Ranking the top 25 NBA players of the 21st century

Jul 25, 2024, 08:00 AM ETOpen Extended Reactions

When LeBron James entered the NBA as the top pick in the 2003 draft, he did so in the face of seemingly impossible expectations.

James already had graced a Sports Illustrated cover with the headline “The Chosen One.” His high school games had been broadcast on national television for more than a year. He was one of the most anticipated rookies in the history of the sport.

More than 20 years later, James has not only met those expectations; he has exceeded them.

Today, the 39-year-old superstar — in the middle of trying to lead Team USA to a fifth straight Olympic gold medal at the Paris Games — is still among the best players on the planet.

James is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. He reached eight consecutive NBA Finals and 10 in total. He has hoisted four Larry O’Brien Trophies, including leading the

Stephen Curry hopes Kamala Harris wins the US presidential election: 'It's a big deal to say the least'

By | July 25, 2024

What’s the buzz on Twitter? Tim Reynolds @ByTimReynolds
Question: “Who are you looking forward to playing most?”
Stephen Curry: “Whoever’s in the gold medal game.”
Kevin Durant: “Great answer.” – 5:45 AM Ball Don’t Lie @Balldontlie
Team USA stat leaders in 5 exhibition games:
LeBron James (73) – Points
LeBron James (19) – Assists
LeBron James (62%) – FG%
Anthony Davis (49) – Rebounds
Anthony Davis (15) – Blocks
Stephen Curry (14) – 3PM
Stephen Curry (109) – Minutes
Anthony Edwards (8) – Steals pic.twitter.com/dtK9xfMadc11:20 PM Evan Sidery @esidery
The NBA on NBC is officially back beginning in 2025-26.
NBC

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Stephen Curry would like to stay with Warriors, but not as 'bottom feeder'

By | July 25, 2024

What’s the buzz on Twitter? Ball Don’t Lie @Balldontlie
Team USA stat leaders in 5 exhibition games:
LeBron James (73) – Points
LeBron James (19) – Assists
LeBron James (62%) – FG%
Anthony Davis (49) – Rebounds
Anthony Davis (15) – Blocks
Stephen Curry (14) – 3PM
Stephen Curry (109) – Minutes
Anthony Edwards (8) – Steals pic.twitter.com/dtK9xfMadc11:20 PM Evan Sidery @esidery
The NBA on NBC is officially back beginning in 2025-26.
NBC featured highlights of 10 star players in their first advertisement:
Stephen Curry
Kevin Durant
LeBron James
Tyrese Haliburton
Joel Embiid
Luka Doncic
Nikola Jokic
Anthony Edwards
Bam Adebayo
Jayson Tatum pic.twitter.com/dWCJQ7iwPY5:29 PM Marc J. Spears @MarcJSpears
“If it is a

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Carmelo Anthony: 'I wasn't ready to team up with nobody because I was building my own thing in Denver'

By | July 25, 2024

What’s the buzz on Twitter? More on this storyline Carmelo Anthony: “I remember when I first came back in the league after Houston. I go in the locker room, and I’m like, ‘For the game, I’m locked in, getting ready for the game.’ They’re on phones. All right, cool, halftime comes, they’re on their phones. I look at Dame, and he’s like, ‘Man, it’s different now.’ I want to go at them, but Dame says, ‘Don’t even bother. Leave them alone.’ It was hard to adjust to that. I come from an old-school mentality where we didn’t have any of that.” -via YouTube / July 25, 2024

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Zach Lowe: I think I'd rank Tim Duncan above Kobe Bryant

By | July 25, 2024

What’s the buzz on Twitter? More on this storyline “In 2012, I didn’t get picked because I wasn’t on the level I needed to be,” said Curry about the 2012 USA Basketball gold medal team that included Durant, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. “In ’16, I was coming off the Finals run and I didn’t feel I would get the rest I needed to get ready for the next season. And in 2020, it was a COVID year. And just that whole process, I don’t remember what was going on family wise. But it wasn’t a good time for me. “[Warriors teammate] Draymond

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Redrafting the 2024 NBA Draft: Hawks go with Reed Sheppard at No. 1 following hot start in Summer League

USATSI

It can take weeks, months and years — even past a decade sometimes — for NBA players’ careers to fully materialize and for any sort of critical hindsight analysis to be worthwhile. We knew pretty quickly that Kevin Durant should’ve been taken ahead of Greg Oden in the 2007 NBA Draft, for instance, but even several years later, a 2021 redraft might be hard to settle on. Would the Pistons, Rockets and Cavaliers settle on Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green and Evan Mobley going 1-2-3 if given a re-do? It’s a fun thought experiment, and even given some distance, any declarative statements would feel a bit premature.

But with the 2024 NBA Draft just one month in our rearview and fresh on our mind with prospects officially finishing Summer League this last week, there’s no better time

Durant practices, big collab set on Games debut

Brian Windhorst, ESPN Senior WriterJul 24, 2024, 01:04 PM ET

CloseESPN.com NBA writer since 2010 Covered Cleveland Cavs for seven years Author of two booksOpen Extended Reactions

LILLE, France — Kevin Durant practiced Wednesday, and coach Steve Kerr said there will be a “big collaboration” in determining when the program’s all-time leading Olympic scorer will make his debut for Team USA.

The team’s training staff, Durant’s Phoenix Suns and his representation are all involved as they manage the delicate issue of Durant returning from a calf injury and his intense desire to play for his national team.

“It’s not just our training staff, but [USA Basketball managing director Grant Hill] is constantly in touch with Kevin’s people and with the Suns,” Kerr said. “This is not going to be like us going out and saying, ‘Hey, let’s just throw him out there.’ This will be a big collaboration.”

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Sources: Knicks' Thibodeau gets 3-year extension

Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPNJul 24, 2024, 01:38 PM ET

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New York Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau has agreed on a three-year contract extension that will take him through the 2027-28 season, sources told ESPN on Wednesday.

Thibodeau, a two-time NBA Coach of the Year, has been at the forefront of a franchise resurgence that includes a No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs after a 50-32 mark last season. The Knicks return a team with higher expectations and expect to compete with the Eastern Conference elite.

The Knicks have reached the conference semifinals in each of the last two seasons after winning only one playoff series between 2001 and 2022, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Thibodeau ranks fifth in team history with 175 wins, reaching the playoffs in three of his four seasons as coach.

Tom Thibodeau ranks fifth in Knicks history with 175 wins, and he’s guided the team

Suns' Ishbia wants to bring NHL back to Phoenix

Field Level Media

Jul 24, 2024, 10:07 PM ETOpen Extended Reactions

Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia has his sights set on bringing hockey back to Arizona, Sportico reported Wednesday.

Arizona is now without an NHL team after the Coyotes relocated to Salt Lake City following the 2023-24 campaign. The franchise will have a new name come the 2025-26 season, but when it plays games this year, it will be known as the Utah Hockey Club.

“I’m definitely going to be part of the community, and if I can help bring hockey back, I’ll look at that,” Ishbia told Sportico. “It’s definitely something I’m interested in. It’s a four-sport town. I’m disappointed we don’t have a hockey team, but I understand what happened, and we’re going to try to fix that one day.”

Ishbia, 44, also owns the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA.

Footprint Center, home of the Mercury, hosted the WNBA All-Star