NBA 75th anniversary team has 19 spots up for grabs

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Of the 50 players already announced for the NBA’s 75th anniversary team, 41 were on the league’s 50 Greatest list named a quarter century ago.

Which means there’s plenty of room for fresh faces in the final installment of 25 players that will be revealed tonight.

For those last 25 selections, I see just six locks:

Dolph Schayes should be a lock, but isn’t quite. He suffers from recency bias, as do the other members of the 50 Greatest list – besides Shaquille O’Neal and Elgin Baylor – who haven’t yet been named to the 75th anniversary team:

  • Lenny Wilkens
  • Earl Monroe
  • Billy Cunningham
  • Dave Bing
  • Pete Maravich
  • Dave DeBusschere

Obviously, many players who’ve flourished since the 50 Greatest list came out are strong candidates. The standout retired players/current players who’ve already had a career’s worth of accomplishments:

  • Jason Kidd
  • Paul Pierce
  • Dwight Howard
  • Russell Westbrook
  • Ray Allen
  • Reggie Miller
  • Carmelo Anthony
  • Tracy McGrady
  • Gary Payton
  • Pau Gasol
  • Chris Bosh
  • Dennis Rodman
  • Vince Carter
  • Dikembe Mutombo
  • Alonzo Mourning
  • Ben Wallace
  • Chauncey Billups
  • Tony Parker
  • Manu Ginobili

Several younger current players are also in the running:

Like with Shaq in 1996, voters must balance how much the player has already accomplished with expectations of future performance.

A handful of players who were retired or nearly retired by 1996 are also getting renewed attention:

  • Dominique Wilkins
  • Bob McAdoo
  • Bernard King
  • Bob Lanier
  • Artis Gilmore
  • Adrian Dantley
  • Alex English

Gilmore might be the biggest wildcard. Will voters value his ABA dominance? This is very specifically an NBA honor. But the NBA is loose on handling history and mergers.

My prediction for the remaining 25 names:

  • Shaquille O’Neal
  • Elgin Baylor
  • LeBron James
  • Kobe Bryant
  • Dwyane Wade
  • Stephen Curry
  • Dolph Schayes
  • Jason Kidd
  • Paul Pierce
  • Dominique Wilkins
  • Bob McAdoo
  • Russell Westbrook
  • Ray Allen
  • Carmelo Anthony
  • Reggie Miller
  • Gary Payton
  • Kawhi Leonard
  • Anthony Davis
  • Lenny Wilkens
  • Earl Monroe
  • Dave Bing
  • Billy Cunningham
  • Pete Maravich
  • Bernard King
  • Bob Lanier

That’d make Dwight Howard the biggest snub, but that’s jumping the gun. We’ll have plenty of time to debate the biggest snubs after we see who actually makes the list.