If the latest Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class ever needs someone to run a play, they have plenty of former players who could handle the task.
Former standout playmakers Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Grant Hill, Ray Allen and Maurice Cheeks head up the 2018 Hall of Fame class that also includes the WNBA’s Tina Thompson, coach Lefty Driesell, Charlie Scott, executives Rick Welts and Rod Thorn and Dino Radja, Katie Smith and Ora Mae Washington.
Nash, Kidd and Cheeks were all standout point guards during their playing days, with each ranking in the Top 15 in assists.
Nash played 19 seasons — 10 of those with the Phoenix Suns — earning MVP honors in 2005 and ’06. An eight-time NBA All-Star, Nash is also a three-time All-NBA first teamer (2005-07) and lead the league in assists five times. He ranks third on the all-time assists list (10,335) and holds the NBA record for highest career free-throw percentage (90.4). Additionally, he had four 50-40-90 seasons (field goal percentage, 3-point percentage and free-throw percentage). At Santa Clara, Nash was twice named West Coast Conference Player of the Year (1995, ’96).
In 1994-95, Kidd shared Rookie of the Year honors with Hill and would go on to become a 10-time All-Star. He won a championship with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011 and earned All-NBA first team honors five times in his career. Additionally, he was a four-time All-Defensive first teamer four times in his career and trails only John Stockton on the all-time steals list with 2,684. He is also second to Stockton on the all-time assists list (12,091). He starred at Cal, winning Pac-10 Player of the Year and All-America honors in 1994.
Smooth-shooting Ray Allen is the NBA’s all-time leader in 3-point shots made (2,973). A 10-time All-Star, Allen won a championship with the Celtics in 2008. He is ranked sixth on the all-time free-throw percentage list (.894). Allen played 18 season, including stints with the Bucks, SuperSonics, Celtics and his final two seasons with the Heat. In his last season with the Heat (2013-14), Allen nailed the clutch 3-pointer in Game 6 of the 2013 Finals against the Spurs that forced overtime.That allowed the Heat to win that game and emerge with the Heat’s third championship in Game 7.
The versatile Hill never played point guard, but he was one of the NBA’s best playmakers in his prime nonetheless. A 19-year NBA veteran, Hill was a seven-time All-Star and co-Rookie of the Year in 1995. He made the All-NBA first team in 1997 and was a second team member four times, too. His days at Duke were a success as well, as he helped the team to two NCAA titles (’91, ’92) and was the ACC Player of the Year and an All-American in ’94. In 2005, he was named one of ESPN’s 50 Top College Players of All Time.
Cheeks currently serves as an assistant coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder. But in his playing days, he was a key piece in the Philadelphia 76ers’ title-contending teams of the early 1980s. A four-time All-Star, Cheeks was the starting point guard on the 1983 NBA championship team. He made four All-Defensive teams in his career as well. Upon his retirement in 1993, Cheeks was the NBA’s all-time leader in steals (2,310) and ranked fifth all-time in assists (7,392). Cheeks played at West Texas State College (1974-78), where he was a two-time All-Conference player.
Report: Pau Gasol to join Trail Blazers
Free agent center Pau Gasol has agreed to a one-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Free agent Pau Gasol has agreed to a one-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, league source tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 24, 2019
Gasol, 39, who was limited to just 30 games last season because of a variety of injuries, has career averages of 17.0 points and 9.2 rebounds over 17 NBA seasons.
Report: Furkan Korkmaz returning to 76ers
Free agent forward Furkan Korkmaz has agreed to a two-year contract to return to the Philadelphia 76ers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Free agent forward Furkan Korkmaz has agreed to a two-year contract to return to the Philadelphia 76ers, agent Mike Lindeman of Excel Sports tells ESPN.
Korkmaz, 21, brings back a rotational forward with the ability to spread the floor with his shooting. The loss of JJ Redick in free agency – and Kyle Korver’s decision to choose Milwaukee over Philadelphia – brought some increased urgency to keep Korkmaz on the Sixers roster.
The 21-year-old Korkmaz, who was the 26th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, averaged 5.8 points and 2.2 rebounds in 14.1 minutes last season.
Report: Kevin Love to withdraw from World Cup
Cavaliers forward Kevin Love is the latest player expected to withdraw from Team USA’s training camp for the FIBA World Cup, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Sources: Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love is expected to withdraw from Team USA’s training camp for World Cup. Toronto Raptors All-Star Kyle Lowry remains committed on USA roster and is expected to be recovered from thumb surgery and return midway through camp in L.A.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 24, 2019
This news comes just one day after Damian Lillard reportedly withdrew from the World Cup. Love, who played in just 22 games last season because of a shoulder injury, averaged 17.0 points and 10.9 rebounds in 2018-19.
During the previous two weeks, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum reportedly decided not to compete in the World Cup this year.
Although the guard ranks will be somewhat depleted of NBA stars, Team USA continues to have a deep pool of players available.
Team USA still has strong blend of youthful players and veterans; this summer’s training camp will provide platform for emerging young players such as Donovan Mitchell, De’Aaron Fox, Jayson Tatum, Kyle Kuzma and Myles Turner, with gritty vets like Lowry, PJ Tucker and Thad Young. https://t.co/b8T16mdn8G
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 24, 2019
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