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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25) Jermaine O'Neal

Six-time NBA All-Star Jermaine O'Neal certainly had an interesting decade. O'Neal was initially selected in the famed 1996 NBA draft but it took four years for him to become a good NBA player as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers. He was later traded to the Indiana Pacers, where he became a legitimate star, making all six of his All-Star appearances with the Pacers during the 2000s. 

Moreover, he helped turn Indiana into a title contender, leading them to the best record in the NBA during the 2003–04 season, with O'Neal finishing third in MVP voting. The following year, they were expected to be title contenders again but the Malice at the Palace effectively ended their run.

Although he remained a star for another couple of seasons, injuries began to take their toll, and he was later traded to the Raptors for him to finish out the decade. All told, he averaged 16.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks in 652 games. While he may not make the Basketball Hall of Fame, he was legitimately one of the better players of the 2000s, even if he flamed out toward the end of the decade.