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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44) Joe Johnson

Future Hall of Famer Joe Johnson began the 2000s as a member of the Boston Celtics but was traded during his rookie season to the Phoenix Suns. Along with Amare Stoudimire and Shawn Marion, Johnson formed Phoenix's young core and by the time the Suns signed Steve Nash in 2004, he was already on the cusp of breaking out.

After averaging 17.1 points and 5.1 rebounds during Phoenix's 62-win 2004–05 season, he was signed and traded to the Atlanta Hawks, where Johnson became a star. Over the final three seasons of the decade and his first three with the Hawks, Johnson, or "Iso-Joe," posted an impressive 22.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game. That started the Hawks run of the 2000s, with Atlanta making the playoffs three straight times to close the decade and three more times at the start of the 2010s.

All in all, Johnson averaged 17.2 points, 4.4 assists, and 4.2 rebounds in 623 games with the Celtics, Suns, and Hawks, with three straight all-star appearances. Although he was arguably better in the 2010s, Johnson was certainly one of the best players of the 2000s.