Toni Kukoc: stats & induction to the Hall-of-Fame

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A look at Toni Kukoc, his stats, and his upcoming induction into the hall-of-fame. Kukoc is going into the hall-of-fame because of his contributions to European basketball. It has nothing to do with his NBA career.

Toni Kukoc: Hall-of-Fame

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This past weekend Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, and Tim Duncan became members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall-of-Fame. Toni Kukoc will be inducted with the 2021 hall-of-fame class.

The rest of the class of 2021 includes Paul Pierce, Chris Webber, Chris Bosh, Ben Wallace, Yolanda Griffith and Villanova coach Jay Wright.

Social Distancing

NBA fans on social media started making comments and creating posts about Michael Jordan’s Bulls having another hall-of famer in Toni Kukoc. It’s an attempt to discredit Michael Jordan’s greatness. An untrue attempt, Michael Jordan is responsible for the Bulls six championships because of who he is and what he did.

Toni Kukoc isn’t going into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall-of-Fame because of his NBA career. He is being inducted by the International Committee for what he accomplished in Europe.

Toni Kukoc NBA stats

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Toni Kukoc’s stats in the NBA aren’t terrible, but they’re far from anything that would garner him Hall-of-Fame consideration. Kukoc wouldn’t even be a nominee for an NBA Hall=of-Fame.

Toni Kukoc averaged 11.6 points-per-game, 4.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists with one steal for his career. He never averaged 20 points-per-game in a season or made an NBA all-star team.

Kukoc was a lousy defender. Offensively, he was a jump shooter. He could take opponents off the dribble but not with any consistency.

His shooting stats were OK. He shot 44.7% from the field and 33.5% from three point range for his career. They aren’t bad numbers but they’re still below average. It’s not what you want from a player who isn’t giving you much else besides scoring.

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Kukoc signed with the Bulls in 1993.

6th man

In 1996, Toni Kukoc’s stats were good enough to win him the NBA Sixth Man of the year award. He averaged 13.1 ppg, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in 26.0 minutes-per-game.

Toni Kukoc: Hall-of-Fame Resume

Toni Kukoc won three straight EuroLeague championships (1989-91) with KK Jugoplastika. They were four-time Yugoslav League champions from 1988-91.

He was a three-time EuroLeague FinalFour MVP and the EuroLeague regular season MVP in 1991. Luka Doncic won these awards with Madrid in 2018.

“The Croation Sensation”, led KK Jugoplastika to the Triple Crown in 1990 & 1991. These are the reasons Toni Kukoc is going into the Naismith Hall-of-fame.

Kukoc joined Benetton Treviso in 1992. Benetton Treviso is an Italian League team. They won the Italian League championship in 1992 and the Italian Cup in 1993. Toni won EuroLeague FinalFour MVP again.

Awards

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Toni Kukoc led the EuroLeague Finals in scoring in 1990. He was a five-time Euroscar player-of-the-year and a four-time Mister Europa.

Toni was named to the FIBA top 50 greatest players of all-time and as one of the 50 greatest EuroLeague contributors too.

International Play

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Yugoslavia

Toni Kukoc is going to the hall-of-fame mostly because of his European career but his international one too. He led Yugoslavia to the under-19 junior World Cup in 1987 and was that tournament’s MVP.

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Kukoc was a member of the 1988 Yugoslavian silver medal Olympic team and in 1990 he was MVP of the FIBA World Championships. Also winning gold at the 1989 & 1991 EuroBasket tournaments. Kukoc was MVP of this tournament in 1991.

Croatia

He was a member of the Croatian National team at the 1992 summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. He helped Croatia win a silver medal. They fell to the Dream Team in the Final.

International Committee

The Naismith Hall-of-Fame is covered by four different committees. A North American Committee that covers the NCAA and NBA, a women’s committee, a veterans committee and an international committee.

The North American committee covers basketball in North America, while the international committee covers the rest of the world. Toni Kukoc is being inducted to the 2021 Naismith class only by the international committee.

If he was being inducted for his NBA career, it would have been by the North American committee. He wasn’t even a nominee.

FIBA HOF

Toni Kukoc was inducted into the FIBA hall-of-fame in 2017. In the NBA, Toni Kukoc didn’t put up the stats many thought he would but he was still a dangerous shooter.

Before he came to the United States, Toni Kukoc’s passing ability was being compared to Magic Johnson. He was nicknamed “The Waiter” in the EuroLeague because of his passing ability. His court vision must have been lost in translation when he came to America.

Tony Kukoc’s induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall-of-Fame has nothing to do with his NBA career. The international committee voted him in, not the NBA contingent.

When people say the Chicago Bulls had four hall-of-famers on their championship teams, this is true but it’s not accurate. Many LeBron James lovers, who have hatred towards Michael Jordan will use this to distort fans who don’t know any better.

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The only player that was an NBA All-Star as a teammate of Michael Jordan with the Chicago Bulls(1984-98) was Scottie Pippen. Dennis Rodman, Horace Grant, and Toni Kukoc were never all-stars playing with the Bulls.

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