All-Decade Team: Best NBA players of the 2010s
All-Decade Team: Best players of 2010s
Khari Arnold, NBA.com
The 2010s era of NBA basketball officially came to a close back in June, ending a thrilling decade that featured the rise of generationally talented players like Anthony Davis and Giannis Antetokounmpo, the prime of league superstars such as LeBron James and Kevin Durant and the last ride for several future Hall of Famers, including Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade.
To close this chapter in NBA history, we’ve selected our own All-Decade team. Fifteen players were chosen by a panel of NBA.com and NBA TV producers and analysts. The players were split into three teams consisting of two backcourt players and three frontcourt players.
(Editor’s note: This is not an official honor bestowed by the NBA, these are simply the opinions of those who cover and follow the league on a daily basis. Stats and accolades included below are from the 2009-10 season through the 2018-19 season only. Here’s a comprehensive look at the NBA’s stats leaders from 2010s.
On to the teams:
* * *
This team combined for 10 rings over the 10-year span.
Curry, who essentially changed the game this decade, broke out as the NBA’s most elite 3-point shooter. Harden elevated his play by going from Kia Sixth Man of the Year to Kia MVP, recording the most 50-point games this decade (18) in the process.
Leonard’s regular season numbers don’t match those of his peers — partly due to the San Antonio Spurs’ system he played in — but his playoff success (two Finals MVPs) and vaunted defense (two Kia Defensive Player of the Year awards) make his case for First Team. Durant, another two-time Finals MVP, asserted himself as one of the most prolific scorers in history, averaging a decade-best 28 points. James, who operated as the face of the league in the 2010s, won his three championships, a decade-best three MVPs and was the only player to earn an All-NBA nod and be voted an All-Star in each season.
Lambasted for their lack of postseason success, each member of this team still managed to showcase extraordinary skills during an era replete with star power.
Paul, widely considered the NBA’s top point guard for the first half of the 2010s, led the league in assists per game for the decade while making six All-Defensive first teams. Joining the two-way star in the backcourt is Westbrook, whose three consecutive seasons with triple-double averages speak for themselves.
Davis burst onto the scene in 2012 and quickly emerged as a preeminent wonder. Griffin followed up his unanimous Kia Rookie of the Year campaign in 2010-11 with seasons of legitimate All-Star production. And with James and Durant excluded, no small forward scored more points this decade than Anthony.
* = includes one honorary All-Star appearance
A talented unit comprised of the old, new and in between.
The two backcourt members closed the curtains on their Hall-of-Fame careers this decade, but entered it as the best at their position. Wade, the 2010 All-Star Game MVP, was instrumental in Miami going back-to-back in the “Big 3” era, while Bryant kicked off the 2010s with a Finals MVP and four straight All-NBA first team nods.
In the frontcourt, George’s renowned two-way game became a sight to behold after his breakout in 2013. The steadily consistent Aldridge ranked sixth in total points scored for the decade while starting more games than any other frontcourt player. Lastly, Antetokounmpo’s rapid ascent from project to superstar, culminating with his Kia MVP in 2019, was enough to secure him one of the final spots on our All-Decade Team.