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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31) Richard Hamilton

Former Detroit Pistons star Richard Hamilton was one of the more underrated players of his era. Hamilton was acquired by the Pistons in the deal that sent Jerry Stackhouse to the Washington Wizards and he proved to be a key piece of Detroit's run during the 2000s.

During the 2000s, the Pistons made six consecutive Eastern Conference Finals as well as back-to-back NBA Finals and won a championship in 2004. Although he was less popular than Ben Wallace and less clutch than Chauncey Billups, Hamilton led the team in scoring each of those six seasons. Unlike other guards of his era who either scored from outside or at the rim, Hamilton primarily got points by running off of screens to get open mid-range jumpers.

That gave the Pistons, who were much more of a defensive team, a reliable offensive weapon. He could get them enough high-percentage shots to be able to outscore opponents while often failing to score 100 points. It wasn't always pretty but you can't argue with the result.

The Pistons were one of the most successful teams of the decade, and Hamilton averaged 17.9 points, 3.4 assists, and 3.3 rebounds in 742 games, mostly with Detroit. Add in four all-star appearances and a championship, and Hamilton's placement on this list is well-deserved.