5 Classic Teams That Should Be Added to NBA 2K17
Perhaps one of the most enduring contributions NBA 2K11 made to the NBA 2K series is the inclusion of classic rosters alongside current ones. With the Jordan Challenge, a fairly large number of classic Bulls teams and their opponents were made available, and more teams have been added every year.
For basketball junkies, there's something undeniably fun about putting yesterday's best teams against today's stars. It's the closest we can get to finding out how legendary, but impossible, matchups would play out -- like the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls against the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors, or Bill Russell's Boston Celtics from the 1960s against Magic Johnson's Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s.
With that said, there are always more teams that are worthy of being added to this ever-expanding list. With the NBA off-season in full swing, here are 5 classic teams that should be added to NBA 2K17. Win totals and playoff results are listed below each team.
The 1994-95 Indiana Pacers
52 wins, eliminated in the Eastern Conference Finals
This isn't the Pacers team that made the NBA Finals -- that would be the 2000 Pacers, who lost in 6 games to the Lakers -- but it is the one responsible for one of the most iconic and improbable plays in NBA history. Down 6 with less than 20 seconds left in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the New York Knicks (who eliminated them the season before), superstar Reggie Miller buried two straight 3-point shots and then hit two free throws to win the game. The sequence was immortalized in the ESPN 30 for 30 film Winning Time: Reggie Miller and the New York Knicks.
From a gameplay perspective, there's a lot to love about this Pacers team. Reggie Miller hit the second-most three-point shots all time, holding the record until Ray Allen passed him several years ago. Mark Jackson, the point guard, was a skilled passer, and center Rik Smits was a capable scorer. Reggie has refused to allow his likeness to be used, but perhaps he can be convinced at some point.
The 1992-93 Phoenix Suns
62 wins, eliminated in the NBA Finals
This offensive juggernaut lead the NBA in wins, and featured the 1993 Most Valuable Player, Charles Barkley. While they became another 90s team to fail against Michael Jordan (who never lost a NBA Finals series in his six appearances), they featured an athletic, sharpshooting squad.
Despite his size, Barkley could be a monster rebounding the ball, and players like Kevin Johnson, Dan Majerle, and Danny Ainge were all skilled scorers. This team, in the right hands, could dominate the virtual hardwood. Unfortunately, Barkley (like Miller) has been unwilling to appear in the series, only allowing it for NBA 2K13 as a member of the 1992 Olympic team, more commonly known as the "Dream Team."
The 2009-10 Los Angeles Lakers
57 wins, won the NBA Finals
I've mentioned before how it's a personal wish of mine that this team eventually be added to the list of classic rosters, but there's no question that they belong. Kobe Bryant won his last championship with this team, following an unforgettable NBA Finals series, going the full seven games against the hated Boston Celtics.
Everything came to a head in a deciding Game 7, an extremely close game that made me a basketball fan for life (as it probably did for others out there). Dominating with Kobe or throwing the ball into Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum would be just as fun in NBA 2K17 as it was in NBA 2K10 and NBA 2K11.
The 2001-02 Sacramento Kings
61 wins, eliminated in the Western Conference Finals
Here's a team that has been featured in a few of the most recent NBA 2K titles, but not in last year's installment. This team lost an infamous series against the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, and many people believe that the series was rigged to insure the Lakers would go on to win their third straight championship.
From a gameplay perspective, this team shares some of the same enticing characteristics as those 1993 Suns: elite shooting from Mike Bibby, Hedo Turkoglu, and Peja Stojakovic, and a fantastic inside presence in superstar Chris Webber. It should be noted that Webber, like Miller and Barkley, has been opposed to appearing in game.
The 1999 New York Knicks
27 wins (lockout-shortened season), eliminated in the NBA Finals
You're probably wondering "why this team?" after you saw that these Knicks only won 27 games. That's 27 wins out of 50 games, in a season shortened by a labor lockout. Still, this team only barely made the playoffs, securing the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. From there, they went on to make history, becoming the first 8-seed to reach the NBA Finals. They lost in a relatively short five-game series against the San Antonio Spurs, but not before Larry Johnson provided an iconic moment in Knicks history, completing a ridiculous four-point play to win Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers.
This team would be a lot of fun on the digital hardwood, with two quality scorers in Allan Houston and Latrell Sprewell, players like Larry Johnson and Marcus Camby, and an aging star in Patrick Ewing (who was injured early in their playoff run).
Was your favorite classic team overlooked? Have any other teams not mentioned here that you think deserve to be added? Talk about it in the comments!