The 75 greatest NBA players of the 2000s, ranked

The 2000s were an important decade for the NBA, with new stars emerging to carry the league into a new era. But which players were the best of the decade?
Tim Duncan, Shaquille O'Neal
Tim Duncan, Shaquille O'Neal / Jed Jacobsohn/GettyImages
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61) Sam Cassell

Former point guard Sam Cassell was a journeyman during his 15-year career, turning out to be a key contributor at each of his eight NBA stops. By the time the 1999-2000 season came around, Cassell had already won two championships and had seven seasons under his belt but the best was yet to come for him.

At the age of 30, he began to play the best basketball of his career, averaging 19 points per game as well as 7.2 assists over five seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks. Then he was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he had the best season of his career at the age of 34. Cassell helped Kevin Garnett carry the Wolves to the West semi-finals after winning 60 games in 2004–05. He was then traded again to the LA Clippers, where he helped them to their best season in twenty years.

The Clippers finished 10 games above 500 and came within a win of the Western Conference Finals. Cassell then ended his career with the Boston Celtics, playing backup point guard on their championship team in 2008. Overall, Cassell won three championships, including one in the 2000s, and made an all-star team and an NBA second team. He also averaged 17.1 points, 6.4 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 640 games, making him one of the more productive point guards of the decade.