The Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame will announce its list of finalists for the Class of 2013 in Houston this weekend as part of the NBA’s All-Star Weekend festivities.
There are plenty of elite players that have been nominated this year, making it tough to get the seven-of-nine votes required to become a finalist.
However, there a handful of shoo-ins and a few other names that would be downright surprising not to see enshrined into the Springfield, Mass. Hall of Fame later this year.
Let’s take a look at these deserving players.
Complete list of nominees can be found here.
The Glove started his storied career back in 1990, catching on with the Seattle Supersonics and absolutely dominated with his incredible defense, standout offense and ability to lead a team.
After winning a championship with the Miami Heat in 2006 and signing on for the ’06-'07 campaign, Payton finished up his 17 seasons in the NBA with 21,813 points, 8,966 assists, 5,269 rebounds and 2,445 steals.
There has never been a player that capable of defending at his position before or after, and he is the only modern PG to earn the Defensive Player of the Year Award (1996).
Payton should be a unanimous choice to make the Hall of Fame.
Hardaway was a natural scorer that dominated for a stretch in the NBA, especially during his time with the Golden State Warriors (1989-1996.)
The 6'0" point guard possessed one of the best crossovers in the history of the league, using it to average a stout 17.7 points per game (15,373 total in his playing days). However, Hardaway wasn’t selfish by any stretch, dishing out 8.2 assists per contest (7,095 total) over the course of a 13-year career.
Add in his 2,855 rebounds and 1,428 steals in that time, plus five All-Star appearances, five All-NBA Team appearances and his No. 10 retired by the Heat, and you have the makeup of a Hall of Famer.
King could have been a legend if not for tearing his ACL in the middle of his prime, robbing him of the entire 1985-86 campaign and impacting his trademark explosiveness over the last six seasons of his career.
However, he was still effective during the twilight of his career and a large reason why the small forward should join some of his elite peers in the Naismith Hall of Fame.
The four-time All-Star scored 19,655 points, hauled in 5,060 rebounds and distributed 2,863 assists during his 14 seasons in the NBA. At 6’7”, 205 pounds, King was the prototypical small forward of his era and even managed to win the ’85 scoring title by piling in 32.9 points per game.
Had he not been cut down by injury the following season, King would likely be atop this list, but the former Nets, Jazz, Warriors, Knicks and Bullets star wasn’t so fortunate.
It’ll be interesting to see what the selection committee thinks when it comes time to vote.