Basketball, Hall of Fame, Sports

Does Andrei Kirilenko belong in the Hall of Fame?

Does Andrei Kirilenko belong in the Hall of Fame?

Career

  • 13 seasons, 10 quality
  • 30 MPG
  • 9431 points, 4352 rebounds, 2169 assists, 1097 steals, 1461 blocks in 23916 minutes over 797 games
  • Per 36 Minutes: 14.2P, 6.6R, 3.3A, 1.7S, 2.2B
  • .474 FG%, .310 3P%, .754 FT%, .571 TS%
  • 18.7 PER, 75.4 Win Shares, .151 WS/48, 42.4 VORP
  • Playoffs:
    • 480P, 212R, 105A, 65S, 87B in 1491 minutes over 55 games
    • 27.1 MPG
    • Per 36: 11.6P, 5.1R, 2.5A, 1.6S, 2.1B
    • .445 FG%, .208 3P%, .767 FT%, .527 TS%
    • 14.9 PER, 3 WS, .097 WS/48, 2.2 VORP
  • Rights traded before he was drafted and traded at the very end of his career for cap room

Accomplishments

  • Top 5 Player by WS (‘04)
  • Top 5 Player by Box Plus Minus (‘03, ‘04, ‘06), Top 10 (‘08)
  • 2nd best player in the league by VORP (‘04)
  • Top 10 in Free Throws and Free Throw Attempts once
  • Top 5 in TS% once, Top 10 twice
  • Top 5 in Steals once
  • Top 5 in SPG once
  • Top 10 in S% twice
  • Led league in blocks once, Top 5 twice, Top 10 thrice
  • Led league in BPG once, Top 5 thrice, Top 10 five times
  • Top 5 in B% five times
  • Top 10 in PER once
  • Top 10 in Defensive WS once
  • Top 5 in Defensive Box Plus Minus four times, Top 10 five times
  • 1 All Star Game
  • All Rookie, one 1st Team All Defense, two 2nd Teams
  • Kirilenko is the only player other than Hakeem Olajuwon to record multiple “Five by Five” games in the NBA since all five stats were tracked (Kirilenko has done this three times) and, along with Olajuwon, is the only player to record a “Five by Six” in NBA history
  • Euroleague MVP and Defensive Player of the Year (‘12)

Great Teams

  • 2nd best player on one Final Four (‘07 Jazz)
  • Best Palery on one Olympic Bronze (‘12 Russia)
  • Best Player on one EuroBaseket Champion (‘07 Russia) and tournament MVP

So obviously Kirilenko does not belong in the Hall of Fame. Though, that being said, he clearly belongs in the Russian basketball Hall of Fame, if there is one, and, without verifying, probably belongs on their All Time team. But, by advanced metrics he was, briefly, among the best players in the league, able to combine elite defense with offensive skills that don’t always show up in traditional box scores (screening and the like). Kirilenko belongs to that first generation of super talented big men – who possessed certain guard skills in forward bodies – that the NBA didn’t know what to do with; Jerry Sloan, Kirilenko’s coach for much of his career, most notoriously so.

As others wondered when he first retired, what would coaches do with him now, had Kirilenko been born in 1991 rather than 1981? It’s a fair guess that Kirilenko would be an absolute star and would be getting paid this summer if he was a free agent. Kirilenko’s skill set has only become in vogue in the last five years or so, so he was ahead of his time and a true pioneer.

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