NBA Roundtable: All-Decade Edition
NBA Roundtable: All-Decade Edition

This article is part of our NBA Roundtable series.

Welcome to the latest edition of the RotoWire NBA Roundtable. Heading into the holidays, and the start of a new year, we decided to look back on the decade and pick out our All-Decade teams, favorite moments, memorable teams and much more.

Note: The decade encompasses the start of the 2009-10 season through the end of the 2018-19 season.

List your All-Decade First and Second Teams.

Alex Barutha: First Team: Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Stephen Curry

Second Team: Karl-Anthony Towns, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook

James Anderson: First Team: Al Horford, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Stephen Curry

Second Team: Marc Gasol, Blake Griffin, Kawhi Leonard, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul

Shannon McKeown: First Team: Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Steph Curry

Second Team: Al Horford, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook

Jeff Edgerton: First Team: Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Stephen Curry

Second Team: Dirk Nowitzki, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Kobe Bryant, Russell Westbrook

Nick Whalen: First Team: Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Stephen Curry

Second Team: Marc Gasol, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook

Of the last 10 NBA Finals, which ones stand out as the series you'll remember most from this decade?

Barutha: The 2016 NBA Finals: Cavaliers become the first team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 deficit and defeat the 73-win Warriors. LeBron bringing a title to Cleveland in that way was about as storybook as it gets.

Anderson: 1A: Mavs beating the Heat in 2010-11. It's always more interesting when David beats Goliath. LeBron and Wade celebrating in front of the Mavs bench when they were up 15 with seven minutes to go in Game 2 and then blowing the game, and Jason Terry hitting the dagger three over LeBron in Game 5 were the most memorable moments. Dirk Nowitzki is one of the most underrated superstars in league history, and he had come so close before, it was great to see him get a title to cap his great career.

1B: Cavs beating the Warriors in 2015-16. The best player of the decade vs. the best team of the decade and it goes seven games, that's tough to beat. The LeBron chase down block of Iggy and the Kyrie dagger three were the most memorable parts of that classic series finale.

McKeown: The 2019 Finals was a huge upset, but I can't put any NBA Finals above 2016. LeBron carrying the Cavs to overcome a 3-1 series deficit against the Warriors' dynasty is an all-timer.

Edgerton: It has to be the 2016 Finals, when LeBron (and Kyrie) willed the Cavs to a 3-1 comeback.

Whalen: It's easily the 2016 Finals. So many memorable moments throughout that series, and I've never been more locked in to a sporting event than I was for the fourth quarter of Game 7. The first Spurs-Heat series in 2013 is on my list, as well, but as great as that series was, it didn't feel like it carried quite the same weight in terms of shaping multiple players' legacies.

During the decade, which single-season team was most memorable?

Barutha: The 2012-13 Heat. There's the 27-game winning streak and a title repeat – really setting in stone the idea that a Big 3 and true role players were a route to success in the league (Mike Miller had the fourth-highest salary at $5.8 million), influencing the next five-plus years of team construction. And I think it was the final season of what we'll eventually consider to be Prime LeBron. Not to mention they were truly villainized by the media for how good they were in a way that we may never see again.

Anderson: The 2015-16 Warriors. It's still wild that they didn't win the title that year, but winning 73 games will be something that makes that team memorable for decades to come.

McKeown: Even though they didn't win the championship, the 2015-16 Warriors will always be the most memorable team from the past decade. Their 73-9 regular season record was a thrill to follow. Hell, the fact they didn't win the championship probably makes the season more memorable, especially given how they lost.

Edgerton: For me, it's the 2010 Lakers. It was Kobe's final championship and signified the end of an era in Los Angeles, even if we didn't know it at the time.

Whalen: The right answer is probably the 2015-16 Warriors, but any Heat team from 2010 through 2014 was must-watch TV for me. The early-decade Thunder also deserve a mention. Even after losing James Harden following a run to the Finals in 2012, OKC bounced back and went 60-22 in 2012-13. And one final shoutout to the 2013-14 Milwaukee Bucks, who won 15 games behind O.J. Mayo, Zaza Pachulia, Nate Wolters, Jeff Adrien and Miroslav Raduljica.

Defining it however you like, which was the best franchise and which was the worst franchise of the decade?

Barutha: Best: Warriors. Third-best winning percentage of the decade, three titles in five trips to the Finals. Created a brand of basketball that is now considered to be the ideal.

Worst: Knicks. Fifth-worst winning percentage of the decade, an absolute failure given the size and appeal of the market.

Anderson: Warriors were the franchise of the decade. If you just want to focus on sustained quality, the Spurs would be the pick, but I don't think people will look back and remember this as the Spurs' decade. The Warriors from 2014-15 to 2018-19 arguably had the best five-year run in NBA history. The worst franchise of the decade is the Knicks. I know the Kings and T-Wolves, among others, were worse in terms of winning percentage, but it's the Knicks. They're a complete joke, and it starts at the top.

The worst franchise of the decade is the Knicks. I know the Kings and T-Wolves, among others, were worse in terms of winning percentage, but it's the Knicks. They're a complete joke, and it starts at the top.

McKeown: The Warriors were the best franchise of the decade. Tough to top five consecutive trips to the Finals. This team was a monster before adding Durant.

The Knicks have been an absolute dumpster fire for at least seven seasons, but it's hard to top the Kings, who have the worst record over the past decade and haven't made the playoffs in 13 years.

Edgerton: In terms of superior coaching and wily moves that propelled then into the next great dynasty, I'd have to pick the Warriors as the best franchise. The worst franchise is the Knicks – by a mile. Controversy on the court and in the front office was a constant headline in the New York press, and the mishandling of David Fizdale's tenure from start to finish is the cherry on top of a dreadful decade.

Whalen: The Heat have a case, given that they maintained a sustainable winning culture even after LeBron James left, but to me it has to be either the Spurs or the Warriors. San Antonio leads the decade in total regular season wins, but the Warriors went to five straight Finals and won three, while the Spurs' only ring came in 2014. They may have been (mostly) irrelevant for the first half of the decade, but the Warriors were such an overwhelming story from 2015-19 that it's hard to pick any other franchise.

The worst franchise has to be the Knicks. With the exception of one semi-successful season, a complete disaster from the top down. You have to tip your cap to everyone involved. It's not easy to beat out Sacramento, Minnesota and a late run by Phoenix.

What was the single most influential move of the decade?

Barutha: Since I've already touched on the Big 3 Heat opening the door for superteams and the Warriors changing basketball by hiring Steve Kerr and starting the three-point/small-ball revolution, I'm going to nominate "The Process". Separating tanking from NBA discourse is now impossible. Every team on pace for a 30-win season has a large section of its fanbase begging for losses. Team Twitter accounts are spammed on almost every post with replies like "Trade Player X. Blow it up. Give Player Y minutes." Adam Silver is attempting to change the structure of the entire NBA season because of what Sam Hinkie created.

Anderson: LeBron signing in Miami. It led to those memorable and successful Heatles teams. I don't think any other single move shifted power to that extent.

McKeown: Any time LeBron James switched teams. Steve Kerr's hiring in Golden State warrants some consideration, but I think that team could have had decent success with the same personnel and a different coach. Nothing impacts the league more than one of the 2-3 best players ever switching teams.

Edgerton: While there are a lot of frontrunners, wherever LeBron was going to (or leaving) always made front page news.

Whalen: Kevin Durant landing in Golden State. LeBron to Miami and LeBron to Cleveland shifted the balance of power in the East, but Durant joining the Warriors changed the way much of the league built its rosters, and its organizational strategy, for the rest of the decade. Not only did signing Durant make the Warriors unbeatable when healthy, it also destroyed their biggest rival in the West and denied titles to all-time-great Cavaliers and Rockets teams. We've seen teams stack the deck in the past, but never to the degree that the Warriors did when Durant signed on.

What are some of your favorite NBA moments of the decade?

Barutha: Derrick Rose's MVP year, LeBron returning to Cleveland and winning the title, Kobe's final game, the Bucks firing Jason Kidd, and the following dunks: Blake Griffin over Perkins, Gerald Green windmill alley-oop, DeAndre Jordan over Brandon Knight.

Anderson: The David Kahn tenure in Minnesota, LeBron's performance in Game 1 of the 2017-19 Finals, the Aaron Gordon/Zach LaVine dunk contest, peak Steph Curry, Dirk winning his title, the beautiful game Spurs from 2013-14. 

McKeown: The Bryan Colangelo "Woodergate" scandal. And the runner-up was his gigantic collar.

Edgerton: The Donald Sterling drama and the eventual sale of the Clippers was all over the news nationwide, and I especially enjoyed some of Kyrie's musings over the decade – led by, of course, the flat-earth scandal.

Whalen: The return of dignity to the dunk contest; the entire 2017 Draft; LeBron committing homicide on live television; Kobe's final game ("The Game"); the 2012 Olympic team; Westbrook vs. Durant; this dunk; this shot; this block

Who should go down as the most underrated player of the decade?

Barutha: Damian Lillard. He's one of only eight players to amass 12,000 points and 3,000 assists this decade, and his rookie year wasn't until 2012-13. He's been consistently great, consistently healthy, and consistently leading playoff teams. He'll unquestionably be in the Hall of Fame.

Anderson: Klay Thompson. His raw numbers won't stack up with guys like Russell Westbrook or Chris Paul, but he contributed more toward winning at the highest level than those players did. Draymond Green will be remembered for his defense, but Klay seems to just kind of blend in. I think you could argue that no other player this decade would be more easily incorporated to ANY roster. You just plug him in and nothing would have to change about the offense or the defense. He would start for every single team this decade and would not take anything off the table.

McKeown: LaMarcus Aldridge, Al Horford and Kyle Lowry have all been top-12 players over the past decade based on Win Shares. And all three are likely to be underrated in 10 years.

Edgerton: This could go to so many guys. I think the current player that doesn't get enough love in Damian Lillard. He's one of the best point guards of the decade yet doesn't get his due often enough. Another guard who has posted monstrous numbers throughout his career is Kemba Walker. He's now getting more visibility with the Celtics, but he toiled thanklessly in Charlotte for nearly the entire decade.

Whalen: I hope it's not lost to history just how great Klay Thompson was, and still is, on both ends of the floor. But looking at the numbers, I think the answer might be LaMarcus Aldridge. His peaks were never sky-high, but he rarely missed games and made seven All-Star teams in 10 years in a stacked Western Conference. For the decade, Aldridge ranks sixth in total points, fifth in rebounds, second in two-point field goals, 12th in free throws, 17th in blocks, third in minutes and seventh in win shares.

Who should be remembered as the Player of the Decade?

Barutha: LeBron James. What he's done over the past 10 years has turned the Greatest Player of All Time debate into just a two-man conversation between him and Michael Jordan. In the four-year stretch from 09-10 through 12-13, he won MVP three times, Finals MVP twice, had a regular-season record of 231-81, and averaged 27.6 points on 18.9 shots, 7.7 rebounds, 7.3 assists and a combined 2.5 steals-plus-blocks.

Anderson: LeBron. And it's not debatable at all.

McKeown: The only correct answer is LeBron James.

Edgerton: LeBron James. And despite heroics from guys like Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry, I don't think it's close.

Whalen: Stephen Curry made a run at it for a few years, but the answer is LeBron. He ruled the first half of the decade and is still the most talked-about player in the league in his 17th season.

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
James Anderson
James Anderson is RotoWire's Lead Prospect Analyst, Assistant Baseball Editor, and co-host of Farm Fridays on Sirius/XM radio and the RotoWire Prospect Podcast. FSWA Baseball Writer of the Year finalist in 2012.
Alex Barutha
Alex is RotoWire's NBA Assistant Editor. He writes articles about daily fantasy, year-long fantasy and sports betting. You can hear him on the RotoWire NBA Podcast, Sirius XM, DraftKings Live and other platforms. Vince Carter and Alex both first dunked during their respective sophomore years of high school.
Jeff Edgerton
Jeff has provided sports content for numerous sports outlets and has played fantasy sports since scores had to be tabulated via newspaper. He started working with RotoWire in 2017. Originally from South Carolina, he's a lifelong Clemson fan now enjoying the sun in Los Angeles.
Shannon McKeown
Shannon McKeown is the VP of Advertising Sales and Basketball Editor for Rotowire.com. He's a two-time FSWA finalist for Fantasy Basketball writer of the year and co-host of the RotoWire Fantasy Basketball podcast.
Nick Whalen
RotoWire's NBA Editor and host of the RotoWire NBA Podcast. Nick was awarded the FSWA Best Podcast -- All Sports award in 2017 and 2018. Many years ago, Stromile Swift gave Nick his unbelievably sweaty headband after a preseason game. Despite its failure to match his school colors, Nick went on to wear that headband for the entirety of his sixth grade basketball season. Catch Nick on Twitter @wha1en.
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