1. Is Vince Carter a Hall of Famer?
J.A. Adande, ESPN.com: No. His career seems defined by what he hasn't done: such as, he has never led the league in a statistical category and never gone to the NBA Finals. The last part is even more remarkable because he joined two teams (the Magic and Mavericks) that went to the Finals the season before he got there, and a third (the Nets) that went two years before he arrived. He has had a habit of always arriving after the meal was eaten and the bill has been paid. And of course, he left the Raptors before they even served the main course.
Mark Haubner, The Painted Area: Yes. Based on precedent, Vince will make it someday. Carter is 31st all-time in NBA scoring with over 21,000 points; every eligible player above him is in Springfield. But I wish the Hall of Fame had a higher standard. Carter made only two All-NBA teams (a second and a third). To me, he's a borderline candidate.
Steve McPherson, A Wolf Among Wolves: Yes. Carter is at the threshold of the kind of numbers associated with Hall of Famers. But for me, a Hall of Famer should be about more than just numbers. It should be about the fabric of the game, and with his Slam Dunk Contest win in 2000, his dunk on Frederic Weis in the Olympics that same year and countless other throwdowns, he was more than a dunker -- he became the dunk for countless fans.
Danny Nowell, Portland Roundball Society: No. If I were seeking true consistency with the rest of my list, Vince would be in, but there just aren't enough distinguishing achievements in his career. It pains me, as I have a soft spot for Vince as a Tar Heel, but I simply can't quite envision him enshrined.
Ethan Sherwood Strauss, HoopSpeak: Yes. He's the greatest dunker ever, and he happened to have a long, successful career doing a lot more than that. What went down in Toronto does not bother me. The guy didn't want to be stuck plying his trade in another country. I get it.
4. Is Tracy McGrady a Hall of Famer?
Adande: No. He never played a full 82-game season, and it feels as if he never got to play his full career. A bad back essentially wrecked him by age 30. His failure to advance past the first round of the playoffs wrecks his Hall of Fame bid in my time. Even worse, the Rockets did advance, then took the Lakers to seven games in the second round, all in his injured absence. That might qualify him for the Patrick Ewing Theory Hall of Fame, but not the one in Springfield.
Haubner: Yes. T-Mac deserves it. Due to his excruciating decline, you likely forget how good T-Mac was: seven All-NBA teams and one of only seven players ever with a 30-plus PER season (2002-03). Lack of a playoff series win hurts, though McGrady was usually spectacular in the postseason. Clearly a better NBA résumé than Chris Mullin, who got in last year.
McPherson: No. Beloved by deep basketball heads for the nearly supernatural abilities he displayed for a brief window at the beginning of the 2000s, McGrady has had a career too potholed by difficulties to be a lock for the Hall. It's roughly equivalent to putting the band Television into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame just on the strength of the "Marquee Moon" album. I mean, "Marquee Moon" is so good but ... hmm. Can I change my vote?
Nowell: Yes. Tracy McGrady still might be the prettiest scorer I've ever seen, and during his prime was a marquee player during one of the best eras in the league. I could see this going the other way, but T-Mac gets my vote.
Strauss: No. He should have been, but he's not. There was a time when preferring T-Mac to Kobe was perfectly reasonable, if not rational. Some back spasms and knee injuries later, and McGrady's résumé lacks HOF credentials.
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