The Keltner List

The Keltner List is a series of subjective questions formulated by famed sabermetrician Bill James used to help assess whether or not a player deserves to be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Although the system was designed to evaluate baseball players, with a few minor tweaks it can also be used to assess the Hall-worthiness of NBA players. Here are the questions as adapted by me:

  1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in basketball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in basketball?
  2. Was he the best player on his team?
  3. Was he the best player in basketball at his position?
  4. Did he have an impact on a number of NBA Finals or Conference Finals?
  5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime?
  6. Is he the very best (eligible) basketball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame?
  7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame?
  8. Do the player’s numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?
  9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?
  10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame?
  11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?
  12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame?
  13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win an NBA title?
  14. What impact did the player have on basketball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way? Was his college and/or international career especially noteworthy?
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