So Reggie Miller finally made it into the Hall of Fame, and I’m here to tell that it was a terrible decision on the committee’s part. For starters, he does not compare well to the other HOF guards at all. Seriously, take a look – he is instantly the worst guard of the modern era in the Hall.
That being established, I decided to compare him to the other wings/guards of his time to see if maybe he was HOF-worthy for his position within his own era. The only guards I looked at were those who received any MVP votes from 1988-89 (Reggie’s first decent season) through 2001-02 (his last decent season). I didn’t include every single one of these players on each of the lists below, only the ones who did better than Reggie within a particular category. Here are the categories and Reggie’s place within each; the entire lists are laid out in the comments section so as not to stretch out the body of this article too long.
Highest MVP Finish: This category is pretty straight-forward. Reggie’s best finish in MVP voting was 13th, which ranks 26th best of the wings/guards, tying him with guys like Jalen Rose and Mark Jackson, and placing him behind guys like Mark Aguirre, Terry Porter, Mark Price, Fat Lever, and Latrell Sprewell.
Top-10 MVP Finishes: This is a look at the number of times a player finished in the top-10 in the MVP voting. Reggie obviously never did this, so his 0 ranks 23rd best of the wings/guards, behind guys like Tracy McGrady, Mark Price, Terry Porter, Fat Lever, Kevin Johnson, and Tim Hardaway.
Career MVP Shares: Here’s where we can see the sum of a player’s career MVP consideration. A complete 1.000 from a season would represent a unanimous winner (Derrick Rose got 0.977 last year) and a 0.001 would be a single 5th place vote in a season (Tony Parker got 0.002 last year). Considering Reggie has barely ever gotten MVP consideration, his career 0.003 MVP shares ranks 27th best of the wings/guards, tying him with guys like Darrell Armstrong and Terrell Brandon, and falling behind players like Kenny Smith, Mitch Richmond, Mark Aguirre, and Jerry Stackhouse.
All-NBA Teams: This category breaks down each player’s placement on the league’s 3 All-NBA teams that are announced at the end of the season. Reggie made the 3rd-team three times. Making three of these teams ties him for 18th best on the list, but if you then made a list of who ever finished on the 2nd-team or higher (which Reggie never accomplished), he moves behind another 7 players for 25th best of the wings/guards. These placements fall behind non-Hall of Famers like Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, Kevin Johnson, and Mark Price.
Top-10 Statistical Finishes: This is a straight-forward look at the number of times each player finished in the top-10 annually in points, assists, or steals per game. Keep in mind that this is not nearly a complete list of every wing/guard to finish top-10 in one of these three categories during Reggie’s career, but only those who ever received any MVP votes in that timeframe (so guys like Stephon Marbury, Doug Christie, and Nick Van Exel won’t show up despite doing far better than RM on this comparison). Reggie once finished 8th in ppg and that’s it, so his 1 top-10 finish ranks 32nd best, behind virtually every guard of note from Reggie’s career—including Mike Bibby—and in most cases far behind.
Obviously these lists (again, they’re in the Comments section) aren’t a complete look at a player’s overall contribution, but it certainly sheds a lot of light on how un-dominant Reggie is compared to the other guards whose careers he overlapped with. Whereas you should think someone considered an all-time great would show some level of greatness on at least one of these comparisons, especially since the NBA’s talent level took a massive nosedive around 1993, Reggie looks like a complete afterthought in the league throughout his career. If a player can’t establish any sort of dominance as far as being considered an MVP candidate, one of the NBA’s 15 best players, or statistically, then we shouldn’t let a decade of highlights watching sway us from realizing where they placed as a HOF type of player when they actually played.
For the record, if you think Reggie would do better if All-Star Games were a criteria on these lists, you’re wrong. He only played in 5, and 4 of those were from 1995 on, when league talent was way down. Additionally, if you think career statistics should be used, Reggie’s 18 ppg, 3 rpg, and 3 apg don’t match up well against any of these guys. You can’t try to argue that his peak years would push him ahead because his 25-4-4 in 1989-90 is not that great by HOF standards and it’s completely one-dimensional, plus it’s by-far his best season, so it’s hardly representative of any sort of sustained peak. You can’t simply point at 3-point shooting as a criteria because its value only exists in that it earns points, which is already covered; to isolate one part of scoring without looking at all of it is to concede that he’s simply a role player. If you’re inclined to think Reggie’s post-season exploits were so impressive, know that he advanced past the first round of the playoffs only 5 times during his entire stretch of decent play (5 times – think about that) and he never won a title. There are plenty of guys on these lists who crush that type of playoff “success,” not to mention that for how much we hear about Reggie’s amazing clutch status, his Pacers were 9-15 in elimination games during his career and 3-5 in deciding Games 5’s and 7’s – not exactly the great “the season’s on the line, it’s Reggie Time” savior YouTube and a selective memory lead you to believe. It should go without saying that most of these guys were unquestionably far better defenders than Reggie considering he was quite bad on that side of the ball.
Peja Stojakovic: Reggie Miller 2.0
A great and fitting career comparison for Reggie Miller is Peja Stojakovic. You probably don’t believe this since Reggie “feels” like a Hall of Famer and Peja definitely doesn’t, but examine the facts. Both were wings who could play SG or SF, both shot tons of 3’s, and neither was a particularly good rebounder, passer, or defender. Long story short, they fit the same mold. Numbers-wise, Reggie’s career stats of 18-3-3 are very similar to Peja’s 17-5-2. Reggie’s 47% FG, 39% 3FG, and 54% eFG are very similar to Peja’s 45% FG, 40% 3FG, and 53% eFG. Reggie’s 5-year peak of 22 ppg, 3 rpg, and 4 apg (’89-90 to ’93-94) is very similar to Peja’s 21 ppg, 5 rpg, and 2 apg (’00-01 to ’04-05). Reggie once finished as high as 8th in the league in scoring, but Peja once finished 2nd in scoring. Reggie made 3 All-NBA teams to Peja’s 1, but Peja made the 2nd-team, something Reggie couldn’t accomplish. Both received MVP votes in only two seasons, but Peja once finished 4th (right in front of Kobe and Shaq), so his 0.229 career MVP shares are way higher than Reggie’s 0.003. Both were starters on exactly 5 teams that made it past the first round of the playoffs during their good years, but Peja also won a title last season as a key Dallas reserve. If you honestly think Reggie Miller’s career of non-dominance is HOF-worthy, then I expect equally loud support for Peja in a few years.
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