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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60) Mehmet Okur

One-time NBA All-Star Mehmet Okur had an interesting career, to say the least. He was initially selected 38th overall by the Detroit Pistons in 2003 and spent the first two seasons of his NBA career backing up Rasheed Wallace. That worked out for Okur, who won a championship as a member of the Pistons in 2004 before signing a deal that summer with the Utah Jazz.

It initially seemed as though it would be an inconsequential signing but he developed into an all-star in Utah. After backing up a former All-Star in Detroit, Okur was given a chance to start with the Jazz thanks to his ability to space the floor while playing both power forward and center. That may not seem like a big deal now, but in the early 2000s, there weren't nearly as many big men who could space the floor.

That was particularly useful, especially when paired with several other players on this list. In 2004-05, the Jazz made all the way to the Western Conference Finals with Okur as their third leading scorer; however, they lost to the eventual champions, the San Antonio Spurs, in five games. Fortunately for the Jazz, he got better and put up the two best seasons of his career in 2005–06 and 2006–07, averaging 18 points and 9.1 rebounds and 17.6 points and 7.2 rebounds, respectively.

That resulted in his first and only All-Star appearance in '05-06, though he would play around that level for the last two years of the decade. Although his decade averages of 13.9 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 531 games may not jump off the screen, he was an All-Star player who helped the Jazz make several playoff runs.