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Houston Rockets: Will Tomjanovich make it into the Hall of Fame this year?

26 Mar 2000: Head Caoch Rudy Tomjanovich of the Houston Rocket yells on the court during a game against the Orlando Magic at the Orlando Arena in Orlando, Florida. The Magic defeated the Rockets 112-96.. Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons /Allsport
26 Mar 2000: Head Caoch Rudy Tomjanovich of the Houston Rocket yells on the court during a game against the Orlando Magic at the Orlando Arena in Orlando, Florida. The Magic defeated the Rockets 112-96.. Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons /Allsport
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Former Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich was recently named a finalist for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for the third time, but will he make the cut this time around?

Although it may seem obvious that former Houston Rockets‘ coach Rudy Tomjanovich belongs in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the fact remains that he’s yet to be inducted, which is yet another example of how the system is flawed.

In fact, Tomjanovich wasn’t even on the list of finalists last time around, but the former Rockets’ coach returned to the list of finalists this time around, as he joined a star-studded list of candidates, including players such as Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, and Chris Bosh, who are all sure locks to get in.

Although it’s great to see Rudy T being reconsidered, it’s ridiculous that he hasn’t already been inducted. San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich recently echoed these sentiments towards Rudy T, courtesy of Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

Popovich had the below to say regarding Rudy T’s constant snubs:

“It’s long overdue as I’ve said before each season (when) people ask me. He’s got the credentials for it. He’s had those credentials for quite a while. So, it’s sort of a mystery why he’s not in. Hopefully, that will be taken care of.”

As if this weren’t enough, former Rockets’ legend Robert Horry wrote that Tomjanovich is the best coach he’s ever played for, which is quite a statement considering that Horry won championships under Phil Jackson and Popovich also. Horry made this statement during a 2015 post for the Players Tribune, which further raises questions regarding Tomjanovich’s constant snubs.

Horry had the below to say regarding his affinity for Rudy T:

“Rudy T understood that even though he was the coach, we could see things that he couldn’t see from the bench. First thing T would say was, “What’s going on out there?” He would ask us the plays we would want to run sometimes and get a feel for what we were comfortable with.

If we ran a play and it worked, T would tell us to run it again. Phil not so much. Same with Pop. They are both great in their own right, but based on personal experience, T was the greatest NBA coach.”

So how is it possible for one of the best coaches in the game like Popovich and an iconic 16-year vet and a seven-time champion such as Horry to recognize the greatness of Tomjanovich but not the voters?

On top of that, Rudy T is evidence of the inconsistency regarding the qualifications for coaches getting into the Hall of Fame. Tomjanovich won more NBA titles than Jack Ramsay, Larry Brown, Bill Sharman, Jerry Sloan, Don Nelson, Lenny Wilkins, and former Houston Rockets’ coach Bill Fitch. In addition, as a head coach, he won the same number of NBA titles as Alex Hannum and Chuck Daly.

One might ask the relevance of these names, and the answer is simple. Each of these names represent coaches who are in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. So why is Rudy Tomjanovich not in the Hall of Fame?

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Hopefully this is the year Rudy T gets in the Hall of Fame after all, as he should have been in years ago. At least when you consider the number of NBA championships he won as a head coach as compared to many of the coaches who have already been inducted.

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