Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony

So what does the 2013 Hall of Fame look like?

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With a wrap on the 2012 class after Friday night’s activities, of course the attention turns to next year and the next class. Scott Howard Cooper broke down the list for NBA.com. The big first-year addition in terms of eligibility is Gary Payton. Glove’s a lock for inclusion in the Hall, eventually, even though it’s going to be kind of awkward for the league with all of his highlights from a city his team no longer plays in . But the other question is if he’ll get in in his first-year of eligibility. Reggie Miller was held out last year, which was nuts in and of itself. Do you consider Payton above Miller, all-time, enough to make a different ruling on him?

Cooper also broke down the list of currently eligible folks, and it’s an interesting crew:

1. Bernard King, North American Committee.

2. Jerry Krause, Contributor.

3. Mark Jackson, North American.

4. Tim Hardaway, North American.

5. Bobby Jones, ABA.

6. Mitch Richmond, North American.

7. Maurice Cheeks, North American.

8. George McGinnis, ABA.

9. Rick Pitino, North American.

10. Slick Leonard, ABA.

via An Early Look At The Hall Class of 2013 « NBA.com | Hang Time Blog.

King you have to think is a lock, as he should have been included this year, and there’s been enough noise made about him the past two years to make you think it’s probably coming to a head.  Mark Jackson would be a pretty good candidate, and his career resume looks a lot better than maybe the perception of it. Hardaway’s another easy pick, but you have to wonder if the controversy over his homophobic comments years ago could hold him out. The Hall loves guys like Pitino, so don’t be surprised if that happens. (Have I mentioned we need an NBA-only Hall of Fame?)

But let’s take a second on Krause.

The architect of the greatest dynasty in NBA history. (You can keep the Russell Celtics and the Showtime Lakers. Quality of competition + greatest player of all time + six titles in eight years, six out of six in years the players involved were active + greatest single season ever = victory.) Krause had the mind to figure out how to build a legendary team around the greatest player of all time, how to put talent around him, picked the coach, and oh, yeah, had the stones to draft Pippen.

But if you’ve read The Jordan Rules or Playing for Keeps, then you know the real dynamics between Krause and Jackson, Jordan, and Pippen. It was not pretty. At all. And Jordan, who has as much sway as anyone in professional basketball outside of David Stern and Worldwide Wes, has never forgotten the bad blood.

Interesting dynamics all around, even so long after the fact. I’m rooting for that, just because awkward moments on television are pretty much my lifeblood. Hard to argue Krause isn’t deserving, though.

Finally, Bill Fitch needs in, like yesterday. This has to be rectified.

Report: Khris Middleton could return to Bucks before All-Star break

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 16:  Khris Middleton #22 of the Milwaukee Bucks reacts during their game against the Charlotte Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 16, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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The Bucks projected Khris Middleton to miss about 70 games when he tore his hamstring before the season. That extended absence often leads players just to shut down for the year, but Middleton vowed to return in time for the playoffs.

He might get back far sooner than that.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star ‎break.

Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.

The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.

Isaiah Thomas nutmegs Knicks center Marshall Plumlee (video)

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Isaiah Thomas usually saves his best play for the fourth quarter, but the Celtics guard showed out early with this pass between Marshall Plumlee‘s legs to get Kelly Olynyk a layup.

Thomas uncharacteristically just didn’t have enough late. Though he scored 39 points, he shot just 2-for-9 in the final period, as the Knicks pulled away for a 117-106 win.

Kevin Durant misses dunk so hard, ball flies past halfcourt (video)

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Kevin Durant played great in the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night, but – perhaps fueled by excess emotion – he missed this incredibly emphatic dunk attempt.

Later, Russell Westbrook showed his former teammate how to do it (sparking their apparent conversation):

James Harden outduels Giannis Antetokounmpo as they produce fantastic highlight video

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James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo met in a battle of two of the NBA’s best point guards. (Still weird to say.) The final lines:

  • Harden: 38 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 blocks
  • Antetokounmpo: 32 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocks

The winner? Harden and the Rockets, who topped the Bucks, 111-92.

But the real winner? Anyone who gets to watch this highlight video. It just gets better as it goes.