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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71) Josh Smith

Longtime Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith spent a total of nine seasons with the team and proved to be both an exciting and frustrating player. Over the first five seasons of his career, Smith posted impressive numbers across the board, averaging an impressive 14 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.2 steals, and 2.4 blocks. 

While he wasn't a particularly good shooter, with fans often even groaning whenever he gathered for awkward-looking left-handed jumpers, he had his strengths. At 6'9, he was big enough to play power forward. His leaping ability allowed him to block an impressive amount of shots, while he could also defend away from the basket and guard some of the bigger wings of his era, some of whom appear on this list.

Had Smith played in today's NBA, his defensive versatility would be incredibly valuable, though he may have had to play center to try and offset his lack of shooting. Despite some of his shortcomings, he was incredibly productive, and although that didn't result in an award or him making an all-star team, an All-NBA team, or an All-Defensive team, he is absolutely one of the best players of the 2000s.