Dennis Johnson joins the Hall

by Coltrane

Dennis Johnson has been elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. 

Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss, high school coaching great Bob Hurley Sr., and WNBA star Cynthia Cooper also were in the class announced at the Final Four. NBA veterans Dennis Johnson and Gus Johnson and international star Maciel “Ubiratan” Pereira will be honored posthumously.

I think that his induction was overdue.  It’s interesting though, that when compared to Pippen and Gary Payton his credentials don’t look all that overwhelming:

  Points per Game Rebounds per Game Assists per Game All Defensive Team Selections All NBA Team All Star PER Rating MVP Award Shares
Scottie Pippen 16.1 6.4 5.2 10 7 7 18.6 0.716
Gary Payton 16.3 3.9 6.7 9 9 9 18.9 0.823
Dennis Johnson 14.1 3.9 5.0 9 2 5 14.6 0.084
Player “X” 15.6 4.7 3.6 5 5 5 18.7 0.695

For example, Kevin Garnett has 2.752 award shares over the course of his career, good for 13th all-time.  Chris Webber is 45th with .588 Shares.  The complete list is here.

Johnson never got much respect from the voters.  Larry Bird called him the greatest player he ever played with.  I don’t know what that says about Kevin McHale..

My most vivid memory of Dennis Johnson was from when he was with the Celtics.  He was on a fast break, and he and another player met at the hoop.  Johnson banged the back of his head on the backboard.  I remember him picking himself back up while rubbing the back of his head.  I’m sure most Boston fans best remember his basket after this steal by Larry Bird during the 1987 Conference Finals against the Pistons.  (Isiah Thomas was the victim on that play.) 

I threw Player “X” in there for fun.  Player X had a condition with his knees that forced him out of the league by age 33.  By contrast, Payton and Pipen played through age 38.  Johnson retired after his age 35 season.

Player X?  That’s Sidney Moncrief.

3 comments to Dennis Johnson joins the Hall

  • Junior Joey Jo-Jo Shabadu

    Woohoo! I can now officially say that I have had dinner with a Basketball Hall of Famer – not DJ – Bobby Hurley Sr. He is an alumnus of my HS and we knew a mutual friend when I lived in NJ. Also got to play a pickup game with the Hurley boys – yep, they had to guard each other and there was a rule that they could only shoot anything they rebounded.

    DJ’s induction was long overdue and it is nice to see him finally get in the HOF, just too bad that he isn’t around to enjoy it. So many fond memories of those Celtics teams from the 80’s. What took him so long – he was probably the 3rd or 4th best player on his team those years.

  • Coltrane

    Yeah, if you look at DJ’s MVP Award Shares it’s pretty clear that nobody really thought of him as a truly dominant player. He’s 84th all time in that category.

  • Coltrane

    I’m also of the suspicion that the top of the MVP Award Shares is “flukier” in baseball than it is for basketball. The baseball list seems to be populated by a lot of George Foster types with one monster year.

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