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Who Would Make Up an NBA All-Decade Team for the 2000s?

Dylan ConleyContributor IIIMarch 11, 2012

Who Would Make Up an NBA All-Decade Team for the 2000s?

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    The 2000s (2000-2009) were a fantastic time for NBA basketball. Dynasties like the Spurs and Lakers displayed their continual dominance, and underdogs like the Pistons and Mavericks showed fine examples of a true team effort.

    Players like Shaquille O'Neal and Tim Duncan dominated the paint, while Kobe Bryant took control of the perimeter. Jason Kidd and Steve Nash showed mastery at leading a team, and Dirk Nowitzki showed that Europeans can ball too. LeBron James showed that players sometimes do live up to the hype, while Kwame Brown showed that sometimes...they don't.

    In determining who would make the team, I set it up as such: five starters, organized by position, and seven bench players (five backups and two wild cards). Sort of like how they determine the All-Star teams, except I'm differentiating forwards (power forward and small forward) and guards (point guard and shooting guard).

    In determining who to select, I tried to go by individual statistics and team success. Popularity had no part in the decision-making.

    NOTE: All statistics are from the 2000-2001 to 2008-2009 season.

Starting Point Guard: Steve Nash

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    Nash's Statistics

    PPG: 16.8

    RPG: 3.3

    APG: 9.5

    SPG: 0.8

    FG%: .50 percent

    FT%: 91 percent

    3P%: .44 percent

    Championships: Zero

    Playoff record: 45-50

    MVPs: Two

    All-Star selections: Six

    All-NBA Team selections: First team (three times), Second team (once), Third team (two times).

    Nash started out as the second fiddle on a consistently good Dallas Mavericks team before signing with the Phoenix Suns in the summer of 2004. Nash made an immediate impact on the Suns, leading them to the best record in the West. Nash won the first of his two MVPs, making him the first point guard since Magic Johnson in 1990 to win the award. 

    Nash kept the Suns in contention for several years, leading the league in assists per game four times. Despite never reaching the Finals, Nash made a lasting impression on the league, establishing himself as a Hall-of-Fame point guard and one of the best to ever play the position.

Starting Shooting Guard: Kobe Bryant

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    Bryant's Statistics

    PPG: 28.6

    RPG: 5.8

    APG: 5.3

    SPG: 1.7

    FG%: .46 percent

    FT%: .85 percent

    3P%: .33 percent

    Championships: Three

    Playoff record: 83-41

    MVPs: One

    NBA Finals MVPs: One

    All-Star selections: Nine

    All-NBA team selections: First team (seven times), second team (once), third team (once).

    Bryant is almost unarguably the best player of the 2000s, an intriguing figure with an incredible desire to win. One of the best scorers the league has seen, Bryant scored the second most individual points in a game, with 81 against the Toronto Raptors in 2006.

    Bryant was a pivotal piece of five Lakers' championships (three during the 2000s), winning Finals MVP twice (once during the 2000s).

    Often compared to Jordan, Bryant solidified himself as the best shooting guard in the league, the best at the position since Jordan.  And though Bryant will never be better than Jordan, he may be the closest thing we get to him for a long time.

Starting Small Forward: LeBron James

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    James' Statistics

    PPG: 24.5

    RPG: 6.2

    APG: 6

    SPG: 1.6

    BPG: 0.9

    FG%: .47 percent

    FT%: .74 percent

    3P%: .33 percent

    Championships: Zero

    Playoffs record: 36-24

    MVPs: One

    All-Star selections: Five

    All-NBA team selections: First team (three times), Second team (twice).

    James took the league by storm after being drafted No. 1 overall straight out of high school. He started out somewhat raw, but showed constant flashes of greatness. James was finally able to lead the Cavaliers to the playoffs in 2006, notching a triple-double in his first career playoff game.

    Like Bryant, James often drew comparison to Jordan, though James played small forward while Jordan played shooting guard. 

    One big difference between the two, though, is how they fare in the clutch. But you probably already knew that.

Starting Power Forward: Tim Duncan

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    Duncan's Statistics

    PPG: 21.2

    RPG: 11.7

    APG: 3.3

    SPG: 0.8

    BPG: 2.3

    FG%: .51 percent

    FT%: .68 percent

    Championships: Three

    Playoffs record: 82-52

    MVPs: Two

    Finals MVPs: Two

    All-Star selections: Nine

    All-NBA team selections: First team (six times), second team (three times).

    Duncan clearly established himself as the best power forward ever during his dominating run with the Spurs. Winning in all three of the team's Finals appearances, Duncan was one of a dying breed: superstars who stay with the same team their whole careers.

    Though never considered flashy or explosive, Duncan's success can be attributed to his masterful offensive postgame and imposing defensive presence. One of the smartest players in the league, Duncan was also lucky to stay relatively healthy most of the time.

Starting Center: Shaquille O'Neal

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    O'Neal's Statistics

    PPG: 21.8

    RPG: 10.1

    APG: 3.1

    SPG: 0.5

    BPG: 2

    FG%: .59 percent

    FT%: .51 percent

    Championships: Three

    Playoffs record: 76-37

    Finals MVP: Two

    All-Star selections: Eight

    All-NBA team selections: First team (six times), third team (once).

    Possibly the most animated personality the league has ever seen, O'Neal established himself as one of the most dominant centers in NBA history. O'Neal made it to the Finals four times during the decade, winning three times. O'Neal was also one of the most popular players, making the All-Star team in eight of the nine seasons.

Back-Up Point Guard: Jason Kidd

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    Kidd's Statistics

    PPG: 14

    RPG: 7

    APG: 9.2

    SPG: 1.9

    FG%: .40 percent

    FT%: .81 percent

    3P%: .35 percent

    Championships: Zero

    Playoffs record: 50-47

    All-Star selections: Six

    All-NBA selections: First team (three times), Second team (once).

    Kidd is one of the best point guards ever, having tallied the third most triple-doubles in NBA history. Kidd is a point guard rarity, a floor general who is also a great rebounder. Kidd led the Nets to two consecutive Finals appearances, though they lost both times.

Back-Up Shooting Guard: Allen Iverson

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    Iverson's Statistics

    PPG: 28

    RPG: 3.6

    APG: 6.4

    SPG: 2.3

    FG%: .42 percent

    FT%: .80 percent

    3P%: .31 percent

    Championships: Zero

    Playoffs record: 22-31

    MVPs: One

    All-Star selections: Nine

    All-NBA team selections: First team (twice), second team (twice), third team (once).

    One of the best scorers of the modern era, Iverson electrified the league with his speedy play. A champion for the little guy, Iverson stood a mere 6'0, though his game would make you think otherwise. Iverson was fantastic at driving to the basket, sacrificing his body to get to the hoop.

    Though some might consider A.I. a ballhog, he always gave 110 percent on every play, a true competitor focused solely on winning.

Back-Up Small Forward: Paul Pierce

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    Pierce's Statistics

    PPG: 23.7

    RPG: 6.4

    APG: 4.1

    SPG: 1.5

    BPG: 0.6

    FG%: .44 percent

    FT%: .80 percent

    3P%: .37 percent

    Championships: One

    Playoffs record: 37-37

    Finals MVPs: One

    All-Star selections: Seven

    All-NBA Team selections: Second team (once), third team (three times).

    Pierce has spent his whole career with the Boston Celtics, through the good times and the bad. Though it would take the acquisitions of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to turn the Celtics into true contenders, Pierce was always the player other teams had to worry about. A very savvy offensive player, Pierce established himself as one of the greatest Celtics ever.

Back-Up Power Forward: Dirk Nowitzki

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    Nowitzki's Stats

    PPG: 24.3

    RPG: 9.1

    APG: 2.8

    SPG: 1

    BPG: 1.1

    FG%: .48 percent

    FT%: .88 percent

    3P%: .38 percent

    Championships: Zero

    Playoffs record: 46-51

    MVPs: One

    All-Star selections: Eight

    All-NBA selections: First team (four times), second team (three times), third team (twice).

    Like Duncan and Pierce, Nowitzki is one of the few stars to stay with the same franchise their whole career. Nowitzki is arguably the best scoring big guy of the modern era, with his ability to hit shots from all areas of the court and his underrated post game.

    Nowitzki established himself as not only the best Maverick ever, but the best European player ever (Nowitzki is from Germany).

Back-Up Center: Ben Wallace

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    Wallace's Statistics

    PPG: 7

    RPG: 11.6

    APG: 1.6

    SPG: 1.5

    BPG: 2.4

    FG%: .46 percent

    FT%: .42 percent

    Championships: One

    Playoffs record: 76-54

    All-Star selections: Four

    All-NBA Team selections: Second team (three times), third team (twice).

    Wallace may have been a non-factor on the offensive end, but his incredible defense is what gets him on the team.  A four-time Defensive Player of the Year, Wallace was the anchor of a Detroit Pistons defense that was always one of the best in the league.

    Though almost always playing against bigger opponents (Wallace is 6'9" sans afro, rather short for a center), Wallace was able to collect rebounds and block shots due to his hustle and defensive awareness.

Wild Card No. 1: Kevin Garnett

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    Garnett's Statistics

    PPG: 21.5

    RPG: 12.1

    APG: 4.7

    SPG: 1.3

    BPG: 1.6

    FG%: .50 percent

    FT%: .80 percent

    Championships: One

    Playoffs record: 29-28

    MVPs: One

    All-Star selections: Nine

    All-NBA team selections: First team (three times), second team (three times), third team (once).

    Garnett spent most of his prime stuck playing on an average Minnesota Timberwolves team, which is rather frustrating.  Few players played with as much passion and energy as Garnett, who holds the records for most points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks in T'Wolves history.

    Garnett's intensity and defensive ability were a strong anchor for the Boston Celtics when K.G. finally won the championship he had been seeking for so long

Wild Card No. 2: Chauncey Billups

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    Billups' Statistics

    PPG: 15.7

    RPG: 3.1

    APG: 5.9

    SPG: 1

    FG%: .42 percent

    FT%: .89 percent

    3P%: .40 percent

    Championships: One

    Playoffs record: 80-58

    Finals MVPs: One

    All-Star selections: Four

    All-NBA Team selections: Second team (once), third team (twice).

    Before you start yelling that Dwyane Wade should have been here, give me a second to explain. In the nine seasons covered in this article, Chauncey Billups was the starting point guard for a Conference Finals team seven times. During his tenure in Detroit, Billups led the Pistons to six consecutive Eastern Conference Finals, including back-to-back NBA Finals appearances (winning one). Nash made the Conference Finals three times; Kidd made it twice.

    Billups may not have been a flashy player, but he was a fantastic leader for a very strong Pistons team that owned the Eastern Conference for a majority of the decade.

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