LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 15: (L-R) Paul Pierce #34, Ray Allen #20 and Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics look on in the second half while taking on the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Six of the 2010 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 15, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Who doesn't love a good old fashioned Hall of Fame discussion to keep the offseason rolling? So I started thinking, is it possible that we might be able to start an all future Hall of Fame starting lineup next year? I mean, at some point Jermaine O'Neal might have to sit out a game or two in the first half of the season, putting Dr. O'Neal in the starting lineup.
Clearly the biggest leap of faith in this argument is projecting Rajon Rondo's career arch. Can he keep improving his game? Can he either develop a better jump shot or find a way to ensure that he's never limited by that weakness? Can he sustain his high level of performance and remain healthy?
Personally I think he's got as good a shot as anyone his age. He's already got a championship under his belt and he's been in two Finals in just 4 years in the league. I think the key for him will be to get back to the Finals in the post-Big-Three era. If he can do that, he'll prove that he's more than just a really good player lucky enough to be surrounded by the greats of the game.
The only other debate that I see might be surrounding Paul Pierce. Some will argue that he's never been the best or even one of the top 5 best players in any one year in which he played. With that said, he's going to retire with some gaudy offensive career stats, he's got a title (over the Lakers no less), and he's become the face of the Celtics modern era. Even speaking objectively (which is very hard here), I find it difficult to believe that he would be left out of the HOF.
Kevin Garnett has to be a lock. He's a former MVP and has been dominant for the majority of his career. Ray Allen would appear to be a lock as well. He's the greatest modern day shooter in the game (yes, I put him ahead of Reggie Miller - though that might be another debate). And Shaq, well, he was one of the top 50 players in the game and continued to build upon his resume in the years that followed.
So what do you think? Could we field a future HOF lineup? Does anyone know if it has happened before? I'm sure it has but I'm struggling to think of when. The 1986 Celtics now have 4 of 5 but Danny Ainge would need to be added (in part for his GM work?) to make it happen.
Bonus Link: Kurt Helin offers his own thoughts on the subject: Can Boston start an all future hall of famers lineup? - ProBasketballTalk