The NBA has had a wealth of talent pass through the league in recent years, and some high-profile retirements meant a loaded Hall of Fame class reached eligibility this year.
Specifically, the list of 13 finalists includes Jason Kidd and Steve Nash, two good candidates for point guard on the 2000s All-Decade Team, along with 11 other basketball heavyweights sure to stir nostalgia in fans at the mere mention of their name.
After all, Kidd is second in NBA history behind only John Stockton with 12,091 career assists, and Nash ranks third with 10,335.
Also in the running for hoop immortality are Ray Allen, Grant Hill, Maurice Cheeks and Chris Webber.
Allen is keeping the seat warm as the all-time leader in three-pointers with 2,973, and he did it in an era before three-point-wacky offenses like the ones used today in Golden State, Houston and Brooklyn came into vogue by shooting 50 three-point attempts a game.
Hill was the Rookie of the Year in 1994-95, playing 18 seasons in the league and making a case as one of the best players never to win an NBA championship.
The fact Cheeks is not already in the Hall is a thorn in the side of 76ers fans, who remember Cheeks for leading Philadelphia to a 12-1 playoff record and a title in 1983 alongside Julius Erving and Moses Malone.
Webber put up 20.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per game over a 15-year playing career that included a run of four straight All-Star appearances with the Sacramento Kings.
Nash and Kidd, though, are considered runaway favorites to get in, unlike the more debatable cases of Allen, Hill and Cheeks.
Nash had eight All-Star appearances, two MVP trophies, six seasons in which he led the league in assists, seven All-NBA team appearances, and his 8.5 assists per game for his career is ninth all-time.
Kidd, despite being regarded as one of the league’s worst shooters (his 40.0 career field-goal percentage saddled him with the nickname “Ason” because he had no J), more than made up for it with his passing and defense.
In his 19 seasons, Kidd’s 8.7 assists per game put him right above Nash at eighth all-time, and Kidd was a spectacular defender, making the league’s All-Defensive team nine times. Kidd was a 10-time All-Star, six-time All-NBA selection, and was the 1994-95 Rookie of the Year.
In Kidd’s best season with the Nets in 2005, his team outscored opponents by 17.3 more points per 100 possessions with him on the floor than when he sat.
Also among the 13 Basketball Hall of Fame finalists were three coaches — Lefty Driesell, Rudy Tomjanovich, and Baylor women’s coach Kim Mulkey. Also included were women’s players Katie Smith and Tina Thompson, longtime NBA referee Hugh Evans, and the Wayland Baptist University women’s team that won 131 straight games and four AAU national championships between 1953 and 1958.
Finalists must receive votes from 18 of the 24 members of the honors committee in order to book their ticket to Springfield, Massachusetts for the ceremony.
The Class of 2018 inductees will be announced during the college Final Four weekend.
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