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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57) Metta World Peace

Metta World Peace, also known as Ron Artest, had a wild career. He spent the first two and a half years of his career with the Chicago Bulls, averaging 12.5 points and 5.9 rebounds, before being traded to the Indiana Pacers. There, he became a star and an elite defender whose size, strength, and aggression made him an absolute menace on that end of the floor.

During the 2003–04 season, Metta World Peace had a career season, posting 18.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.1 steals. He also won Defensive Player of the Year, made third-team all-NBA, and was named all-defensive first team while helping the Pacers to a 62-20 record. Of course, he would play just seven games the following season. Artest's strong decade comes with the caveat that it could have been even better had it not been for the Malice at the Palace in the 2004–05 season.

He was suspended for an NBA record 73 games after averaging 24 points per game over the first seven games of the season. That also sucked the wind out of the ascending Pacers sails, effectively ending their small run atop the league. It also affected World Peace's career, with him being dealt to the Kings, where he had his best stretch of the decade, putting up 18.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.2 steals in 2 and a half seasons there.

He closed out the 2000s with the Houston Rockets, helping them make the Western Conference Finals before jumping ship and signing with the Lakers, where he won a championship in 2010. With averages of 16.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in 604 games, as well as a Defensive Player of the Year, an all-star appearance, and four all-defensive team selections, World Peace was among the best wings in the NBA during the 2000s.