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
48 of 78

30) Rasheed Wallace

Although he is mostly remembered for his time as a member of the Detroit Pistons during the 2000s, Rasheed Wallace started off the decade with the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazer teams of the late 90s and early 2000s were both talented and controversial, with them being nicknamed the Jail Blazers due to their frequent run-ins with the law.

Still, in the 1999 and 2000 playoffs, they went toe to toe with the eventual champions, the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers, respectively. In fact, had it not been for a monster comeback by the Lakers in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, the Blazers may have advanced to the NBA Finals in 2000.

They didn't, of course, and Wallace was subsequently traded to the Atlanta Hawks, where he played just one game before being traded again to the Pistons, where he found a home. Over the next five seasons, from 2003–04 to 2008–09, the Pistons were one of the best teams in the NBA and went to the Eastern Conference Finals each of those years.

They even managed to upset the Lakers in the NBA Finals in 2004 and nearly did the same in 2005 against the Spurs. Ultimately, despite his reputation as a knucklehead, he was a successful NBA player.

He averaged 15.6 points while shooting 34.5% from 3 on 3.6 attempts per game. That was in addition to averaging 7.2 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1 steal over 756 games in the 2000s, not to mention making three all-star teams.