You Are Here > Basketball-Reference.com > BBR Blog > NBA and College Basketball Analysis

SITE NEWS: We are moving all of our site and company news into a single blog for Sports-Reference.com. We'll tag all Basketball-Reference content, so you can quickly and easily find the content you want.

Also, our existing Basketball-Reference blog rss feed will be redirected to the new site's feed.

Basketball-Reference.com // Sports Reference

For more from Neil, check out his new work at BasketballProspectus.com.

All-Decade Teams: The 2000s

Posted by Justin Kubatko on July 24, 2009

Since we're nearing the end of another decade, I thought it would be interesting to come up with All-Decade teams for the 2000s. I know that technically the decade is not over yet, but the NBA has a split season, and since we've already crowned the 2009 NBA champions it seems to me that the 2008-09 season is a good breaking point.

Rather than choose the teams arbitrarily, I wanted to come up with a method to select the teams. I decided to use a weighting scheme similar to what Doug Drinen of PFR uses. Here's Doug's description of the method:

My opinion is that most people mentally rank players by counting all the players’ seasons, but weighting their best seasons more. In order to mimic that, I’ve defined each player’s approximate career “value” to be:

100% of his best season, plus 95% of his 2nd-best season, plus 90% of his 3rd-best season, plus, ….

So, for two players with the same career [value], the one with the higher peak will be rated a little higher. And junk seasons at the end of a player’s career count for almost nothing.

In order to find each player's "value" for a particular season, I decided to add his regular season Win Shares to his post-season Win Shares. I also tweaked Doug's weights slightly. Since we're dealing with a period of 10 years rather than entire careers, a player's best season gets a weight of 1, his second-best season gets a weight of 0.9, his third-best season gets a weight of 0.8, etc. This will help to prevent players who may have missed a season due to injury or were drafted later in the decade from being penalized too harshly. I also decided to mimic the All-NBA voters and not make fine distinctions at each position, so a particular team might have two power forwards rather than one small forward and one power forward.

OK, that's enough background. Here we go with the first team...

All-Decade First Team
G Kobe Bryant 88.2
G Chauncey Billups 76.1
F Dirk Nowitzki 95.4
F Tim Duncan 91.5
C Shaquille O'Neal 86.1

I have a good feeling what the two most common reactions to these results are going to be, so let me tackle them now:

Reaction #1: How can you have Chauncey Billups over Steve Nash?

Here is a comparison of their per game statistics for the decade:

Player G MP FG FGA 3P 3PA FT FTA ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS FG% 3P% FT%
Billups 712 32.5 4.7 11.2 1.7 4.4 4.4 4.9 0.5 2.6 3.1 5.9 1.0 0.2 2.0 2.1 15.6 .422 .396 .891
Nash 753 33.7 5.8 11.8 1.6 3.7 2.9 3.2 0.6 2.6 3.2 9.1 0.8 0.1 3.0 1.7 16.2 .494 .436 .905

Aside from the big advantage Nash has in assists, their per game statistics are quite similar. However, when you consider that Nash's teams never finished lower than 7th in pace factor, while Billups's teams were usually near the bottom of the league in pace, most of Billups's per game numbers are actually better than Nash's.

There's also the matter of playoff performance. Billups was on seven straight teams that reached the conference finals, a remarkable achievement. What happens if we remove playoff performance from the equation? Nash comes out ahead by the slimmest of margins, 62.0 to 61.9. However, it did not seem right to me to exclude playoff performances because (a) they do matter and (b) it would be silly to tweak the method just to reach a pre-determined result.

Reaction #2: How can you have Dirk Nowitzki over Kevin Garnett?

In my opinion, Nowitzki, although thought of highly by most people, still manages to be underrated. Consider:

  • Nowitzki earned a decade-best 137.6 Win Shares during the regular season.
  • Nowitzki finished fifth in the decade with 17.4 playoff Win Shares, but while Nowitzki played in only 97 playoff games, no one above him played him in fewer than 133 games.
  • Nowitzki is an almost perfect blend of productivity and efficiency. Among players with at least 400 games played during the decade, he had the 15th-highest usage percentage, the 8th-lowest turnover percentage, and the 6th-highest offensive rating.
  • The Mavericks have won 50 or more games nine consecutive seasons, including seasons of 60 and 67 wins after losing two-time MVP Steve Nash. The one constant during this streak? Nowitzki.

None of this is meant to slight Garnett, who I think is a great player. I just think — and this system happens to agree — that Nowitzki was a little bit greater.

Moving on to the second team...

All-Decade Second Team
G Steve Nash 70.0
G Ray Allen 66.3
F Kevin Garnett 86.8
F LeBron James 76.9
C Ben Wallace 60.8

The only surprise here might be Ray Allen, but he was named to the All-Star team nine times during the decade and he was/is a phenomenally efficient scorer, not to mention that he has also been a clutch playoff performer.

Finally, the third team...

All-Decade Third Team
G Tracy McGrady 63.4
G Jason Kidd 59.9
F Shawn Marion 72.4
F Paul Pierce 69.1
C Amare Stoudemire 54.1

Again, no big surprises, although I had to make a bit of a judgment call at center. Pau Gasol finished ahead of Stoudemire, but I think most people view Gasol as a power forward, not a center. Since Stoudemire was named to three All-NBA teams at center, I decided to go with him. Actually, Stoudemire ended up being the lowest-ranked player to make the team. Here are the players who finished ahead of Stoudemire in the rankings but were squeezed out due to positional quotas:

+------+---------------------+-------+--------+
| Rank | Player              | Years | Rating |
+------+---------------------+-------+--------+
|   14 | Elton Brand         |    10 |   60.7 | 
|   16 | Vince Carter        |    10 |   58.5 | 
|   17 | Peja Stojakovic     |    10 |   58.2 | 
|   18 | Pau Gasol           |     8 |   58.2 | 
|   19 | Allen Iverson       |    10 |   57.5 | 
|   20 | Dwyane Wade         |     6 |   54.6 | 
|   21 | Manu Ginobili       |     7 |   54.3 | 
+------+---------------------+-------+--------+

Some people might be surprised that Dwyane Wade does not rank higher, but keep in mind that Wade only played six seasons, and in two different seasons Wade missed 31 games due to injury.

Just to recap, once again here are the All-Decade teams for the 2000s:

First Team Second Team Third Team
G Kobe Bryant 88.2 Steve Nash 70.0 Tracy McGrady 63.4
G Chauncey Billups 76.1 Ray Allen 66.3 Jason Kidd 59.9
F Dirk Nowitzki 95.4 Kevin Garnett 86.8 Shawn Marion 72.4
F Tim Duncan 91.5 LeBron James 76.9 Paul Pierce 69.1
C Shaquille O'Neal 86.1 Ben Wallace 60.8 Amare Stoudemire 54.1

In the coming weeks I'll try to do the same thing for the 1990s and 1980s. Stay tuned...

Update: Coaches are covered in this blog post.

ShareThis

78 Responses to “All-Decade Teams: The 2000s”

  1. sly Says:

    AI is not on the first team? BS. table the stats and tell me how he managed to get skipped. I am a Laker fan but I know when someone busts their ass for that long and at that size, they are on the team of the decade

  2. spencer096 Says:

    sly...because this isn't the all "heart, guts and BS" team, it's about who's truly the greatest players of the past decade.

    it really doesn't matter that AI hustled and got his butt kicked because he was so tiny...he was arguably one of the least efficient superstars of the era.

  3. Jason J Says:

    I'm a total sucker for these types of lists. Good one, Justin!

    So Neil, is their a SPM All-2000s team on the way?

    I'd be interested in seeing how the rankings would work on a WS/min basis (obviously you'd want to use some controls - a player ought to put in at least 3 or 4 full seasons in the decade just to be considered or something like that). I'm not particularly concerned that anyone was left off. I just think it would be a good contrast between who played at a high level for the whole decade and who is peaking in this decade.

    It would also be interesting to look at the league in 5 year groupings instead of full decades, just to see how different it was one from 1/2 decade to the next. For instance 2000-2004 might have Karl Malone as one of the top 6 forwards. And it won't have LeBron. 2005-09 will be headlined by LeBron and obviously won't have Karl.

  4. sly Says:

    AI single handedly took the Sixers to the NBA finals. Not one of those other guys on this list comes close to doing that. Not even Kobe Or Duncan. People just come up with some random numbers and stat that are ambiguous.

  5. Neil Paine Says:

    Really? AI "single-handedly" took Philly to the Finals?

    See, this is the kind of simple-minded garbage that we're trying to combat here. I've got some startling news for you, Sly: the 2001 Sixers were merely an average offensive team. It was actually their 5th-ranked DEFENSE that propelled them to the Finals! And despite his steals, the 6'0" Iverson would never be considered the defensive catalyst for anybody. So AI hardly "single-handedly" took the Sixers to the 2001 Finals. Was he their best player? Sure. But it took a total team effort, especially on defense, to take that team as far as they went. I guess because AI was the only big name on the roster, though, a casual fan such as yourself would simply assume it was a one-man show, right?

  6. Neil Paine Says:

    And yes, I'll probably do some kind of SPM All-Decade team at some point, but we'll let the Win Shares version stand by itself for right now.

  7. dwightk Says:

    where's Tony Parker?

    His stats look better than Manu's and he's played more years, and more games in those years. What Rating did he end up with?

  8. Robert August de Meijer Says:

    I am already looking forward to the all-90s and all-80s teams. 70s and 60s (using another related stat?) would also tickle my fancy.

    I'm actually glad that Allen Iverson did not even make the third team. I've always felt he was a bad example for how to play basketball.

  9. datIBG Says:

    It seems questionable to add post-season Win Shares...for the regular season, I understand using WS and not WS/min, but not every player has the opportunity to play deep into the playoffs (Duncan, Dirk, Kobe), while other great players were stuck on miserable teams (McGrady, Garnett). The post-season WS totals are very opportunity-based. I personally feel that using a combination of regular season WS and post season WS/min would have been more fair in ranking these teams.

  10. Jesse Says:

    Although I agree with the decision to use regular season Win Share totals, I disagree with the decision to use the post-season Win Share totals. Duncan, Kobe, Shaquille, and Dirk were blessed to play on talented teams with great coaching (in addition to their great individual skills), and this allowed them to accumulate massive post-season Win Share totals. Greats such as Garnett and McGrady suffered on inferior teams, and thus did not have the same opportunity to play deep into the post-season. Essentially, I am saying that the post-season WS totals are more opportunity-based than the regular season WS totals. To correct for this, it would make sense to use post-season WS/min (in addition to regular season WS totals) instead of the post-season WS totals. T-Mac and Garnett would surely look somehwat different compared to their peers in this light.

  11. Waynehead Says:

    Kidd should be first over Billups. I'm sorry. Kidd is a first ballot HoF er. Not so sure about Billups.

  12. VH Says:

    yeah, billups and nash had the same numbers... except for assists and SHOOTING!!! 7% difference in shooting percentage is like saying a guy who hits .320 and a guy who hits .240 in baseball doesn't make a difference. shocking that you would overlook that.

  13. Walter Says:

    Great work and I think the list is pretty representative. In the Nash vs Billups debate, I do think Billups beats out Nash because of his defense. Nash is arguably one of the WORST defensive players in the league. As great as he was offensively (for about 4 seasons) he was just as bad defensively but they don't keep stats like "let his man blow by him" or "had to switch over to Bruce Bowen and stand in the corner because Tony Parker was going for 50+".
    Billups is a very solid defender and had very solid seasons for basically the entire decade... not just under the run-and-gun Suns for 3 years like Nash.

  14. The Milkman Says:

    What a joke of a list. Billups and Nash ahead of Kidd? Billups on 1st team to begin with? Ben Wallace 2nd team? Iverson barely cracking the honorable mentions list. Peja ranked ahead of Iverson? Stats are important, but only to a certain extent.

    [Ignorant rant deleted. —Ed.]

  15. PJ Says:

    If you have a problem with the list, then you can 1) examine the formula and try to figure out where it goes wrong, as some have done here with the playoff thing, or 2) go to some other website where what matters is how homophobic a joke you can make. You're in the wrong place, Milkman.

    And VH: the only thing that's shocking is your confidence that you are being more statistically sophisticated than Mr. Kubatko. Here's a clue: you're not.

  16. Neil Paine Says:

    Oh, that's classy, "Milkman", real classy... Ad hominem attacks: the telltale sign of someone who has no legitimate argument.

    You fail.

  17. Garron Says:

    I like the list. But just a few responses to people writing;

    I don't understand how people, coming to a stat-based site, knowing it is a statistics formula, bash the formula for not including things that cannot be quantified. It's like eating chocolate and saying it sucks because it's not vanilla.

    Secondly, this formula was not designed to put people ahead of others. It was created, then data was input, then results were analysed.

    Third, I think debate should go about the formula, not the results. I'm still wondering whether or not total WS or WS/game should be used (at least for playoffs) but I do think playing in more playoff games do matter, as for most NBA players, that's a goal. Does it skew in favour of those who've played in better teams? Sure. But WS also takes into account how good each player was on that particular team.

    ps. I know people think Ben Wallace is a joke now, but this forumla weighs more heavily on a players peak seasons. Ben Wallace's prime years were ridiculous. And I'm a Laker hater but I also think it's ok to put Pau as a Center. He did play that position for half of the playoffs.

  18. Rick Says:

    The only thing that surprises me on this list is Dirk having a higher value than Timmy. I admit to hating the Spurs when I'm in the mood for fast paced bball action, but Duncan is nothing if not the personification of professionalism and efficiency.

    I realize that he has had his share of injuries, and that Popp limits his minutes, but I am still surprised to see him behind Nowitzki.

  19. Metsox Says:

    Parker over Manu? One jests I hope. I would have put Manu in there somewhere, just because his numbers are so good, but perhaps he hasn't played enough...

    I agree that Kidd deserves a look at First Team. The years the Nets went to the Finals with Kerry Kittles and Richard Jefferson as the 2nd and 3rd banana were a testament to his greatness (and perhaps the weakness of the eastern conference, but whatever...)

    As always, great stuff, love the blog

  20. Tony Says:

    Seriously, Nowitzki over KG? Kevin Garnett was the defensive anchor to the team that actually went to the finals and won, something Nowtizki can't say. They both won MVP once, so KG has the slight in achievements

    Kevin Garnett's MVP Season - 24.2 PPG, 13.9 RPB, 5.0 APG, 1.5 SPG, 2.2 BPG
    Nowitzki's MVP Season - 24.6 PPG, 8.9 RPB, 3.4 APG, 0.7 SPG, .8 BPG

    KG was better in every category, except points and by a mere .4 points.
    Nowitzki has never managed to average a double double, and at 7 foot playing PF, you think somebody on the first team could do that.

    Tracy McGrady seriously? He only has 2 or 3 good seasons, he's been injured so much, he's never been out of the first round. Shouldn't even be on there.

    Vince Carter should if anything. Slam Dunk Contest champion, 8 time all-star, more consistent if anything. Less injuries. He's actually made it out of the first round too. He was in this decade, better than Tracy McGrady. If him not over McGrady, at least Marion.

  21. Zandungeo Says:

    Great job Neil. I only really have a problem with your reasoning for putting Gasol ahead of Stoudemire. Neither is really considered a center and you said at the beginning you were going to take an all nba team approach and ignore strict position requirements. If Gasol finished ahead of Stoudemire, he should be on the team.

    Other than that like I said great job, I look forward to the 90s and 80s editions!

  22. Dan Hansen Says:

    I think Garron is right. In this particular game - that is, trying to come up with a representative formula for measuring how good a player is over a decade - you need to be able to criticize the formula if you are going to criticize at all. I freely admit I don't follow these forums closely enough to judge the overall quality of the formula - so while I have my opinions I try not to be too critical one way or the other.

    Tony, I find the stats for KG's MVP season pretty impressive and he does have a ring. But if you have followed him Dirk has been a monster over the decade. He had that really bad rookie season (which was 1998-1999, I think, and so would not count) and then has just been a machine for the rest of the time.

    The thing I find interesting is this - the formula puts Timmy behind Dirk. I love Dirk without a doubt (when he's on his game it is a thing of beauty) but it is hard even for a homer like me to call him a "better" player than T. Duncan (who is a true monster).

  23. Dan Hansen Says:

    Follow-up to my previous post:

    I guess I'm asking - "what's missing?" What would have to be taken into account to catch that T. Duncan somehow has 4 rings and Dirk has none? Or is it presumed to be a team difference at that point? I do have to admit that Dirk has been the very definition of high level consistency over the decade.

  24. javier ruiz Says:

    ok, one thing. i believe jason kidd should be first team hands down. for like the first 5 years of 2005 he was hands down best point guard in nba. from 2006 to 2007 he was 2nd only to steve nash. he single handedly brought the nets to 2 nba finals. he should have won an mvp but was robbed. he has been much more consistant than nash this entire decade. 3rd on triple doubles all time. at the age of 37 he is still an amazing point guard. one of the best defending point guards of all time. this is truely unfair. billups didnt lead his team to the finals like kidd did, billups had a squad. nash was fun to watch but failed to bring the suns anywhere and his defense hurt his team alot.

  25. MyArvydas Says:

    What surprises me the most is that according to this system, Dirk Nowitzki is the greatest player of the 20O0's (he ranks even higher than Duncan and Kobe !), which is a bit unsatisfying for a player who reached the NBA Finals exactly once during the decade. The adjustment I would suggest would consisting in enhancing the weight of the playoff WS and value them at maybe 1.3 or 1.4 for one regular season WS. What's your take, Justin?

  26. MyArvydas Says:

    "would consist in enhancing", of course, sorry for the grammatical aberration.

  27. MyMeloMan Says:

    Great list, not too many shockers. Just out of curiousity, I know the obvious consenses is that DWade and LeBron are better than Melo, and most likely one cannot argue that point. However, Melo was drafted that same year and has been tremendously productive. What were his #'s and where did he rank?

  28. Reuben Says:

    I think that the formula must give a little more weight to offensive as opposed to defensive efficiency. Duncan is the Dirk of defense; he just never has a misstep. And offensively, I think he's a couple notches better than Dirk is defensively.

    I.e. I also find it surprising that Timmy isn't #1.

  29. Mike Says:

    Further evidence that these advanced metrics spew more misinformation than Sarah Palin. Give it up. Basketball is a beautiful, fluid and complex game. It will not lay down neatly on a spreadsheet for you. I agree with Shaq and Duncan. Dirk: no way. Way too stiff in the hips for someone without a taste for playing in the post. Way too small in the heart for someone with postseason aspirations.

    Of course, that is just my opinion, which is all these discussions are.

  30. TR Says:

    There's a reason Dirk's teams are always in the hunt, and for half his career have been serious contenders for the championship. Save a bad call from Salvatore, you're probably talking about the third best PF in the history of the league.

  31. Caleb Says:

    "Way too small in the heart for someone with postseason aspirations."

    Yeah, speculation about the level of someone's desire makes so much more sense than looking at stats. Right. "Small in the heart...," whatever.

  32. TW Says:

    Maybe AI can make the all practice team.

  33. rhett Says:

    When you make the finals with jason terry as your second best player that seems to say something. Maybe we have really under rated dirk.

  34. Kaveh Says:

    Obviously this is a stat based web site, but who cares? The argument that using stats in order to come up with who is the best player of X era has its faults is definitely a legitimate argument. That's why choosing an MVP is not STRICTLY based on stats. For instance, a player playing in garbage time of the 2nd game of the regular season has the same weighting on his stats as compared to a player having the same stats in game 7 of the NBA finals (unless some parameter is put in place to weight for said discrepancy).

    In the NBA, greatness is made in the playoffs. The regular season is a warmup, a pre-season to the real stuff. Greatness is made when you're down by 15 points in game 7 to a great Portland team and you lead your team back to win the game. And yet some of you are even saying that the playoffs should even count, or should count on a per minute basis. This is ridiculous.

    Take Dirk --this guy has never won an NBA championship. Yet he is rated by far as the best player in the 2000's? Who in their right mind would put Dirk ahead of Kobe, Tim or Shaq? These three all deserve to be in the top 15 players in NBA history! And don't tell me Dirk didn't have some great teams. The guy was on teams that won more than 50 games for like 9 seasons including a 60 and 67 win game season. Name me a star that was on two teams which won 60 or more games in the regular season and 9 teams over 50 games, who has never won a championship? Yet he gets the number 1 spot? Champions are made in championships, not regular seasons.

    Yet these stats give very little weighting to what actually matters. Instead a guy hitting a 3 while his team is down 30 points in the first game of the playoffs gets the same reward for his 3 as Kobe did for his 3 in game 2 of the 2004 finals, which was a game winning 3 pointer (i believe they were down by 2 if memory serves).

    And I don't care how much you guys hate Iverson. To say that he was an honorable mention is a bit ridiculous. You have 3 players from a Suns team who never even made it to the finals in your top 3 all-nba teams of the 2000's -shawn marion, nash and Amare. This is a team which not only never won a championship but never even made it to the FINALS. Yet only 2 players each from the 2 dynasties of the 2000's. The lakers and the Spurs won 7 of the 10 rings! The Celtics also get 3 people, when they too only won 1 ring (at least they won a ring).

    Basically, I think that rings matter when you are talking about greatness. It's not everything --i don't think Robert Horry should be on the list for instance. But it obviously should matter a great deal.

  35. Joe Somebody Says:

    And this is why these stat things are meaningless. Especially when the one doing it does skew things adding playoff sucess wich hurts guys like KG who couldn't help that he was always surrounded by dopes, then doing that stupid "PACE" stat where you give a guy more stats on a team that plays a slow style of basketball to match up with someone on a fast paced tea,. That's idiotic! Every player plays the 48 mins how they do. They get the mins they get and that''s how good they are. You forget with that "Pace" stat that sometimes teams play great defense against another and that's why they have less posessions, they're not good against good defenses, so why help them out with that. That stupid "Pace" stat is just as bad as the per 48 mins stat that would put a guy like Glenn Davis on par with Tim Duncan. Why not use that if we're making things up. Then we'd have a team of Jeff Foster, Andres Nocioni, Bruce Bowen, JR ssmith, and Mike James.
    Use the stats you're given, and your common sense to make a "Best of" team Not this garbage. You stat guys are fools.

    Here's the real all Decade Teams:
    Frst team:
    F- Tim Duncan
    F- Kevin Garnett
    C- Shaquille Oneal
    G- Kobe Bryant
    G- Steve Nash

    Second Team:
    F- Dirk Nowitzki
    F- LeBron James
    C- Amare Stoudemire
    G- Vince Carter
    G- Allen Iverson

    Third team:
    F- Paul Pierce
    F- Tracy McGrady
    C- Jermaine Oneal
    G- Ray Allen
    G- Jason Kidd

    Obvious Picks no one will fuss over this because it's common sense. You can at least say you accomplished something with your stupid article. You got a lot of Really smart people mad about your stupid game. Good work in that.

  36. Joe Somebody Says:

    Here's what the real 90's team should be while I'm at it. That way I don't have to come back to this stupid place when you do that one and set you straight again.
    90's First Team:
    F- Karl Malone
    F- Charles Barkley
    C- Shaquille Oneal
    G- Michael Jordan
    G- John Stockton

    90's Second Team
    F- Grant Hill
    F- Scottie Pippen
    C- Hakeen Olajuwon
    G- Clyde Drexler
    G- Gary Payton

    90's Third team:
    F- Chris Webber
    F- Shawn Kemp
    C- David Robinson
    G- Mitch Richmond
    G- Tim Hardaway

    Guys like Tim Duncan and KG just miss since they only played a couple of years in the 90's.

  37. Joe Somebody Says:

    And why not? Here's your 80's teams:
    1st team:
    F- Larry Bird
    F- Julius Erving
    C- Moses Malone
    G- Michael Jordan
    G- Magic Johnson

    2nd team:
    F- Bernard King
    F- George gervin
    C- Kareem Abdul-Jabar
    G- Alex English
    G- Isiah thomas

    3rd Team:
    F- Dominique Wilkins
    F- Charles Barkley
    C- Hakeem Olajuwon
    G- Clyde Drexler
    G- Adrian Dantley

    I'll Admit that this one was a hard one with guys like Kevin McHale, Tom Chambers, Karl Malone, Chris Mullin, Terry Cummings, Dennis Johnson, Sidney Moncrief, Jack Sikma, Kiki Vandeweghe, Marquese johnson, Maurice Cheeks, James Worthy, Dan Isel, and Larry Nance all just missing. (If i missed someone I'm sorry. I did this one kind of quick)

  38. rhett Says:

    I find it interesting that some seem personally offended. Any way of determining the 'great' players is subjective. I understand that even stat measures like this are subjective as somethings are assigned wieght. That said I am not a math wizard and would never be able to make a system like this and view the game this way. I am very happy that ;Justin is doing this and giving us all something cool to think about.Was billups the best point guard of the 90's? Dirk over Duncan? Kobe a shade over rated? Fun questions - if you don't get your panties in a wad and just start insulting the author.

  39. pk Says:

    What is PER? (I'm not joking, can anyone explain this in a good way?)

  40. T Says:

    It's criminal that KG got the shaft here. List like these have to look at what these players ACCOMPLISHED, not just the numbers they put up. KG lead a terrible supporting cast in Minny to a number of playoff appearances AND won a 'ship in Boston.

    If you want to look at only stats, you could conclude that Dirk > KG, but you'd be wrong.

  41. TR Says:

    KG's been active on a team that made it past the first round twice. Let's not get carried away guys. And if you're wondering about their "heart," look no further than exhibit A (in minnesota, in an elimination game).

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/200204280MIN.html

    look at the fg%, free throw%, turnovers, and hell Dirk even had more steals than KG. In terms of personal brilliance in the regular season and the playoffs, Garnett is not in the same league as Nowitzki. KG won his ring with two future HOF's on his team. Dirk took his team to the finals as the only allstar on the team.

  42. Mike Says:

    Dirk is heartless. a 7-footer that is content to let his jumper decide games, rather than consistently exploiting his natural advantage for easy buckets. Sure, LeBron is also at fault for not dominating in the post, but LeBron is a 1st-tier creator, an element that Dirk does not have to his game.

    However, KG is not notably better than Dirk. He's a guy with unbelievable numbers, but his legacy will always be that he has always been best served as a 2nd banana. Perhaps the best complementary player of all-time, but not among the truly elite of all time. Let's not forget that he has NEVER won a playoff series without Sam Cassell (anyone that gets angry at that comment, obviously has no sense of humor).

    AI and Kidd definitely belong on the first team. Sure the 2001 Sixers played great team defense, but it would be foolish to think that AI leading them to the Finals wasn't a Herculean task. What did any of those players accomplish once they stopped playing with AI? He made E. Snow look like a starting NBA PG, Aaron McKie look like a stud. George Lynch, Jumaine Jones, Matt Geiger, Mutombo, Tyrone Hill, Rodney Buford, all of those guys fell off cliffs after being separated from AI. Only Raja Bell ever did anything of note after that, and he only played a handful of games for that team. There's something to be said for the fact that AI required more game-planning and special attention than any player in the league not named Shaq. That did unspeakable good for his teammates, who could focus on rebounding, getting loose balls, exerting maximum effort on D and then just making the dunks, layups and wide open jumpers that AI's presence afforded them. I applaud efforts to determine greatness in new ways, but stats are not the answer. Allen Iverson is!

  43. Dave Says:

    Ok, filtering the comments I get this:
    1. Justin, people think you should have weighted the player's best season more. I am wondering too, if LeBron isn't advantaged by the fact that the 4 seasons he didn't play in the decade couldn't have counted for much anyhow (i.e. a weight of 0.1 for season 10 sure helps people who didn't play in 10 seasons). Did you play around with other weightings? I am pretty sure Dirk would come out on top regardless (unless you added in a term for rings).

    2. How one (fairly) adds regular season contributions and post-season contributions is hard. Some people think AI, TMac, and KG's lack of playoff success shouldn't count against them - others think that getting the Ring should be factored in as well.
    Personally I think of the regular season as a warm up - I don't care if Shaq (or TD) only plays 60 games to be on top at end of season (which would cost them WS - and is obviously why Dirk has a higher score). I do not have a problem for rewarding people like Billups and Nowitzki who bring it every night, but just wonder if, in this instance, it hasn't been too much (although I do acknowledge that what probably has them in the first team is their playoff success).

    3. It is difficult to think of players (apart from those who have only played in this decade) as just the player from 2000 to 2009 (Not looking at anybody in particular Joe Somebody - Shaq over the Admiral in the 90's please). NB this would put TD's first ring outside of consideration - which happened to be Dirk's worst season...

    Justin, I am wondering if the C position is so bare since we have the two best C's in the first team - then Ben Wallace is about the only other C who has played through the decade (OK Dkembe as well :). Could you not think of Gasol as a C in the Duncan Model? Obviously too Dwight has not played the whole decade (and certainly not at his current level), and Yao has been excessively injured.

    I will go on record now, and say DHow will be the most productive C for the next decade.

    If you are going to do a 90s and 80s team, can I ask that you also do a team 96-05 and 86-95 as well since then you can allow for your bin effects in seeing which players rise and fall by your metric (and it would be interesting to see if MJ's late 90s would be enough to get him into the 96-05 team) as a function of when their career falls (am thinking that this is the source of some of the JKidd objections).

  44. dragonyeuw Says:

    How does D-Wade not make it? Scoring title, ring AND Finals MVP??!! Please don't say injuries, he was injured for parts of 06/07 and 07/08. Tmac is a walking injury, and he's on the third team. D-wade this year 30ppg, 7.6apg, 5rpg, 49% fgp, 2spg,1.5 bpg. Better across the board stats this year than Lebron AND Kobe.

  45. parker Says:

    TR,
    Garnett had 17 rebounds in that game.

    BR,
    Its good to see you guys put a post up that gets the comments going. I'm only here to spout off about win shares being a gm dependent stat.KG could have an amazing season, but if Mchale gives him a 30 win team, win shares really under represents what KG did on the individual level.

    Dirk is greatly underrated. How much underrated is for others to decide. I would prefer my pf be capable of putting up 10 boards a game. On the other hand, statistically speaking(go away Kobe lovers) Dirk was the biggest offensive force in the league for a couple of years.

  46. parker Says:

    re sixers 01,
    That team was led by Mutumbo. You know, the guy who led the Rockets to 21 straight wins after Yow got hurt. You know, the guy who led Denver to the biggest first round upset ever. Dik gets no credit. AI gets credit he doesn't deserve for what that team accomplished.

  47. Dave Says:

    Just did a quick check, Justin, you get (almost) exactly the same teams if you use straight cumulative Win Shares - ie. WS accumulated during the decade - unweighted. The first team is still the same, the differences being LeBron swaps places with Marion, and Rasheed Wallace would be the third team Centre (with the same logic for Amare as a C).

    So maybe the metric needs some tweaking. On straight summation of WS the team of the 90s is:
    David Robinson
    Karl Malone
    Charles Barkley
    Michael Jordan
    John Stockton
    I suspect your metric will turn up the same team (given they are amongst the most productive players in history), any metric that turned up anything else would be completely slammed. And Hakeem, Pippen, and Reggie will be on the second team.

    for the 2000s, I also notice that if you call Tim Duncan a FC (so he can be either position) then Shaq would drop to the second team and KG would be in the first team.

  48. Dave Says:

    Parker
    I note that players can get negative WS (e.g. Donte Greene on this season's Kings at -1.1) - this allows KG to get more WS - but certainly Defensive WS are strongly linked to team success so KG would certainly get penalised there, although some (like me) might argue that it isn't unreasonable to penalise a player something for poor team performance.

    Oh and Dirk also got 17 Reb in that game ...

    And I agree that more love for the great finger wagger is needed. He just isn't loved by the stats, or is he ...

    dragonyeuw
    DWade only filed 6 seasons of work - out of possible 10 - and as you point out he was injured for two of those seasons. Given that, it is staggering that he even made the list of honourable mentions.

  49. Ryan Says:

    As much as I love stats (and anybody who knows me, knows I'm an advocate), there isn't a place in the world where calling Dirk the best of the decade will be accepted... even his motherland. It almost feels like a slap in the face.

  50. rhett Says:

    Dirk puts up great def rebound numbers but his offensive style doesn't lend itself to off rebs.

  51. Jason J Says:

    I'm not surprised to see Dirk top out the decade in WS. He's sort of this generation's Karl Malone (Karl Malone fans don't jump down my throat for this one). Obviously they don't play the same style, but in terms of accruing stats and winning seasons they have some things in common. Both are highly efficient and highly prolific. They rarely miss a game and have very few weaknesses. Their D isn't perfect, but they buy into the team systems and work hard, so the team D is always there. They may be the most consistent producers of their respective decades. Do they have the versatility or extra gears necessary to win titles? Maybe not. Would I take either of them ahead of Duncan in an all-time draft? Hell no. But it's not staggering that a metric like WS loves them.

    So does that bring into question the validity of measuring players via WS? Not necessarily. I'm of the opinion that no metric should be seen as an absolute, but you definitely see what WS values and can use it as a quick reference for player's contribution to team success over time.

  52. Dawna Says:

    I dont know much About stats but the sexiest player by far is Iverson I think he deserves more credit then your giving him.

  53. Luke Says:

    Neil,
    I always love these lists and anything like this because they force you to think outside of the conventional wisdom of a player's perceived value. Iverson is a perfect example. Sure, he was on every All-Star team for the entire decade, but he was also voted onto the team by the fans every single year. (He started every game, anyway, except 2007 when he was hurt and didn't play in the game. So unless another starter got hurt and he subbed in for that starting spot, I'm assuming he was voted in every year.) Now, that's not necessarily a condemnation of the man's ACTUAL value (Kobe, Shaq, LeBron, Duncan, etc, get voted in every year and I think we can all agree that their actual value is through the roof), but it does show that Iverson's PERCEIVED value, by the common fan, is at the same level as Kobe, Shaq, LeBron, and Duncan.

    And when confronted with any kind of information that contradicts those perceptions, it's much easier for a fan to say that the statistics that they don't understand must be wrong, rather than their long-standing, unquestioned beliefs. It just baffles me that people seem to think guys like you sit around thinking, "I need to devise some sort of statistical formula that puts Allen Iverson as no better than the 7th best guard of the decade. And I should probably use that same formula to show Chauncey Billups as no worse than 2nd." Maybe that was your plan from the start, and you've got a huge grudge against AI, but I'm guessing not.

    I think part of the problem is that people aren't there for the entire process of devising the formula, crunching the numbers, and getting the results. They just see it all at once, and just see the names at the end. I think they assume that those specific, particular names themselves were the goal, rather than the numbers next to the names. I think it would be very interesting to see the whole process drawn out. Post #1: Here's how I'm going to determine the best players of the decade, and the specific formula, and why I'm using this formula. Everyone would read it and say, "Oh, sure, that makes perfect sense. It will be nice to see that my undying love for Allen Iverson justified irrefutably by hard statistical data." And then a week later, when the results are in and Iverson's not on the list, I wonder if those same people be so eager to write off the formula as flawed when they had already agreed prior to the results being announced that the method and reasoning were sound.

    Obviously you don't have the time or energy to do something like that, nor should you have to cater to the lowest common denominator. And really, let's face it, there's a lot of very very dumb sports fans out there. But still, it would be an interesting experiment.

    Keep up the good work!

  54. Neil Paine Says:

    You can actually read about the exact, step-by-step process of calculating Win Shares here.

  55. Matt Says:

    Dirk over Garnett? You CANNOT be serious.

  56. Matt Says:

    "None of this is meant to slight Garnett, who I think is a great player. I just think — and this system happens to agree — that Nowitzki was a little bit greater."

    Anyone who seriously believes that Nowitzki is better than Garnett needs to have their head examined.

  57. rhett Says:

    I notice dirk and kevin have almost identical career and playoff PER - however the perception of the two seems to be night and day.Part of it, I think, is that some of the best things dirk does are what he doesn't do (turnovers) so his strengths don't always jump out at you in highlight reels. His one legged fade away shot thing is inelegant and doesn't seem as 'dominant' as a two handed slam with chest pounding. It's still two points though, he can get that shot whenever he wants and no one can defend it. As well remember what a match up nightmare he is - reference the damage he did to Min with Garnett on the roster. They tried switching Garnett on him in the third game and he couldn't contain Dirk off the dribble and dallas swept. Also note he's been a part of a 50 win team 9 years in a row with out shawn bradley and erik dampier as his centers, and recently, with jason terry as the second best player on the team.Dallas teams have always had depth but few players of above average talent.I wouldn't say dirk or kevin is better than the other - they seem equally effective at much different styles of play.

  58. Jason J Says:

    Dirk / KG is an interesting comparison. KG has been my favorite player since MJ and Charles retired, so I'm fully biased, but looking at the comparison thru age 30:

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/fc/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=garneke01&y1=2007&p2=nowitdi01&y2=2009

    Identical PER. Nearly identical WS. Dirk's higher proportion of free throws and his great 3 point shooting and low turnovers make him an ORtg godling, and KG's got the superior versatility and defense.

    If you really believe that Garnett is dramatically better, I think the argument would have to be something to the effect that DRtg doesn't do much to measure individual defense and rather rewards team defense. Therefore while Dirk is a contributing cog in a good D and KG is always one of the absolute best defenders in the league, the gap in ability isn't really captured by the metric. You could actually hammer home the point better by looking at PER which ranks them evenly and doesn't consider defense at all.

    That's the angle I'd take on it anyway. That and the whole leadership / intensity thing, though to be fair, it sure seems like leadership and intensity have a greater impact when Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are around to be inspired instead of Wally World and McCants (like the old Michael Jordan quote goes, "I could make my teammates better too if I was playing with Worthy and Kareem").

    I'm not sure those are necessarily true things to say, but they are at least defensible points. Mostly.

  59. Tom Says:

    This is a joke.... KG destroys Dirk in stats.... The only stats Dirk has over KG are 3 pt %, 3 pt shots, FG% and PPG and TOs (not even by much at all).... KG beats him in all categories... As for TOs, did u expect a guy thats mostly a spot up shooter to have a high TO rating? Dirk gets set up for many of his shots especially 3 pt shots... Its not close when u compare KGs assist/TO ratio or KGs steals/TO ratio, thats a much better way to judge TO rather than just a TO amount per game. Also Dirks PPG is deflated because hes a good FT shooter, he gets freebies from 3 sec violation, Technical Fouls, etc where he personally didnt earn the extra pts... KG is a much better passer, rebounder, defender and player... Dirk cant even play defense, he just flops like a fish... Dirk according to this is the best player of the decade LMFAO....

  60. Justin Kubatko Says:

    First, there are a number of good questions and comments here, and I'll try to get to some of them in the coming days, but I can't make any promises.

    Second, I don't understand why people come here to throw around insults. If it makes you feel better to write something like "U r an idiot, AI roolz!" then so be it, but don't expect a reply from me. As George Bernard Shaw put it:

    "I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it."

    Third, Jason J brings up an interesting point in this comment. Here are the defensive ratings for Dirk and KG this decade, sorted from best to worst:

    +---------------+------+-------+
    | Player        | Year | DRtg  |
    +---------------+------+-------+
    | Kevin Garnett | 2004 |  91.6 | 
    | Kevin Garnett | 2008 |  93.8 | 
    | Kevin Garnett | 2009 |  97.5 | 
    | Kevin Garnett | 2003 |  98.0 | 
    | Kevin Garnett | 2006 |  98.2 | 
    | Dirk Nowitzki | 2003 |  98.3 | 
    | Kevin Garnett | 2000 |  98.7 | 
    | Kevin Garnett | 2005 |  98.7 | 
    | Kevin Garnett | 2001 |  99.4 | 
    | Dirk Nowitzki | 2001 | 100.2 | 
    | Dirk Nowitzki | 2005 | 100.3 | 
    | Kevin Garnett | 2002 | 100.5 | 
    | Kevin Garnett | 2007 | 101.4 | 
    | Dirk Nowitzki | 2007 | 101.9 | 
    | Dirk Nowitzki | 2006 | 103.4 | 
    | Dirk Nowitzki | 2002 | 104.1 | 
    | Dirk Nowitzki | 2008 | 104.2 | 
    | Dirk Nowitzki | 2004 | 104.4 | 
    | Dirk Nowitzki | 2000 | 107.1 | 
    | Dirk Nowitzki | 2009 | 107.6 | 
    +---------------+------+-------+
    

    KG has eight of the top nine seasons, and his top two seasons are significantly better than Dirk's best. For the decade, KG's defensive rating was 97.9 and Dirk's was 103.1.

  61. Matt Says:

    "Also note he’s been a part of a 50 win team 9 years in a row with out shawn bradley and erik dampier as his centers, and recently, with jason terry as the second best player on the team.Dallas teams have always had depth but few players of above average talent.I wouldn’t say dirk or kevin is better than the other - they seem equally effective at much different styles of play."

    Let's also remember that for a while, Garnett's Timberwolves had Wally Szczerbiak as their second best player. Nowitzki's supporting casts trump those of Garnett's.

  62. Jason J Says:

    Justin, I included the 90s seasons in my quick comparison - so KG only had a 3 point advantage overall in DRtg. Using the DRtgs for just the 2000s, the defensive separation becomes very clear. You can also see that either KG was phoning it in or the team defense had completely fallen apart for Minne in 2007.

  63. Anon Says:

    1st Team Playoff WS/3000 min:

    Duncan 13.0
    Nowitzki 12.8
    O'Neal 12.1
    Billups 12.0
    Bryant 10.8 (Please don't hurt me Kobe fans. LOL)

    And compared to his counterpart in Boston:

    Garnett 10.9

    Keep in mind that all these guys have at least 2000 playoff minutes in their careers. But anyway it goes without saying that the Dirk bashing on this board is incredibly childish. Does the man have a ring? No. But I for one will HARDLY fault him for not being able to achieve a goal that people keep forgetting takes an ENTIRE team to accomplish.

  64. Anon Says:

    By the way, Jason J as always provides some great insight from a fan's perspective about these players, and it goes well with the statistical analysis that Neil/Justin provide. You could fool me into thinking that you are actually one of the writers on the blog :)

    As for the Duncan/Nowitzki comparison, I think that it's very interesting. On one hand Duncan's four rings might seem to make it a non-debate about who the better player is, but considering the facts that 1) Duncan played on consistently better TEAMS than Nowitzki over their respective careers and 2) Nowitzki has almost as many WS/3000 min in the playoffs as Duncan, it certainly evens the playing field more for the two players. Personally, I would still take Timmy D if I HAD to choose, but probably because I was always a big fan of his in the first place, lol.

    But I am in full agreement with Justin. Dirk is definitely underrated and is putting together one of the greatest careers in NBA history that NO ONE is talking about. And overall as well.

  65. rhett Says:

    You can say his supporting cast trumps and you'd be right- but remember so do his results. On his trip to the finals he beat SA in a game 7 in SA and dropped 50 on phx - when both of those teams where great. Admittedly, he's had his rough series - but can you ever remember KG cremating teams the way dirk did that year? When talking about, and making lists, of great individual performers I don't know why folks would be so worked up that dirk would be on par with KG. The numbers are there and the results are there. Their styles and modes of operation are contrasting but both are equally valuable - it just depends on whether you want a offensive or defensive powerhouse - yin or yang.

  66. Mike Says:

    "re sixers 01,
    That team was led by Mutumbo. You know, the guy who led the Rockets to 21 straight wins after Yow got hurt. You know, the guy who led Denver to the biggest first round upset ever. Dik gets no credit. AI gets credit he doesn’t deserve for what that team accomplished."

    That is pure idiocy. The 76ers were 41-14 before they acquired Mutombo and 15-12 with him. To be sure, Mutombo's defensive presence was huge, but Iverson made that team go.

  67. Jon A. Says:

    When ranking players statistics help and can be invaluable but you should always remember what people thought of the players at that moment. One way to do this is to keep track of how many 1st team All NBA teams these people made. I took the 9 years of All NBA team (only first team) and it produces some pretty good conclusions. Here they are:
    Duncan 8
    Bryant 8
    Shaq 7
    Garnett 4
    Nowitzki 4
    Nash 4
    Kidd 4
    James 3
    Iverson 3
    McGrady 2
    Howard 2
    Stoudemire 2
    Wade 1
    Paul 1

    A few things pop up: 1) Jason Kidd is highly underrated in this purely statistical model as he was 1st team 4 different years yet doesn't even make the 2nd team? 2nd) Chauncey Billups was NEVER 1st team All NBA, it's pretty hard to argue someone is the best PG of the 2000's when he never was voted 1st team, Nash and Kidd both were voted 4 times so the debate for best PG of the 2000's is between those two 3) LeBron James already has been voted 3 times, the kid probably will have 10-12 by the time he retires 4) The Dirk vs. Garnett debate is a valid one to have as both were voted 1st team 4 times and both won 1 MVP during the decade. While Garnett fans will point to the ring as the deciding factor Dirk fans can point to the fact that Garnett was missing the playoffs in Minnesota and fading into a has been until Danny Ainge paired him with two other future Hall of Famers to make him a "winner" again. I personally feel that if Dirk had been surrounded by Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, James Posey, Kendrick Perkins, and P.J. Brown, Dirk would have won the title that year as well. That team was stacked and if anyone doesn't agree with me, check out the fact that the team had a higher winning percentage that year when Garnett was injured vs. when he was healthy and in the lineup. Interesting statistic that shows just how much talent that team had and waters down the notion that Garnett "carried" the Celtics to a championship.

  68. Chicago76 Says:

    It is amusing that people seem so upset by a well-designed model when the results don't appear to be at worst fairly reasonable.

    Looking at it using another estimate. Take PER-11.5 to estimate Value over Replacement (VORP). Now weight it based upon minutes doing something like this: (99/00 to 08/09 minutes)/(82*48). The results would look something like this (being a little less liberal with position designations than the analysis above):

    First Team: O'Neal, Garnett, McGrady, Bryant, Nash
    Second Team: Gasol, Duncan, James, Iverson, Kidd
    Third Team: Ming, Nowitzki, Pierce, Carter, Billups
    Fourth Team: Stoudemire, Brand, Marion, Allen, Starbury

    Wade misses out due to limited seasons. Ben Wallace misses out as PER doesn't take into consideration out on a lot of defensive aspects captured in WS. Both systems have their weaknesses, and a hybrid of the WS analysis and some PER-driven VORP may give the best overall picture.

  69. Dave Says:

    Jon A.
    I think we are evaluating over 10 seasons (00-09), but only allowing 1st Team votes seems a bit harsh to consider the decade cumulatively - you score a 1 if you are the top C or two top F, G or else you score 0 for that season? Could we not incorporate 2nd and 3rd team votes too? And won't this metric be biased against Cs (as only 1 position cf two for other positions F, G). You effectievly are evaluating a player's decade by the seasons where they were elected in the top for their position. We see for any one other than Shaq, Kobe and Duncan that is less than half the possible seasons.

    At least Justin's metric attempts to capture some of the other seasons. Just an observation, do you think Billup's lack of award reflects his lack of recognition for playing winning basketball, or that WS unduely rewards him for playing on successful teams, unlike Kidd say (although It is hard to explain why Nash doesn't out perform him given he has both...).

    It is interesting to note that Dirk and KG come out a dead heat in this metric too. In fact if you just use All-NBA awards then the only difference is Dirk was All-NBA third team twice to KGs once (I know, look at the all-defensive teams), with one MVP each.

  70. Justin Kubatko Says:

    FYI, I forgot to include coaches when I selected these teams, so I've covered them in this blog post.

  71. KneeJerkNBA Says:

    @8- agreed. I'd love to see this comparison go back as far as stats allow.

  72. Daniel Bui Says:

    Wait,let me get this clear. Pau Gasol was snubbed because most people see him as PF, but in the 1st team, Tim Duncan is there at SF?

  73. Jason J Says:

    Daniel - Justin made the lists All-NBA style, which differentiates forwards and centers but not small forwards and power forwards or point guards and shooting guards. For instance, the 2000 All-NBA team was C: Shaq, F: Duncan, F: Garnett, G: Kidd, G: Payton. It just needs to have two guards, two forwards, and a center. So Duncan is there as a forward but is not specified as a PF or an SF.

  74. Daniel Bui Says:

    Oh alright, thanks for clearing that up, Jason.

  75. GURU Says:

    NASH VS BILLUPS??????
    ???????

    BILLUPS is only better in steals 1 vs 0.8...ARE YOU RETARDED or what...

    DID you look at NASH 3point %, is one of the best ever...His average is RAY ALLENs best season...
    RAY ALLEN overated ( finishes games with 0/7 from the 3 point line)...JUST look closely at his 3point stats...

  76. gebwel Says:

    nice article. i love reading the debate (the civil part) over nash v kidd vs billups and KG vs nowitzki. it amazes how so many people belittling dirk, especially when compared to KG. i like both players actually, but to say KG is head and shoulders over dirk is kinda mind-boggling. it looks to me that KG is actually better suited to play a complimentary role (a la scottie pippen), but he never had his jordan during his minny years. dirk, on the other hand, has proven that he can lead a team on his own (his trip to the finals after nash's departure). KG is probably the better overall player, but dirk is the go-to-guy when his teams needed points in a hurry.

  77. Aaron D. Says:

    Your top 5:
    1.Chauncey Billups
    2.Kobe
    3.Dirk Nowitzki
    4.Tim Duncan
    5. Shaq

    My only disagreement is Dirk Nowitzki. Ofcourse, he has major talent and was (until this season) the best scoring PF in the NBA. No doubt, when he retires, he'll be the best European/overseas player to ever play in the NBA. But as far as this decade goes, I'm going to have to give that 3 spot to a real 3 in the NBA, LeBron James. Besides the fact that he has more MVP's than Dirk and the same amount of finals appearances, when it's all said and done, LeBron will be the BEST Small Forward to ever play. He's already being compared to Jordan and has made an instant impact on the league unlike Dirk who struggled his rookie. LeBron single-handlingly took a mediocre team in Clevland to the Finals at the age of 22. Ever since Dirk led his team to the Finals, he has yet to lead them PAST THE FIRST ROUND. All-Decade is given to the NBA's elite players from 2000-2010 and Dirk just hasn't done enough....My top 5:
    1.Chauncey
    2.Kobe
    3.LeBron
    4.Tim Duncan
    5.ShaQ

  78. godfather147 Says:

    Billups over nash,get off the pipe buddy.