The 15 Best Players in NBA History That Aren’t in the Hall of Fame



In 1959, the first Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class was announced, with a class that included the inventor of basketball, James Naismith, and arguably the greatest player the game had seen at the time, George Mikan. In total, over 150 players have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. However, countless others have been left out. We are going to look into the best NBA players that have not yet been inducted in Springfield, Massachusetts. For this list, we are judging off of NBA careers only, not time in the ABA or college.

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15. Brad Daugherty
     With the first pick in the 1986 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Brad Daugherty from North Carolina. In his rookie year, Daugherty was on the All-Rookie First Team along with two of his teammates, Ron Harper and John Williams. He only improved from there. In 1988, he made his first All-Star team while leading the Cavs to a 57 game season. In 1991, he averaged 21.6 points and 10.9 rebounds. Led by Brad Daugherty and fellow 1986 draftee Mark Price, the Cavaliers made the Eastern Conference Finals, and Daugherty had 18.7 points and 11.7 rebounds per game in 17 games. He made the 1992 All-NBA Third Team when he averaged 21.5 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game. Unfortunately, Daugherty only played eight seasons due to back problems, retiring at the young age of 28. He made 5 All-Star teams in his short career, and his career averages of 19 points and 9.5 rebounds per game cement his legacy as one of the game’s greats. At the time of Daugherty’s retirement, he was the all-time leading scorer and rebounder in Cavalier history (both have since been passed, points by LeBron James and rebounds by Zydrunas Ilgauskas). His number 43 jersey has since been retired by Cleveland.
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14. Penny Hardaway
     In 1993, the 6-7 Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway from Memphis entered the NBA. Originally drafted by the Golden State Warriors with the third pick, he was soon traded to the Orlando Magic for the first overall pick, Chris Webber. The previous season, the Magic, led by dominating force Shaquille O’Neal, missed the playoffs by a tiebreaker. In his first season as a pro, Penny and Shaq teamed up and proved to be one of the most exciting duos for years to come. Penny made the All-Rookie first team and helped lead the Magic to a 50-32 season (a nine game improvement from last season) and their first ever playoff berth in franchise history. The next two seasons saw him making All-NBA First Team, and the Third Team the season after that. In 1999, he was traded to the Phoenix Suns. Hardaway had endured one knee injury by this time, but the injuries and surgeries would really start piling up after this. In the last eight seasons of his career with three different teams, Hardaway played an average of 37 games per season. He finished his career with per game averages of over 15 points, 4 and a half rebounds, and 5 assists.
13. Dan Roundfield
     Dan Roundfield was drafted in the second round of the 1975 NBA draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, but he decided to join the Indiana Pacers in the rival American Basketball Association instead. However, his run in the ABA was short-lived, as the Pacers hopped on to the NBA train the very next season. After two seasons with Indiana, he signed with the Atlanta Hawks where his career really took off. In Atlanta, he averaged career highs of 19 points (in 1983) and 11.8 rebounds (in 1982), and made 5 All-Defensive teams, an All-NBA second team, and three All-Star teams (though he was injured for one) while in a Hawks jersey. After being traded to the Pistons, he was relied more for his experience than his skills; his minutes per game dropped by about 9, which resulted in a significant drop in his points per game and a small drop in rebounds. He ended his career with the Bullets due to a trade that also involved Rick Mahorn, setting the stage for the “Bad Boy” era in Detroit.
12. Walter Davis
     After successful stints in high school and college hoops, Walter Davis was selected with the fifth pick in the 1977 NBA Draft. Right out of the gates, Davis averaged over 24 points in his rookie year, winning Rookie of the Year, being selected to the All-NBA Second Team, and playing in the All-Star game. He made the All-Star game in each of his first four seasons. At the end of 1985, Davis voluntarily underwent 29 days of treatment for cocaine and alcohol abuse. After 11 seasons with Phoenix that saw 6 All-Star games and the most points in a Suns jersey anyone has ever scored, he signed with the Nuggets. He was traded to Portland two and a half seasons later, but he finished his career with one season back with Denver. In his career, Davis shot 51% from the field, very high for a wing player. “Greyhound” had one of the purest jump shots ever seen. Davis has since been enshrined into the Phoenix Suns Ring of Honor (essentially the team’s personal Hall of Fame) and had his number 6 jersey retired by the Phoenix Suns.
1994 Slam Dunk ContestSource: SB Nation
11. Shawn Kemp
     The “Reign Man” was drafted by the Seattle Supersonics in the first round of the 1989 NBA Draft. He enrolled in both the University of Kentucky and Trinity Valley Community College, but never played a game at either. His first season was more of a learning season, but his sophomore season saw him explode for 15 points per game. Two seasons later, Kemp made his first All-Star game, averaging 17.8 points on the season. This started a streak of 6 straight All-Star games, which was snapped by the lockout-shortened 1999 season that did not have one. After 8 exciting seasons, 7 of which alongside Gary Payton, creating a dynamic duo who helped the Supersonics reach the 1996 Finals, he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. In his three years with the team, he battled weight problems, but still managed to score a career high points per game in 1999. After being traded to Portland, he not only was battling his weight, but he was battling cocaine and alcohol problems; so much so that he entered rehab in 2001. Kemp played two years with Portland and one with Orlando, and attempted a comeback a few years later, but it didn’t pan out.
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10. Paul Westphal
     In 1972, the Boston Celtics selected Paul Westphal with the tenth overall pick in the draft. He played three seasons with Boston, and he averaged 7.3 points per game in green. However, when he signed with the Phoenix Suns, where his minutes per game nearly doubled to 36, and he responded by averaging 20.5 points, 5.4 assists, and 2.6 steals his first season there, 1976. The Suns only went 42-40 in 1976, but they made the Finals, where they faced off against Westphal’s former team, the Celtics. Game 5 has since been known as the greatest basketball game that has ever been played, an up-and-down game that went into triple-overtime. The Suns fell to Boston in 6 games. In 6 seasons in Phoenix, Westphal averaged 20.6 points per game and 5.2 assists (including a return for one season at the end of his career). He averaged 16.7 points in his one season in Seattle due to a trade that resulted in Dennis Johnson going to Phoenix. From there, Westphal began to fall off. He retired in 1984, and has since become a successful head and assistant coach in college and the pros.
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9. Larry Nance
     Larry Nance from Clemson University was drafted with the 20th pick in the 1981 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns. He had a typical rookie season, averaging 6.6 points and 3.2 rebounds. The next season, Nance scored about 10 more points per game and snagged nearly 9 rebounds. In 1984, Larry Nance won the first ever NBA Slam Dunk Contest, and a year later, he made his first All-Star game, during a season in which he scored 19.9 points and 8.8 rebounds. He averaged his career high for points per game in 1986-87 with 22.5 and his career high for rebounds the following season with 9.1. In 1988, he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers; however, he did not miss a step as he made two more All-Star teams while in Cleveland. A premier shot-blocker, he was selected to the All-Defensive First Team once and made the Second Team twice. He retired in 1994, and his jersey has since been retired by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
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8. Alvin Robertson
     When Robertson was selected with the 7th pick in the 1984 Draft by the San Antonio Spurs, the league was introduced to one of the best all-around players the game has seen. He is part of a select group that includes only three other players (Micheal Ray Richardson, Michael Jordan, and Clyde Drexler) to average at least 14 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals in their career. Even when he only played 21 minutes per game in his rookie year and started only 9 of 79 games he played in, he still averaged 1.6 steals per game. The following season, he broke out while playing 35 minutes per game, averaging 17 points per game and setting the record for both most total steals and the highest steals per game average in a season, with 301 steals for an average of 3.7 per game. On February 18th, 1986, in a game against the Phoenix Suns, Robertson tallied 20 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists, and 10 steals, achieving only the second quadruple-double the league has ever seen. This season kicked off a string of three straight All-Star appearances. In 1989, he was traded to Milwaukee along with Greg “Cadillac” Anderson in exchange for Terry Cummings. He played with the Bucks for 3 and a half seasons prior to being traded to Detroit. He then ended his NBA career in Toronto. Today, Robertson is still one of only four players to have a quadruple-double in an NBA game, and has the highest steals per game average for a career of any qualified player ever.
p-836744-george-mcginnis-autographed-hand-signed-magazine-cover-sixers-psa-dna-s43831-mc-46574Source: Hall of Fame Memorabilia
7. George McGinnis
     McGinnis was drafted into both the American Basketball Association and the National Basketball Association in 1971. He joined the Indiana Pacers of the ABA, but, for the purpose of this list, we don’t necessarily care about his 4 years there. In 1975, McGinnis joined the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA, and he made the All-Star game his first two seasons in the league. In 1977, alongside fellow former ABA Stars Julius Erving and Caldwell Jones, McGinnis and the 76ers made the Finals, where they fell to the Bill Walton-led Portland Trail Blazers. Then, in 1978, he was traded to Denver for Bobby Jones, who became a centerpiece for the 76ers Finals teams of the early 80s. He made it back to the All-Star game after a one-year absence, averaging 22.6 points on the season. Halfway through the following season, he was traded back to the Pacers, who by now had joined the NBA. This is where he ended his career, and his #30 jersey has since been retired by the team (although that was mostly because of his ABA days). While he was most impressive in the ABA (25.2 points and 12.9 rebounds), his 17.2 points and 9.8 rebounds per game are certainly deserving of a spot in Springfield.
6. Mark Price
     Mark Price was the unlikeliest of heroes for the Cavaliers. Selected by the Dallas Mavericks, he was part of a draft-day trade that brought him to Cleveland. Coming out of Georgia Tech, he was considered too small and too slow to be successful in the NBA. However, in his third season, he made the All-Star game as he averaged 18.9 points and 8.4 assists per game on the season. He became the second member of the 50-40-90 club this season, as he shot about 53% from the field, 44% from three, and 90% from the free throw line. His next All-Star game would come three seasons later, in 1992. This year started a three-year run as a member of the Eastern Conference All-Stars. Mark Price teamed up with players like Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance, and John “Hot Rod” Williams to make the Cavs a powerhouse in the league. In 1992, the Cavs made the Eastern Conference Finals after a 57 win season, but, like most of their playoff losses at the time, they fell to the Chicago Bulls. Price retired with the highest field goal percentage in NBA history, but has since been passed by Steve Nash. He made 90% or more of his free throws in a season (not including 1995-96, when he only shot 10 total) an astonishing 6 times. At the end of his career, he bounced around with three teams in three seasons. His number 25 jersey has been retired by the Cavs. Price now coaches at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
5. Marques Johnson
     At UCLA, Marques Johnson was one of the best players in the country, and he proved it by winnings national championship and being named the National College Player of the Year two years later. From there, he was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the 3rd pick of the 1977 Draft. He put up amazing numbers, especially for a rookie, as he scored 19.5 points and grabbed 10.6 rebounds, but Johnson was overshadowed by another rookie, Adrian Dantley, who had 20.3 and 7.6 and took home the Rookie of the Year award. His second season, he was third in the league in scoring and made the All-Star game, the first of three straight and 5 total. In 1984, he, along with Junior Bridgeman and Harvey Catchings, was traded to the Clippers in exchange for Terry Cummings, Ricky Pierce, and Craig Hodges. However, when the Clippers found out about his earlier drug abuse problems a year later, they filed a law suit to void the trade, or at least receive compensation, for not being informed of this. This was partially their fault, for they should have checked Johnson’s file at the league office, which they felt they had no need to do. The Bucks thought that this only happened because the Clipper were disappointed in the outcome of the trade: Johnson had an off year, by his standards, and Cummings led the Bucks to the playoffs. The attempt ultimately failed, and the Clippers should be thankful; the following season, Johnson scored 20.3 points and made the All-Star team. Unfortunately, he collided with teammate Benoit Benjamin, which resulted in a neck injury that ended his career way too early. He attempted a comeback three years later with the Warriors, but he only played ten unsuccessful games. He is often credited with coining the term “point forward”, which is a forward that handles the ball and sets up the offense like a point guard, when the Bucks were low on guards because of injuries. However, this is still open for debate, as John Johnson and Del Harris both take credit for the phrase.
Sidney Moncrief drives to the basketSource: NBA
4. Sidney Moncrief
     Sid the Squid from Arkansas was drafted with the fifth pick in 1979 by the Bucks. The 6-4 shooting guard made a reputation as a defensive stopper in the league. In his third season, he averaged 19.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.9 assists to go along with 1.7 steals per game en route to an All-Star team selection. A five-year stretch that started that season saw five straight All-Star games, and during this time Moncrief was widely considered the best shooting guard in the league. He made four All-Defensive First Teams and one Second Team selection, as well as four All-NBA First Teams and one Second Team. The first two Defensive Player of the Year awards in 1983 and 1984 were awarded to him. To this day, Moncrief remains the only guard to win multiple Defensive Player of the Year awards. But don’t get it wrong, The Squid had an offensive game too. In 1983, he scored his career high of 22.5 points per game. Milwaukee’s coach at the time, Don Nelson, called Sidney Moncrief the best player he ever coached; keep in mind, Harris coached the likes of Tim Hardaway, Chris Mullin, Patrick Ewing, and Dirk Nowitzki. In 1989, Moncrief retired from basketball. A year later, he came back for a season with the Atlanta Hawks, but he retired for good after that. His number 4 jersey was retired by the Bucks in 1990.
3. Tim Hardaway
     Hardaway was selected by the Golden State Warriors with the fourteenth pick. He was named the nation’s best 6 foot or under player at the University of Texas at El Paso (Fun Fact: UTEP, when it was known as Texas Western, became the first team with an all-black starting lineup to win the national championship in 1955, and coach Don Haskins from that team also coached Hardaway at UTEP). Hardaway made the All-Rookie First Team in 1990, averaging 14.7 points, 8.7 assists, and 2.1 steals. Along with Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin, the Warriors had quite possibly the best trio in basketball, “Run TMC”. They only played together for two seasons, but in 1991, they led the league in scoring between three players, with 72.5 points per game. Hardaway adapted one of the best crossovers the game has ever seen, a killer crossover known as the UTEP Two-Step. In 1991, he made his first All-Star team with 22.9 points, 9.7 assists, and 2.6 steals per game. The following season, he averaged a double-double for the first time, scoring 23.4 per game and dishing out 10 assists. He was selected to the All-NBA Second Team. At the 1996 trade deadline, Hardaway was dealt to the Miami Heat along with Chris Gatling for Bimbo Coles and Kevin Willis. Following the deal, his points and assists per game average increased by 3 each for the season. In both 1997 and 1998, Hardaway made the All-Star game after two years without being selected. Hardaway led the Heat to the playoffs 5 times in 5 years. He bounced around with the Mavericks, Nuggets, and Magic before retiring.
2. Kevin Johnson
     KJ was born and raised in Sacramento, and he attended the University of California, Berkeley. In 1987, he was selected with the seventh overall pick in the draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He backed up Mark Price in Cleveland, then, at the 1988 trade deadline, he was part of a trade that brought Larry Nance to Cleveland and sent Johnson to Phoenix. With the Suns, KJ received 11 more minutes per game, which resulted in a 5 point (7.3 to 12.6) and assist (3.7 to 8.7) boost per game. He was named the Rookie of the Month for April, which saw him average over 15 points and 10 assists. The following season, KJ was awarded the Most Improved Player award, posting 20.4 points and 12.2 assists while shooting over 50% from the field. The 1990 All-Star game was Johnson’s first of three. Meanwhile, Charles Barkley wanted out of Philadelphia, and the Suns made a move that paired KJ with Barkley to make a superstar tandem; the Suns gave up Jeff Hornacek, Tim Perry, and Andrew Lang in exchange for the Round Mound of Rebound, Barkley. Playing alongside Barkley, who won the MVP award in his first season with Phoenix, Johnson’s numbers took a slight dip (mostly due to a hernia, which resulted in him only playing 49 games) but the Suns won 62 games that season. In the playoffs, KJ averaged nearly 18 points and 8 assists in 23 games, and they made it all the way to the Finals before falling to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. In game three, which went to triple overtime, KJ set the record for most minutes played in a Finals game, playing 62 of 63 minutes in a win versus Chicago. In 1994, KJ made it to the All-Star game once again, averaging 20 points and 9.5 assists. In the playoffs, he scored 26.6 points and 9.6 assists in 10 games, including a monster slam dunk over Houston’s Hakeem Olajuwon. In 1997, he played 70 games, his most since 1992, and averaged over 20 points and 9 assists. However, after the following season, Johnson retired. He came back for a short time in 2000, playing 15 total games (regular season and playoffs). He has had his jersey retired by both Cal and the Suns and has been inducted into the Suns’ Ring of Honor. In 2008, Johnson was elected the first African-American mayor of Sacramento, and he was reelected in 2012.
Chris Webber listensSource:
1. Chris Webber
     Coming out of Michigan as the lead member of the Fab Five, C-Webb was drafted with the first overall pick of the 1993 Draft, and he was traded to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for Penny Hardaway and future draft picks just moments later. His rookie year, Webber averaged 17.5 points and 9.1 rebounds en route to being named the 1993-94 Rookie of the Year, and he helped lead the Warriors to the playoffs. However, he was upset with the team, mostly coach Don Nelson. Webber was traded to the Washington Bullets (who became the Wizards two years later) for Tom Gugliotta and three future picks. In 1997, he made the Eastern Conference All-Star team and led Washington to the playoffs. Then, in 1998, Webber was traded to the Sacramento Kings for Mitch Richmond and Otis Thorpe. He was originally reluctant to go to Sacramento, who were often at the bottom of the standings. In his first season with the Kings, Webber scored 20 points and snagged 13 rebounds per game. Meanwhile, the team made the playoffs, and would soon become championship contenders. In 2001, Webber would average 27.1 points and 11.1 rebounds per game, and the Kings made it to the playoffs. For the second season in a row, Sacramento’s season ended at the hand of the Los Angeles Lakers, in the midst of the Kobe-Shaq three-peat era. Sacramento won 61 games the following season, and they once again met the Lakers, this time in the Western Conference Finals. Game six was perhaps the most controversial game in recent memory. Late in the game, Kobe Bryant was trying to get open from Kings’ guard Mike Bibby when he elbowed Bibby in the face, and Bibby was called for the foul. This was one of many questionable calls throughout the game that favored the Lakers. Tim Donaghy, the disgraced NBA referee exposed for betting on games, officiated the game, and later said the game was fixed by order of the league. Game six has sparked a debate that is still going on 15 years later; some believe the league is rigged, and use this as the biggest evidence for their case, and others believe this was just a poorly officiated game. This pushed the series to a seventh game in Sacramento, which the Lakers won before winning the championship. Webber was selected to his fifth straight All-Star game the following season, but he was unable to play due to an ankle injury. Then in the playoffs, he injured his knee, and it required microfracture surgery. In the 2004 playoffs, the Kings faced off against the league MVP Kevin Garnett and the Minnesota Timberwolves. It went down to a game seven, and one shot; Webber had a clean look at a three-point attempt to win the game, but it did not fall. During the 2005 season, Webber was once again traded, this time to the Philadelphia 76ers. In the 2006-07 season, the 76ers and Webber reached a buyout agreement, and he was waived. Only a few days after he was waived, he signed a contract with the Detroit Pistons and helped the team to the first seed in the East, although they fell to the Cavaliers in the playoffs. The team did not resign him, but in January of 2008, Webber went back to Golden State. After nine games, he officially retired from basketball. For his career, Chris Webber averaged 20.7 points and 9.8 rebounds, and his number 4 jersey was retired by the Sacramento Kings.