The Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2020 could be one of the most star-studded ever, a group that is expected to include Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and the late Kobe Bryant.
But which active players are on track for basketball immortality?
Ahead of Saturday’s announcement of the full class, our NBA experts examined which player on each current NBA roster — from the locks to the long shots — is on track to join the all-time greats in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Los Angeles Lakers: LeBron James
The Hall of Fame proposition for James is a matter of when, not if. The more intriguing question is whether he can further add to his considerable accomplishments — three championships, three Finals MVPs, four regular-season MVPs, two Olympic gold medals and all sorts of statistical achievements — that would make his induction day less about his place in Springfield and more about his place at the metaphorical table next to the likes of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
James isn’t the only future Hall of Famer in the Lakers’ locker room. Dwight Howard‘s three Defensive Player of the Year awards and five- or six-year stretch as the game’s best big man will get him in. Anthony Davis, when you combine his Kentucky championship with his NBA success, is well on his way, too.
Golden State Warriors: Stephen Curry
Curry will go down as the best shooter in the history of basketball. He has three NBA championships and two MVP awards, one of which was unanimous. Outside of LeBron James, he is the lock of locks among current players.
Klay Thompson is also likely headed to the Hall of Fame as one of the best two-way players in the game, and he may go down as the second-best shooter behind Curry by the time both their careers end. And as a key to three title teams, Draymond Green will have a good case, too.
Brooklyn Nets: Kevin Durant
Even if Durant’s Achilles tear in the 2019 NBA Finals keeps him from being the “You’re the real MVP” Durant who conquered the league, he is on a surefire journey to Springfield.
His impressive list of accolades includes two NBA Finals titles, two Finals MVP awards, 10 All-Star nods and the 2014 regular-season MVP award.
Anything he does in Brooklyn and beyond is just adding to a highlight reel that is already Hall of Fame-ready. And teammate Kyrie Irving, NBA champion and author of one of the most clutch shots in Finals history, might not be far behind.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Chris Paul
As much a lock as pretty much any other current player, Paul will head to Springfield via the first ballot on which he’s eligible. His overall résumé may end up missing a few things — an MVP, a championship — but his overall impact as a consistent winner and one of the best point guards in history makes the Hall of Fame a sure thing.
Beyond him, though, the Thunder are pretty far away from Springfield. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is blossoming into an All-Star-caliber player, but Hall of Famer is a big leap. So their next best shot is probably Draft Pick To Be Selected Later.
Houston Rockets: James Harden and Russell Westbrook
OK, I may have cheated and picked two players. They’re in their prime, but Harden and Westbrook could retire right now and be no-brainer Hall of Famers, regardless of their ringless status. Harden has staked a claim as the best scorer of his generation, averaging at least 25 points in each of his eight seasons in Houston and 30-plus in the past three. That includes the most prolific scoring season since Michael Jordan’s 1987 campaign. And he won an assist title.
Westbrook, the MVP a year before Harden won that honor, sealed his case by joining Oscar Robertson as the only player to average a triple-double for a season (three times).
Portland Trail Blazers: Carmelo Anthony
The debate over Anthony’s Hall of Fame credentials during his time out of the NBA was surely a waste of time. His 10 All-Star appearances, six All-NBA picks and legendary international career for USA Basketball (as “Olympic Melo”) make Anthony a certain Hall of Famer.
The more interesting Blazers case is Damian Lillard, who is still building his résumé but is improving his chances with four All-NBA appearances and a fifth likely this season. No eligible player with more than five All-NBA picks has failed to make the Hall.
Atlanta Hawks: Vince Carter
Go ahead and book the 2024 Hall of Fame announcement, because even if Carter’s wave goodbye on March 11 was it for him, he’ll be in that class.
He ranks 19th all-time in scoring, ahead of greats such as Jerry West, Allen Iverson, Patrick Ewing and Ray Allen. He has redefined the approach to aging gracefully, going from arguably the greatest high flier of all time to a knockdown floor spacer in his elder years.
Trae Young has a shot at the Hall of Fame, obviously, but he has a long way to go before he becomes anything close to the sure thing Carter is.
Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Not many people saw this coming when the Bucks drafted the skinny Greek teenager with the 15th overall pick of the 2013 NBA draft. Early in his career, folks struggled to pronounce the name Giannis Antetokounmpo. Now he appears to be a near lock for the Hall.
The NBA’s reigning MVP is having another MVP-caliber season while putting up historic numbers on a championship-level team. His blend of speed, size, power and toughness has seldom been seen in NBA history. He’s only 25 years old, so his best years could be ahead of him.
LA Clippers: Kawhi Leonard
Leonard prefers to keep his focus on the day-to-day process and not get ahead of himself when it comes to his career. But the Clippers forward should be heading to Springfield when he hangs up his jersey for good.
In his ninth season, Leonard already has two NBA titles, two NBA Finals MVP trophies and two Defensive Player of the Year awards. He has made two All-NBA teams, five All-Defensive teams and four All-Star Games.
Paul George — a five-time All-NBA performer, four-time All-Defensive member and six-time All-Star — will have his own Hall of Fame case if he can remain healthy. Don’t rule out three-time Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams, either.