First Ballot

Now for the fun stuff: we’re actually going to start building our own Hall of Fame. I’d like to get as much reader participation as possible here, too. To start with we’ll induct a class of five players. The nominees will be the 12 players who have scored over 500 in PCS. Those players are: Michael Jordan (1000.0), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (934.9), LeBron James (874.8), Tim Duncan (786.1), Bill Russell (770.0), Kobe Bryant (747.6), Magic Johnson (734.2), Wilt Chamberlain (699.2), Shaquille O’Neal (689.8), Larry Bird (689.3), Karl Malone (637.3), and Jerry West (536.2).

In the comments section, rank all 12 players from 1-12 with 1 being the most deserving. I haven’t determined the weighting system yet, but reader vote will count for the bulk of the score, my vote will count for part of the score, and strictly PCS by the numbers will count for part of the score. (So that part will be 1. Jordan, 2. Kareem, 3. LeBron, 4. Duncan, 5. Russell, and so on.)

Guidelines for voting: Consider only on-court performance. We have no character clause. I don’t care that Michael Jordan was a dick, or that Shaquille O’Neal is the most charitable human being on the planet. (Well, I do care. A lot, actually. But for the purposes of this project, only basketball ability should matter.) Use PCS as a guide, but don’t let it be the end-all, be-all. If you think a player’s prime was worth more than someone else’s, and you value that more, rank him higher. If you think titles are the only thing that really matters, use that as your guideline. For active players, judge their careers as if they’ll never play another game. (It seems unnecessary to wait until they retire – they’re obviously not going to lose awards or championships regardless of how long they play.)

Go nuts and have fun with it, but I’d like to see an explanation of your voting thought process with your ballot. If you’re marking Jordan as 12th, I’d like to know why. I’ll probably still count your vote, but I want to avoid a Zaza Pachulia situation if I can.

As a reminder, PCS factors in and weights MVP votes, contributions to championships, All-NBA First and Second Teams, All-Star teams, and contributions to postseason and regular season team success. It does not score things that have not been present/awarded since the NBA began. So things like Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player, All-NBA Third Team selections, etc. aren’t there – if you want to consider those, go for it. It also doesn’t factor in Rookie of the Year awards, because being the best player for one year amongst a random sampling of other players selected by happenstance is a weird award. It can be either very good with solid competition, or it can be Michael Carter-Williams.

Also, this is going to be the “Professional Basketball Hall of Fame.” The following won’t apply to these 12 players, but ABA stats and achievements will be taken into consideration (albeit at a lesser value); collegiate and Olympic/FIBA competitions will not. If you can find stats/accomplishments from foreign professional leagues (for future player consideration), you can consider those, but again, we won’t value them as highly as NBA accomplishments.

I think the typical voting window will be two weeks, but for this first set, I’m going to give it a month so that more people have a chance to discover this blog and we can get a good base of voters going (hopefully.) While this month of voting is going on, I’m planning on running a project looking at the current nominees for the official Hall and evaluating their worthiness using PCS. There are 14 nominees who are being considered for their NBA careers as players, so it might be a bit tight timing-wise, but we’ll do them all one way or another.

Anyway, on to voting! Make your picks, tell me why, tell your friends. Again: Jordan, Kareem, LeBron, Duncan, Russell, Kobe, Magic, Wilt, Shaq, Bird, Karl Malone, Jerry West. Rank 1-12, with 1 the highest, and rank everyone. We’ll induct the five highest scores to start. Let’s build this thing!


12 thoughts on “First Ballot

  1. My rankings are based primarily on the quality of the players’ prime, era, playoff success, and PCS. I mostly disregarded longevity in favor players with a higher peak and I considered individual playoff performance rather than simply total amount of titles in order to account for players with inferior teammates.

    1. Michael Jordan

    2. LeBron James

    3. Shaquille O’Neal

    4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

    5. Tim Duncan

    6. Magic Johnson

    7. Larry Bird

    8. Wilt Chamberlain

    9. Bill Russell

    10. Kobe Bryant

    11. Jerry West

    12. Karl Malone


  2. 1. Jordan
    2. Kareem
    3. Duncan
    4. Magic
    5. Lebron
    6. Bird
    7. Russell
    8. Shaq
    9. Wilt
    10. Kobe
    11. West
    12. Malone

    No need to justify Jordan as the GOAT. I DID give weight to consistency and longevity, hence Kareem and Duncan at the top. Magic and Lebron get in ahead of Bird due to their freakish athleticism that they brought to the court. Russell falls to #7 despite all the winning due to playing in an era with relatively weaker competition. The others had obviously amazing careers but don’t quite make it to the same tier as the top 7


      1. Want to put in a full ballot ProudVet? Nobody else has even put Bird in the top five yet, and I’d like to get as many perspectives as I can. You could easily make the case he’d be fourth if not for injuries. 100 points is basically 2-3 MVP-caliber, championship-contending seasons. And it this level of player, then 10 points that put him behind Chamberlain/O’Neal is basically nothing.


      2. He probably is the most skilled forward ever. But, when you can factor in athleticism, he falls well behind a lot of players. And then when you can factor in defense, again he’s not looking too well.

        Well, 4th according to your PCS if not for injuries, and there’s injuries with a lot of other guys, too. I can only see 4 guys on your 12-man list that Bird might have a case to be better offensively than: Duncan, Malone, West, and Russell. And only maybe one better than defensively: Magic. And the only guys he better than team wise are: West, Malone, and Wilt. And West/Wilt had to go up against all those HOF Celtics teams.


  3. I don’t quite understand the sidenote if we put Jordan 12th. He’s widely considered the GOAT, but that’s highly debatable. I can see cases for everyone on your 12-man list as the GOAT, except Malone. No Dr. J/Oscar? But, hard to take anyone but Malone out for sure.

    I’m surprised so many put James so high. He has wilted under pressure so many times. But, comparing him just to Bird, yea, he’s probably higher than him, and Bird is pretty much a consensus top 10.

    My top 4 are pretty much interchangeable. I think they have accomplished the most individually/team combined, and all had amazing, long primes. I’ll probably get blasted for putting Kobe #1, but he had a longer career, I think he was elite(top 5-6 in league at least) longer(though prime probably not quite as good overall), at his very best was better, achieved more(from longer career partially but not entirely and that should be considered), and relative to his teammates/opponents faced accomplished more team-wise than Jordan did. Jordan probably deserved more MVPs, but it’s a complete farce Kobe only has 1. Nash has as many MVPs as Shaq/Kobe combined. MVP voting just isn’t very good often.

    I am surprised Wilt is so low with your PCS. I would say that I think he’d have a perfect score if he played with BOS instead of Russell, even if he didn’t win as many as Russell, which I do think he would’ve and Russell probably none if he mirrored Wilt’s career.

    1. Kobe
    2. Jordan
    3. Kareem
    4. Wilt
    5. Shaq
    6. Duncan
    7. Magic
    8. Russell
    9. James
    10. Bird
    11. West
    12. Malone


    1. I was mostly joking with the Jordan thing. If someone honestly thinks he’s 12th, they should rank him 12th, but I’d just want to know why.

      Oscar will be on the next ballot – he’s 14th overall with 485.0. Dr. J isn’t far behind at 417.4. He gets knocked down a little bit because a lot of his accomplishments were in the ABA and the competition was quite as tough.

      Wilt is a little lower because he only had two championships and those are weighted pretty heavily – but his score dwarfs almost every other current Hall of Famer. Most Hall of Famers have a score of 200-450ish, Wilt beats that by 250-500 points. He’s basically 2-3 Hall of Famers rolled into one. Basically all of these guys are getting in without a doubt, but we have to start somewhere.


      1. How are you counting the ABA then? I don’t think it should be considered as highly as the nba, but it still needs to be counted. I hope you don’t completely disregard it. Maybe you can’t measure it given the way you’re calculating PCS though. Dr. J. was probably the best player in the world in the mid 1970s, it just happened to be in the ABA. His stats are obviously inflated a bit, but each era is different. There’d be a lot less scoring/rebounding for Wilt today for example, but he’d most likely be the best player today still.


    2. relative to his teammates/opponents faced accomplished more team-wise than Jordan did” …… in what universe?? Did you miss the 7′ 1″ 300 lb elephant in the room that is Shaquille O’Neal in his prime? When did Jordan ever have a player like that? What are you talking about?

      Also the opponents? Who is the best team Kobe beat in the playoffs? The 2002 Kings, the 2010 Celtics, the 2001/02 Spurs, Nash’s Suns or the 2000 Blazers? You think those opponents are objectively tougher than Magic’s Lakers, Drexler’s Blazers, Barkley’s Suns, Payton’s Sonics and the Stockton/Malone Jazz? Not to mention the bruising Knicks teams of the 1990’s, the Bad Boy Pistons, the Magic with Shaq/Penny, the Heat with Mourning/Hardaway and the Pacers with Reggie? And do you really think Kobe’s era without hand-checking is somehow tougher than Jordan’s???

      I do think Kobe deserved the 2006 MVP, but his ’08 one could easily have gone to KG or CP3.

      I know everyone is entitled to their opinion, but this one is simply egregious…


      1. Arsh, did you miss the fact that while Jordan didn’t have quite as good of a player as Shaq(though Pippen is a legit top 20-25 player all-time), Jordan did have much better casts overall for his title runs? Or that CHI only lost 2 fewer games in 1994 without Jordan, and Armstrong/Grant made their lone AS appearances in 1994? So much for Jordan making teammates better, looks like belongs more to Pippen. Most of the players who played with Kobe enjoyed their best seasons of their careers. As we’ve now seen Shaq/Kobe’s careers come full circle, it should be obvious Kobe had the better career. The old ‘Kobe had Shaq’ story has long been put to bed. Shaq had a phenomenal 3-year stretch from 00-02, but he still needed Kobe to bail him out time after time. They barely squeaked out titles in 00 and 02, and that’s with Kobe being clutch over and over and playing great ball. In contrast, Kobe took a 1x AS and 0-12 in the playoffs over 7 1/2 seasons in MEM, Pau Gasol, to 3 straight finals, winning 2.

        Jordan may very well be the GOAT, but let’s get our facts straight. And I’m hardly swayed into thinking Jordan’s opps were better, let alone even, with Kobe’s opps. Winning the 1st round in the West is equivalent to making or winning the ECF some years based on competition.

        Russell’s always hard to place since he’s the only supposed elite player all-time who wasn’t elite offensively, and not even close at that. He was a ‘glue’ guy, a great glue guy, but still just a glue guy. I have a hard time putting him that high. He also had HOFers coming off the bench and maybe the best coach of all-time, huge difference from Wilt. Wilt would’ve done everything Russell did team-wise and then some if he had played with BOS. When Wilt accepted a Russell-type role, he led 2 of the top 5ish teams of all-time to titles, and played the Russell-type role better than Russell ever did. He also dominated Russell H2H individually, but Russell just had much better support. Wilt was the best through his time, but I don’t think he’s quite the best 50 years later, but he certainly has a strong case. His AS scoring game record lasting for 55 years, and needed to see a gimmicky no-defense game to break it.


  4. My top 12 from players listed:

    1. Michael Jordan
    2. Bill Russell
    3. LeBron James
    4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
    5. Magic Johnson
    6. Larry Bird
    7. Tim Duncan
    8. Wilt Chamberlain
    9. Shaquille O’Neal
    10. Kobe Bryant
    11. Jerry West
    12. Karl Malone

    LeBron and Kareem could switch places at this moment in time, but I believe LeBron will surpass him by the time his career is finished.

    My top 12 is determined by peak and longevity, stats as well as winning and how much they impacted their teammates. Bill Russell being number #2 would probably shock people, but playing the game of “What ifs…” is never objective. You can only evaluate a player based on their accomplishments, not a never ending circle of arguments about whether they would translate to the modern game or how their career would play out with a different franchise. Yes, Wilt COULD have a been the best ever. But he ended up being one of most selfish, stat-obsessed, coach killing and team sinking superstars ever. Russell is the best defensive player in the history of the league. If you look at the defensive rating relative to league average for his Celtic squads, their ratings remain some of the best EVER.

    In fact, here the top 10: 1964 Celtics were 10.8 points per 100 possessions better defensively than the league (best ever). After that, there are the 1965 Celtics (9.4), 2004 Spurs (8.8), 2008 Celtics (8.6), 1962 Celtics (8.5), 1963 Celtics (8.5), 1993 Knicks (8.3), 1994 Knicks (8.1), 1961 Celtics (7.6) and 2004 Pistons (7.5). Notice a trend? Half of the statistically best 10 defensive teams in history had Bill Russell on their squad. And it isn’t as though Bob Cousy, Sam Jones, John Havlicek, Tommy Heinsohn, etc. were known as defensive stalwarts. Those Celtics teams were a team of specialists, and Russell did his part better than any other player has.


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