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Who are the Top Basketball players in the last 20 years?

   Who are the Top Basketball players in the last 20 years?

August 24, 2020

Basketball is one of the best-loved sports in the United States – and one that’s increasingly popular the world over, as players deliver some of the most impressive features of endurance, skill, and poise to help their teams to success. But, when we take a look back to the turn of the millennium, it’s worth asking: who has been the best player in the world of basketball since the year 2000? That’s what we’ll be attempting to answer in this piece, looking at how we might rank basketballers over the past two decades.

How to Rank

There are famous basketballers, and there are less famous basketballers. For instance, we all know that LeBron James and Michael Jordan have gathered millions of worldwide fans in the past few years of their scintillating play – but can they be truly ranked as the best-ever or the best in the past twenty years?

The problem with such a ranking comes when we consider whether their fame and renown influences our opinion of these famous players when they’re on the court. There’s no doubt that both James and Jordan had many outstanding games under the hoops – but should it be this easy to rank players? Shouldn’t we look at other factors – like players in worse teams or defensive players – to determine who the top players were in the past 20 years?

Ranking Top Players

There are other measures for players in the world of basketball, which takes the subjective out of the equation. There will forever be arguments about the Greatest of all Time in each and every sport – but when we look at statistics, we can see a clearer picture of who might be considered the world’s greatest in the years 2000-2020. Here are some statistics, courtesy of ESPN, we should consider:

    • The win ratio across their career
    • Points scored, both on a per-game and overall basis
    • Other key player statistics, like MVP awards, interceptions, passes completed, and the ground covered
    • How long they played the game for, and how much of an influence they had in the team
    • What journalists and pundits have appraised players in the years of their careers

All of these factors could and should give us a better idea of who has been the most important and influential player in the world of basketball in recent years.

Pay and Earnings

Yet another way to think about top basketball players is in terms of the cash they are paid in the duration of their career. If a player is paid more, the logic goes, they’re more valuable to their team and are therefore considered better than other players around them who earn less.

This logic might be the best to pursue if we’re to decide on the top-performing basketballers in the first decades of the twenty-first century. Researchers at Cash Lady have put together a handy list of top earners for this very purpose, from which we can derive insights from basketball and other sports – and decide whether this is an appropriate measure for sporting prowess.
There you have it: three ways to work out who the best basketball players have been in the past two decades of action on the court.

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