Kobe, Shaq, Duncan lead NBA All-Decade team
|All-Decade Team: NBA|
|By Ian Thomsen, SI.com|
|In a sign of how the game changed this decade, I decided to make Shaquille O'Neal the only center on the 12-man roster. Yao Ming might have joined him if not for his injuries, and young Dwight Howard was dominant for only three years (he'll be the likely first-team center for the next decade). Instead, I used the backup center spot to make space for Carmelo Anthony, a small forward with a post-up game. That's the same kind of trade-off general managers and coaches have been making since traditional centers have begun to grow extinct.
This is a diverse team. One-third of this roster didn't attend college (including Dirk Nowitzki). Four of these future Hall of Famers fulfilled their potential as No. 1 picks (Shaq, Tim Duncan, LeBron James and Allen Iverson), while another four turned out to be monumental surprises after being picked outside the top eight (Nowitzki at No. 9, Paul Pierce at 10, Kobe Bryant at 13 and Steve Nash at 15). As much as the NBA has been influenced by players from abroad, Nowitzki is the only true international (not schooled in America) to make this team as well as become MVP.