NBA 2K understands and respects the history of the game of basketball. Despite the fact that much of the 2K community is too young to be aware of the classic teams, 2K Sports continues to lace the series with traces of the legends from the past.
Perhaps the best part of the inclusion of the legendary teams and players is that both can be used in just about any mode in the game. That includes MyLEAGUE and MyGM.
This year, there will be 12 new classic teams added to the holdover stock from NBA 2K15. We've learned about 10 of them, and the last two will be revealed on Thursday. The official NBA 2K Twitter account announced the latest additions to the classic teams roster:
NBA 2K 2K17 @NBA2K
Two new teams playable in #NBA2K16 are the '04-'05 Suns & '05-'06 Heat! Who is excited to use yet more classic teams? http://t.co/abk7Kcv9mo2015-9-3 19:00:22
Here are all of the teams that have been confirmed:
2004-05 Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns won 62 games and reached the Western Conference Finals after winning the Pacific Division title this season.
When it comes to offensive teams, you'll have a hard time finding a squad on par with this one. Steve Nash led the league in assists, Amare Stoudemire was fifth in the league in scoring—and he shot over 50 percent from the field.
Shawn Marion was the only player in the NBA to average at least 19 points, 11 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and two steals. Quentin Richardson led the league in three-pointers made, while Joe Johnson averaged 17.1 points per game and knocked down 47 percent of his threes.
This is easily one of the most talented teams that didn't win an NBA championship.
2005-06 Miami Heat
Remember the show Dwyane Wade put on in the 2006 NBA Finals? The Dallas Mavericks sure do.
He won the NBA Finals MVP after averaging 34.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game in a Jordan-esque performance. Truth be told, Wade's supporting cast wasn't all that great.
An over-the-hill Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Mourning and Gary Payton gave the team some solid name recognition, but in reality, this was Wade's year to prove he was an all-time great.
2012-13 Miami Heat
You've got young Wade, now you need older Wade to balance it out. There's also the dread-less Chris Bosh and a dude from Akron, Ohio, who is pretty good at hoops named LeBron James.
The Big Three that made most of the country hate them is here and in full effect. My only question about the inclusion of this team is: Just how much different will James, Wade and Bosh be when compared to the current versions of themselves in the game.
2003-04 Detroit Pistons
You don't see many surprises in the NBA Finals. The 2003-04 Detroit Pistons pulled off one of the few shockers as they defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in what some called a "five-game sweep."
The team that featured Chauncey Billups, Tayshaun Prince, Richard Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace and Ben Wallace used head coach Larry Brown's defense-first approach to smother the more star-studded Lakers team.
L.A. had a feuding Kobe Bryant and O'Neal, but also old and decrepit versions of Karl Malone and Payton. I especially remember this team because I bet a guy from Detroit that the Lakers would win in five. Welp, that didn't work out so well for me.
2007-08 Houston Rockets
One of the most consistently created players in NBA 2K over the last five years has been Tracy McGrady. If you simply do a YouTube search on "how to create Tracy McGrady in NBA 2K," you'll see what I mean.
Close on that list is Yao Ming. Thankfully, both men will be included with the 2007-08 Houston Rockets team.
How in the world this team failed to even win a playoff series is a mystery. McGrady was acquired in a midseason trade that sent Steve Francis to the Orlando Magic. Both he and Yao averaged over 20 points per game, but there was little else on this team of note.
Still, having McGrady and Yao makes it worth the addition.
1999-00 Toronto Raptors
Vince Carter is obviously still active, but the bearded version that plays now isn't Vinsanity. The 1999-2000 version included with this Toronto Raptors team is the guy who seemed to be featured on ESPN's SportsCenter on a nightly basis.
While this Raptors team inclusion is all about Carter, there was also a 20-year-old T-Mac as well as Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues, Antonio Davis and Charles Oakley.
2007-08 Boston Celtics
"Anything is possible!" Kevin Garnett famously screamed this phrase during his emotional postgame interview after the Boston Celtics defeated the Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals.
This Boston Celtics team was a Big Three even before the Heat, but somehow, they didn't get the same backlash that James, Wade and Bosh received.
KG, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and a very young Rajon Rondo make this team a very intriguing addition.
2000-01 Los Angeles Lakers
For a minute, it looked as if this list was going to be comprised of teams that beat L.A. In 2000-01, the Kobe and Shaq Show looked almost unbeatable. The Dynamic Duo was coexisting and blasting through the postseason.
The Lakers lost just one postseason game en route to the NBA championship. Bryant (28.5) and Shaq (28.7) averaged a combined 57.2 points per game. If there was ever a two-man team, this was it.
2002-03 Dallas Mavericks
I love the inclusion of young versions of today's aging stars. This Dallas Mavericks team is led by a 24-year-old Dirk Nowitzki but also has a 28-year-old Nash, Michael Finley, Nick Van Exel and, wait for it...Shawn Bradley.
Nowitzki averaged 25.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and he shot 38 percent from three-point range. As a team, the Mavs made 38 percent from downtown. This should be another fun offensive team to play with.
1999-2000 Portland Trail Blazers
The 1999-2000 season is well-represented. The Portland Trail Blazers lost in seven games to the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, but the Blazers had a whip.
Take a gander at the long list of talent on this team: Rasheed Wallace, Scottie Pippen, Damon Stoudamire, Arvydas Sabonis, Detlef Schrempf, Steve Smith, Jermaine O'Neal and Brian Grant. How did they not go to the Finals again?
Oh yeah, Shaq and Kobe.
Who Should the Final Two Teams Be?
The easy answer to this question is: the 1992-93 Phoenix Suns and the 1999-2000 Indiana Pacers. We know there's an issue with Charles Barkley giving permission to use his likeness in NBA 2K games. Thus there would be no real benefit in including the Suns team that fell to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in six games in the 1993 NBA Finals.
The issue with Reggie Miller is a little less clear. Though his exclusion from NBA 2K games would seemingly have to have a similar hang-up.
If we can't have those two teams, and we're apparently locked into squads from the last 15 years, here's the two that make the most sense:
2002-03 New Jersey Nets
While the New Jersey Nets didn't win an NBA championship, this Jason Kidd, Kerry Kittles, Richard Jefferson and Kenyon Martin-led squad went to back-to-back NBA Finals.
With Kidd as the maestro, this motion offense proved to make the Nets the best team in the Eastern Conference. Kidd is one of the few surefire Hall of Famers from the last 20 years that isn't in the game. That should change.
2003-04 Minnesota Timberwolves
This was one of the few elite Minnesota Timberwolves squads in history. It's also a great team to include that features a prime Garnett, the polarizing Latrell Sprewell and a veteran Sam Cassell. The T'Wolves made it to the Western Conference Finals before falling to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Garnett was phenomenal. He averaged 24 points, 13.9 rebounds, five assists and 2.2 blocked shots per game. You'll be hard-pressed to find a player with a better single season than the one KG had in 2003-04.
All stats per Basketball-Reference.com.
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