Updated: Jun 15
Naming ten active NBA players who if their careers ended today, would still make the NBA Hall of Fame.
I would like to start off by saying that there is a big difference between players who if they didn't play another game would be in the Hall of Fame, and those most likely to make it, but still very young in their careers. This list is for if each player did not play another game in the NBA. So when you don't see Giannis Antetekounmpo, Jayson Tatum, Joel Embiid, or whatever young star, that is why.
1. LeBron James:
Accolades: 16x All Star, 15x All-NBA, 6x All-Defensive, 3x NBA Champ, 4x MVP, 2003-04 All-Rookie, 2003-04 ROY, 2007-08 Scoring Champ
This is an easy one, as LeBron is the best player of his generation, and an all time great. One of the amazing things about his game is that he can play literally any position. Not only that, but he can simply take over games. He doesn't make many appearances where as a fan, you aren't left thinking anything other than 'that man is the best player in the world'.
2. Kevin Durant:
Accolades: 10x All Star, 9x All-NBA, 4x Scoring Champ, 2x Finals MVP, 2007-08 All-Rookie, 2007-08 ROY, 2013-14 MVP
Durant has had an absolutely amazing career. He hasn't gone below 25 PPG in every year but his rookie year, when he averaged 20 PTS, and won the Rookie of the Year award. Say what you want about his decision to join the Golden State Warriors, but as good as Durant is in the regular season, he is just that much better in the playoffs. His career PPG average in the postseason is 29.1, and he has led the playoffs in scoring five different times.
3. Steph Curry:
Accolades: 6x All Star, 6x All-NBA, 3x NBA Champ, 2x MVP, 2009-10 All-Rookie, 2015-16 Scoring Champ, 2015-16 STL Champ
Simply put, Curry changed the game in terms of three point shooting. The 'baby-faced assassin' has also been the staple of the Golden State Warriors dynasty, winning three championships with the club. Curry's All Star and All-NBA appearances might be fewer than those around him, but there is absolutely no doubt the impact he has had on the game, and that he is a surefire Hall of Famer.
4. Chris Paul:
Accolades: 10x All Star, 8x All-NBA, 9x All-Defensive, 6x STL Shamp, 4x AST Champ, 2005-06 All-Rookie, 2005-06 ROY
Chris Paul constantly goes under the radar in the basketball world, but he is truly one of the best players of his generation. Looking at what he has accomplished is remarkable in terms of both his offense and defense. He is definitely held back by the fact that he has never won a title, which is pretty much the only hole in his resume.
5. James Harden:
Accolades: 8x All Star, 6x All-NBA, 2017-18 MVP, 2x Scoring Champ, 2016-17 AST Champ, 2011-12 Sixth Man, 2009-10 All-Rookie
There is not much debate that James Harden is the best pure scorer in the game right now, and over the past five or so seasons. Most fans either love him or hate him, but you simply cannot deny his scoring ability. Counting this season, in the past six seasons, he has scored over 14,000 points. He has all the confidence in himself to make the shot, but what he needs next is more playoff success, and to bring an NBA title back to Houston.
6. Russell Westbrook:
Accolades: 9x All Star, 8x All-NBA, 2016-17 MVP, 2x Scoring Champ, 2x AST Champ, 2008-09 All-Rookie
In the 2016-17 season, Russell Westbrook became just the second player ever to average a triple double after Oscar Robertson, and then he did in 2017-18, and again in 2018-19. That alone is enough to get someone into the Hall of Fame. Add on the list of credentials that he has, and Westbrook is a lock for the Hall. Even in this era of basketball where three point shooting is becoming more and more common, Westbrook does pretty much all of his damage inside the arc, and around the rim.
7. Kawhi Leonard:
Accolades: 4x All Star, 3x All-NBA, 5x All-Defensive, 2x NBA Champ, 2x Finals MVP, 2x Def. POY, 2011-12 All-Rookie, 2014-15 STL Champ
Leonard has certainly taken heat from fans and the media over his career, but his one year stint and NBA title with the Toronto Raptors last season solidified his role as one of the best players of his generation. He needs a few more great seasons to be a lock into the Hall, but with his defensive, and playoff pedigree, I believe that he is already a Hall of Famer.
8. Dwight Howard:
Accolades: 8x All Star, 8x All-NBA, 5x All-Defensive, 3x Def. POY, 5x REB Champ, 2x BLK Champ, 2004-05 All-Rookie
There aren't many centers in today's game that can consider themselves a star, but Dwight Howard was one of them. He led the league in rebounds on five different occasions, and for a while his points per game managed to hover around 20. His production has dipped these last few years, but Howard still deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame.
9. Carmelo Anthony:
Accolades: 10x All Star, 6x All-NBA, 2012-13 Scoring Champ, 2003-04 All-Rookie
Carmelo Anthony certainly has his haters (including me at times), but the consistency of his scoring ability is still pretty remarkable. From the 2003-04 season to the 2016-17 season, he never dropped below 20 PPG. These past three years have been tough for him, but like it or hate it, during his time with the Nuggets and Knicks, he was a superstar. His performances for USA Basketball are the icing on the cake.
10. Vince Carter:
Accolades: 8x All Star, 2x All-NBA, 1998-99 All Rookie, 1998-99 ROY
The fan favorite Carter has surprisingly never led the league in anything but games played, but his spot in the Hall is still right there waiting for him. He might be most remembered for his incredible 2000 NBA Dunk Contest showing, but the duration of his career (26 seasons), in my opinion is his most remarkable feat.