The 75 greatest NBA players of the 2010s, ranked

Stephen Curry, James Harden
Stephen Curry, James Harden / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages
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26) Paul Pierce

NBA legend and Boston Celtics icon Paul Pierce was in his early 30s and entering his third decade in the league at the start of the 2009–10 season but he still had some gas left in the tank. Actually, from 2009–10 to 2011–12, Pierce made three all-star teams.

He also helped the Celtics make a surprise run to the NBA Finals in 2010, where they came within 5 minutes of winning their second championship in three seasons. Had Pierce and the Celtics held on to win, he probably would have won his second Finals MVP and put himself in the discussion for one of the greatest players of all time.

He is still among the 75 greatest players in league history but he isn't quite top-tier. After 13 seasons in Boston, the Celtics made the surprise move on from a franchise legend in a blockbuster deal with the Brooklyn Nets. That deal also included bringing Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn, and they were there to help turn the Nets into contenders. Unfortunately, they lost in the first round of the 2014 playoffs and Pierce later signed with the Washington Wizards. 

He provided a team led by John Wall and Bradley Beal with a veteran presence and he famously hit a series-clenching shot against the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the 2015 NBA playoffs. Nevertheless, he opted to leave the Wizards for the Los Angeles Clippers to reunite with former coach Doc Rivers.

He spent the final two seasons of his career there, retiring in his home state. All told, Pierce made three all-star teams and put up 14.7 points and 4.6 rebounds per game in 530 games over eight seasons during the 2010s. That makes him one of the 30 best players of that era.