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
63 of 78

15) Tracy McGrady

NBA legend Tracy McGrady was one of the most popular players of his era and was known for his elite athleticism and explosive scoring. McGrady started his career with the Toronto Raptors, but his career didn't take off until he joined the Orlando Magic. In four seasons with the Magic, McGrady, or "T-Mac," became a bona fide superstar, putting up 28.1 points, 7 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.5 steals per game.

In fact, he won back-to-back scoring titles in 2002–03 and 2003–04 before being traded to the Houston Rockets in a blockbuster deal that included former Rookie of the Year Steve Francis. The deal paired two then-future Hall of Famers, Yao Ming and McGrady, together in the hopes of making the Rockets a contender.

Unfortunately, they had mixed success, with both players struggling to stay healthy for the final five seasons of the decade. The Rockets, in 2007–08, went on a historic 22-game win streak, led by McGrady and mostly without Yao.

Then in 2008–09, the Rockets went to the Western Conference Finals, but McGrady was injured during that run and didn't play in the playoffs. That sums up T-Mac's time with the Rockets, in a nutshell: poor timing and injuries, though he put up strong numbers.

McGrady ultimately averaged 24.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.2 assists in 671 games, making seven straight all-star appearances and seven all-NBA teams in the decade. That makes him one of the top-tier players of the 2000s.