Jonas Jerebko, Hall of Famer?

We’ve debated a lot in the comments the last week or so what the Hall of Fame chances are for several current and former Pistons players entering the twilight of their careers. Ryan Hegedus of Life On Dumars throws another name into the mix of a player yet to come up in conversations in the comments here:

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.

Something that is occasionally overlooked in Hall of Fame discussions is the fact that the Naismith Hall of Fame is a basketball hall of fame, not just a NBA hall of fame. That’s why players like Grant Hill, whose peak didn’t last long because of major injuries, or even Christian Laettner might get some consideration when they otherwise wouldn’t have — they were elite college basketball players, and that counts. The Hall also has an international committee, and although Jerebko has several more years as a professional player before such conversations are warranted, his rock star status in Sweden makes him a name who will certainly merit some consideration when his playing days are over.

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