Mark Price was a great player whose injuries probably cost him a Hall of Fame career. Price was overshadowed by Michael Jordan’s Bulls, so he never won a title. Without a title, Price would need incredible career stats to make the Hall of Fame, but injuries cut his career short and he has not made it.
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How good was Mark Price?
Mark Price was an outstanding NBA point guard who made four NBA All Star teams and four All-NBA Teams, including 1st Team in ‘92-’93.
You can see his career NBA statistics below.
Before he starred in the NBA, Price had an outstanding college career. He was a 6’0 point guard for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
Despite his limited size, Price dominated at the college level. He was a two-time All American and ACC Player of the Year for the Yellow Jackets.
After finishing school, Price was chosen in the 2nd round by the Dallas Mavericks who immediately traded him to Cleveland.
Price had a slow rookie season where he only scored 7 points per game while playing only 18 minutes, but from there he took off. Price became a starter in his second year and an All-Star in his third.
He made the All-NBA 3rd team in that third season where he became only the second NBA player to join the 50-40-90 club. That is when a player shoots 40% from three-point land, 50% from the field and 90% from the free throw line.
There have still only been eight NBA players to shoot that well in a single season.
Price was a consistently great shooter who led the NBA in free throw shooting three times and shot 40% from the 3-point line on 3.4 shots per game for his career.
Mark Price was at his peak for the next five seasons. He was in the top ten in the NBA for assists per game every season but one while also averaging 17-20 points per game.
Price made three more All Star appearances from ‘93-’95 and made All-NBA teams those same seasons. He was 1st Team All-NBA in ‘92-’93 and 3rd Team All-NBA in ‘91-’92 and ‘93-’94.
Price only played one season after his last All-NBA selection in Cleveland. He suffered injuries throughout his career and one limited him to 48 games in that last Cleveland season.
The injuries played a role in the Cavs’ decision to trade Price to the Bullets. He went on to play a season each in Washington, Golden State and Orlando, but he was never again the Mark Price of his prime.
Why Isn’t Mark Price in the Hall of Fame?
Given how great a player he was, it is a good question why he is not in the Hall of Fame.
While the criteria for making the Hall of Fame can be ambiguous, it is generally agreed that some combination of career statistics, accomplishments and winning are the main factors.
Let’s look at winning first. Price’s Cavaliers were never able to defeat Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. Now they weren’t bad teams.
The Cavs trio of Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance and Price was a good one. But the Bull trio of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant was just better.
The two teams had an epic showdown in the Conference Finals in 1992 where the Bulls prevailed 4-2.
The same thing happened the next two years where the Bulls knocked the Cavs out of the playoffs in the 2nd round in 1993 and the 1st round in 1994.
If the Cavs had won a title, or titles, during this run, Price may have had a stronger case for the Hall of Fame. Voters love to put champions into the Hall. But that was not the case for Mark Price.
I detailed Mark Price’s major career accomplishments in the first section of this post. Let me recap them briefly here.
Price was a 4x NBA All Star. He also made 4 All-NBA teams including one season on the All-NBA 1st team.
With some great career statistics, or with multiple NBA titles, I am convinced this level of accomplishment would be enough to make the Hall of Fame.
They are not slam-dunk-Hall-of-Fame-credentials. A player like Isaiah Thomas had those: 12 x NBA All Star and 5 x All-NBA including three 1st teams.
Would Isaiah have made the Hall of Fame even without the Bad Boys’ two titles? I think so.
Price’s are good enough to get him into the Hall of Fame, but not by themselves like Isaiah’s would. Price would need an argument that included incredible career stats or high-level winning.
You can see an overview of Mark Price’s career statistics in the first section of this post. In this section I’ll compare him to two other players.
John Stockton is in the Hall of Fame and is universally considered one of the greatest point guards of all time.
Kemba Walker is still technically active, but quickly coming to the end of his career as I type this post. Kemba is a nice player whom I really like. But he is not widely viewed as a Hall of Famer.
You probably know the stats in the table. If not, each is an attempt to capture the total contribution of a player to their team. All stats like this are flawed in some way, but using all three can show us what level a player was at.
|Player||PER||Win Shares||Box Plus/Minus|
As you can see, Price has career stats much closer to Kemba Walker than he does to John Stockton. There is a pretty good reason for that.
Like Kemba Walker, Mark Price’s career statistics fell off a cliff. Injuries took down both of them in a major way.
Mark Price started a bit slow as well with a quiet rookie year playing only 18 minutes per game. His prime was great, but it was just too short. It lasted only seven seasons.
In his ninth season in Cleveland, Price could only play about ½ the games and he was traded after that. He was never the same and wound down his career quietly hopping around the league.
Mark Price is 74th in career assists in the NBA. He is outside the top 250 all time with 10989 points.
Without winning titles or some outlier number of All-NBA or All Star teams, those career totals are not quite enough to get Mark Price into the Hall of Fame.
Is Mark Price in Any Hall of Fame?
Yes. Mark Price has actually made three sports Halls of Fame.
First, Price was enshrined in the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 for his exploits in his hometown of Enid, Oklahoma. Price was the Oklahoma High School Player of the Year in 1982.
Next, Price was chosen for the Georgia Tech Sports Hall of Fame for his incredible years at the school as a two-time All American and ACC Player of the Year.
Finally, Mark Price also made the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame for his great Cavs career.
Summary: Mark Price Hall of Fame
Mark Price was a great player whose injuries probably cost him a Hall of Fame career. Price was overshadowed by Michael Jordan’s Bulls, so he never won a title. Without a championship, Price would have needed great career stats to make the Hall of Fame. He was on his way to them with a great career peak making four All-NBA teams, but injuries forced him out of the spotlight too soon.
Featured Image Credit: Adapted from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mark_Price_(cropped).jpg
I have been a Boston sports fan for more than forty years. I write about games, players and seasons from the past.