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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51) Michael Finley

Long-time Maverick Michael Finley spent the first six seasons—nine overall—of the decade playing in Dallas. During that time, he established himself as both a durable player and a reliable shooter and scorer. In 1999–00 and 2000–01, Finley made consecutive all-star teams by averaging a combined 22.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 1.4 steals while playing 42.1 minutes per game.

While his numbers slowly began to decline year over year after that, he still averaged at least 18.5 points per game from 2001-02 to 2003-04, making him a borderline all-star during those three seasons. In 2005, despite averaging nearly 16 points per game, the Mavericks opted to cut Finley loose and he was picked up by their in-state rivals, the San Antonio Spurs.

While he was no longer an all-star-level player, he proved to be a capable low-minute starter and knock-down shooter, drilling 38.4% of his 5.9 3-point attempts per game. In fact, during the Spurs' 2007 championship run, he hit a franchise record eight threes to help eliminate the Denver Nuggets during their first-round series.

All in all, Finley's 15.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game in 760 games, as well as two all-star appearances and a championship, help him rank as one of the best players of his era.