Tim Hardaway, who is in the record books alongside Oscar Robertson, made the most of his time with the Golden State Warriors and deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame.
On April 4, the Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2020 was announced as Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett highlighted the group of nine inductees. However, there is still one retired Golden State Warriors player who is waiting for his eventual induction — Tim Hardaway.
The Golden State Warriors have retired the numbers for six players, and five of them are Hall of Famers, those being Wilt Chamberlain, Al Attles, Chris Mullin, Rick Barry, and Nate Thurmond.
For those wondering, the lone retired number not in the Hall Fame is Tom Meschery, who oddly is in four other Hall of Fames — San Francisco High School, Saint Mary’s College, Bay Area Sports, and Nevada Writers.
Although we could go down the wormhole of why Meschery is not in the Basketball Hall of Fame, let us divert our attention to a player who made a large impact on recent Warriors basketball, the team’s 14th overall pick in the 1989 NBA Draft.
In just six seasons with Golden State, Hardaway was in the top five in franchise history in three-pointers, assists, and steals. After four years at UTEP, he made the All-Rookie First Team by averaging 14.7 points, 8.7 assists, and 2.1 steals per game.
He then had three consecutive All-Star years, as he was producing unbelievable assist numbers. He reached his career-best 10.6 assists per game in 1992-93 and joined Oscar Robertson as the only players in NBA history to start a career with at least 8.5 assists per game over the course of their first three NBA seasons.
Hardaway also has the most assists per game in Warriors history by a landslide. Hardaway’s career average of 9.3 assists per game is a full assist more than Guy Rodgers’ second-place 8.3 assists per game.
When the Warriors traded Hardaway at the 1996 trade deadline, he had been two years removed from a season-ending knee injury. Golden State traded him with Chris Gatling to the Miami Heat for Bimbo Coles and Kevin Willis.
To understand how much better of a player Hardaway was than the other three, you can take a look at just one year of Hardway’s VORP (Value over Replacement Player).
In Hardway’s first year with Miami in 1996-97, he produced a career-high 6.5 VORP. Gatling, Coles, and Willis had a career 4.1 VORP over the course of their 46 seasons combined.
The five-time NBA All-Star and five-time All-NBAer has had his No. 10 retired by the Heat and has a chance to get the same number retired in a Warriors jersey at Chase Center.
With Kevin Durant’s jersey being mentioned as one that could be retired, Hardaway has a strong argument for his No. 10 being in the rafters as well.
Whether Hardaway’s Golden State jersey is retired or not, his top-100 Basketball Hall of Fame probability, according to Basketball-Reference, makes the legendary Warriors guard close to a lock for the hall.