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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13) Carmelo Anthony

After being taken third in the historically stacked 2003 NBA Draft, future Hall of Famer Carmelo Anthony quickly established himself as one of the best offensive players in league history. From 2003–04 to 2008–09—six seasons—Melo scored a total of 10,769 by averaging 24.2 points in 445 games in addition to 6.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists.

During those six seasons, he managed to lead the Denver Nuggets to the playoffs each time, something that fellow draftees LeBron James and Dwayne Wade failed to do. He also carried the Nuggets to the Western Conference Finals in 2009.

Although he made the all-star team five straight times and helped the Nuggets to their best stretch of success at that point in their franchise, the circus surrounding him during the 2010–11 season and resulting trade to the New York Knicks soured fans on him. Melo himself even went as far as to suggest that the Nuggets gave current superstar Nikola Jokic his jersey number.

That's a little far-fetched but Melo's best year's being underappreciated is a shame since he was one of the elite players of the 2000s, even though he didn't play the first three years of the decade.