On December 21st, 2017 the Naismith Hall of Fame announced it’s list of nominees for potential induction into the Hall Of Fame in 2018. The list features three first time nominees as well as, a handful of returnees from years past.
Last year saw Tracy McGrady inducted while Chris Webber finished as a very close finalist however, he did not receive the necessary 18 of 24 votes to be inducted. Once again, it will be very competitive when it comes to inductions.
Honourable Mention: Grant Hill (20% Chances)
Grant Hill had just about as good of a career in both the NCAA and NBA as one could dream of. Over the course of his 18-year career, Hill was a 7-time All-Star and was the winner of the 1995 Rookie of the Year. Although he never won an NBA Championship, Hill’s individual success should garner him a large amount of Hall of Fame consideration. Hill was also a two-time National Champion at Duke and had his number retired by the College basketball powerhouse.
In 1999 Hill averaged a career-high 25 points per game at 27 years old but as he neared 30 years of age, his production in terms of points began to decline. Grant Hill is extremely likely to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018 however, for the sake of our list and, overall comparisons to some of the other players on this list, the 1995 Rookie of The Year receives our honorable mention.
5. Ben Wallace (30% Chances)
Ben Wallace is arguably one of the best feel-good stories the NBA has ever witnessed. After going undrafted in 1996, it took Wallace until 2002 until he really began to make his mark in the league. One thing is very much clear, Ben Wallace’s offensive contributions to his team were never quite really what made him the star that he is.
If you look at his points per game averages throughout his 16-year career, his numbers on the offensive side of the game will not really jump out at you. However, it is because of his defensive tenacity and “never say die” attitude that Wallace deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Plus, he has something that very few players on this list achieved in their careers which, of course, is win an NBA Championship.
During his 16 year run in the league, Wallace will be best known for his time with the Detroit Pistons. Wallace was an NBA All-Star for four years in a row from 2002-2005. Along with multiple All-Star appearances, Wallace was also a four-time winner of the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Lastly, who could forget the now 43-year old’s contributions to the 2004 NBA Championship team that shocked the world, the Detroit Pistons. Never had the saying “Offense wins games but defense wins championships” been more true than in the career of Ben Wallace. After a near 20 year run in the league, the legend of the undrafted sensation deserves to be immortalized forever with an induction into the Naismith Hall of Fame come 2018. Wallace’s style of play proved that you do not always need to set the stat sheet on fire in order to become a very successful NBA player.
4. Chris Webber (50% Chances)
Chris Webber will forever be remembered as a tremendous college basketball standout and a player that to some, left a lot on the table. The 1993 first overall pick first became eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2014 and was named a finalist in 2017. For some reason, Webber has yet to be inducted. While Webber never won a championship, he was a five-time NBA All-Star, was selected to an All-NBA team five times and, won Rookie Of The Year in 1993. In 2007 Webber retired with a career average of 20 points per game.
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons why Chris Webber is not yet in the Hall of Fame is because of the amount of games played during his career. Many NBA players that are able to play in the league for over a decade are usually able to play 1000 or more games. In Webber’s case, in his 15-year career, he was only able to play in 831.
Yes, Webber did average 20 or more points per game in 11 seasons but he never once played a full 82 game season. With Webber’s window of eligibility to be inducted into the Hall coming to a close, there is no arguing that although he may not have played as many games as other names on this list, he still had an extremely successful career in both the NBA and NCAA. Not being inducted into the Hall of Fame would be a shame for one of the best basketball stars of the 90’s.
3. Jason Kidd (100% Chances)
Jason Kidd is the first of three potential first-ballot Hall of Famers on this list. Like so many players that we have already featured Kidd had a very lengthy career, 19 years to be exact. Kidd’s NBA journey began when he was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks second overall in 1994. After winning rookie of the year honors in his debut season, Kidd was shockingly dealt to the Phoenix Suns in 1996. While in Phoenix, Kidd would not only set a career high for assists per game with 10.8 in 1998, he was also a multiple time All-Star with the Suns.
Kidd’s style of play helped define the point guard position as we know it today. Kidd was not only a phenomenal facilitator with the ball but, he was also a willing scorer and could knock down the big shots when needed. Kidd’s tenacious defense also earned him nine NBA All-Defensive Team selections.
Kidd’s time as a member of the New Jersey Nets came when he was at his peak. Being able to team with Vince Carter also did wonders for the then near 30-year old’s career. However, as time rolled on and the transcendent point guard continued to rack up All-Star, All-NBA team appearances, Kidd’s career came full circle when he signed with the Dallas Mavericks in 2007. This time around, Jason Kidd was much more mature, older and wiser. However, age was just a number as at 37 years old he earned an All-Star selection in 2010. As Kidd’s career began to come to a close he saved potentially his crowning moment as one of the NBA’s best point guards ever, for last.
In 2010, Jason Kidd and the Dallas Mavericks took down the once thought to be unstoppable Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. This monumental victory would stand as Kidd’s first and only championship win. After a short stint with the New York Knicks the point guard’s stellar career as a player ended in 2013. A league leader in assists five-time throughout his career, Kidd’s play along with highly impressive resume should undoubtedly earn him a much-deserved spot in the 2018 Hall of Fame class.
2. Ray Allen (100% Chances)
After a failed comeback attempt last fall Ray Allen decided to retire and ride off into the sunset. In a sense, it was very bittersweet. Many fans surely wanted the sharpshooter to return while others, likely did not want to risk Allen potentially putting a stain on his impressive basketball resume. 18 successful NBA seasons later and Ray Allen has put together a career full of accolades and records. Originally drafted 5th overall in the star-studded 1996 NBA Draft, it did not take long for the sharpshooter to be selected to his first All-Star team in the 1999-2000 season which, was his fourth year in the NBA. Allen’s selection that season would mark the first of 10 All-Star Games throughout his career.
Over the course of his time in the NBA, Allen would develop into one of the game’s best pure shooters anybody had ever seen. The impressive shooting numbers that Allen put up during his time in the league not only ranks him first all-time in three-point field goals made but, it also paved way for the way basketball is played today. Without Ray Allen the three-point revolution may not be what it is today.
Shooting aside, Allen would be a vital member of perhaps the first modern “Big Three” in Boston alongside Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. In 2008 Allen and the Celtics would win the Championship and in 2013 the future Hall of Famer won another ring, this time with the Miami Heat.
If there is one moment that the basketball world will remember it is Allen’s series saving shots in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals. Lastly, he was a winner throughout most of his career and his 171 total Playoff appearances surely can attest to that.
1. Steve Nash (100% Chances)
Steve Nash not only revolutionized the point guard position but he also changed the way basketball is viewed in the country of Canada. Nash was never supposed to succeed in the NBA. He was either “too slow” or “too small” or “unathletic” to play in the NBA. Drafted 15th overall in 1996, Nash may arguably be one of the best players in that entire class. At the time, it was completely unimaginable that an unathletic kid from Canada would go on to be a back-to-back NBA Most Valuable Player.
Throughout his career, Nash made it a habit to prove his doubters wrong. Although it took him six seasons to reach his first All-Star game, Nash would never look back. He would torch defenders with never before seen dribble moves and would show off the most creative passes and ball fakes. Many questioned whether Nash really did have eyes in the back of his head. Not only was Steve Nash a pick-and-roll ace but he also possessed a silky smooth jump shot.
While he may never of averaged 20 points per game (he did score a career-high 42 points in 2006), Nash had four consecutive seasons where he was an All-Star and averaged double-digit points as well as, assists per game. Eight All-Star Games and two All-League selections later, you can find Steve Nash ranked third in career assists.
Even though Nash had a less than memorable stint with the Los Angeles Lakers and never won a championship as a player, he managed to win MVP twice during a time period where both Kobe Bryant along with, LeBron James were playing some of the best basketball of their respective careers. Nash was also instrumental in the massive wave of Canadian talent that has entered the NBA in the last five years. Players such as Andrew Wiggins, Tristan Thompson, Jamal Murray and many more may not have been in the NBA if it were not for “the godfather” of Canadian basketball. When the Hall of Fame class of 2018 is announced, you can count on the first year eligible point guard being inducted.