Horace Grant is a long, long shot for the Basketball Hall of Fame

This past weekend, the basketball world celebrated the induction of the latest class of Basketball Hall of Famers — Manu Ginobili, (Orlando Magic enemy) Tim Hardaway, Swin Cash and (Magic enemy) George Karl were among the notable inductees this year.

This is always a tie to reflect on the sport’s past and begin to look ahead to the future. And there are some big names getting ready to enter the Hall in Springfield.

The next few years will see some big names enter the Hall. In 2023, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade and Tony Parker will get their orange jackets to signify Hall membership.

Magic fans will be watching closer in 2024. That is when the next Magic alumni is expected to make his trip to Springfield. After much debate throughout his career, Vince Carter seems a shoo-in to make the Hall of Fame.

The Magic are still waiting for more players famous for wearing a Magic jersey to make the hall — so far Shaquille O’Neal and Tracy McGrady are probably the two most notable players in the Hall for their Magic accomplishments (or at least in part for their Magic accomplishments).

The next player after Vince Carter to make the Hall of Fame will likely be Dwight Howard. With Howard still unsigned entering the start of the 2023 season, the five-year countdown clock to Howard’s induction is getting set to begin. Make your peace with it now so we can celebrate Howard’s induction when it comes.

The Orlando Magic are waiting their next alumni to enter the Basketball Hall of Fame. The unlikeliest candidate in Horace Grant actually has a small argument to make it to Springfield.

For now then, the focus for the Magic’s Hall of Fame efforts are on their own Hall of Fame. The franchise is still playing catch up on several players in their own history that they need to honor.

For sure, Orlando wants to be ahead of Springfield. Players should enter the Magic Hall of Fame before they get to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

That brings up an interesting, if outside, case for the Hall of Fame.

In Kevin Pelton’s list of potential future Hall of Famers for the next three years for ESPN+ (subscription required), he has kept Horace Grant‘s name alive for a trip to Springfield.

In his argument for Grant, Pelton says if the Hall of Fame is determined to put a defensive-minded player like Michael Cooper into the Hall then Horace Grant is the guy to put in.

He gives Grant credit for having the third most win shares among currently eligible players who are not already in the Hall — a product of playing for the Chicago Bulls’ first three-peat in 1991-93, the 1995-96 Orlando Magic and adding another ring with the 2001 Los Angeles Lakers.

The two ahead of him — Chauncey Billups and Buck Williams — have good arguments to make the Hall. Billups is almost certain to make it as a former Finals MVP.

There is no doubt Grant should be in the Orlando Magic’s Hall of Fame. He is one of the most consequential free agents ever to sign with the Magic — behind Tracy McGrady and Rashard Lewis most likely (maybe also Hedo Turkoglu) — but his impact is not one that is easily seen in the numbers.

In other words, Grant does not scream for a trip to Springfield. His numbers are more about a feeling when it comes to even the Magic’s Hall of Fame. Grant was all about the intangibles.

With the Magic, Grant averaged 11.3 points per game and 8.6 rebounds per game. He topped off in his career with the Magic at 13.4 points per game and 9.2 rebounds per game in the 1996 season (the season most notably where Shaquille O’Neal missed the start of the season).

Grant averaged 11.2 points per game and 8.1 rebounds per game. He was a career 50.9-percent shooter, a strong efficiency considering Grant was not a 3-point shooter but still a solid jump shooter who could hit out to 18-20 feet.

That was the norm for jump-shooting power forwards in a world before 3-point shooting was rampant.

Horace Grant made one All-Star Game in 1994, the year Michael Jordan played baseball.

None of this screams Hall of Famer.

In fact, Basketball-Reference gives Grant a 15.2-percent chance to make the Hall of Fame. It is a low chance, even if Pelton has him on his wish list.

There are players who deserve a closer look that are still on the outside looking in — Marques Johnson remains on the top of this list and Joe Johnson is going to get a good look too.

The win shares thing is still there though. Grant tallied 118.2 regular season win shares in his career, including 42.2 with the Magic in seven seasons. He added another 20.0 win shares in the Playoffs and 4.3 win shares with the Magic.

In Magic history, Grant still ranks eighth in win shares, behind the obvious luminaries in Magic history. He is ahead of Darrell Armstrong, Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis.

What should be clear is that Grant was a winning player. He made players around him better with his tough defense and his floor spacing. Maybe Grant’s time deserves a re-examination and a re-appreciation.

Pelton is right, the advanced stats that are valued today that were just not part of the equation when Grant is playing. There is a ton of value there for Grant.

Getting voters to see this is another issue.

It is a difficult argument to make that Grant is the guy to get to Springfield. But at least there seems to be a stronger argument once you scratch below the surface. Even if it remains a long shot.

At the very least, Grant will get his plaque inside the Amway Center sooner than later.