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9.10.2008

Defense, Rebounding, and the Hall

Dennis Johnson’s exclusion from the Basketball Hall of Fame irks me. After the last few days, no one would doubt me on that point. It’s not just that good one-way players like Bob McAdoo and Adrian Dantley made it to the Hall before DJ, but also that total headscratchers like Calvin Murphy got inducted long ago.

Someone tried to explain this to me by observing that the Basketball Hall of Fame is just that—a hall of fame for the sport of basketball. Induction is not restricted to NBA coaches and players.

This helps assuage my angst somewhat, as it does seem to explain how players like Murphy and even David Thompson, who’s star dimmed after six seasons and scored 4,000 points fewer than DJ, can be on the inside looking out at all-time great defensive players. Both Murphy and Thompson enjoyed impressive college careers.

At the same time, coming up with a post-hoc justification for induction of one-way offensive players does nothing to justify the exclusion of clear-cut, all-time defensive and rebounding giants, three of which come to mind:

Dennis Johnson

3-Time NBA Champion

Finals MVP

9-Time All Defense

5-Time All-Star

2-Time All-NBA

Immeasurably Clutch in Crunch Time

Sidney Moncrief

Two-Time Defensive Player of the Year

5-Time All Defense

5-Time All NBA

Dennis Rodman

7-Time Rebounding Champion (record)

7-Consecutive Rebounding Titles (record)

7-Time All Defense

2-Time Defensive Player of the Year

5-Time NBA Champion

2-Time All Star

2-Time All NBA

If defense and rebounding wins championships, the basketball overlords have dishonored this bedrock axiom by snubbing the players who defended and rebounded best. But rather than drone on over the injustice, I’ll focus my energies on posting some items that pay tribute to these skills.

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