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Toni Kukoc named to the Basketball HOF

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Re: Toni Kukoc named to the Basketball HOF 

Post#41 » by Axl Rose » Wed May 19, 2021 1:32 am

Congrats to Toni.
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Re: Toni Kukoc named to the Basketball HOF 

Post#42 » by northbrookrich » Wed May 19, 2021 2:01 am

I see a bunch of posts that say it is a basketball hall of fame, but then they want to distinguish accomplishments in college, high school, AAU??? Toni showed that he was a very nice role player in the NBA and a star in a Euroleague at the time when good college teams would probably beat those Euroleague teams.

Congrats to Toni, but I prefer a narrower definition of the hall of fame to be the best players in the sport at the highest level. If you never were in the conversation for league MVP or not a top 2-3 player in a championship team, you don't get my vote.

Maybe there should be a separate category for "basketball contributors hall of fame" and put all the Euros and women and refs and coaches and GMs and broadcasters in that wing. All important to the development in the league, but not the same as Michael and Scottie and Dennis...
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Re: Toni Kukoc named to the Basketball HOF 

Post#43 » by ZOMG » Wed May 19, 2021 7:34 am

It was absolutely preposterous and insulting that lesser dudes like Radja and Divac were in the HOF but Kukoc couldn't get in. Toni was literally the heart and soul of all his highly succesful club teams in Europe as well as all the great Yugoslavian and Croatian national teams he was on. This is a fact.

Was Kukoc a complete player? HELL NO. He only started playing defense in the NBA because he was forced to. From what I hear, when he was a young star in what was then Yugoslavia, he was incredibly lazy in practice, just chucking 3pt shots when the rest of the team ran drills. But that just tells you what an otherworldly talent this guy was.

Kukoc was 15 when he picked up a basketball for the first time. He used to be a table tennis and soccer player before that. Four years later - yes, FOUR - he was leading teams to Euroleague championships as a rail-thin 7ft PG, at a time when such a thing was basically unheard of.

Compare that with someone like Doncic, who's been groomed to be a pro basketball player since he was like 3 years old.

In my opinion, Kukoc is one of the most incredible purely natural talents the basketball world has ever seen. He's a true legend of the sport, not just because of his accomplishments, but because he captured the imaginations of everyone who watched him play. Even with the numerous flaws he had as a player overall (particularly evident in the very different NBA game), that kind of talent is just mesmerizing. And that's why people like Radja, Divac and co. are not nearly in the same class.

When Manu Ginobili gets into the HOF, I expect to hear from the same naysayers. And they'll be wrong again.
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Re: Toni Kukoc named to the Basketball HOF 

Post#44 » by Mk0 » Wed May 19, 2021 8:35 am

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Re: Toni Kukoc named to the Basketball HOF 

Post#45 » by dougthonus » Wed May 19, 2021 1:33 pm

northbrookrich wrote:Maybe there should be a separate category for "basketball contributors hall of fame" and put all the Euros and women and refs and coaches and GMs and broadcasters in that wing. All important to the development in the league, but not the same as Michael and Scottie and Dennis...


He is in under international contributors, so this is true.
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Re: Toni Kukoc named to the Basketball HOF 

Post#46 » by Wingy » Fri May 21, 2021 11:16 am

ZOMG wrote:When Manu Ginobili gets into the HOF, I expect to hear from the same naysayers. And they'll be wrong again.


Good post on Toni.

Manu was awesome. There’s a reason Chuck was always yelling his name in the TNT studios. Dude could’ve put up way bigger numbers, but sacrificed to do whatever Pop needed him to do.

That said...

Spoiler:
I agree. A big -1 button to anyone questioning a berth in the Hall for that man.
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Re: Toni Kukoc named to the Basketball HOF 

Post#47 » by chefo » Fri May 21, 2021 6:50 pm

I see a lot of talk that his international success was against "scrubs", which is a very US-focused view of affairs. The mid 80s to the early 90s (when Yugoslavia and the USSR both dissolved) were the absolute, bar-none, golden age of European club basketball. Why?

Because the average NBA fan thinks that European players just became good ever since a bunch of end-of-bench kids started getting drafted in the NBA and several of them panned out. They didn't. They've been good for awhile. It's just nobody on this side of the Atlantic cared.

The late 1980s were absolutely, insanely competitive in European club ball because the 1980s had insane overall top-end talent spread around the top 6-7 clubs.

Toni's Jugoplastika team had him, Dino Radja, Tabak and Savic, and some random other Yugo national team players sprinkled in--the same that finished 2nd in 88 Olympics losing to Sabonis' USSR and then won the 1990 World Cup. Hell, Partizan in the Yugo league couldn't get a championship until Toni left for Italy and that was a team with Divac, Danilovic and Sasha Djorgevic.

Aris back then had Galis and Giannakis, and won 80 (!) straight games in Greece, despite playing against two other European power houses in Olympiakos and Panatinaikos multiple times a year. Look these two dudes up. Suffice it to say, in an era with the best ever Yugo and USSR teams that had rosters full of hall-of-famers, they won a European championship for Greece.

Real Madrid with Petrovic couldn't even beat Barcelona to compete in the Champion's League. Same for Oscar Schmidt in Italy who never won against Olimpia Milano (with old Bob McAdoo, Moustache and Dino Menegin).

In the USSR you had Zalgiris with Sabonis and Kurtinaitis who were so dominant that Moscow's darling CSKA with Volkov and half the USSR's national team couldn't beat them, and neither could Lietuvos Rytas with the Bulls' very own Lord AK and Marčiulionis, who were big stars in their own right.

The Spanish, Greek, Yugo, USSR and Italian leagues all had 2-3 absolutely superb teams from where these countries drafted their entire national teams. Then you had the best Turkish clubs and Maccabi as well.

Each of these clubs, if playing motivated, would have absolutely spanked any non-generational US college team. Toni's championship clubs for example, started three ~7 footers, two of them currently hall-of-famers. To put them in the same sentence with US high-school hoops and even US college hoops programs is absolutely laughable.

Toni was much beloved in Europe because he was the 6'11 European Magic-like prodigy and his team beat over and over teams that often had 2-3 hall-of-famers in their own right, plus another 2-3 national team players from that country as well. It was incredibly hard to win the EuroLeague once with their final 4 single-game elimination, let alone to three-peat like he did.

As for Toni himself--yeah, he had no off-court discipline and was known as a slacker his entire early career, even before coming to the NBA. That being said, had he ended up not on the Bulls where he played out of position at SF/PF, in a system without a PG, and behind the GOAT and Scottie, I could have easily seen him have a decade of averaging something like 18/9/7 with probably a random year of 21/9/7. In an era before the stats inflation of the modern day where these kind of numbers were much harder to come by. He probably would have been a multiple all-star and never won a thing... and still would have made it in the Hall-of-Fame anyways.

P.S. Just for some context:

Had Yugoslavia not fallen into civil war, here's what the Yugo team of 1992 could have looked like:

PG: Toni / Sasha (best European PG of his generation)
SG: Petrovic (best European scorer of his generation)
SF: Danilovic / Bodiroga (best wing that played in Europe of his generation)
PF: Radja / Savic
C: Vlade / Savic (one of the best European bigs of his generation)

Plus a score of athletic 7 foot stiffs to round out the roster.

Assuming Petrovic doesn't crash and die, you put that exact team in the NBA in the mid 1990s, and that's a solid second round team, if not better. There was so much hype about them facing off against the Dream Team in Barcelona... never happened, but the young, non-prime versions of these guys were absolutely destroying everybody they went up against in international competition. Their last tournament together, they won Eurobasket 1991 by an average margin of over 20 and that was without Patrovic, who was the best of the bunch. That was the golden Yugo generation and the best European team ever, and Toni was the second best player on it.
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Re: Toni Kukoc named to the Basketball HOF 

Post#48 » by FranchisePlayer » Fri May 21, 2021 7:12 pm

MrSparkle wrote:I don't see a scenario here or there where Lauri becomes the "7-pick we thought he could be." If you remove his 3P ability, he's worse than Felicio by a mile.
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Re: Toni Kukoc named to the Basketball HOF 

Post#49 » by getjeffrey » Fri May 21, 2021 7:43 pm

What a joke!
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Re: Toni Kukoc named to the Basketball HOF 

Post#50 » by erlim » Mon May 24, 2021 9:53 am

Man if Yao Ming is in the hall of fame for trailblazing , Toni Kukoc as a multiple time champion in both the NBA and Euroleague definitely deserves it.
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Re: Toni Kukoc named to the Basketball HOF 

Post#51 » by RSP83 » Fri Sep 10, 2021 5:33 am

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nba.com/amp/bulls/features/michael-jordan-jerry-reinsdorf-present-toni-kukoc-hall-fame

I thought this is worth posting:

So one day six or seven years ago Jordan, who knows basketball talent, was talking with Kukoc and said when Kukoc was enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, he'd like to be there for him as a presenter.

Kukoc was delighted.

And then came the news in May Kukoc finally was to be enshrined in the 2021 Hall of Fame class this Saturday, September 11.

Then came some disappointing news.

Jordan, who recently built his own golf course near Jupiter, Fla., called to apologize. He could not make it after all; his daughter, Jasmine, was being married and he, of course, would be walking her down the aisle.

"I completely understood," Kukoc said. "You have to be with your family first. I was just so honored he wanted to be there for me."

Then Jordan called again; the wedding had to be delayed because of the Covid virus.

"Michael told me he'd like to be a presenter for me if I would still have him," Kukoc recalled with a laugh. "What do you think I said?"


I don't know how deep is their friendship. But still a really nice and classy gesture by MJ. I think there's no doubt that he was an a-hole of a teammate in his playing days, the fight with Bill Cartwright, Steve Kerr, and many other stories. Luc even said it in his mini documentary, that he doesn't necessarily like or enjoy being around MJ, but respect him as a player. But I genuinely believe that MJ actually cares about his teammates, and seems to also actively trying to show his gratitude toward them. Making himself available (this is really special) for Luc Longley's documentary, and him getting back at Toni in this article. His Kobe testimonial speech was probably one of the best testimonial speech I've heard from one player to his peer / protegè.

I mean, good for MJ. He's still this exclusive, loner, and untouchable figure. But he doesn't forget his teammate and willing to do them a favor. From brand perspective, this does great things for his image, especially after the Last Dance. I don't know if this gesture is part of that image fix plan, or not. But I think it's organic gesture, I think it's genuine. It's consistent between the MJ we saw when giving that Kobe speech, and this MJ that's doing favors for Luc and Toni.

Can't wait to see Toni's enshrinement.
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Re: Toni Kukoc named to the Basketball HOF 

Post#52 » by samwana » Fri Sep 10, 2021 6:08 am

chefo wrote:I see a lot of talk that his international success was against "scrubs", which is a very US-focused view of affairs. The mid 80s to the early 90s (when Yugoslavia and the USSR both dissolved) were the absolute, bar-none, golden age of European club basketball. Why?

Because the average NBA fan thinks that European players just became good ever since a bunch of end-of-bench kids started getting drafted in the NBA and several of them panned out. They didn't. They've been good for awhile. It's just nobody on this side of the Atlantic cared.

The late 1980s were absolutely, insanely competitive in European club ball because the 1980s had insane overall top-end talent spread around the top 6-7 clubs.

Toni's Jugoplastika team had him, Dino Radja, Tabak and Savic, and some random other Yugo national team players sprinkled in--the same that finished 2nd in 88 Olympics losing to Sabonis' USSR and then won the 1990 World Cup. Hell, Partizan in the Yugo league couldn't get a championship until Toni left for Italy and that was a team with Divac, Danilovic and Sasha Djorgevic.

Aris back then had Galis and Giannakis, and won 80 (!) straight games in Greece, despite playing against two other European power houses in Olympiakos and Panatinaikos multiple times a year. Look these two dudes up. Suffice it to say, in an era with the best ever Yugo and USSR teams that had rosters full of hall-of-famers, they won a European championship for Greece.

Real Madrid with Petrovic couldn't even beat Barcelona to compete in the Champion's League. Same for Oscar Schmidt in Italy who never won against Olimpia Milano (with old Bob McAdoo, Moustache and Dino Menegin).

In the USSR you had Zalgiris with Sabonis and Kurtinaitis who were so dominant that Moscow's darling CSKA with Volkov and half the USSR's national team couldn't beat them, and neither could Lietuvos Rytas with the Bulls' very own Lord AK and Marčiulionis, who were big stars in their own right.

The Spanish, Greek, Yugo, USSR and Italian leagues all had 2-3 absolutely superb teams from where these countries drafted their entire national teams. Then you had the best Turkish clubs and Maccabi as well.

Each of these clubs, if playing motivated, would have absolutely spanked any non-generational US college team. Toni's championship clubs for example, started three ~7 footers, two of them currently hall-of-famers. To put them in the same sentence with US high-school hoops and even US college hoops programs is absolutely laughable.

Toni was much beloved in Europe because he was the 6'11 European Magic-like prodigy and his team beat over and over teams that often had 2-3 hall-of-famers in their own right, plus another 2-3 national team players from that country as well. It was incredibly hard to win the EuroLeague once with their final 4 single-game elimination, let alone to three-peat like he did.

As for Toni himself--yeah, he had no off-court discipline and was known as a slacker his entire early career, even before coming to the NBA. That being said, had he ended up not on the Bulls where he played out of position at SF/PF, in a system without a PG, and behind the GOAT and Scottie, I could have easily seen him have a decade of averaging something like 18/9/7 with probably a random year of 21/9/7. In an era before the stats inflation of the modern day where these kind of numbers were much harder to come by. He probably would have been a multiple all-star and never won a thing... and still would have made it in the Hall-of-Fame anyways.

P.S. Just for some context:

Had Yugoslavia not fallen into civil war, here's what the Yugo team of 1992 could have looked like:

PG: Toni / Sasha (best European PG of his generation)
SG: Petrovic (best European scorer of his generation)
SF: Danilovic / Bodiroga (best wing that played in Europe of his generation)
PF: Radja / Savic
C: Vlade / Savic (one of the best European bigs of his generation)

Plus a score of athletic 7 foot stiffs to round out the roster.

Assuming Petrovic doesn't crash and die, you put that exact team in the NBA in the mid 1990s, and that's a solid second round team, if not better. There was so much hype about them facing off against the Dream Team in Barcelona... never happened, but the young, non-prime versions of these guys were absolutely destroying everybody they went up against in international competition. Their last tournament together, they won Eurobasket 1991 by an average margin of over 20 and that was without Patrovic, who was the best of the bunch. That was the golden Yugo generation and the best European team ever, and Toni was the second best player on it.
Thanks man, I enjoyed your post very much. Took me back to those amazing years of basketball in Europe. These teams where so fun to watch!

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Re: Toni Kukoc named to the Basketball HOF 

Post#53 » by Stratmaster » Fri Sep 10, 2021 3:54 pm

kulaz3000 wrote:
Lexluthor wrote:If Toni Kukoc made the Hall of Fame you might as well add Lamar Odom and Robert Horry. Toni was a good player but he did not live up to the hype. He was still a younger when he joined the bulls


Didn't live up to the hype?

He played his prime when he was playing with 3 first ballot hall of famers in Jordan, Pippen and Rodman, and still played a crucial role in winning the 3 championships. Without Toni, I'm not convinced that the Bulls win 3 straight - perhaps they win a championship or two, but not three straight in my opinion.

I think if you had put Toni on a lesser team instead of the Bulls when he eventually came into the league, perhaps he isn't a championship player, but his stats become a lot more impressive, but that's all projection of course. He was a special player, and in many ways ahead of his time.
This.

If Pippen hadn't been in those teams Toni's role would have been much greater, and much more crucial.

He was 6th man because the guys starting ahead of him were all-world all the time.

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Re: Toni Kukoc named to the Basketball HOF 

Post#54 » by Jcool0 » Fri Sep 10, 2021 7:55 pm

Not sure about that... But playing on the Bulls did suppress his numbers.

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Re: Toni Kukoc named to the Basketball HOF 

Post#55 » by JohnnyKILLroy » Fri Sep 10, 2021 8:27 pm

samwana wrote:
chefo wrote:I see a lot of talk that his international success was against "scrubs", which is a very US-focused view of affairs. The mid 80s to the early 90s (when Yugoslavia and the USSR both dissolved) were the absolute, bar-none, golden age of European club basketball. Why?

Because the average NBA fan thinks that European players just became good ever since a bunch of end-of-bench kids started getting drafted in the NBA and several of them panned out. They didn't. They've been good for awhile. It's just nobody on this side of the Atlantic cared.

The late 1980s were absolutely, insanely competitive in European club ball because the 1980s had insane overall top-end talent spread around the top 6-7 clubs.

Toni's Jugoplastika team had him, Dino Radja, Tabak and Savic, and some random other Yugo national team players sprinkled in--the same that finished 2nd in 88 Olympics losing to Sabonis' USSR and then won the 1990 World Cup. Hell, Partizan in the Yugo league couldn't get a championship until Toni left for Italy and that was a team with Divac, Danilovic and Sasha Djorgevic.

Aris back then had Galis and Giannakis, and won 80 (!) straight games in Greece, despite playing against two other European power houses in Olympiakos and Panatinaikos multiple times a year. Look these two dudes up. Suffice it to say, in an era with the best ever Yugo and USSR teams that had rosters full of hall-of-famers, they won a European championship for Greece.

Real Madrid with Petrovic couldn't even beat Barcelona to compete in the Champion's League. Same for Oscar Schmidt in Italy who never won against Olimpia Milano (with old Bob McAdoo, Moustache and Dino Menegin).

In the USSR you had Zalgiris with Sabonis and Kurtinaitis who were so dominant that Moscow's darling CSKA with Volkov and half the USSR's national team couldn't beat them, and neither could Lietuvos Rytas with the Bulls' very own Lord AK and Marčiulionis, who were big stars in their own right.

The Spanish, Greek, Yugo, USSR and Italian leagues all had 2-3 absolutely superb teams from where these countries drafted their entire national teams. Then you had the best Turkish clubs and Maccabi as well.

Each of these clubs, if playing motivated, would have absolutely spanked any non-generational US college team. Toni's championship clubs for example, started three ~7 footers, two of them currently hall-of-famers. To put them in the same sentence with US high-school hoops and even US college hoops programs is absolutely laughable.

Toni was much beloved in Europe because he was the 6'11 European Magic-like prodigy and his team beat over and over teams that often had 2-3 hall-of-famers in their own right, plus another 2-3 national team players from that country as well. It was incredibly hard to win the EuroLeague once with their final 4 single-game elimination, let alone to three-peat like he did.

As for Toni himself--yeah, he had no off-court discipline and was known as a slacker his entire early career, even before coming to the NBA. That being said, had he ended up not on the Bulls where he played out of position at SF/PF, in a system without a PG, and behind the GOAT and Scottie, I could have easily seen him have a decade of averaging something like 18/9/7 with probably a random year of 21/9/7. In an era before the stats inflation of the modern day where these kind of numbers were much harder to come by. He probably would have been a multiple all-star and never won a thing... and still would have made it in the Hall-of-Fame anyways.

P.S. Just for some context:

Had Yugoslavia not fallen into civil war, here's what the Yugo team of 1992 could have looked like:

PG: Toni / Sasha (best European PG of his generation)
SG: Petrovic (best European scorer of his generation)
SF: Danilovic / Bodiroga (best wing that played in Europe of his generation)
PF: Radja / Savic
C: Vlade / Savic (one of the best European bigs of his generation)

Plus a score of athletic 7 foot stiffs to round out the roster.

Assuming Petrovic doesn't crash and die, you put that exact team in the NBA in the mid 1990s, and that's a solid second round team, if not better. There was so much hype about them facing off against the Dream Team in Barcelona... never happened, but the young, non-prime versions of these guys were absolutely destroying everybody they went up against in international competition. Their last tournament together, they won Eurobasket 1991 by an average margin of over 20 and that was without Patrovic, who was the best of the bunch. That was the golden Yugo generation and the best European team ever, and Toni was the second best player on it.
Thanks man, I enjoyed your post very much. Took me back to those amazing years of basketball in Europe. These teams where so fun to watch!

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I knew zero about Euro ball of that era - thanks for the run down it was awesome to read.
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Re: Toni Kukoc named to the Basketball HOF 

Post#56 » by #1TKfan » Fri Sep 10, 2021 9:07 pm

MUCH DESERVED. I'm not going to even respond to the ones who don't think so. Lol.

Followed most of his career. The accolades alone shouldn't be questioned.

Congratulations TK! MUCH DESERVED for The Waiter.
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Re: Toni Kukoc named to the Basketball HOF 

Post#57 » by wickywack » Fri Sep 10, 2021 9:14 pm

A lot of good advanced stats don't go back into the 90s, but some do. Here's a look at Kukoc's league ranking during his three year peak:

Code: Select all

         PER    WS    WS/48    BPM    VORP
1995:   21st   16th   12th    15th    16th
1996:   19th   15th    6th    10th    17th
1997:   21st   57th    8th    16th    37th


In 97, his minutes fell due to injury, so cumulative stats (WS, VORP) dropped. Still, for 2-3 years, Kukoc looks like a top 20 NBA player - i.e., someone who really could have been a multiple all-star in the right situation.

By the post-Jordan era, he was already in his 30s, and his game did drop off.
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Re: Toni Kukoc named to the Basketball HOF 

Post#58 » by kodo » Fri Sep 10, 2021 9:51 pm

How the heck do you have Vlade Divacs in the HOF but not Kukoc?
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Re: Toni Kukoc named to the Basketball HOF 

Post#59 » by erlim » Fri Sep 10, 2021 11:34 pm

kodo wrote:How the heck do you have Vlade Divacs in the HOF but not Kukoc?


Divac was definitely a big feature in those competitive Sacramento teams. And Serbia-Montenegro and then Serbia were way more prevalent in the international basketball scene than Croatia once the 2000s came around.
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Re: Toni Kukoc named to the Basketball HOF 

Post#60 » by The Box Office » Sat Sep 11, 2021 1:15 am

Toni Kukoc is awesome. We now have 5 Hall of Famers on the Last Dance Bulls; Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Phil Jackson, and Toni Kukoc. That's disgusting.

Since Kukoc is officially in the Hall, The Bulls should retire his number in the rafters.

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