NBA

3 Current NBA Players who are Hall of Fame Sleepers

Jun 6, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers center Kevin Love (0) tries to drive against Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (right) during the fourth quarter in game three of the 2018 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

When you think of the NBA, all of the household names come to mind immediately. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry–players who have changed the game forever. All of these players are locks for the Basketball Hall of Fame. However, many stars have flown under the radar throughout the years—players who have quietly dominated the NBA but are very unappreciated.

When you think of some of these underrated stars, you don’t immediately associate them with the Hall of Fame or NBA legend status. However, many of these players have excellent basketball resumes but don’t get the Hall of Fame discussion they deserve. Today, we’ll look at some players that are “sleepers” for the Hall of Fame.

Hall of Fame Sleeper #1: Kevin Love

Oct 19, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers center Kevin Love (0) dunks the ball during the second quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center.
Harrison Barden- USA TODAY Sports
Career averages: 18.2 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 2.4 APG, 44.2 FG%

Love has an imposing basketball resume. He is a five-time all-star, a 2016 NBA champion, a 2010-2011 rebounds leader and Most Improved Player, and a two-time all-NBA selection. Love also impressively won a gold medal in 2012 with the United States national basketball team. In addition to his accolades, Love has the record for most consecutive double-doubles since the NBA-ABA merger, with 53.

The most common argument against Kevin Love being inducted is his lack of playoff success in Minnesota. However, we have seen players with lesser playoff success receive inductions into the Hall of Fame. Tracy McGrady, a member of the 2017 class, never made it out of the first round of the playoffs. Although Love never made the playoffs in Minnesota, he went to the finals three times with the Cavaliers. Although his production dropped in the 2016 Finals, he played game-clinching defense down the stretch of Game 7 on Stephen Curry.

Love’s basketball career isn’t as impressive as some of the NBA legends we’ve seen throughout the years. However, his resume and accolades don’t lie: Kevin Love is worthy of being an inductee. Love deserves more recognition and praise for his accomplishments and certainly deserves to be in more Hall of Fame conversations.

Sleeper #2: LaMarcus Aldridge

Jan 7, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) tries to block a shot by Los Angeles Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker (5) during the second quarter at Staples Center.
Robert Hanashiro- USA TODAY Sports
Career averages: 19.4 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.0 APG, 49.1 FG%

LaMarcus Aldridge has flown under the radar in terms of being an NBA great. Aldridge has an excellent basketball resume. He is a seven-time all-star and a five-time all NBA selection. Aldridge also impressively is the third all-time leading scorer for the Portland Trail Blazers and the franchise’s all-time leading rebounder.

Like Love, the argument against LaMarcus Aldridge being inducted is his lack of postseason success. In his fifteen-year tenure in the NBA, he has only been to one conference finals. However, despite this, Aldridge is a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. He is on pace to join an elusive club of players with 20,000 points and 10,000 rebounds–only 18 other players have achieved this. Plus, every NBA player with seven or more all-star appearances since 1960 is in the Hall of Fame.

Aldridge’s lack of playoff success is likely to end this season, as he signed with the Brooklyn Nets just days ago. In Brooklyn, he’ll be joining what is already a superteam: Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Blake Griffin. If Aldridge wins a championship in Brooklyn, he’ll be adding onto what is already a terrific resume.

Sleeper #3: Andre Iguodala

Mar 21, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat forward Andre Iguodala (28) reacts to a shot by teammate Jimmy Butler (22) rolling around the rim of the basket in the fourth quarter against the Indiana Pacers at American Airlines Arena
Jim Rassol- USA TODAY Sports
Career averages: 11.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.2 APG, 46.4 FG%

Andre Iguodala has had one of the most unusual basketball careers in NBA history. However, his basketball resume is nothing to sneeze at and is Hall of Fame worthy. He is a one-time all-star, a two-time All-Defensive selection, and most impressively, a three-time NBA champion and 2015 Finals MVP. He was also a gold medalist in the 2012 Olympics along with Kevin Love.

The argument against Andre Iguodala being in the Hall of Fame is that he doesn’t have enough all-star appearances. But his other accomplishments make up for this. His status as a Finals MVP and three-time NBA champion put him as a solid Hall of Fame contender. The only eligible finals MVPs to not be inducted into the Hall of Fame are Cedric Maxwell and Chauncey Billups. Billups is very likely to make it in the next few years, however. Only 12 other players have ever won both a finals MVP and three championships. All of them are either in the Hall of Fame or will be when eligible.

Andre Iguodala is one of the most underrated players in NBA history. His defensive IQ and veteran leadership has propelled him to five finals appearances, three championships, and a finals MVP. While he may not be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, he most definitely deserves an eventual induction when he retires.

These three players have had phenomenal basketball careers yet are often forgotten about in the Hall of Fame conversation. While it may take some time for these players to receive inductions once they retire, all three of these sleepers 100% deserve a spot in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

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