By the turn of the millennium, basketball had already reached an astronomical level of popularity all over the world. The 2000s also produced a new breed of players that played the game in a way that had never been seen before. The 2000s were extremely hard to pick just one player from each position as standouts since there were so many players who could have been picked as the best. So, let’s take a look at our picks for the best starting five of the decade.
With the likes of Jason Kidd, Chris Paul, and Tony Parker, it was really tough to pick a definitive best. But due to accolades, Nash has to be the pick. He was named an All-Star four times from 2005-2008. The league leader in assists from 2005-2007. Nash was also named to the All-NBA first team in those years. Nash’s biggest accolades for came in 2005 and 2006 becoming the league’s MVP on both occasions.
Although players like Allen Iverson and Dwyane Wade did have their moments, Kobe Bryant was on another level. Kobe was one of the most successful in terms of championships. He reached the finals on six occasions and won four titles in the 2000s. No one could match Bryant’s individual honors and achievements in this period.
What else can we say about LeBron James? King James might be the most anticipated NBA draft pick in history. In 2005, he was named an All-Star in just his second season. And he went on to appear in every All-Star game in the decade.
The likes of Kevin Garnett, Chris Webber, Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan were all All-Stars and leaders of their teams during the same period. Duncan’s consistency and his team’s success gives him the nod. His style of play was so simple but extremely effective. This led to Shaquille O’Neal naming him “The Big Fundamental”. Duncan led the Spurs to three NBA finals (2003,2005,2007) in the decade and won all three.
In the 90s the NBA saw an absolute monster, Shaquille O’Neal. And by the end of the millennium, he was in his prime. O’Neal was arguably the most dominant player since Wilt Chamberlain. His size along with a surprising amount of athleticism was just too much for one or sometimes even two people to handle. He along with Dwyane Wade led the Heat to their first ever NBA championship.