Shawn Marion and the historical value of stat-stuffers

Shawn Marion has been an elite stat-stuffer in his career.  (USATSI)
Shawn Marion has been an elite stat-stuffer in his career. (USATSI)

On Sunday night, the NBA's official account tweeted a seemingly arcane stat milestone regarding Cavaliers forward Shawn Marion. That it came in a blowout loss to the Pistons only exacerbates its seemingly meaningless specificity. 

Marion became the first player to log a certain amount in a lot of categories. 

To most people, those numbers are meaningless. Kevin Durant has 15,000 points, and he's 26 years old, 10 years younger than Matrix. Marion was never a dominant rebounder, and at 33 percent for his career from the arc, he's not a premier shooter, far from it. But even though the thresholds are arbitrary, to be the first player to tally that many in so many different categories, that means something. 

And for good context? Here are the players with 15,000 points, 10,000 boards, and 1,000 blocks, sorted by total steals for their career. 

Hakeem Olajuwon, Karl Malone, KG, Moses Malone, Robert Parish, Sikma, Kareem, Ewing, Duncan, Shaq, and Buck Williams? That's a crazy list, and Marion's presence is made all the more nuts by the fact he's played small forward for a huge chunk of his career. 

We don't see many stat stuffers in the league any more. If you take Marion's career average of 16 points, eight boards, 1.5 steals and  one block per game, only one player, the nearly-omnipresent Anthony Davis, is pulling that off this season. 

Marion isn't talked about in future Hall of Fame talks, he's considered to have never been good enough to warrant it. But Marion was a member of one of the transcendent offenses in league history, the Seven Seconds or Less Suns, who carry a lot of basketball cultural cache for changing the way people saw the game. He won a title with Dallas as arguably its best perimeter defender and doing all the things that make him so versatile, and is still giving good minutes on Cleveland.

If the Cavs kick into gear and Matrix gets another ring out of it... there's got to be some talk of whether Marion belongs in the hall. I'm not saying he should get in, but he needs to be in the conversation. 

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Moore's colleagues have been known to describe him as a "maniac" in terms of his approach to covering the NBA, which he has done for CBS Sports since 2010. Moore prides himself on melding reporting,... Full Bio

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