- Neil Paine
Because it involves so many angles -- peak value vs. career production, college contributions vs. the pros, etc. -- Hill's case is going to make for one of the more interesting Hall of Fame discussions in recent memory. To help us sort it all out, we need to turn once again to our Hall Monitor, an inventory of 14 questions designed to assess whether a player deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. (Be sure to also see what ESPN The Magazine says about Hill's credentials here.)
Should Hill make the cut? Read on to find out.
Position: Small forward
Weighted career EWA: 116.2 (typical Hall of Famer -- 129)
Weighted career Win Shares Above Replacement: 63.1 (typical Hall of Famer -- 78)
Weighted career VORP: 34.3 (typical Hall of Famer -- 38)
1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in basketball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in basketball?
No, not really. Although a newspaper search from the late 1990s reveals plenty of speculation that Hill would someday supplant Michael Jordan as the game's best player, and Alvin Gentry (Hill's coach at the time with the Detroit Pistons) referred to him as the "best player in the league" in 2000, that was a minority opinion. Hill never finished better than third in MVP voting, nor did he rank better than third in either Estimated Wins Added, Win Shares Above Replacement, or Value Over Replacement Player. Most likely, Jordan passed the baton directly to Shaquille O'Neal instead, with a possible stopover at Karl Malone's place.
2. Was he the best player on his team?