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
29 of 78

49) Andrei Kirilenko

Utah Jazz legend Andrei Kirilenko is remembered as a generational defender and for being incredibly versatile. Kirilenko played both small forward and power forward and was one of the few players who could shut down defenders on the wing and swat shots in the paint.

In fact, he led the league in blocks with 3.3 per game during the 2004–05 season while also averaging 1.6 takeaways. It's puzzling that he never actually won Defensive Player of the Year despite being a stellar player on that end of the floor.

He is also among only 12 players in NBA history to have a 5-by-5 game, which is done by tallying at least five points, five rebounds, five steals, five blocks, and five assists. Kirilenko was also a capable offensive player, averaging at least 15 points for three straight seasons, with his highest-scoring season seeing him score 16.5 points per game.

That resulted in his sole all-star appearance. Over seven seasons during the 2000s, Kirilenko averaged 12.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 2.2 blocks, and 2.8 assists in 559 games. Add in three all-defensive teams and three top-five finishes in Defensive Player of the Year and AK-47 definitely earns a spot on this list.