Is Shawn Marion a True Candidate for the Basketball Hall of Fame? | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors | Bleacher Report

    when shawn marion laces up his shoes for the last time and pulls the plug on what has been a fantastic nba career, he will do so with one of the most untraditional résumés we’ve seen in a long time.

    and that sequence will take place quite soon.

    “I wanted out on my terms,” ​​the man affectionately known as “The Matrix” told’s Paul Coro, referring to his decision to retire at the end of the 2014-15 season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. “The most important thing is to have a child. I grew attached to him. Seeing him periodically is difficult. Watching him grow up in photos and videos is difficult.”

    marion decided to join the cavs this offseason, postponing retirement for another year so he could have a shot at the second ring of his career. But even if Cleveland doesn’t get back on track and flounders during the postseason, the versatile forward will still have an incredible resume worthy of some career honors from him.

    “marion is a candidate for the ring of honor of the sun”, writes coro. “She said that she looked at the ring at the Phoenix visits, like the last one last week, and thought the same thing. ‘It would be hard not to have me there when you look at what I did,'” Marion said.

    Reaching the ring of honor in any franchise is a special achievement. The Suns are no exception, only putting the names of nine different players into that stratosphere: Alvan Adams, Charles Barkley, Tom Chambers, Walter Davis, Connie Hawkins, Kevin Johnson, Dan Majerle, Dick Van Arsdale, Paul Westphal.

    but that’s not enough for marion. he should be a lock for one of the double-digit spots, but he should also receive very serious consideration for the hall of fame.

    just a ring? don’t worry

    One of the strangest arguments against some players’ careers is that they never achieved the ultimate feat in the NBA: winning a ring. Of course, only one team can win a title during any given season, so the vast majority of great players each year fall short of that goal.

    doing it over and over doesn’t necessarily mean a player is overrated or can’t excel in the game’s biggest moments. sometimes bad luck, unlucky matchups and untimely injuries keep dashing hopes season after season.

    Marion won a championship with the Dallas Mavericks, one that came while performing more as a role player than a center star. But even during his time with the Suns, he put together an impressive playoff resume. and it’s not like his performance level declined significantly when he was at the most grueling part of the season.

    It’s also worth noting that Marion spent a lot of time playing postseason games.

    if you take every player in nba history who has qualified for the playoffs, find their game score (a rudimentary box score metric designed to boil down performance to a single number), then multiply it by the number of times he’s played a playoff game, you’re essentially looking at both volume and level of performance. Just in terms of that simple calculation, Marion comes in at No. 81 of all time.

    That puts him ahead of legends like Joe Dumars, Shawn Kemp, Dennis Rodman, Nate Thurmond, Gail Goodrich and many more. And it’s not like he hasn’t advanced deep into the playoffs on multiple occasions, as he reached the conference finals three separate seasons.

    The playoffs are an important part of the conversation around Hall of Fame nominations. and that is natural, since it is the most important part of the season and the easiest way to leave an indelible legacy.

    but even though marion had to team up with dirk nowitzki and tyson chandler to win her only ring, that shouldn’t hold her back. The forward’s postseason résumé won’t help him much as he hunts for a plaque, but it shouldn’t work in a negative way, either.

    underestimated value during peak phoenix suns days

    The crux of Marion’s case comes from her time in the desert.

    as part of those “seven seconds or less” suns, he teamed up with steve nash and amar’e stoudemire to form some of the greatest offensive squads of all time. each member of that trio became a star prop, and the Canadian point guard was able to earn two mvps. But Marion may well have been the heart and soul of those Phoenix teams, and his importance to those squads has been greatly underestimated over the years.

    How many people remember the Suns being an average defensive team in the league during those run-and-gun days? The less glamorous end of the floor is often pointed to as the reason for the team’s slump in the playoffs, but that unit is actually pretty underrated now, and it’s Marion who was the driving force behind their modest success.

    For example, when Marion was traded to the Miami Heat after dressing 47 times in that final round, Phoenix was allowing 106.9 points per 100 possessions. for the rest of the season, he posted a 111.5 defensive rating.

    His versatility allowed him to block power forwards in the post, pick up faster forwards, switch to shooting guards and generally pick up the trash left by his porous teammates. And it’s not like he was too bad on the offensive end, as he could play just about any role.

    Just look at how the team fared with him on and off the court during those peak four years:

    nash is the one who got the mvps, and rightfully so.

    but marion needs a lot more credit for his impact on those teams, as he was the one who held it all together on both ends of the floor. without him, the Suns of the mid-2000s would not be remembered as favorably. and, unsurprisingly, it was undervalued in the past.

    writers like david nelson and damien walker of were in the minority when they argued marion deserved to be defensive player of the year in 2006-07:

    Long, strong and athletic, Marion can keep up with the fastest point guards and is disciplined enough to defend the best low-post scorers. His ability to play down the passing lanes and pick up steals or deflections is even more valuable because of his ability to run the floor or throw the ball out. Combine this with the fact that he holds his own against any big man in the league when it comes to defensive blocks and rebounds, and you can understand why Shawn Marion gets our nod for Defensive Player of the Year. Traditionally, Marion has been viewed as a positionless player, but smart coaches and GMS can tell you this isn’t a bad thing, and with the NBA game opening up more each season, players with Marion’s defensive skill set will be more coveted than ever.

    but leaving mere defense behind, how about looking at winning actions?

    It’s no accident that Marion, not Nash, led the Suns in that category during one of the four seasons we’ve been discussing. In fact, he outscored Phoenix in winning shares five times during his tenure in the desert.

    All of that said, marion’s career has never been defined by what she did at phoenix alone. That’s easily the best part of his NBA tenure, but he’s also spent time with the Miami Heat, the Toronto Raptors (very briefly), the Mavericks and the Cavaliers.

    We cannot forget about the total package.

    enduring excellence

    Even if you forget about this nasty season with cleveland and don’t let an aging veteran’s declining game devalue a hall of famer’s career, it’s still not easy to see marion as a traditional threat to an initiation in springsfield.

    when we think of the room, we tend to imagine players who dominated their era and clearly established themselves as one of the best players in the nba for a long time. they’re the ones who scored points in groups, racked up assists and churned out glamorous stats…or at least won a bunch of rings.

    Recent members like Mitch Richmond, Alonzo Mouring, Gary Payton, Bernard King, Chet Walker, Reggie Miller, and Jamaal Wilkes, among others, tend to fit that mold. But does marion’s name really belong in the same category as those featured? Did you really enjoy the same kind of race?

    does belong, but not necessarily for the same reasons. is one of the exceptions to the rule, which in this case forces us to think of almost all hallway candidates in exactly the same way.

    players like marion, guys who thrived for a long time due to their versatility and two-way impact, are often relegated to the background. this striker in particular had great seasons but never contended for a goalscoring title. instead, he simply ran campaign after campaign that was historically unique.

    Any idea how many players averaged at least 19 points, nine rebounds, 1.5 assists, two steals, and one block per game over the course of a qualifying season?

    david robinson did it in 1991-92. he is in the hall of fame. Hakeem Olajuwon managed to join the club an NBA record five times. he’s in the hall of fame. Charles Barkley ticked all the boxes during the 1985-86 season. he’s in the hall of fame.

    no one else has. well, nobody except a single extra player who is playing his last season. Marion hit those numbers four times over a four-year period, from 2002 to 2006. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about what this statistic should mean.

    While his heyday was impressive, what matters even more is the longevity of his career.

    marion is now playing her 16th season in the association, and it’s really the first bad one she’s had. Even when she entered the league from UNLV, she averaged an efficient 10.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.7 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game while playing high-quality defense. she broke out the next season, posting 17.3 points and 10.7 boards per contest throughout that 2000-01 campaign.

    Since then, he has thrived in the desert and become one of the league’s most valuable players with the Mavericks. year after year, he has gone to work and produced, and that has to count for something.

    is in no way a lock on inclusion or exclusion.

    In fact,’s Hall of Fame odds give it a 75.6 percent chance: No. 16 points between active players. but, as has been the case so often throughout his remarkable career, he is being undervalued.

    marion will go away as one of the most effective blockers the sport has ever seen, but he never made an all-defensive team. He was consistently one of the most impactful forwards, thanks to his versatility and two-way prowess, but he only made the NBA’s third team on two separate occasions and never received a higher honor.

    in fact, dallas head coach rick carlisle called his former student “the most underrated player in nba history,” according to’s chris haynes.

    now, he has one of the most untraditional hall of fame résumés the sport has seen in a long time. When he is ready for selection, it will be the perfect opportunity to rectify the mistakes Marion has seen inflicted on him during his decade and a half in the association.

    “I’m not in control of that [a hall of fame selection] but I think my numbers speak for themselves,” he told haynes. “What I’ve done on this court in the last 16 years in my role, I don’t think anyone has ever done it the way I did.”

    Whether he’s talking about his unorthodox shooting form or the general nature of his career, he’s not wrong.

    stats by unless otherwise noted.

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