Hall of Fame candidates have been announced this week, and once again, we'll have a strong class of Hall of Fame players and coaches that made an impact during their time in the NBA. First-time nominees are Doug Collins, Michael Cooper, Howard Garfinkel, Lou Henson, Paul Pierce, Val Ackerman, Yolanda Griffith, and Lauren Jackson. On top of that, there are returning candidates to the ballot like Chauncey Billups, Chris Bosh, Richard Hamilton, Bob Huggins, Ben Wallace, Chris Webber, Jay Wright, Swin Cash, and Becky Hammon, among others.
In one of his earlier interviews, former NBA players Scottie Pippen talked about one name specifically that deserves to be in the HOF more than others. He has a lot of appreciation for Ben Wallace and his individual and team accomplishments during his career.
"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 three, 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 had to face him. Kobe was the only guy who didn't match up with him directly but had the most challenging matchup against Wallace and the Pistons in the 2004 finals. According to Kendrick Perkins, Wallace deserves a lot more respect for the way he played defense against Shaq in those finals, which 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
Many great NBA legends are in line to get inducted in the HOF, but it seems Wallace most likely won't be making it sooner than others. But next to Chris Webber, Wallace should get in as quickly as possible. We need to appreciate and credit defense more, and that is something Wallace brought in abundance for every team he played for in his career. It was evident what type of influence and impact a player like that has on a championship-contending squad with the Pistons.