Friday, August 27, 2010

Top NBA players of the last 10 years

A few days ago I posted the top 5 NBA players last year, according to an average of various measures. What happens over the last decade? Here are the last ten years, ties broken first by eliminating PPG, then by counting who appeared in the most categories (with adjustments to roland rating, switched to adjusted +- for 02-03 to 04-05 and dropped before that because neither existed):

2009-10 2008-09 2007-08 2006-07 2005-06
1 James James James Nowitzki James
2 Durant Wade Paul Duncan Bryant
3 Wade Bryant Bryant Bryant Nowitzki
4 Howard Paul Garnett James Nash
5 Bryant Howard Stoudemire Nash Wade


2004-05 2003-04 2002-03 2001-02 2000-01
1 Nowitzki Garnett Duncan Duncan O'Neal
2 Duncan Duncan McGrady O'Neal Iverson
3 O'Neal Stojakovic Garnett McGrady Duncan
4 Garnett McGrady Bryant Kidd Webber
5 Nash Bryant O'Neal Nowitzki Carter

A couple interesting things to note: First, it splits up into the Duncan first half and the Lebron second half (and it surprises me at least how early Lebron was the best). Also interesting is that Dirk Nowitzki had a three year stretch where he may have been the best player in the NBA (robbed of a championship only by some curious 06 officiating, and a sudden collapse in 07). Finally, it's amazing to note that Kobe was not once the best player in the NBA. He's been fairly steady top 3 recently, which is really good, but no where near MJ territory (who was the best player in 10 straight seasons he played, but we'll get to that). So that argument needs to be put to rest.
What does this mean for the decade? Who's the best player?
Giving a player 5 points for first, 4 for second, and so on, here's the top 8:

Rank Player Points
1 Duncan 25
2 Lebron 22
3 Bryant 17
4 Dirk 14
5 O'Neal 13
6 Garnett 12
7 McGrady 9
8 Wade 8

Best player of the decade? Still Tim Duncan (there you go George). Yeah, Kobe's third. But the player who really stands out is Lebron James. At just 25 years old, he's already been the best player in the league 3 straight years. Who else has been the best three years running? Jordan of course, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, and Karl Malone (end of the Jordan era, believe it or not). That means Lebron James has a serious shot at being the best basketball player of all time. And that I'm gonna get tickets when Miami visits the Bay Area.
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