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Monday, June 03, 2013

Hill, Kidd Retirements Mark End of an Era

Grant Hill and Jason Kidd entered the NBA together 19 years ago, they shared the 1994-95 Rookie of the Year award and now they have retired just a few days apart, with Grant Hill making his announcement Saturday night on TNT and Jason Kidd issuing a press release today.

Hill was a durable player early in his career--missing just five games from 1995-99--but a severe ankle injury and resulting surgical complications kept him out of all but 47 games from 2000-2003. He bounced back in 2005 to earn his seventh and final All-Star selection before enjoying several productive seasons as a role player in Phoenix, missing only three games from 2009-2011. Hill averaged at least 20 ppg for five straight seasons and he finished third in MVP voting in 1996-97 when he averaged 21.4 ppg, 9.0 rpg and 7.3 apg; that season he earned his only All-NBA First Team selection but he also made the All-NBA Second Team four times. He was the leading vote getter for the All-Star Game in 1995 and 1996, one of just 10 players to receive the most votes in at least two seasons.

In addition to his tremendous on court skills/accomplishments, Hill has represented himself well off of the court and he very eloquently responded to the unfortunate comments Jalen Rose made during the "Fab Five" documentary.

Grant Hill averaged 16.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg and 4.1 apg in his 1026 game NBA career; that sustained productivity, combined with his great college career at Duke, should earn him induction in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Jason Kidd posted some great statistics during his career--he ranks second on the career list for both assists and steals and the player once known as "ason" (because he had no "J") ranks third on the career list for three pointers made--but his impact could never be solely defined by numbers: Kidd is a winner and a champion and--from high school to college to the NBA to Team USA--every squad that he joined became better and every squad that he left became worse. Kidd played an important role for the 2011 NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks and he posted a 46-0 record in FIBA play, no small feat during an era when Team USA often faltered during international competition.

The Nets have a glorious ABA heritage but they were a sad sack NBA franchise until Kidd arrived in the 2001-02 season and promptly led them to back to back NBA Finals appearances; Kidd finished second in the 2002 MVP voting and even though Tim Duncan is a bigger--and therefore more dominant--player one could argue that few players in history have meant more to their particular team than Kidd meant to those 2002 Nets.

Kidd led the NBA in assists five times during a six year run in the late 1990s/early 2000s and he ranked in the top 10 in that category for 17 straight seasons. He made the All-NBA First Team five times and he earned four All-Defensive First Team selections. He ranks third in regular season triple doubles (107) behind Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson and he ranks second in playoff triple doubles (11) behind Magic Johnson; in 2007 Kidd posted one of the most exceptional postseason triple doubles ever: 16 points, 19 assists, 16 rebounds, just the third 15-15-15 triple double in NBA playoff history. Kidd twice averaged a triple double for an entire playoff series; Wilt Chamberlain (twice) and Magic Johnson (four times) are the only other players who averaged a triple double for more than one playoff series.

Kidd averaged 12.6 ppg, 8.7 apg and 6.3 rpg in 1291 games but it must be emphasized again that his impact was far greater than those numbers might suggest; Kidd was the best point guard in the NBA for an extended period of time--and a top five player overall--so he should be a first ballot Basketball Hall of Famer.

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posted by David Friedman @ 4:02 PM



At Wednesday, June 05, 2013 9:03:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone talked about who’s the player closest to Jordan. Rarely did anyone talk about the player closest to Pippen. Grant Hill was basically a Pippen clone.


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