After the 90s

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Following a decade such as the 90s, in which NBA blossomed, the first decade of the 21st century has been always judged really hard. The comparisons with the stars of the 90s were inevitable, as this has always been one the favourite habits of NBA journalists and broadcasters. But this time things were worse as almost every talented player playing from point guard to small forward was compared to or labelled as the next MJ and the despair to find the next NBA icon led the ‘NBA-people’ to name high school kids ‘kings’. The madness goes on nowadays, but during all this effort to find the next MJ or the dynasty that will succeed the Bulls, there were some players that were more than just good. So, I have ranked who I think were the top ten players of the 00s without comparing them with their predecessors or the legends of the past, I do not believe in ranking players from different eras unless a true common standard has been identified, but based on their performance throughout the decade and their basketball abilities.

Choosing the best player of the 00s was the most difficult task, because three players had almost the same chances; Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. I end up ranking them with that order because I believe that Duncan was the best player of the 00s. Tim Duncan did not have the superstar teammate that Bryant had in O’Neal and O’Neal had in Bryant and Wade, however he was able to lead a good Spurs team, to 3 titles during the 00s. He was the superstar in a team that was much different than most of its adversaries, based on team and defensive basketball that follows Greg Popovic’s philosophy. He was able, through his deep knowledge of the game to overcome his athletic disadvantages and dominate the paint by using moves that seem so simple but required the mastery of the game. Only Olajuwon’s footwork and low-post moves can be compared to that of Duncan. I consider Bryant a great player and the closest there is, in the after-90s NBA, to Michael Jordan in basketball skills, while I see O’Neal as the most dominant big-man in modern NBA (since the 90s), but the man that had the biggest impact on the game during the 00s is Tim Duncan; he changed the history of a the Spurs-franchise, showed the world how a power forward should play the game and kept his originality and his performance in high standards throughout the decade.

1) Tim Duncan

0225timduncan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Points Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks
Career* 20.2 11.2 3.1 0.7 2.2
2001-02 25.5 12.7 3.7 0.7 2.5
2000-2009 21.4 11.8 3.3 0.8 2.3

2) Kobe Bryant

kobelakers24

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Points Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks
Career* 25.5 5.3 4.8 1.5 0.5
2005-06 35.4 5.3 4.5 1.8 0.4
2000-2009 28.2 5.9 5.2 1.7 0.6

3) Shaquille O’Neal

SPORTS BKN-LAKERS 4 KRT

 

 

 

 

 

Points Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks
Career 23.7 10.9 2.5 0.6 2.3
1999-00 29.7 13.6 3.8 0.5 3.0
2000-2009 23.1 10.6 2.7 0.5 2.2

4) Kevin Garnett

kevin-garnett

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Points Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks
Career* 19.1 10.5 3.9 1.3 1.5
2003-04 24.2 13.9 5.0 1.5 2.2
2000-2009 21.6 12.1 4.7 1.4 1.6

5) Allen Iverson

iverson

Points Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks
Career 26.7 3.7 6.2 2.2 0.2
2004-05 30.7 4.0 7.9 2.4 0.1
2000-2009 28.1 3.6 6.2 2.2 0.2

6) Dirk Nowitzki

dirknowitzki2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Points Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks
Career* 22.6 8.2 2.6 0.9 0.9
2004-05 26.1 9.7 3.1 1.2 1.5
2000-2009 23.6 8.9 2.8 0.9 1.1

7) Lebron James

lebron2

Points Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks
Career* 27.6 7.3 6.9 1.7 0.8
2007-08 30.0 7.9 7.2 1.8 1.1
2004-2009 27.5 7.0 6.7 1.8 0.9

8) Dwayne Wade

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Points Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks
Career* 24.7 5.1 6.1 1.8 1.0
2008-09 30.2 5.0 7.5 2.2 1.3
2004-2009 25.2 4.9 6.7 1.8 1.0

9) Jason Kidd

New Jersey Nets v Portland Trail Blazers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Points Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks
Career 12.6 6.3 8.7 1.9 0.3
2002-03 18.7 6.3 8.9 2.2 0.3
2000-2009 14.1 7.0 9.3 1.9 0.3

10) Tracy McGrady

tracy_mcgrady_hou_01

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Points Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks
Career 19.6 5.6 4.4 1.2 0.9
2002-03 32.1 6.5 5.5 1.7 0.8
2000-2009 24.4 6.3 5.2 1.4 0.9

* Still active; career averages may be different

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