
If basketball continues to spread around the world, especially into Sweden, Jerebko could very well be the reason why. Much like Drazen Petrovic in the early 1990s, younger players could see Jerebko in the NBA and strive to follow in his footsteps, turning him into an ambassador of basketball in Sweden.
Monroe is arguably the most offensively-skilled big man that the Pistons have had since Bill Laimbeer and it’s only his second season in the league. The former Georgetown center saw increases in nearly every statistical category last season: he averaged 15.4 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists in 2011, compared to 9.4/7.5/1.3 in 2010, his rookie year. Those stats were good for a fifth-place finish in the 2012 Most Improved Player of the Year, including 10 first-place votes.
If he can continue to make strides in his game – every indication says he should – he’ll begin to garner more and more credibility in the league. He definitely needs to up his defensive skills, as he has only blocked 91 shots in 146 games thus far in his career (good for a 0.6 career average). Being 6’11” and 250, he should be a better defensive player, but that will come with time and coaching.
Chris Webber, a player who had a similar high-post game like Monroe’s, is a solid example of what Monroe could be in the NBA, at least statistically. Webber never averaged many blocks or steals, but is considered one of the better offensive big men of the last decade and a half. Watching Monroe, you can see many of the same qualities that allowed Webber to have such success in the league.
Prince’s chances at making the Hall of Fame rely heavily on a four- or five-year span in the mid-2000’s, when he played a big role in the Pistons’ 2004 NBA Championship. Much like Ben Wallace, his career offensive numbers were never eye-popping (12.9 points, 46% shooting, 2.7 assists). His defensive averages (0.6 blocks per game, 0.6 steals per game and 4.7 rebounds per game) aren’t amazing either, but his lanky frame and long arms helped him become one of the best defenders in the Pistons’ six-year run of Eastern Conference dominance. Before his stellar defense on Kobe Bryant helped Detroit win it’s first title since 1990, this single play defined Tayshaun Prince’s defensive abilities:
Credentials for Prince’s Hall of Fame case also include:
- 2004 NBA Champion
- 2008 Olympic Gold Medal
- 4-time NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2004-2008)
What do you think? Could any current Pistons make the Hall of Fame?