Shawn Marion is retiring apparently. So, does he belong in the Hall of Fame?
As usual, all data from Basketball Reference.
- 16 seasons, 13 quality
- 17,700 points, 10,101 boards (24th all time in defensive rebounds), 2,198 assists, 1,759 steals (19th all-time), 1,233 blocks 40,097 minutes over 1,163 games
- Per 36 minutes: 15.9P, 9.1R, 2A, 1.6S, 1.1B
- .484 FG%, .331 3P%, .81 FT%, .542 TS%
- 18.8 PER, 14.3 TRB%, 124.9 WS, .150 WS per 48, 52.1 VORP
- 35.2 MPG
- 1,519 points, 939 boards, 158 assists, 128 steals, 127 blocks in 3,837 minutes over 109 games
- Per 36: 14.3P, 8.8R, 1.5A, 1.2S, 1.2B
- .456 FG%, .318 3P%, .814 FT%, .517 TS%
- 16.6 PER, 14.1 TRB%, 9 WS, .113 WS per 48, 3.5 VORP
- Traded thrice at the end of his prime
- Top 10 in MVP voting once
- Top 5 in minutes played once, Top 10 four times
- Top 5 in MPG twice, Top 10 four times
- Top 10 in made FGs once
- Top 10 in made 2-pointers twice
- Top 5 in 2-point FG% twice, Top 10 thrice
- Top 10 in offensive boards once
- Top 5 in defensive boards twice, Top 10 six times
- Top 10 in DRB% once
- Top 5 in boards, Top 10 six times
- Top 5 in RPG twice, Top 10 six times
- Led league in steals twice, Top 5 five times, Top 10 six times
- Top 5 in SPG four times, Top 10 six times
- Top 10 in turnover % twice
- Top 10 in Offensive Rating once
- Top 5 in Defensive Rating once
- Top 5 in Defensive Win Shares thrice, Top 10 six times
- Top 5 in Win Shares once, Top 10 four times
- Top 10 in WS per 48 twice
- Top 10 in Box Plus/Minus thrice
- Top 10 in Defensive BPM once
- Top 5 in VORP twice, Top 10 five times
- 2 3rd Team All-Stars, All Rookie
- 4 All Star Games
- Best or Second Best Player on one Final Four (’06 Suns), 3rd Best Player on one Final Four (’05 Suns), Starter on one champion (’11 Mavs;
- Starter? on one Olympic Bronze Medalist (’04 USA)
- Played on one Goodwill Games Champion (’01 USA).
The big problem most people have with Marion’s candidacy is that “he was never the best player on his team.” That’s absolutely true from an offensive perspective, but as Zach Lowe says, defense is half the game. We’re just getting to the point where we might have some decent metrics for NBA defense, and Marion is just missing out. Had he been drafted 10 or 15 years years later, it’s likely he would be appreciated even more than he already is.
So that’s the crux of the problem: we know Marion was an elite defensive player for over half a decade, perhaps more. One of the best at his position in the league, at times perhaps the very best. He was never a great offensive player, and his offense got worse in the playoffs – albeit for good reason, often guarding the other team’s star or second best player, depending on positions. His one championship came closer to the end than the beginning, and by then he was not really his old self, which is why his role wasn’t as important on those Mavs.
But on the ’06 Suns, you could argue he was even more important than Steve Nash, and that team changed the league and, without its bad luck, could have even won the championship (or at least made the final).
I’m no NBA expert. I think Marion has a case, but I don’t think he’s a lock by any means based on current standards. And I think there are a lot of people who don’t think he belongs simply because he was never remotely an elite offensive player. I think that’s kind of stupid, but I cannot claim to know where he ranks among the best defenders ever. (Though it’s worth noting that Basketball Reference’s similarity score puts him right next to Pippen, so there’s that.)
So I don’t know. A toss up, I guess.