NBA Decade: GiveMeSport NBA All-Decade Team

Los Angeles Lakers v Indiana Pacers

As we approach 2020 at an alarming speed, it’s time to reflect on the last decade of NBA action and, specifically, which five players should make the cut for the All-Decade team.

The Process

Ok, for clarification purposes, I’m looking at a player’s body of work across the entire decade. On this basis, players like Giannis fail to make the cut, as his rise to dominance has only really been over the last two-and-a-bit seasons. Similarly, the old guards of Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan et al, despite potentially ranking higher on the hypothetical Greatest Players of All-Time list, don’t make it as their talents were in decline for the bulk of their 10s action, before retirement. 

Today’s NBA is almost entirely different from the one on display at the start of the decade. For example, the rise of analytics and the propensity for the three-pointer has diminished the role of the traditional Center to that of a specialist role player, versus dominant franchise cornerstone. As far back as 2012, the league removed the Center position from the All-Star ballot, and in line with this, I have built my team using two backcourt and three frontcourt players.

The Backcourt

Stephen Curry

An easy decision, the greatest shooter in NBA history. Curry has spearheaded the league-wide revolution that has seen the number of three-pointers attempted per game sky rocket upwards.

Two MVPs (one unanimous, no less), three Championships (and five straight finals), the best player on an NBA record 73 win team and more shooting records to his name than should be humanly possible for anyone not named Wilt.

James Harden

A one-man offence, constantly under-appreciated, and a scoring machine. Whilst his play style may be difficult to watch at times, this is likely a byproduct of Mike D’Antonio’s offensive scheme and Daryl Morey’s roster construction demanding such a high usage rate of Harden.

An MVP winner (and perennial candidate), two scoring titles, a Sixth Man of the Year award and the league’s best facial hair… love him or hate him, he has to be on this team.

Honourable mentions - Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul

The Frontcourt

LeBron James

Well, duh... He’s won three titles, three MVP titles and led his teams to eight straight finals. James has owned this decade like no other, consistently excellent and having played a role in more than his fair share of watershed moments.

Despite being one of the league’s oldest heads (another list he now makes the top ten in!), LeBron is ending the decade just as he started it; as the best player on the team with the best record in its conference. 

Los Angeles Lakers v Indiana Pacers

Kevin Durant

Perhaps the most lethal all-around scorer of the last decade. Perhaps the most lethal all-around scorer in NBA history. KD possesses a unique skill set never really seen in a player of his size.

Two Finals MVPs, one regular-season MVP, four scoring titles, a 6’10” sniper and an underrated defensive presence. Durant is an absolute lock for the All-Decade team.

Kawhi Leonard

Perhaps surprisingly, Leonard is the only name on this list I was unsure of… his rise to prominence wasn’t really until the 2014 Finals where, in his fourth season, he won the Finals MVP. However, his impact on the decade is inarguable; two Finals MVPs, two DPOY awards and three All-Star appearances despite suffering from chronic tendinopathy in his right quad.

Beyond the accolades is Leonard’s domination of the 2014 and 2019 Finals effectively, ending the runs of both the Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors dynastic super teams.

Honourable Mention: Anthony Davis (seriously, look at his Pels numbers) and Paul George

So there you have it, the Dime Drop All-Decade Team - agree? Disagree? Let me know!

You can hear more from Mike weekly on the Double Clutch Podcast, the UK’s leading NBA podcast.

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