Now that we are entering a new decade, it's a good time to discuss and share our thoughts on who has been the decade's best player.
When talking about the best, we need to compare players that are far superior than the rest. Of course winning a title is an important criteria. For that reason, 3 players come to mind when we think about guys that dominated the league the past decade: Kobe, Shaq and Duncan.
Let's take a look at their career accomplishments so far, starting with:
4 NBA titles with the Lakers (2000, 2001, 2002, 2009)
2 time regular season scoring leader: 2006, 2007
11 time All NBA selection,
8 time all defensive honors
1 Finals MVP (2009)
1 Season MVP(2008)
Kobe's case: Won four titles in the last decade (three with Shaq). More importantly, he finally won his first title without Shaq last season and was the league MVP a year before that.
He is the player most often compared to Michael Jordan(arguably the Greatest Of All Time). Also, the Lakers might be favored to repeat this year simply because Kobe is still the Laker's leader and they are the defending champs.
4 NBA titles: 3 with the Lakers (2000, 2001, 2002), 1 with the Miami Heat (2006)
1 Season MVP(2001)
Named Finals MVP 3 times (2000, 2001, 2002)
Led the Orlando Magic to an NBA Finals appearance in 1995.
Rookie of the Year (1992-1993 season)
Shaq's case: Won his first three titles with Kobe, then won another in 2006 with D-Wade in Miami. It could be also argued that he is the most dominant big man during his prime. He is already considered one of 50 Greatest.
However, the knock on Shaq is that he demands a trade (or makes a reason for him to be traded) when things don't go his way. First, when the Lakers lost in the 2004 Finals to the Detroit Pistons. Then when Miami has one of the worst season in franchise history and then lastly when the Phoenix Suns didn't make it to the playoffs last season.
Most people might admire him because of his entertaining personality and because of his longevity. I mean the guy has been in the league for 17 years and is still playing decent basketball.
4 NBA titles with the Spurs (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007).
Named Finals MVP 3 times (1999, 2003, 2005)
2 Season MVP (2002,2003)
Rookie of the Year (1997-1998 season)
The only player in NBA history to earn both All-NBA and All-Defensive honors in each of his first 12 seasons.
Timmy's case: Won four championships, (three titles in the past decade) all with the Spurs and with different supporting cast around him. Arguably the best power forward to ever play the game.
It's a mystery why this guy has never won a Defensive Player of the Year award despite being named to the All-Defensive honors since he entered the league.
Also, It is important to note that the Spurs have never missed the playoffs since he entered the league and haven't lost an NBA Finals series. That can't be said to either Shaq or Kobe.
So who is the Player of the Decade? It seemed pretty even right? These guys have been so dominant that it's as if they just need to take turns to win the title.
All of whom became League MVP, Finals MVP and won 4 NBA titles So is it Kobe? Shaq? or Duncan? What do you guys think?
If you guys can't decide clearly, maybe what happens this season will help us determine who is really the best. Whoever gets first to title number five might seal it. I know it's a new decade but it only shows that these players have been so good for a long period of time.
And the great thing about it? These guys have a great chance of being right there in the mix of winning yet another crown.