As we put 2013 in the books, it's time to update the Hall of Fame Projector. Swish Appeal has previously published articles about the Hall of Fame Projector and it's been almost a full year since our last article.
So how does the "projector" work anyway? It gives value to the types of things that would catch a voter's eye.
* Points/rebounds/assists. These are the traditional basketball stats. All of them have their weaknesses, but in a way they're like batting average - these are the stats people remember and these are the ones that impress voters.
* MVP Shares. To refresh your memories, MVP Shares are the sum of full MVP awards and partial MVP awards over a player's career. For example, assume that Player A got 100 votes for MVP in a given year and Player B got 25 votes for MVP. Let's also assume that Player A's 100 votes won her the MVP.
Under the MVP Shares system, Player A gets a full (1.00) MVP share. However, Player B gets 25/100 = 0.25 of an MVP share. In effect, Player B got one-quarter of a MVP award in our example.
Here are the current WNBA leaders in MVP Shares (note: We are also including American Basketball League MVP Shares).
|WNBA/ABL Leaders in MVP Shares, Combined|
The top 10 players on this list have all won a Most Valuable Player award in either the WNBA or the ABL. Sue Bird, with 1.44 MVP Shares, leads in MVP Shares among all players who have not won a Most Valuable Player award. It is interesting to note that of the Top 10 WNBA players in MVP Shares who haven't won a MVP Award, three of the top four players are point guards.
* WNBA All-Star selections. When All-Star games are not held, we include a medal (gold, silver, bronze) for either the FIBA World Championships or the Olympic Championships as the equivalent of an All-Star selection. Voters like to see multiple All-Star selections and medal winners.
* Height. Voters see the accomplishments of shorter players as more noteworthy than those of taller players if everything else is alike. A bonus is given for lack of height.
* Rings. People associated Hall of Famers with championships. Winning a WNBA/ABL championship enhances your Hall of Fame credibility.
* Last year <= 2005. This bonus is given to players who may have lost years due to no league being around before 1996.
We also set a benchmark that a player needs to have played more than 160 pro games to be reflected in the metric. This puts the following players in consideration for the first time:
Let's now see how players do in the Hall of Fame Projector. Note that the percentages below are based on a player's professional career only. Nothing in high school, in college or overseas is considered, only WNBA/ABL accomplishments.
The first category are the Lead Pipe Cinches - players who should make it into the Hall of Fame even if we don't consider what they did in college or overseas. The pro careers of these players alone make a strong argument.
It's the same list as 2012, except that Sue Bird moves up to #11 and Katie Smith drops down to #12. Katie Smith had a sub-par season that sort of lowered her overall accomplishments marginally, just enough for Bird to move up one space.
The next players are Virtually In. Maybe another All-Star selection, maybe another ring or maybe another good year and they should be good to go based on pro stats alone.
Two names have moved up to this category - Sylvia Fowles and Seimone Augustus. Fowles hits the 160 game mark for inclusion; Augustus gets a boost from her ring. whalen gets a ring and moves up ahead of Becky Hammon, who is probably the greatest WNBA player currently without a ring.
Those that are within 80 percent and 90 percent on the HOF projector are Strong Candidates.
Augustus was formerly in this list; she has now moved up to Virtually In. Something tells me that we'll never see Deanna Nolan play in the WNBA again.
There is only one player who hit between 70 percent and 80 percent - the category of Could Go Either Way. That player is Carolyn Jones-Young.
She has the "career ended before 2005" bonus helping her out. She's been retired for the last 11 years.
The next three candidates are the Dark Horses, those between 60 and 69 percent on the HOF Projector. Lots of people love Katie Douglas, and she still has the chance to move up.
The final three candidates are long shots - 50 to 59 percent on the HOF projector - based solely on their pro career.
Penny Taylor, sad to say, dropped from 50 percent to 47 percent.
So of those players who haven't hit 160 games yet, who have the highest marks? Which players should we be looking out for?
Candace Parker (149 games)
Tina Charles (130 games)
Maya Moore (102 games)
Angel McCoughtry (158 games)
Elena Delle Donne (30 games)
Parker will be here next year barring injury and will probably be a Lead Pipe Cinch - someone in Knoxville is already dusting off her seat at the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. Tina Charles would be just below Katie Smith and just above Teresa Edwards if she were included; she already has 1.78 MVP Shares. Maya Moore has two rings and 1.31 MVP Shares. McCoughtry needs three more games to qualify and based on scoring alone will probably be in the Virtually In category. Delle Donne's 30 games pale in comparison to Katie Smith's 568, but those were a very impressive 30 games and if she keeps playing like that...!
Note that of the Lead Pipe Cinches, only two - Cynthia Cooper and Yolanda Griffith - are in the Women's Basketball HOF in Knoxville. (Although Griffin is really a member of the 2014 class announced in July.) You need to be retired from the game for five years to be considered as a player.
In which case, Natalie Williams is overdue and Lisa Leslie should have been in the 2014 class (she isn't). Claw is eligible in 2015, Swoopes is eligible in 2016 - do you think we'll see them in someday?