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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52) Latrell Sprewell

When people bring up former NBA player Latrell Sprewell, there is usually a mention of some of his lowlights, including choking one of his coaches and turning down $21 million because "I have a family to feed. "It's fair to bring that up but Sprewell was also one of the better players of the 2000s, albeit one of the most volatile ones too.

The Sprewell decade got off to a great start, helping lead the 8th-seeded New York Knicks to the NBA Finals, though they were beaten by the San Antonio Spurs in six games. He spent a total of six seasons with the Knicks before being sent to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

There, he was paired up with Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett and aging veteran point guard Sam Cassell. Sprewell, Garnett, and Casell formed an unlikely trio that dominated the Western Conference in 2003–04 and went deep into the playoffs. Despite helping the Timberwolves reach the Western Conference Finals, Sprewell and the Wolves failed to agree on a new deal due to his contract demands.

That effectively ended his NBA career in 2004–05, even though he was still good and only 34 at the time. That probably had to do with his reputation, but we won't hold it against him here. Although he only played five seasons during the 2000s, he appeared in 476 games and averaged a solid 17 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game. Had he stuck around for a few more years, he'd probably be higher on this list, but he was still better than most in the 2000s.