Ever since its introduction in NBA 2K18, All-Time teams have been some of the most fun teams to use in Play Now, whether online or offline. NBA 2K21 brought that feature to next-gen consoles, with slight updates to the bottom of their rosters.
Of course, not all teams are created equal. With some teams being newer and, frankly, more successful than others, that will reflect in the quality of the All-Time iteration. Here is a look at the strongest of the bunch, taking into account overall rating, players, and Play Now Online tier.
10 Milwaukee Bucks
As of the creation of the list, they are the highest overall among the Tier 2 All-Time teams. That makes sense, considering who they have on their roster. They have one 99 overall player, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who along with Oscar Robertson led them to their only championship season in 1971. They also have an arguable current top 3 forward in the league, Giannis Antetokounmpo, who in 2K is incredibly OP with his balance of athleticism, size, and ball-handling attributes.
Where this team suffers slightly is depth. The lowest rated players are 85 overall, which is not bad for an All-Time team, but their skillsets are somewhat redundant, most of them being scorers and sharpshooters. Not having another legit center to backup Abdul-Jabbar also hurts quite a bit.
9 Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavs have a Tier 1 All-Time team just by virtue of having LeBron James on it. You could read that literally, considering they have only two other 90+ overall players. Granted, both of them can lead the offense if LeBron needs to rest on the bench. Kyrie Irving is a dangerous offensive player with his ball-handling and scoring skills, while Mark Price is a knock-down shooter and underrated playmaker.
The rest of the team is mostly made up of specialists, at least from an All-Time roster perspective. That isn’t too bad, as players can just give LeBron the ball and find ways to let the others play around him.
8 Oklahoma City Thunder
This All-Time team takes players from this franchise’s time as both the Seattle SuperSonics and OKC Thunder, which makes for quite a star-studded roster.
Atop that roster is the 2010s super duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who bring two different scoring dynamics. Durant can light you up from anywhere, while Westbrook can drive to the rim with ease. Alongside them are their duo of the 1990s, Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, who mainly specialize defensively but can provide offensively in certain roles. Playing off those two duos is Ray Allen, who played with the Sonics through his prime and made his money from the three-point line. Accompanying that deadly starting five are other high-overall players that can lead the offense themselves such as Paul George, Dennis Johnson, and Jack Sikma.
7 Miami Heat
Another LeBron James led team, but this one has a much better supporting cast. Chief among them is his Heatles right hand man, Dwyane Wade, who is now in his prime overall at 97. Around them in the starting lineup are other Heat legends, Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway, and Shaquille O’Neal.
The bench, while not stacked with overall talent, is quite diverse in terms of skillsets and represent the franchise’s different eras of success. Amongst scorers like Goran Dragic and Eddie Jones, snipers like Glen Rice and Steve Smith, and paint players like Rony Seikaly and Bam Adebayo, the main ones that likely stand out would be LeBron’s third running mate, big man Chris Bosh, and the Heat’s current franchise player, small forward Jimmy Butler.
6 Philadelphia 76ers
It’s hard to pick between the 76ers’ greatest franchise player. Julius “Dr. J” Erving changed the game with his style of play. Allen Iverson changed the game with his attitude on and off the court. Wilt Chamberlain and Moses Malone simply dominated. Regardless, they all shine on their All-Time team, and actually fit quite well with each other in the starting lineup, rounded out by combo forward Billy Cunningham.
Off the bench, there’s a great mix of players at every position, ranging from older legends like Hal Greer, Bobby Jones, and George McGinnis, to newer gems like Andre Iguodala, Joel Embiid, and Ben Simmons. All the players have very unique skillsets, so predicting how the team will attack will be quite a job to do. Now, if only this team had Charles Barkley.
5 Chicago Bulls
Two words: Michael Jordan. Of course, there’s more to it than that, but having arguably the greatest player of all time certainly helps, especially when NBA 2K21 does him justice with a 99 overall. The starting lineup is great from top to bottom, with Jordan’s sidekicks Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman occupying the forward spots, youngest-ever MVP Derrick Rose at point guard, and underrated 93 overall Artis Gilmore at center.
Admittedly, the bench isn’t as explosive as the starting five, but there are several specialists that can fit alongside Jordan, Rose, or Pippen and support them perfectly. Whether it’s scorers like BJ Armstrong, Toni Kukoc, or Bob Love, or defensive players like Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler, or Charles Oakley, there are infinite options for lineups suited to different kinds of playing styles.
4 Houston Rockets
The amount of offensive firepower this team has is insane. The starting five alone has offensive skills all across the boards in different facets. Harden, Drexler, and T-Mac are excellent shooters and slashers, and Olajuwon and Malone can dominate the inside. The bench has a ton of both types too.
Defensively, the team can also hold up. Chris Paul is one of the best defensive point guards ever, and while not known for it, McGrady and Drexler are no slouches on that end either. It helps that all-time career shot blocking leader Olajuwon has giants like Yao and Sampson backing him up, so even if there are some blind spots on the perimeter, opponents always have a skyscraper waiting for them inside.
3 Golden State Warriors
When you’ve had some of the most dominant players ever and one of the biggest dynasties ever, that’s most certainly going to show on your All-Time team. The Warriors’ two greatest stars, Wilt Chamberlain and Stephen Curry, had some of the most insane NBA seasons in history, and that reflects in how overpowered they are in 2K, with Wilt being unstoppable inside, and Curry being automatic from three-point range, even off the dribble.
Alongside them, there’s even more talent, from 1975 Finals MVP Rick Barry, to all three of Run T.M.C. in Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, and Chris Mullin, to the We Believe catalysts Baron Davis and Jason Richardson, to the other members of the 2010s “death lineup”: Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Andre Iguodala. No description can do justice to how powerful this team is.
2 Boston Celtics
No team has been as consistently great for as long as the Celtics have, so it’s only natural that their 2K21 All-Time team has quite a few legends. They have sufficient defensive presence, via being led by the winningest athlete in NBA history and arguably any sport, Bill Russell, alone. Offensively, the C’s can attack from anywhere, with Larry Bird, Bob Cousy, and John Havlicek being both potent scorers and playmakers, and Kevin McHale and Dave Cowens being inside threats.
Despite the franchise’s long history, its newer players get some shine on the All-Time team as well. The main faces of one of the modern NBA’s greatest super teams, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen, all play huge roles on this team, as does the facilitator of that group, Rajon Rondo.
1 Los Angeles Lakers
The clear-cut best of all the All-Time teams, the Lakers are so stacked that they could have LeBron James, who is currently a Laker and still going strong, come off the bench. That’s because their starting five consists of players that spent their primes in Los Angeles and dominated. In the frontcourt, they have two of the greatest big men of all time: Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who spent their best years and won MVP trophies in LA. Out on the perimeter, they have three guards that dominated in their own way: Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, and Jerry West.
One could even build an All-Time team worthy starting five from their bench players: LeBron James, Elgin Baylor, James Worthy, George Mikan, and Wilt Chamberlain. When your franchise’s history is chock-full of all-time greats across every era, your All-Time 2K team being the best is a given.
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