It’s a good time to be a Warriors fan these days, even in the video game world. Every year, 2K Sports' franchise rolls out some new features for their annual update of their NBA 2K video game. One aspect of the upcoming game for the 2017-18 NBA season that may interest everyone is that the current iteration of the franchise will offer us a look at what they came up with for an all-time Warriors squad.
Now, I asked in the moderator chat, and I don’t think we’ve ever properly done an “All-time greats Warriors squad” article yet on GSOM - so this offseason seemed like as good of a time as any.
I know this isn’t the end-all list or anything, but I think 2K Sports did a pretty good job. It’s obviously oversimplified to reduce an entire NBA player’s worth to one number, but the "overall" ranking from these video games do a very reasonable job - although of course people will quibble.
Remember, this is an entertainment franchise, so don’t expect a balanced roster tailored to win games - though for the Warriors, as happenstance would have it, would also result in a bunch of winning:
Warriors All-Time team in @NBA2K. pic.twitter.com/3Dxi7q9maB— Jordan Ramirez (@JRAM_91) August 24, 2017
So, there are a few surprises here. Kevin Durant off the bench? Monta Ellis made the team?
I think my biggest issue with the starting lineup is that they left Kevin Durant off of the starting lineup. I’m not sure what they were thinking because this also results in the lack of a traditional Power Forward.
The 2K lineup is actually something of a nod to classic Nellie ball. With both Chris Mullin and Rick Barry running around on the perimeter with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, you’ve got more playmaking and shooting than you’d need - albeit undersized at the wings.
Wilt Chamberlain for sure makes the cut, but I’d actually go with a more Steve Kerr-approved model and opt for some additional size on the wing. Moving Durant in for either Mullin or Barry would make a ton of sense to me.
Any roster changes?
We aren’t talking about a legitimate all-time Warriors roster, but one that gets pretty close while giving some fan service. To that end, the back end of the 2K roster is stacked with exciting, if somewhat limited, wings. The other change I’m making is also at the wing — someone like Andre Iguodala over Jason RIchardson. Of course, this gets back to the fan service. I’m probably fairly unique in wanting the stalwart yet vanilla game of Iguodala over the flash of Richardson.
Now, if you’ll remember, Sleepy
Freud Floyd actually started over Mullin in the playoffs in the late ‘80’s and more than held his own.
Just classic Warriors basketball right there (Warriors lost in five).
From a pure basketball perspective I’m putting Andre Iguodala in for Latrell Sprewell. I don’t know how popular either of these moves would be with the fan base, but I really think the squad needs a better wing defender; and it just feels wrong to leave an NBA Finals MVP off of the all-time Warriors team.
Other than that, I’m really thinking that Chris Webber belongs on this squad somewhere. The Sacramento Kings probably get to lay claim to him of course, but he would easily bump Sprewell off of the all-time list if we thought of him as eligible. I don’t know the rules though, would I take rookie Webber over career Sprewell? Probably. But I bet Webber is associated with the Kings in the video game world, as is right.
My Radical Lineup Change
I’ve already established that we need to change the starting lineup, so my squad would look significantly different from the 2K lineup.
For one, I’m sitting both Mullin and Barry (sorry, not sorry). In their place, I’d propose running out Durant and Thurmond.
What this gives us is the best backcourt of all time (Curry and Thompson), paired creating an extremely lethal frontcourt combo of Durant and Chamberlain, and absurd length when you finish out the frontcourt with Thurmond.
For the bench I like to run a full five-man hockey line substitution, a la Mark Jackson. So off the bench, I’m running small. This unit would be out there much less than the starters — the equivalent of averaging 10 minutes per game or so. Since we are running small, and I can actually control the players in this video game, my bench has Monta Ellis at the point, and Baron Davis at shooting guard. I’ll bring Barry and Mullin back in at the small and power forward positions, respectively, with Draymond Green at center.
So much offense!
I don’t know how many points this lineup would cough up, but just for the sheer entertainment value, I’d be willing to risk it.
2K18 comes out on September 19th, and I’m pretty excited to get a chance to play as this team so that I can get another ring for our current squad - and smack my way through the online world with the all-time roster!