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Wayback Wednesday: Creating Retro Teams in NBA Live 10

Wayback Wednesday: Creating Retro Teams in NBA Live 10

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look at some of the retro teams that can be created in NBA Live 10.

I’ve been having a great time with NBA Live 10 in recent weeks. From my gaming sessions with Dee4Three over Parsec and revisiting the game by myself on Xbox 360, to placing veterans in their rookie throwbacks, active players on their current teams, and portraying What If scenarios, I’ve immensely enjoyed playing a game that I wish I’d spent more time with when it was new. Of course, it’s also been something of a bittersweet experience, as I’m left thinking – and I’m sure many long-time NBA Live fans can relate to this – “Why didn’t EA just keep building off this fantastic game?”

Of course, the beauty of retro basketball gaming is that we can give games a second look, and if we enjoy them, make up for skipping them back in the day. Combing through the rosters of NBA Live 10 to put together the aforementioned articles, I’ve noticed how many veterans from earlier in the decade were still active, as well as the number of recently retired players present in the game’s Free Agents Pool. In fact, there are enough of them to create some makeshift retro teams using the Fantasy Teams mode present in NBA Live 10. Here are some examples of retro teams you can make in NBA Live 10 if you feel like going back…way back…

Needless to say, the further back we go, the more difficult it is to put together squads with the full ten players afforded by the Fantasy Teams mode. Even if it’s possible to put together a starting five, the actual starters may be missing, and their replacements may be out of position. Thanks to a handful of players retiring circa 2008, key names from the mid 2000s and earlier are notably absent. You’ll also have to edit jersey numbers for accuracy, and move Free Agents to a team in order to select them in the Fantasy Teams mode. With that being said, it doesn’t take too much work to set up some retro teams in NBA Live 10, and re-create some memorable games and series.

1990s Retro Teams in NBA Live 10

1990s Retro Teams in NBA Live 10

Believe it or not, there are three 1990s retro teams that you can assemble in NBA Live 10! Unsurprisingly, their rosters are the thinnest with several key players missing, but you can find at least five players who played together on those teams to make lineups. The 1998 Philadelphia 76ers are the earliest of the retro teams that can be assembled, and three of their starters are in NBA Live 10: Allen Iverson, Theo Ratliff, and Tim Thomas. Joe Smith, Anthony Parker, and Eric Snow are also available, and two of them can stand in for Aaron McKie and Derrick Coleman in the starting five. Slot Snow in for McKie, and you can almost have their lineup from a March 1998 game.

The 1999 76ers can also be assembled in Fantasy Teams mode. Joe Smith and Tim Thomas are swapped out for Larry Hughes and Nazr Mohammed, though you could include Thomas if you were basing the lineups on opening night. You can set them up with an opponent in the 1999 Los Angeles Lakers, though they aren’t as fun without Eddie Jones (or Glen Rice), Dennis Rodman, and Rick Fox. Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, Tyronn Lue, Robert Horry, and Ruben Patterson are in NBA Live 10, however. Patterson did actually start two games for the 1999 Lakers, though it was Rodman starting at the other forward rather than Horry. Still, it’s pretty close!

Obviously, up to 50 players can be created in NBA Live 10, so it would be feasible to flesh out these retro teams with missing players, or create other squads such as the 1998 Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz. However, for this feature I’m focusing on retro teams that can be thrown together in Fantasy Teams using players that are already present in NBA Live 10. It’s arguably a more fun exercise, and undoubtedly a less time consuming one. With that being said, if you really wanted to re-create some scenarios and matchups from the 1990s – even the latter years of the decade – you would have to put in some additional work by creating the missing historical players.

Early 2000s Retro Teams in NBA Live 10

Early 2000s Retro Teams in NBA Live 10

There are a number of retro teams from the early 2000s that are viable in NBA Live 10, though as with the teams from the 90s, they’re more likely to be missing a few key players. One noteworthy exception is the 2000 Orlando Magic, which has ten players available in NBA Live 10’s roster! The champion Lakers can be assembled using six players, with rookie Devean George replacing Ruben Patterson. Philadelphia once again can be represented, though it’s a makeshift lineup with two centres and three guards. The Lakers and 76ers can also re-create the 2001 NBA Finals with LA adding Mark Madsen, though the 2001 76ers are running with an unrealistic small ball five.

NBA Live 10 includes enough players to replicate the 2002 Finals with the Lakers and Nets, though New Jersey is missing Kerry Kittles just as the Lakers are without Rick Fox. Dallas Mavericks teams from 2000-2003 are viable as Raef LaFrentz is in the Free Agents in NBA Live 10, and if you feel like throwing a What if into the mix, you can add Michael Redd to the 2003 squad. Speaking of What Ifs, you can team Tim Duncan up with Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill in Orlando. Otherwise, those early 2000s Magic teams can still be created. The 76ers and Lakers retro teams can also run through 2003 using players that are available in NBA Live 10 by default.

A team I’d recommend playing with is the 2002 Los Angeles Clippers. Eight of their players are available in NBA Live 10, and they’re a short-lived squad that didn’t find success in real life, but are built for video games. Playable starting fives are possible for the 2000 Denver Nuggets, and 2001 Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers; far from juggernauts, but squads with respectable talent who were near the beginning of their careers. The 2001 Bucks can’t field a proper starting five, but you can create a lineup featuring both Ray Allen and Michael Redd, and take on the 2001 76ers. I’ll also mention the 2000 and 2003 Minnesota Timberwolves, who can both field teams.

Mid 2000s Retro Teams in NBA Live 10

Mid 2000s Retro Teams in NBA Live 10

This is where it starts to get interesting, as there are enough players from the mid 2000s in NBA Live 10 to create some retro teams that run at least seven or eight deep. Unfortunately that doesn’t include the 2004 Lakers as Karl Malone and Gary Payton aren’t in the game, but the champion Detroit Pistons can field a squad of nine, which includes their actual starting lineup. They can take on the 2004 Nets, though again, they’re missing Kerry Kittles among others. It’s possible to create the 2004 Mavericks sans Antoine Walker, and the underdog 2004 Heat led by rookie Dwyane Wade. Eight players from the 2004 Celtics are in the game, facilitating some fun retro matchups.

If you’re looking for a classic game to re-create, why not try Tracy McGrady’s “13 in 35” outburst against the Spurs? The Spurs’ Finals opponents – the Pistons – also have more than enough players to be re-created in NBA Live 10, but more on NBA Finals matchups a bit later on. Shaquille O’Neal’s first year in Miami is another option, as is LeBron’s first Playoff series pitting the Cavaliers against the Wizards. Other feasible 2005 teams include the seven-seconds-or-less Phoenix Suns, and the Baby Bulls team that made their first Playoffs appearance since the sixth championship. If you use the Oklahoma City Thunder with SuperSonics retros, there’s also the 2005 Seattle squad.

Moving on to the 2006 season, a familiar assortment of teams can be used to replay the NBA Finals, various Playoffs series, and regular season clashes. In addition to the Heat, Mavericks, Suns, Spurs, Pistons, Cavaliers, Wizards, and Bulls, you can also create the 2006 Nets with the trio of Jason Kidd, Richard Jefferson, and Vince Carter. The 2005 team is also doable, and it’s up to you as to which you find more appealing. To that end, players such as Gary Payton, Antoine Walker, Alonzo Mourning, Nick Van Exel, Anthony Peeler, Steve Smith, Christian Laettner, and Tony Delk are all conspicuous by their absence, but the 2005 and 2006 teams are still reasonably deep.

Late 2000s Retro Teams in NBA Live 10

Late 2000s Retro Teams in NBA Live 2000

Once you hit the late 2000s, it’s much easier to assemble retro teams in NBA Live 10 without major omissions, though to that point, one could argue that it’s less accurate to call them “retro”. Nevertheless, these retro teams do predate the 2010 season as portrayed by NBA Live 10, and there are some interesting choices from 2007 to 2009 that are more fun to play with here than in their original games. We can begin with the “We Believe” Warriors, the Mavericks team they upset, and the Jazz team that they ultimately fell to. Washington and Cleveland can return for Round 3 as they did in 2007, and the Pistons are there to square off against both the Bulls and Cavaliers.

The champion Spurs are another obvious choice from 2007, as are the Lakers and Suns who met in the first round. A more obscure matchup would be the Thunder-as-the-Sonics against the Timberwolves, pitting future teammates Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett against one another. Thanks to the inclusion of the red OKC jerseys, the Valentine’s Day 2007 game between the Hornets and Kings is playable. The 2007 Nets are one of most complete squads featuring the Carter-Kidd-Jefferson trio, and they can take on the Knicks with Stephon Marbury and Steve Francis. Going back to the Sonics, their final squad can be re-created and used against the 2008 Hornets.

Other 2008 retro teams to re-create in NBA Live 10 include the NBA Finals matchup of the Lakers and Celtics, which seems only appropriate given the original forerunner to the NBA Live series. The 2008 Rockets and Nuggets are two retro teams that 2K has included in recent years, and they’re fun to play with in NBA Live 10 as well. One of the greatest first round series in Playoffs history featured the Celtics and the Bulls in 2009, and being less than a year removed from that season, you can easily assemble them in NBA Live 10. The runner-up Magic and NBA Champion Lakers are two other squads to consider, along with a Suns team that featured Shaquille O’Neal.

NBA Finals Teams in NBA Live 10

2011 NBA Finals in NBA Live 10

I’ve already mentioned several NBA Champions and runners-up that can be re-created using Fantasy Teams in NBA Live 10, some of which can form more complete retro teams than others. As noted, the earliest viable Finals series is the 2001 clash between the Lakers and 76ers, but some prominent players are missing, so it’s more a case of “in name only”. There’s appeal in Shaq vs Mutombo and Kobe vs AI, but it does feel somewhat phony when you need to use Kevin Ollie to make the numbers. The 2002 Finals are more evenly matched, but once again, the absence of starters on both sides is noticeable if you’re familiar with those teams. It can be fun, but it’s a bit lacking.

However, beginning with the 2005 retro teams that you can create in NBA Live 10, you can play some reasonably deep representations of the NBA Finals. In fact, the only Finals team that doesn’t have a complete starting five is the 2006 Miami Heat, due to the absence of Antoine Walker. Walker started for the Heat in the Playoffs after backing up James Posey during the regular season, though that does make Posey a realistic substitute for the purposes of re-creating the team in NBA Live 10. Apart from that, there are at least ten players available for every NBA Finalist from 2005 through to 2009, providing ample depth for a fun exercise such as this one.

Incidentally, assembling Finals matchups doesn’t end with the retro teams we can create using Fantasy Teams in NBA Live 10. The game naturally includes all of the major players from the 2010 rematch between the Lakers and Celtics, allowing the potential Finals matchups to run from 2005 through to the turn of the decade. That’s not all, though. The 2011 and 2012 NBA Finals are also playable, with complete starting lineups and more bench players than are needed in Fantasy Teams mode. Now, those teams are in the future from the perspective of NBA Live 10, but if we revisit the game today, we could ironically consider them to be retro teams.

Setting Up & Final Thoughts

Setting Up Retro Teams in NBA Live 10 (Fantasy Teams)

I’m on a major retro kick with NBA Live 10 at the moment, so I’ll admit that this idea probably isn’t for everyone. If you’re a retro gamer who would love to give it a try, then as I’ve already suggested, Fantasy Teams is the easiest way of doing so. You only need to fill a 10-man lineup, with no need to constantly move players. The other advantage of using Fantasy Teams is that as long as you place any free agents on an NBA roster, they’re available for any of these scenarios with minimal editing; usually just jersey numbers for accuracy, though you can adjust ratings if you’re really keen. I prefer the flexibility of a universal roster where I can just edit numbers as necessary.

The atmosphere settings in NBA Live 10 should absolutely be taken advantage of when playing with these retro teams (or the future NBA Finalists, for that matter). Unfortunately, there won’t always be accuracy with the jerseys, courts, and logos, but I’d suggest that the gameplay experience will make up for that; it’s just for fun, after all. As for the teams that don’t have at least ten players, fill the bench with random low-rated ones, and just ignore them. Alternatively, you could create ten generic placeholders similar to the ones used in NBA 2K, and select however many you need to make the numbers. Again, it’s for your own enjoyment, not an accurate roster mod.

Having already played a handful of games with Dee4Three using these retro teams, I can attest to it being a fun exercise. Still, it’s difficult to not be wistful when it comes to NBA Live 10. If only the All-Decade teams and Legends Pool were still included in NBA Live on seventh gen; we could’ve created some really deep retro teams in NBA Live 10 and other releases. If only there were PC versions of NBA Live 09 and NBA Live 10; our modding community would’ve been able to do even more with the game! And then, there’s the attempted reboot with NBA Elite 11. On the bright side, we do have some fun things that we can try out whenever we dust off NBA Live 10.

Retro Fantasy Teams Games in NBA Live 10

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cavs4872
cavs4872
July 3, 2021 9:21 pm

I recreated the 2007 Nets and Cavs myself and will occasionally play Nets @- Cavs with the amazing Live 10 Playoff atmosphere. This was the series before I started getting into the NBA so I’m pissed I kinda missed a (seldom-talked about) VC/LBJ duel.

I believe I also did this same thing for the 2009 Bulls and Celtics for a little Ben Gordon fun.

Last edited 10 months ago by cavs4872