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Top 5 NBA Players Of The Last 10 Years

When it comes to sports, everyone seems to have short-term memories. Players that are viewed as heroes one season are considered washed up the next. Coaches that win the Coach of the Year Award are fired the next season. A guy like Spencer Hawes will trend worldwide just because Blake Griffin dunked him on, and there is NEVER a time when Spencer Hawes should be trending worldwide…

In today’s NBA, it is nearly impossible to stay relevant for a few years, let alone ten. This list will review accomplishments, statistics, leadership, and success dating from the 2002-2003 season to the 2011-2012 season. Without further ado, the top five players of the last decade:

5.  Dirk Nowitzki:

Photo Credit: AP Photo

Many forget that Dirk has led Dallas to the finals twice in the past ten years, and has done so with a far worse second best player than anyone else (Kobe had Pau, Duncan had Parker and Ginobili, Dirk had Jason Terry…) The Big German flirts with a double-double on a nightly basis and has developed the most unguardable shot in NBA history. If Dirk is feeling it there is no stopping him, and he has carried the city of Dallas on his back with ease over the past decade.

4. Steve Nash:

via thechasedownblock.com

Although the Canadian guard has not won a ring, he helped redefine the point guard position. He has led the league in assists in five of the past ten years, and racked up two MVP awards while running a high-powered Phoenix Suns’ offense. Nash is also part of one of the most prestigious clubs in basketball – the 50-40-90 club (shooting over 50% for field goals, 40% for threes, and 90% for free throws). Only five players in NBA history have made this list (Larry Bird, Mark Price, Reggie Miller, and Dirk are the other four) with Bird and Nash being the only players to do it more than once (Bird had two, Nash had four). Not only has Nash used his skill set to create his own legacy, but has also created careers and large contracts for a number of players.

3. Tim Duncan:

Photo Credit: REUTERS/Mike Stone

Tim Duncan is the most underrated basketball player of all time. Nobody ever talks Timmy D or his Spurs, but he has quietly turned them into the best franchise in the NBA, and should go down as the greatest power forward of all time. He has averaged a double-double in eight of the last ten years, and his passing and defensive ability is often underrated despite the big man always averaging around 2 blocks and 3 assists per game. Accountability, efficiency, and intelligence; three things you will always get out of Duncan.

2. Kobe Bryant:

via gaberobertsart.com

Kobe will go down as one of the greatest winners in NBA history. It is almost sick how much this guy works, and he is still dominating the league in his seventeenth season of play. The Black Mamba has hit more clutch shots than just about anyone, and has left the world jaw-dropped time after time with his miraculous performances. In the last ten seasons, Bryant has averaged over 30 ppg three times and is one of the greatest scorers the world has even seen. Kobe’s next big challenge is getting that sixth ring, putting him in the same conversation as Jordan.

1. LeBron James: 

Photo Credit: AP Photo

The King is the most physically gifted athlete the world has ever seen, standing in at 6’8, 250 lbs with over a 7 foot wingspan and a 44 inch vertical leap…oh, did I mention that he runs a 40-yard dash somewhere between 4.3-4.5… Essentially LeBron is a train with a pretty solid jump shot, making him virtually impossible to stop.  James has won the MVP award in three of the nine seasons he has played in and nobody will be taking that title from him any time soon. Since his rookie year, he has never averaged under 26.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg, and 6.2 apg. However, his most impressive statistic is that he already owns three of the top ten PER season ratings of all time, with Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain owning the other seven spots (for those of you that don’t know, PER is basketball’s equivalent to Sabermetrics and serves as the best measurement of player efficiency. The scariest part about the King is that he may dethrone Michael, no matter how much people don’t want to admit it.

Honorable Mention:

Kevin Garnett

Dwayne Wade

Paul Pierce

Jason Kidd

Kevin Durant (not enough experience)


About The Author


Josh Langer is a Sport Management major at the University of Michigan. His favorite athlete is Kareem Rush and once dedicated an AIM screename to him.

Number of Entries : 231

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