Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! This is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to basketball video games, the real NBA or another area of interest to our community, either as a list of five items or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.
As you may have seen in this bulletin, or elsewhere on the Internet, one of the NBA 2K16 tidbits to come out of Gamescom 2015 is the inclusion of 12 new retro teams in this year’s game. To date, we know five of the new historical squads that have been added in NBA 2K16: the 2000 Portland Trail Blazers, 2000 Toronto Raptors, 2001 Los Angeles Lakers, 2003 Dallas Mavericks, and 2008 Boston Celtics. Over the next few Thursdays, we’ll be finding out the remaining seven retro teams that are yet to be announced.
I’m sure that we all have our own ideas about which teams we’d like to see make the cut, but a thought occurred to me today: What are some of the teams that we really don’t need to see join the ranks of historical squads in NBA 2K16? So, just for fun, let’s take a look at five teams from seasons gone by that we’re highly unlikely to see appear in NBA 2K16.
1. 1973 Philadelphia 76ers
For 39 years, the 1973 Philadelphia 76ers held the dubious distinction of owning the worst single season record in NBA history. At 9-73, they were the first team since the Providence Steamrollers way back in the BAA days to win less than ten games in a season. In fact, until the lockout shortened 1999 season, they were the only team in the NBA to finish a season with single digits in the win column, and remain the only NBA team to do so in a full length season. Their twenty game losing streak was a record that stood for 21 years.
That alone is plenty of reason to leave them off the roster of historical squads in NBA 2K16, but for interest’s sake, let’s take a look at their lineup. If you’re an NBA history buff, you may have heard of a few of those names, but the only one that’s close to being widely recognisable is Hall of Famer Hal Greer, who was 36 and at the tail end of his career, playing just 22 minutes per game in 38 contests that season. It’s a team that would be entirely forgettable, if not for their place among the worst records of all-time.
2. 2012 Charlotte Bobcats
For 39 years, the 1973 Philadelphia 76ers held the dubious distinction of owning the worst single season record in NBA history…and then, the 2012 Charlotte Bobcats came along. Granted, the lockout of 2012 played a big role in them finishing with two fewer wins than the 9-73 76ers in ’73, but at 7-59, they do still have the lowest winning percentage of all-time. Perhaps they would’ve won a few more games in a full length season, and rounding up, they would’ve at least tied the 76ers’ record over 82 games. As it stands however, the mark for futility is theirs alone.
The 2012 Bobcats secured their place in NBA history by losing a record 23 consecutive games to close out the season. To add insult to injury, they ended up with the second overall pick in the Draft, which they used to select Michael Kidd-Gilchrist…a decision that’s yet to really pan out. Because this team is so recent and most of the players are still in the league, the 2012 Bobcats could be added to NBA 2K16 quite easily, but why bother? Fortunately for Charlotte, brighter days seem to be on the horizon: they’re the Hornets again, their jerseys and logos are among the best in the NBA, and most importantly, they do have some good young players.
3. 2010 New Jersey Nets
I just want to state for the record that I have nothing against the Nets, be they located in New Jersey or Brooklyn. They’ve never given me a reason to dislike or perpetually cheer against them on principle, so I don’t get any particular enjoyment out of seeing them lose…beyond any loss to the Chicago Bulls of course, in which case I’m more pleased about the Bulls’ win than the Nets’ loss. With that said, when the Nets were losing game after game to open the 2010 season, I kind of wanted to see how long the streak would go. As the above entries demonstrate, it’s not every season that you see long-standing records broken.
The 2010 New Jersey Nets did indeed set a new record for the most consecutive losses to open a season, losing eighteen games before picking up their first victory. The 1999 Los Angeles Clippers, 1989 Miami Heat, and last year’s Philadelphia 76ers are right behind them with 17 consecutive losses beginning on opening night. Riddled by injuries – Brook Lopez was the only Net to appear in all 82 games – and struggling to put the ball in the basket with league low 92.4 ppg on 42.9% shooting, New Jersey finished the year 12-70. Glancing at their roster – Lopez, Devin Harris, Kris Humphries, and Courtney Lee are about the only standouts – it’s not too surprising.
4. 1999 Vancouver Grizzlies
Say what you will, but I still love those old Vancouver Grizzlies jerseys. Sure, I can’t defend them as a brilliant, timeless design, but like a lot of the jerseys from the 90s, they stood out as different and unique. In contrast, a lot of today’s uniforms are technically better designs, but I feel they often don’t stand out enough from one another. And speaking of not standing out from one another, you could say that about the Grizzlies teams that wore those old jerseys, as they were all pretty terrible and forgettable squads.
Well, there is one Vancouver Grizzlies team of particular significance. The lockout shortened 1999 season saw the Grizzlies go 8-42, a .160 winning percentage that to their credit, is currently only tenth worst in league history (and at the time, seventh worst). One of only five teams to finish a BAA or NBA season with less than ten wins, the 1999 Grizzlies featured a roster that included Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Mike Bibby in his rookie season, Bryant “Big Country” Reeves, Tony Massenburg, Pete Chilcutt…OK, the noteworthy names run out pretty fast. And that’s why you’re not likely to see them in NBA 2K16.
5. 2008 Miami Heat
Dwyane Wade. Shaquille O’Neal. Alonzo Mourning. Jason Williams. Shawn Marion. Udonis Haslem. Ricky Davis. Anfernee Hardaway, briefly. The greatness that is Joel Anthony. These are some of the most prominent players to suit up for the Miami Heat during the 2008 season, though not all at once; in Shaq and Marion’s case, they were actually traded for one another. On paper, that’s a fairly solid and somewhat interesting roster, surely as worthy of inclusion as the 2000 Toronto Raptors, who featured Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady, and went 45-37.
In reality however, the 2008 Heat were one of the worst teams of all-time. Injuries didn’t help, as Wade played in just 51 games, while Haslem appeared in 49. Shaq played in 33 games before he was traded, while Marion played in just 16 after he arrived. Only four players appeared in at least 60 games, with only Ricky Davis playing in all 82. As a result, the Miami Heat – just two years removed from a championship in 2006 – went an abysmal 15-67, then used the second overall pick in the Draft on Michael Beasley. Don’t feel too bad for them, though. The Decision was only a couple of years away.
Incidentally, looking back at this past season, the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers may well be teams that 2K could feasibly consider adding to their roster of historical squads in a few years time. On the flipside, last year’s Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks, and Philadelphia 76ers would be on the unlikely list, as all three rank in the top 50 worst records in NBA history. Go 2015!
What are some of the retro teams that you definitely wouldn’t want to see added in NBA 2K16? Which historical squads would you definitely like to see? Let me know in the comments section, and as always, feel free to take the discussion to the NLSC Forum. That’s all for this week, so thanks for checking in, have a great weekend, and please join me again next Friday for another Five.