Hall of Fame candidates have been announced today, and we will probably have the greatest Hall of Fame class ever. Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, and Chris Bosh are all eligible to be inducted. There was never a class as strong as this one. Yet, Scottie Pippen made a case for a returning nominee.
"It's obvious, four times this guy was Defensive Player of the Year, that says a lot. He's an NBA champion and an All-Star. He was one of those guys when you talk about putting on a hard hat and going to work, you speak of a guy like Ben Wallace. He's definitely deserving to be in the Hall of Fame."
Scottie Pippen on The Jump
There are only two players in NBA history that won the Defensive Player of the Year award. One is Dikembe Mutombo, the other Ben Wallace. That's it. Dwight Howard has 3 and then there are players with 2 and 1 DPoY's. Not only that, but Wallace was the defensive anchor on the 2004 Pistons team; a team that won by playing spectacular defense.
Wallace was a 4-time DPoY in an era when all the guys making the greatest Hall of Fame class ever played some of their best basketball - Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, and Chris Bosh all had to face him. The only guy who didn't match up with him directly, Kobe, had the most difficult matchup Wallace had to face as his teammate. The way Wallace played against Shaq in the 2004 Finals equals a doctorate in defense:
"I just go back, no disrespect to Shaq, I just go back to that Finals. Ben Wallace, I hadn't seen a guy that was able to control Shaq, like he did, one on one."
Kendrick Perkins on The Jump
With Duncan, Kobe, Garnett and Bosh, Wallace most likely won't be making the Hall of Fame. But next to Chris Webber, Wallace should get in as soon as possible. We need to appreciate and credit defense more.