By Andrew Fisher @AndrewFisherRS on June 17, 2014
While Michael Jordan didn't retire for good until 2003, the Jordan era ended after his final season in Chicago in 1998. Over the last 15 years the NBA has changed immensely.
Now that Tim Duncan has won his fifth ring, it's sparked a new debate about who the best player in the post-Jordan era is. Here's a look at the top 25 NBA players from 1999 to 2014:
If he wasn't already there, his performance in the 2014 Finals definitely solidified his status as one of the best players in the past 15 years. Ginobili is now a two-time All-Star, Sixth Man of the Year award winner and a four-time NBA champ.
While his career has fallen on hard times since joining the Knicks, there's no doubt that Stoudemire is one of the best in the post-Jordan era. He was a perennial All-Star in Phoenix (6 appearances), and a flat out beast on many very good Suns teams. Can Derek Fisher and Phil Jackson save his career?
Gasol has had trouble staying healthy as of late, but he had great run in the 2000s with the Grizzlies and Lakers. In total he's a four-time All-Star, ROY award winner and a two-time NBA champion.
Chicago fans are hoping that Rose's career won't be defined by injuries. But overall you still have to say that he's one of the best players over the past 15 years. He won MVP in 2011, he's a three-time All-Star and also a former ROY award winner.
You can hate on Howard for his teammate skills, but there are few over the past 15 years who've accomplished as much as he has individually. D12 is a three-time DPOY award winner and an eight-time All-Star.
Rockets fans are still wondering what could have been with Yao Ming. He wasn't just a player who was ridiculously tall, he was the real deal at 7-7. There's no doubt he'd be higher on this countdown if it weren't for the injuries that derailed his career. As it stands, Yao averaged 19-9 over his eight-year career.
C-Webb was the top dog on many good Kings teams in the early 2000s. Without the Lakers, Webber may have gotten to the mountain top, something he ultimately failed to do during his 15-year career. But he should still go down as one of the best in the post-Jordan era with his near 20-10 career average.
Carter is another guy currently in the waning years of his career. However, people forget how good he was in the early 2000s. He was the Raptors franchise for several seasons, and also enjoyed tremendous success with the Nets in the mid-2000s.
The end of T-Mac's career was no doubt sad. Injuries ultimately derailed his journey to the top, but he still made seven ASG appearances and led the league in scoring in back-to-back seasons (03-04).
CP3 has proven to be one of the best leaders in the NBA throughout his career. While he's never made it to the NBA Finals, he's clearly been one of the best PGs in the league since 2005. So far Paul is a seven-time All-Star.
It's probably safe to say that we haven't seen the best of Durant quite yet. He just won his first MVP award, and the Thunder are a piece or two away from finally winning an NBA title. When it's all said and done, KD will be ranked much higher.
Mr. Big Shot. No, not because he thinks he's the stuff. Because he really hit so many big shots. Age has finally caught up to Billups, but not after he put together a tremendous NBA career that will be highlighted by back-to-back Finals runs in '04-05.
It's safe to call Parker the best true PG in the NBA today. The guy simply makes things happen for his team. Over the years Parker has made six ASG appearances, won four NBA titles and taken home one Finals MVP award.
Many NBA players have had difficulty handling The Truth over the past 15 years. Pierce has proven time and time again that he's flat out clutch, and not afraid to take the big shots. In total he's made 10 ASG appearances, while taking home one NBA title and one NBA Finals MVP award.
Even though Kidd's career started well before the Jordan era began, he still managed to play from 1999-2013. Kidd proved with consistently well-rounded play that he's one of the best PGs in NBA history. To cap his career, he finally made it to the mountain top in 2011 with the Mavs.
The 38-year old sharp shooter is still going strong, and looks like he could play another five years. But even if he decides to hang it up soon, it won't change his place in history. Allen established himself as the best 3-point shooter ever during the post-Jordan era, as well helped to shoot the Celtics and Heat to NBA titles.
It's funny how some people have forgotten about The Big Ticket's greatness. The guy was simply amazing for many years in Minnesota. In total he's a 15-time All-Star, MVP award winner, DPOY award winner and a one-time NBA champion.
Dirk always seems to be a tad underrated. Well, not on this list. At nearly 7-foot tall, we've never seen a player quite like Nowitzki. He's a 12-time All-Star, a Finals MVP and a former league MVP. Someday soon, he'll be a first-ballot HOF'er.
If it weren't for a bad back, Nash might still be going strong as one of the best PGs in the NBA. But his accomplishments over the past 15 years speak for themselves (two-time MVP). Minus the lack of ring, his PG resume stacks up with the all-time greats.
In his prime, Wade played like MJ at times. He's arguably the best pure scorer of his generation, a 10-time All-Star, three-time NBA champion and a Finals MVP winner.
Not only is Iverson one of the best in the post-Jordan era, he's clearly one of the best of players of all time. There's no doubt that he's a future first ballot Hall-of-Famer. Iverson ranks seventh all-time with his average of 26.7 PPG, he's a former league MVP and an 11-time All-Star.
Let's be honest -- LBJ would be higher on this list if he weren't 2-3 in five Finals appearances. A three-peat could have legitimately put him in the GOAT conversation, but now he's back in the pack a little ways. However, LeBron clearly still has about five years of MVP-level play left in him.
During the early 2000s Shaquille O'Neal was simply dominate in the paint. No one could stand toe-to-toe with him down low, as evidenced by his four titles in sevens years. In addition, O'Neal won the NBA MVP in 2000 and Finals MVP in 2000, 2001 and 2002.
Timmy D is arguably the greatest player of his generation. He's a five-time champion, two-time MVP, three-time Finals MVP, 14-time All-Star and known as a great teammate above all else.
Even though Bryant and Duncan are now even in terms of rings, I still give the edge to Kobe as a better all-time player. Their individual accomplishments are nearly equal, so when it comes down to it -- who would you want with the ball in their hands with the game on the line?
The answer to me is Kobe. Not only because he can score in so many ways, but because he's a much better free throw shooter. Career FT% -- Kobe - 83%, Duncan - 69%.
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