Saturday, September 21, 2013

Is Chris Webber a Hall of Famer?

The Basketball Hall of Fame debate seemed to start earlier this summer, when a couple of former superstars who had brief stints with the Detroit Pistons ended their careers: Allen Iverson (reportedly) and Tracy McGrady.

An ESPN writer has added one more name to the debate, and not only is he someone who’s eligible for voting next year, but he’s someone we watched grow up, literally.

The person under scribe Zach Lowe’s microscope is Chris Webber. The former Mr. Basketball/Fab Five star/No. 1 overall pick/ex-Piston (again, briefly) was, and still is, a divisive character. In fact, Lowe alludes to this, but mostly crunches the numbers to say C-Webb is a Hall of Famer.

“Here is the total list of players who piled up at least 17,000 points and 8,000 rebounds, while averaging at least four assists per game with a career PER (player efficiency rating) above 20: Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Bird and Webber. There's some unfair cherry-picking there, since Webber barely exceeds all those thresholds. But cutting the criteria still produces a ridiculously elite list of just 11 guys, all current or future Hall of Famers — plus Webber.”

Lowe goes on to concede that Webber’s shortcomings include his lack of a world championship — though he was the best player on those early-2000s Sacramento Kings that nearly knocked off the Lakers. And he mentioned, more in passing, his short, yet dazzling, culturally impactful and tainted college career as a Wolverine.

Also presented in Webber’s case file was the fact that his numbers tended to decline a bit in the playoffs. But much of Lowe’s argument hinges on Webber’s talent level, especially as a passer.

If you haven’t yet, read Lowe’s analysis and his 17 stray thoughts, mostly on his NBA career. And no, none of his half of season in 2007 with the Pistons, where he averaged 11.3 points and 6.7 assists on a bad knee factor into this Hall of Fame equation.

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