17. Vince Carter, New Jersey Nets, 29, 6-6, 220: 24.2 pts., 5.8 reb., 4.3 ast.
Whatever Carter lost those last couple of seasons in Toronto, he found the past season-and-a-half after being traded to the Nets. He not only remains exciting going to the basket, but he hits big shots from all over the floor in big games. He's still a big star.
(beating out arenas, marion, billups, stoudmire, d. howard, j. johnson)
24. Jason Kidd, New Jersey Nets, 33, 6-4, 210: 13.3 pts., 8.4 ast., 1.88 stl.
It would be wrong to assume Kidd is still the same player he was even five years ago, but he's responded from microfracture surgery as well as anybody and still is the guy who makes this team go. Of course, people keep buzzing about Nash, but Kidd has been doing the same thing for more than a decade — and more consistently.
(beating out b. wallace and artest)
27. Richard Jefferson, New Jersey Nets, 26, 6-7, 225: 19.5 pts., 6.8 reb., 3.8 ast.
People forget that Jefferson is not only a great finisher and tough perimeter shooter, but he always plays tough defense. In fact, that's what got him into the first round in the first place as his offense continued to develop. Just because Kidd and Carter often make the big shot doesn't diminish what he contributes.
(beating out parker, paul, redd, kirilenko, bosh)
it's particularly nice to see how highly people seem to think of RJ now.
i'd love to see krstic on that list next year, and i expect it to happen too.