Greatest Nba Players to Watch During the Early 00's
20 years ago in the NBA
First of all, can we please go back to having the players use their jerseys in the all-star game instead of having one assigned to them. I loved watching all the players have their own teams respective jersey back in the day. I understand they wanna make money off all-star jerseys and other gear, but it's the NBA there is plenty of ways for them to make money. The NBA was just so different back in the day. The rules were a lot different, and allowed for much more defense and a slower pace compared to today's game. I really enjoyed watching games where allowing 100 points a night made you a terrible defensive squad. In today's game teams reach 100 every night by the third quarter. Teams were not allowed to play zone defenses and double team as much as they do now, it was against the rules. I do enjoy teams scoring 130 and jack up 40 three pointers a night, but you really had to earn your buckets before. These current players get touched on the arm and a foul is called. The referees really let them play back in the day. Here is a list of some former greats who I really enjoyed watching.
5. Jason Kidd
We begin the list with a second overall pick behind Grant Hill, and 10 time all-star in Jason Kidd. Jason Kidd had a very long 19 year career with 4 different teams. Kidd was not a known flashy dunker, and he never averaged 20 points a game in any season. Despite those things, Kidd could control the game with his dominant passing, defense, and his ability to score himself or get his teammates involved. Kidd is also one of the best rebounding guards of all time. Kidd is 4th all time with 107 triple doubles, and 11 more in the playoffs. Jason Kidd was always around the ball, and was always relied upon to help his team win. He transformed the Nets from an up and coming young team to the best team in the eastern conference. The Nets simply ran into some dominant teams to win a title in the early 2000's. Kidd did get his title in 2011 with the Dallas Mavericks, further solidifying his hall of fame career.
Career averages: 12.6 ppg 6.3 rpg 8.7 apg
4. Allen Iverson
Iverson became the shortest player to ever be drafted number one overall in 1996. Every kid wanted to be like Allen Iverson growing up. He was probably the quickest player in the NBA for several years and revolutionized how guards handle the basketball. At 6'0 tall Iverson had to be better than everyone else to get by his defender, and he certainly was. He constantly had highlight reels of breaking defenders ankles and getting by them easily for easy baskets. Iverson was not a traditional point guard, but the man could score a bucket anytime he wanted. AI was one of my favorite players to watch. I looked forward to any game he played against the Lakers or any highlights of him on sportscenter as a kid. Of course I enjoyed watching Kobe and Shaq as a kid, but players like Kidd, Iverson and many others peaked my basketball interest growing up. Iverson won an MVP in 2001, and is an 11 time all-star.
Career averages: 26.7 ppg 3.7 rpg 6.2 apg
3. Vince Carter
I wrote a full article going more in depth than I will now about Vince Carter's career, and would mean a lot if you check that out. With the current pandemic going on Vince Carter has more than likely played his last NBA game because we sadly do not know when NBA basketball will be back. Carter was the fifth overall pick in 1998 by the Golden State Warriors, and was traded to the Toronto Raptors on draft night. Vince Carter was a superstar in Toronto. He gained major popularity in the 2000 NBA all star slam dunk competition. He came out with some revolutionary dunks that players try to mimic till this day. He could dunk over defenders, and also knock down any shot from anywhere on the floor. I loved watching Carter put on a show against Allen Iverson in the 2001 NBA playoffs. The two of them scored 50 points each in a game, and made the game really exciting to watch. Vince Carter now has played for many teams, and even at 42 playing with the Hawks will give you flashes of his Raptors and Nets days. Carter is an 8 time all-star, and 1999 rookie of the year.
Career Averages: 17.2 ppg 4.4 rpg 3.2 apg
2. Kobe Bryant
It has been almost 3 months since Kobe has tragically passed away, and it still sadden me. Kobe was famously taken 13th overall in 1996 by the Charlotte Hornets, and traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vlade Divac. Kobe is one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball in my opinion. Kobe could do it all on the court. He could shoot from anywhere on the court, pass (yes, pass), defend, rebound. He could do just about everything on the court, and with his mamba mentality, would strive to be the best player on the court. Kobe has the second highest points in a game ever of 81, and no one has come close to breaking that. Today is also the anniversary of Kobe's final game in 2016, which saw him score 60 and get the win in his final game. Kobe had a decorated career, further solidifying his hall of fame career. Kobe is a five time NBA champion, and 2 time finals MVP. He has also won an MVP award in 2008, and an 18 time all-star.
Career averages: 25 ppg 5.2 rpg 4.7 apg
1. Tracy McGrady
McGrady was taken 9th overall in 1997 by the Toronto Raptors. Toronto the next year drafted his cousin Vince Carter. In Toronto he showed flashes of being a star, but was overshadowed by his cousin. When McGrady signed with the Orlando Magic in 2000, Tracy thrived, and immediately became a superstar. I have never seen a player like McGrady who was could twist and contort his body to make some unique plays, but could also overpower guys who were 50 plus pounds heavier than them. My favorite years to watch Tracy were his years in Orlando. He had some good years in Houston with Yao Ming, but soon injuries slowed down his career. McGrady in Orlando was suppose to be a potential championship team as Grant Hill also signed with Tracy McGrady in Orlando in 2000. Grant Hill was never able to play a full season with the Magic as he suffered through many major injuries. McGrady was an exciting player to watch back in the day. McGrady played shooting guard, but had the rare ability to play any position one through four. McGrady is a 7 time all-star, and won most improved player in 2001.
Career averages: 19.6 ppg 5.6 rpg 4.4 apg