List of Milwaukee Bucks participants in Friday’s Rising Stars Challenge: (none)
List of Milwaukee Bucks participants in Saturday’s Skills Challenge: (none)
List of Milwaukee Bucks participants in Saturday’s Three-Point Shooting Contest: (none)
List of Milwaukee Bucks participants in Saturday’s Slam Dunk Contest: (none)
List of Milwaukee Bucks participants in Sunday’s All-Star Game: (none)
If you’re keeping score at home, that would be 52 people participating in All-Star Weekend, none of whom are from the Bucks. Fine. With the exception of perhaps John Henson as a rookie, Mike Dunleavy as a three-point shooter, and Brandon Jennings as a skills guy, the Bucks didn’t deserve inclusion.
But here’s one area where the Bucks did deserve a nod: the Basketball Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is an entity separate from the NBA, and the NBA only constitutes a small fraction of it. It also includes women’s basketball, college basketball, high school basketball, international basketball, basketball pioneers, and any other type of basketball you can think of. There are a lot of people worthy of consideration for the Hall, some from the NBA and some from other spectrums.
Sidney Moncrief is most definitely one of them.
The Hall announced their 12 finalists, including five who will get direct induction. None of the Bucks’ greats on the cusp of inclusion — Moncrief, Bob Dandridge, Marques Johnson — made the cut as a finalist this year. Gary Payton was chosen as a finalist, but it’s a safe bet that he didn’t get selected based on his 28 games as a Buck, (or the fact that he came via a trade that robbed the Bucks of their next Hall of Famer).
In recent years, Don Nelson made it into the Hall, but that was a no-brainer, since he won more games as an NBA head coach than anyone else. What about players though? If the signature player from a franchise’s longest sustained period of excellence can’t make into the Basketball Hall of Fame, then who can? In the same way that Milwaukee is neglected as a floundering market by the league’s upper management, their potential Hall candidates are overlooked by unnamed committees of nine.
The process for getting elected to the Hall of Fame is cloudy and imbalanced, as Tom Ziller pointed out this week. Some specialized subcommittees nominate members of the Hall directly. This year five members were chosen this way. They are in — not as finalists for membership, but as full-fledged members of the Hall of Fame: Russ Granik (Contributor Direct Election Committee), Roger Brown (American Basketball Association Committee), Edwin B. Henderson (African-American Pioneers Committee), Oscar Schmidt (International Committee). Of all these groups, the “contributor” category stinks most like fish, as it did last year too (Phil Knight, Nike CEO).
Meanwhile, the stars of the NBA and NCAA get strung out a bit further. There is one committee of nine to choose the North American finalists from a pool of nominees, then another of 24 to pare down the list from Finalists to Members. No more than ten Finalists are allowed in a given year. Moncrief was a Finalist in 2000.
The information about the election process on the Hall’s webpage doesn’t even reflect the change made in 2011 to give these five subcommittees the powers of direct election. And for all anyone knows, Moncrief could have had his candidacy suspended for five years for lack of garnering a single vote from the preliminary committee of nine. While unlikely, it could happen and no one would know because neither the vote totals nor the vote-makers are made known to the public.
Since I push Moncrief’s candidacy on an annual basis, I’ll keep the evidence brief. To borrow from a Steve Aschburner piece of a few years ago (and update the data via Basketball Reference): Moncrief is 29th on the combined NBA/ABA career list of “win shares per 48 minutes”, a reasonable statistical measure of his impact on both offense and defense especially in light of the limited defensive data of his era. The 19 players ahead of him on that list who are eligible for the Hall of Fame are in the Hall of Fame. So are the next nine below him. Plus, the nine above him who aren’t eligible yet — Shaq, CP3, Lebron, Yao, Garnett, Manu, Duncan, D-Wade, and Dirk — are guaranteed locks for whom it is just a matter of time.
A lightning quick windmill of sinewy arms and legs, Moncrief also won the NBA’s first two Defensive Player of the Year Awards.
If you prefer anecdotal evidence, I submit the following: video clips of Moncrief on the road against the eventual champion Lakers from a single game in 1982.
“He scores; he wins it; the game is over.” (h/t @nonplayerzealot4)
Oh, and by the way, about that Laker team that Moncrief and the Bucks sent to defeat? It had four Hall of Famers.