Top 25 NBA Players of the Post-Jordan Era

Counting Down the Top 25 NBA Players of the Post-Jordan Era (1999-2014)

Tim Duncan
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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:

25. Manu Ginobili

2014 NBA Finals Game Five
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25. Manu Ginobili

2014 NBA Finals Game Five

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.

24. Amar'e Stoudemire

Amare Stoudemire
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24. Amar'e Stoudemire

Amare Stoudemire

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?

23. Pau Gasol

Los Angeles Lakers v Portland Trail Blazers
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23. Pau Gasol

Los Angeles Lakers v Portland Trail Blazers

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.

22. Derrick Rose

Chicago Bulls v Portland Trail Blazers
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22. Derrick Rose

Chicago Bulls v Portland Trail Blazers

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.

21. Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard Free Throw
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21. Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard Free Throw

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.

20. Yao Ming

houston rockets nba all star game
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20. Yao Ming

houston rockets nba all star game

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.

19. Chris Webber

Chris Webber Kings
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19. Chris Webber

Chris Webber Kings

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.

18. Vince Carter

Vince Carter
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18. Vince Carter

Vince Carter

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.

17. Tracy McGrady

Tracy McGrady
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17. Tracy McGrady

Tracy McGrady

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).

16. Chris Paul

Chris Paul
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16. Chris Paul

Chris Paul

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.

15. Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant1
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15. Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant1

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.

14. Chauncey Billups

Billups Buzzer Beater
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14. Chauncey Billups

Billups Buzzer Beater

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.

13. Tony Parker

NBA Finals Tony Parker
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13. Tony Parker

NBA Finals Tony Parker

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.

12. Paul Pierce

Brooklyn Nets, NBA Playoffs, Paul Pierce
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12. Paul Pierce

Brooklyn Nets, NBA Playoffs, Paul Pierce

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.

11. Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd
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11. Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd

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.

10. Ray Allen

Washington Wizards vs Miami Heat
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10. Ray Allen

Washington Wizards vs Miami Heat

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.

9. Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett
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9. Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett

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.

8. Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki
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8. Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki

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.

7. Steve Nash

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers
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7. Steve Nash

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers

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.

6. Dwyane Wade

April 13, 2014; Kevin Liles- The Miami Heat were all smiles after their loss the Atlanta Hawks for one simple reason, Dwyane Wade is back.
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6. Dwyane Wade

April 13, 2014; Kevin Liles- The Miami Heat were all smiles after their loss the Atlanta Hawks for one simple reason, Dwyane Wade is back.

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.

5. Allen Iverson

Allen Iverson #3
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5. Allen Iverson

Allen Iverson #3

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.

4. LeBron James

LeBron James
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4. LeBron James

LeBron James

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.

3. Shaquille O'Neal

NBA Finals Game 4: Lakers v Pistons
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3. Shaquille O'Neal

NBA Finals Game 4: Lakers v Pistons

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.

2. Tim Duncan

tim duncan
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2. Tim Duncan

tim duncan

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.

1. Kobe Bryant

NBA Finals Game 7:  Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers
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1. Kobe Bryant

NBA Finals Game 7:  Boston Celtics v Los Angeles Lakers

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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  • Christian

    Great list, but I would slot Iverson down a bit and switch #1 and #2. Iverson was perennially overrated. He scored a lot, because he took a lot of shots and bricked his team out of many games. He’s the Brett Farve of the NBA; great plays and stats, but how many games did his mistakes and lack of patience cost his team? Duncan and Kobe is a toss up, but I give it to Duncan for having having a longer sustained period of greatness, 1 more regular season MVP, 1 more NBA Finals MVP and for the being THE MAN in about all his NBA Championships whereas Kobe was 2nd fiddle for the first 3.

    • Brad Smyly

      Kobe might have been second fiddle for the first championship but definitely not the 2nd two where he averaged close to 30 pts a game and consistently came up with big clutch shots in the 4th quarter. He also led the Lakers in assists in the 2nd and 3rd championships.

      • Christian

        Kobe didn’t average anywhere near 30ppg in any of the three-peat titles (15.6/24.6/26.8). He is an absolute stud, but when you have to pick between two players, little things matter. Duncan was a monster in their first title and led his team in ppg, rpg and apt in their second title and was also MVP in their second title. Even this year, I believe Duncan led his team in scoring over the course of the entire playoff…but, again, no disrespect to Kobe

        • Brad Smyly

          In 2001 he averaged 29.4 in the post season. In 2002 he averaged 26.6. http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/b/bryanko01.html

          • Christian

            I was giving stats for just the Finals Series, but you are correct.

          • Blair Boyd

            Is full time Miami Heat get rid of Pat Riley,he is mashing up the team all the time.Since he came to Miami every time the team players started to show some form of improvement,Riley traded them and go back to the draft.Then get new players which have no experience and put the team in problem.Is time Pat should go Miami Heat been to the final four times,and they won two out of four and now you want to.Change the big there,if and when that happened ,Miami never win back another championship under his portfolio not in his life time.

          • Christian

            I am assuming you used google translate for this incoherent rambling…

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  • mcamire

    Paul Pierce should be much higher on the list.

  • edgargn_1218

    On my list Duncan tops all the rest! But either way this list is pretty accurate