Visual Concepts, the developer of the NBA 2K series, released the rosters for the All-Time teams that will appear in NBA 2K18 when the game drops on Sept. 16. There are a few notable omissions—which are mainly the result of rights issues rather than simply forgetting about legends like Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller and Moses Malone—but the vast majority of the game's all-time greats will appear in the game.
The teams will feature players in their peaks, granting fans opportunities like pairing Michael Jordan with a prime D-Rose, or Magic and Kobe. It's the stuff of dreams for fans.
The debate as to which real team is the best of all–time has been played out ad nauseam, but the release of these rosters ignites a new controversy: Which NBA franchise has the best all-time team?
Here's our ranking of the five best. Reminder: these teams are a collection of players when they were at their best for each team, and the starting lineups are set by 2K.
Starters: Tony Parker, George Gervin, Kawhi Leonard, Tim Duncan, David Robinson
Bench: Manu Ginobili, Sean Elliot, LaMarcus Aldridge, Bruce Bowen, Artis Gilmore
They're not going to kill you with depth, but this starting five is about as good as it gets. The Iceman and Kawhi give you all the perimeter scoring you'd ever need, while Duncan and Robinson would prevent any opponent from going small. One of Parker's best attributes is staying within the offense and getting his stars involved; he's just about the perfect point guard to run this hypothetical team. Plus, whenever you need a stop, sub Bowen in for Gervin and you suddenly have two of the best perimeter defenders in history ready to clamp down.
Starters: Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Chris Mullin, Rick Barry, Wilt Chamberlain
Bench: Kevin Durant, Nate Thurmond, Tim Hardaway, Baron Davis, Draymond Green
If I'm coaching this team, I'm subbing Durant in for Mullin at the first stoppage. Fitting Wilt Chamberlain in with that pace-and-space group would be a challenge at first, but the ceiling of a Curry-Thompson-Durant-Barry-Chamberlain group is hard to fathom. How would one go about stopping them? Mullin was a more-than-competent three-point shooter, making him an ideal backup for Thompson, and Draymond's versatility, defense and passion make any team—no matter how star-studded—that much better. Even with such an absurd roster, you have to think Green would have a big role in this team. That's a testament to the player and leader that he is.
Starters: Derrick Rose, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Artis Gilmore
Bench: Jimmy Butler, Jerry Sloan, Bob Love, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng
It's a bit startling to see Rose on this list, but he was one of the best players in the NBA in his really short but really sweet prime. This starting five is going to be really difficult to score on—Jordan, Pippen and Rodman combine for 24 first-team All-Defense selections —but I fear teams could key in on Michael and dare the others to score. This all-time Bulls squad also isn't all that deep. So why are they ranked so highly? It's simple—they are tremendously athletic, and they have a certain Michael Jeffrey Jordan. Watching the greatest push the tempo with such a rangy, versatile lineup will be a ton of fun.
Starters: Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Paul Pierce, Larry Bird, Bill Russell
Bench: Kevin McHale, Dave Cowens, Robert Parrish, Sam Jones, Kevin Garnett, Isaiah Thomas, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen
The first thing that jumps out is the mouth-watering combination of Larry Bird and Bill Russell, two of the 10 best players of all time and two of the fiercest competitors the game has ever seen. If that doesn't get you excited enough, this squad's astonishing depth should do the trick. It would be tempting not to run a Calipari-style platoon system and just sub anyone out when he is even a little bit winded. This team really has everything—scoring, vision, shooting, defense, rebounding, clutch-ness. It would take an unbelievably special team to top these guys, but I think the next group might just qualify as such.
Starters: Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O'Neal
Bench: Elgin Baylor, James Worthy, George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Pau Gasol, Gail Goodrich, Jamaal Wilkes
Magic. The Logo. Kobe. Kareem. Shaq. It's difficult to imagine a team this talented and accomplished taking the floor together, but that's what video games are for: making the impossible, possible. The starting lineup alone won a combined 11 MVPs in a Laker uniform, and the bench is filled with Hall of Famers (literally- every single one is in or a lock to get in). The only concern here is spacing, as Kareem and Shaq both loved to set up shop down low, and how to spread the ball enough to keep everyone happy. Luckily for us, players don't really get mad about not getting the ball in a video game. Who else is up for a best-of-seven between the all-time Lakers and all-time Celtics?