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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59) Caron Butler

Former NBA all-star Caron Butler was selected 10th overall in 2002 by the Miami Heat. Actually, he was a part of their young core that featured him, Lamar Odom, and Dwayne Wade. However, he was traded along with Odom and Brian Grant in the deal that netted the Heat Shaquille O'Neal. Butler would last just a season with the Los Angeles Lakers before being traded to the Washington Wizards, where he became a star, paired with Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jameson.

In his first four seasons with the Wizards, he averaged a terrific 19.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.9 steals. That resulted in two all-star teams, though his best season came in 2008–09, when he averaged nearly 21 points per game but narrowly missed out on a third straight all-star appearance.

That proved to be a nicer capper for Butler, and in 486 games over an eight-year span, he had 16.7 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1.7 steals. Add in two all-star team appearances, and Butler put together a surprisingly strong decade for a player that many may have forgotten was a star during the 2000s.