NBA 2K14: Non-Playoff Teams from Last Year That Will Be Fun to Control
Now that NBA2K14 has hit stores, many gamers will spend Tuesday having a release party, taking control of their favorite teams and likely beginning their quests for a virtual reality Larry O'Brien Trophy.
There's something to be said for taking over lesser squads that didn't even sniff the playoffs last season, though.
Almost everyone loves an underdog. Maybe that's cliche, but there is a sense of swelling pride in taking a losing organization from the depths of NBA failure to the championship summit—even through the escapist vessel of a video game.
Some putrid teams are more obvious than others as exciting candidates to take control of, but here are some franchises that may not come to mind right away.
Note: Roster information courtesy of NBA.com.
New Orleans Pelicans
New Orleans doesn't have the "sexiest" roster. That's not a lowbrow potshot at Anthony Davis' unibrow—more like a commentary on the amalgamation of talent assembled.
Davis is a former No. 1 overall pick with an intriguing skill set: A guard trapped in a 6'10" body with amazing range, shot-blocking ability and upside on the offensive end of the court.
He wasn't an instant franchise-changer last season, though, but some of that may have been due to a lackluster supporting cast and missing his 18 games.
The rest of the frontcourt consists of players like Jason Smith, Greg Stiemsma and rookie Jeff Withey. All are scrappy, hustle-oriented bigs who should make an impact, if not on the stat sheet.
Ryan Anderson stretches the floor at the 4 position, but it will be interesting to see how the Tyreke Evans experiment works. Evans can play any perimeter position, though he hasn't settled into any of the three.
The perimeter is crowded with talent in Eric Gordon, Davis' fellow 2012 first-round pick Austin Rivers, sharpshooter Anthony Morrow and new, underrated point guard Jrue Holiday.
It's going to be difficult for head coach Monty Williams to work out how to divide minutes between all these players, many of whom can play multiple positions. However, there's plenty of depth and talent at NBA2K14 gamers' hands to make it an exciting team to tinker with.
As Marc Stein of ESPN.com points out in his initial power rankings, Nikola Pekovic, Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio only saw 13 minutes of total time on the court together in 2012-13.
That number is going to increase exponentially, and it should help the Timberwolves improve this season in a big way.
It's official, Ricky, Kevin & Pek have been on the court together longer today than all of last season (15 mins). pic.twitter.com/f6jivXrVgp— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) October 1, 2013
Which team will have the best season in 2013-14?
Rubio is one of the most gifted passers in the game, with unique court vision and the benefit of feeding two big men in Pekovic and Love with wonderful skills. Love has the range to stretch to the three-point line, and is a brilliant passer in his own right.
The addition of volume shooter Kevin Martin gives Minnesota a big boost on perimeter offense, where it ranked dead-last in the Association with a 30.5 three-point shooting percentage a year ago.
Versatile swing man Corey Brewer also joins the fold, and 2011 No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams still has a ton of upside, as does rookie first-rounder Shabazz Muhammad out of UCLA.
Thus, there are plenty of reasons an expert like Stein has the Timberwolves rated at 13th in the league at the moment.
If No. 3 overall pick Otto Porter Jr. comes anywhere near fulfilling his promise as a rookie, Washington could be in for a huge, immediate turnaround.
Assuming the top-flight young backcourt of John Wall and shooting guard Bradley Beal can stay healthy, Porter should serve as a stellar complementary piece on the perimeter.
Those three alone will be reason enough for gamers to want the Wizards as a team not only for the upcoming season, but in long-term franchise modes encompassing multiple campaigns.
All three have huge development potential, and thanks to the Dynamic Living Rosters feature, the trio should experience ratings boosts throughout the season.
The depth with regard to perimeter players is great, with backup PG Eric Maynor, Martell Webster, Trevor Ariza and even rookie Glen Rice Jr.
Nene is a skilled player and can pass from the post, while frontcourt teammate Emeka Okafor can put in easy baskets as the beneficiary of his high-octane supporting cast.
Pushing the tempo and letting the young guns on the Wizards thrive in transition should be among the most entertaining NBA subplots for NBA2K14 owners to see for themselves.
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