The 75 greatest NBA players of the 2010s, ranked

Stephen Curry, James Harden
Stephen Curry, James Harden / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages
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16) Kyrie Irving

Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving is still going strong in his 13th season after starting his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Irving was selected first overall in 2011, the year after LeBron left for Miami, and spent his first three seasons helping them rebuild before LeBron returned. All-star Kevin Love joined them and formed a big three that made three straight NBA Finals, going toe-to-toe with the Golden State Warriors. 

Unfortunately for Irving and the Cavs, he played the first game of the 2015 NBA Finals before getting injured and missing the rest of the series. That possibly cost Irving and LeBron a championship, which would have dramatically altered their legacies. Then again, the following year, the Cavs stormed back from a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals against the 73-9 Warriors. 

In Game 7, Irving hit the go-ahead three with less than 30 seconds remaining, giving the Cavs their first championship in franchise history. They would return to the Finals again in 2017 but were beat by the Warriors, who had added Kevin Durant to their core. 

Afterwards, Irving demanded a trade and was sent to the Boston Celtics, where he closed out the 2010s with decade-averages of 22.2 points and 5.7 assists in 508 games. He also made six all-star teams, won Rookie of the Year and won a championship, solidifying his status as an all-time great player.