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On Dec. 21, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will celebrate the birthday of basketball by announcing its list of eligible candidates for the class of 2016. Due to recent modifications to its enshrinement process, players will now become eligible after four full seasons of retirement as opposed to five in years past.
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So, who will be a lock for the class of 2016? Many consider former Philadelphia 76ers Jerseys guard Allen Iverson a shoo-in for the Hall, but due to the new rules Iverson won’t be the only Answer to that question. Four-Time NBA champion and MVP winner Shaquille O’Neal and eight-time All-Star Yao Ming are the most notable beneficiaries of the recent change.
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This news will almost guarantee a star-studded class for 2016, easing the decision making process for voters. However, there’s a chance it will enhance the wait for carryovers such as ex-Sacramento Kings legend Chris Webber.
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Webber was selected by the Orlando Magic Jerseys with the first pick in the 1993 NBA Draft. The five-time All-Star went on to play for five NBA franchises — the Golden State Warriors, Washington Wizards Jerseys, Sacramento Kings, Philadelphia 76ers Jerseys and Detroit Pistons Jerseys–but remains synonymous with one, the Kings.
Prior to joining Sacramento, the Kings made two playoff appearances and secured one victory in the 13 seasons immediately following their move from Kansas City, Mo. In those 13 years the Kings never produced a winning season and posted a combined record of 386-680 (.362). Needless to say, “C-Webb” put this city and team on the proverbial NBA map. But that doesn’t guarantee a player a seat in the Hall of Fame. Although there’s no clear-cut criteria for enshrinement, many will agree that if an era of basketball cannot be discussed without mentioning a particular player, then he deserves consideration.
Which brings us back to the Kings of the 2000s. From 1998-2005, the Kings made six consecutive playoff appearances, finished with six winning seasons, and peaked during the 2001-02 season with a NBA-best (and franchise-best) 61 wins. During Webber’s tenure in Sacramento, the team won more than 65 percent of its games posting a combined 335-179 record. Unfortunately for Webber and the Kings,they failed to overcome a dominant Los Angeles Lakers squad, with their best chance coming in the 2002 Western Conference Finals (Lakers defeated Kings 4-3).
While player narratives are important so are their numbers. In 377 games with the Kings, Webber averaged 23.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals. Those stats speak volumes for a power forward that ushered in the modern era of power forward plays (as did contemporaries Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki). While some of these players excelled at scoring, rebounding or defense, Webber was doing it all for a fairly young Kings core. During Webber’s six full seasons in Sacramento, he carried the organization on his broad shoulders, emerging as the team’s annual leader in three or more statistical categories.
Categories Chris Webber led team (Sacramento Kings)
1998-99 PPG, RPG*, BPG, Minutes
1999-2000 PPG, RPG, BPG, Minutes, Steals
2000-01 PPG, RPG, BPG, Minutes
2001-02 PPG, RPG, BPG, Minutes
2002-03 PPG, RPG, BPG, Minutes, Assists
2003-04 Missed 49 Games (2nd in PPG, 2nd in RPG) * = Led NBA in Rebounding
Webber’s career is not limited to his production with the Kings. In 1993, he earned Rookie of the Year honors as a member of the Golden State Warriors. In 1997, he represented the Washington Bullets as a first-time All-Star. Throughout his time in the NBA, he was arguably the game’s most versatile power forward.
Webber recorded 21 triple-doubles, the same amount as Kobe Bryant, and more than Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan combined. Overall, Webber played a total of 15 seasons with averages of 20.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.4 blocks, 1.4 steals. As a result, Webber joins Hall-of-Famers Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Elgin Baylor cheap college basketball jerseys and Billy Cunningham as the only players to average at least 20 points, nine rebounds and four assists for their entire career.
Yet, the most impressive aspect of Webber’s game might have been his passing. His 4.2 assists per game were impressive considering his workload, assisting on 20.2 percent of his teams’ baskets. According to Basketball-Reference.com, there are only three frontcourt players listed at 6-foot-9 or taller that assisted on a larger percentage of field goals than Webber: Larry Bird, Toni Kukoc and Alvan Adams.
NBA Assist Percentage (Frontcourt Players 6’9 or taller)
Rank Player Assist percentage
1. Larry Bird * 24.7
2. Toni Kukoc 23.6
3. Alvan Adams 21.4
4. Chris cheap college basketball jerseys Webber 20.2 * = Hall of Fame
It’s evident that Webber’s NBA career was filled with everything except the elusive NBA title. However, potential hall of famers aren’t judged solely by their professional resume. Which brings us to the maize and blue-sized elephant in the room.
In 1991, Webber arrived on the campus of the University of Michigan as a McDonald’s All-American poised to change the college game. He, along with four other highly recruited freshmen standouts, introduced us to baggy shorts, black Nikes, trash talk and a unique on-court swagger. This collection of talent — best known as the “Fab Five”– became one of the most polarizing NCAA basketball teams ever.
Webber was at the center of it all, averaging 17.4 points, 10.0 rebounds, while shooting 58.9 percent in 70 career games. He was a two-time College All-American and named to the 1993 AP All-American First Team. But despite winning 80 percent of his games at Michigan, and making two straight Final Four appearances, many discredit his play due to an off-the-court controversy. His role in those troubles resulted in Michigan serving a 10-year postseason ban that was lifted as of 2013.
Open Court: Steve Smith Jerseys on Chris Webber
Steve Smith Jerseys recalls going to see a young Chris Webber while he was in eighth grade.
Simply put, Webber had an amazing career. He is one of 12 NBA players with at least 16,500 points and 7,500 rebounds who maintained an assist percentage of 15 or better for their entire career. Seven of those other 12 are Hall of Famers (Bird, Baylor, Chamberlain, Charles Barkley, Oscar Robertson, Karl Malone and John Havlicek). Four are virtual locks for the Hall (Duncan, Garnett, Jason Kidd and Pau Gasol). His stats are obviously Hall-of-Fame worthy and his career is full of memorable moments. The list of Webber’s accomplishments can go on and on supporting his claim as one of the greatest to ever lace up a pair of sneakers.
On Monday, when the list of eligible candidates for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is released, some may highlight the likes of O’Neal and Iverson. Rightfully so. Numbers aside Shaq, A.I. and C-Webb did what many former No. 1 Draft picks struggle to do: live up to their top billing. All three led their respective franchises to new heights, making them perennial title contenders. All three produced at a high level for over a decade. All three will forever be remembered as pillars of the post-Michael Jordan era. Making all three worthy of the highest honor. Will all three be named to the Hall of Fame Class of 2016? Like Webber, we’ll all have to wait for the answer. Trending