The change of the decade gave everyone a chance to reflect on what has happened in the past 10 years, and a chance to ponder what lies ahead. NBA.com gave fans 10 players to watch in 2000 and beyond, players who are on the road to tremendous success in the NBA.
We asked, when the year 2009 draws to a close, what will be the outstanding NBA memories and which stars will have emerged to join the legacies of the superstars of the 1990s?
Player of Next DecadePoll Results
Vince Carter, 30.6%
Kobe Bryant, 25.9%
Tim Duncan, 11.9%
Kevin Garnett, 10.1%
Allen Iverson, 9.5%
Toronto's Vince Carter, the 1998-99 Rookie of the Year known for his acrobatic dunks, won the poll, taking 30.6 percent of the 38,246 votes cast.
In second place with 25.9 percent of the vote was Kobe Bryant, the flashy Lakers' guard who has averaged 22.3 points a game since returning from a broken hand on Dec. 1.
Spurs big man Tim Duncan, the 1997-98 Rookie of the Year who already has one NBA title to his name, rounded out the top three with 11.9 percent.
Vince Carter's dunks have wowed fans. (Fernando Medina/NBA Photos)
Already drawing comparisons to Michael Jordan, fellow Tar Heel Vince Carter was the 1999 NBA Rookie of the Year after a stellar first season with the Toronto Raptors.
He averaged 18.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and three assists per game last season and had the Raptors in the playoff hunt late in the season. This year, Carter led Toronto to a 13-8 start and was named Player of the Week for Nov. 15-21. He currently ranks eighth in the NBA in scoring at 22.9 ppg.
Only 21 years old, Kobe Bryant
is already in his fourth season in the league. He went directly from high school in Pennsylvania to the LA Lakers and quickly became one of the league's most popular young players. In his second season, Bryant was voted an All-Star starter at guard and was the youngest All-Star player in NBA history. Bryant averaged almost 20 points per game last season, and after recovering from a broken hand which caused him to miss 15 games this year, Kobe looks like he's back in form and ready to help the Lakers return to the NBA Finals.
He's already won one NBA championship and one Finals MVP award, but Tim Duncan
is still at the beginning of what will no doubt be an illustrious career in the NBA. The 1998 NBA Rookie of the Year was an All-NBA first team selection in each of his first two seasons and was an All-Defensive first team selection in 1999, as well. He currently ranks in the top ten in the league in scoring, rebounds and blocks.
Selected out of high school by the Timberwolves, forward Kevin Garnett
has shown great maturity in Minnesota while maintaining his youthful exuberance. He has helped lead the Timberwolves to the NBA Playoffs in each of the past three seasons. A two-time All-Star, Garnett averaged over 20 points and 10 rebounds last season to be named to the All-NBA third team, and this year is averaging over 21 ppg and 11 rpg.
The 1999 NBA scoring champion at 26.8 ppg, guard Allen Iverson
was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1997. He was the top pick in the draft in 1996 for Philadelphia and has lived up to all his hype. Iverson was named to the All-NBA first team in 1999 and set a single-game playoff record with 10 steals against Orlando in the 1999 NBA Playoffs. Iverson was averaging a league-high 29.2 ppg before fracturing his thumb on 11/22.
Guard Jason Williams
thrilled the NBA last season with his electrifying play as a rookie for the Sacramento Kings. A 1999 All-Rookie first team selection, Williams averaged 12.8 points and six assists for the Kings and helped Sacramento challenge the Utah Jazz in an exciting and entertaining five-game playoff series last spring. Williams currently ranks in the NBA top ten in steals.
The 1995 Co-Rookie of the Year, Jason Kidd
had his best season to date last year with the Phoenix Suns. Kidd led the league in assists with 10.8 apg and averaged a career-high 16.9 ppg in the 1998-99 season. He was selected to the All-NBA first team and All-Defensive first team. The 26-year-old guard, a two-time All-Star, currently ranks among the league's top ten in assists and steals.
Just 20 years old, Lamar Odom
is the least experienced of this elite group, but he should be watched, nonetheless. The LA Clippers selected Odom with the fourth pick in the 1999 NBA Draft., and the talented forward was named Co-Rookie of the Month for November after leading all rookies in scoring with 18.6 ppg. He averaged 7.8 rpg and led the Clippers in assists, steals and minutes played while ranking second on the team in scoring and rebounding.
Versatile Eddie Jones
played more than four seasons with the Lakers before being traded to Charlotte last February, but he has excelled on both sides of the country. He was MVP of the Rookie Game in 1995 and is a two-time member of the All-Defensive second team (1988, 1999). Jones, who made two All-Star appearances for the Lakers, currently leads the league in steals with 2.9 spg. He ranks first on the Hornets in both scoring and free-throw percentage.
After playing his first few seasons with the Timberwolves, guard Stephon Marbury
returned home last March to play for the New Jersey Nets. The Brooklyn (NY) native was an All-Rookie first team selection in 1997 and helped lead Minnesota to two playoff berths. Now in his first full season for the Nets, Marbury is leading the team in scoring (23.3 ppg) and assists (7.5 apg).