Source: NBA 2K19
There are two main game modes that allow you to experience the process of playing with and rebuilding certain rosters over the course of many seasons.
MyGM mode allows you to fill the role of an NBA general manager and run the team as you see fit. You can make roster changes and experience interesting situations as you aim to build a championship roster.
MyLeague mode is a game mode that allows you to manage and play as a team. There is a lot of flexibility in this mode to make it exactly as you please. Play for the present or build something up over time. Add teams to the league through an expansion, include multiple real players in your league or even join an online league and manage everything in real time.
Either route allows players to feel the grind of managing and rebuilding a team as if they were involved with a real NBA team. Depending on your approach to the game, here are a number of different teams that might interest you.
NBA 2K19 Best Team: Golden State Warriors
Best Players: Kevin Durant (OVR 97), Stephen Curry (OVR 95)
Current Cap: $144B
Impending Free Agents: Klay Thompson (2019 UFA)
The Warriors will look to defend their crown for a third straight year this season. They are unarguably the best team as they roster a top 10 starting player at each position (some top 3 to 5). While they could lose Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant this next offseason, odds are that they keep both. At the very least, Durant will stick around and Thompson will leave for more money elsewhere. Regardless, it’s the present you are really concerned about with this team. No other team stands a chance at upsetting the starting lineup of Durant, Curry, Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins and Draymond Green.
NBA 2K19 Best Offensive Team: Golden State Warriors
Much of the Warriors success stems from the fact that they are the highest scoring team in the league at 113.5 points per game. With the highest team averages in field goal percentage (50.3%), 3-point percentage (39.1%) and free throw percentage (81.5%), it really isn’t fair.
NBA 2K19 Best Defensive Team: Boston Celtics
Best Players: Kyrie Irving (OVR 93), Gordon Hayward (OVR 88)
Top Prospects: Jayson Tatum (OVR 87)
Current Cap: $125B
Impending Free Agents: Kyrie Irving (2019-2020 Player Option)
Rating a top defensive team can be tough since there are so many teams battling for the top of the ratings under various statistics. That being said, I believe the Celtics and their ability to be at or near the top of the league in opponents points allowed (100.4), opponent field goal percentage (44%) and opponent 3-point percentage (33.9%) are very telling of their overall performance. The Celtics should be the top team in the East this season, but Toronto will look to keep their regular season eastern conference title again this year.
NBA 2K19 Most Exciting Team: Philadelphia 76ers
Best Players: Joel Embiid (OVR 90), Ben Simmons (OVR 79)
Top Prospects: Dario Saric (OVR 79), Markelle Fultz (OVR 76)
Current Cap: $104B
Impending Free Agents: J. J. Redick (1-Yr Deal)
I rated the 76ers as the most exciting team due to talent currently on their roster, their long-term contract situations, youth of their stars and overall play style. They've got several young studs locked in multi-year deals and they are already a top level threat in the Eastern Conference. Add in the fact that they don't have a real point guard in their starting lineup and you've got utter chaos. It's essentially a bunch of stud athletes rolling on the court every night like its pickup ball at the park. Just having fun and dominating. What's not to like?
NBA 2K19 Most Overrated Team: Denver Nuggets
Best Players: Nikola Jokic (OVR 89), Gary Harris (OVR 83)
Top Prospects: Jamal Murray (OVR 81), Michael Porter Jr. (OVR 76)
Current Cap: $107B
Impending Free Agents: Paul Millsap (2019-2020 Team Option)
The Nuggets got plenty of media attention last summer due to their depth and the addition of Paul Millsap. Then they ended up missing the playoffs last season...
Not to say they are trash, but you are looking at a team without a true, bona fide star in a deep Western Conference. This team is simply a bunch of guys with a lot of depth and without a game leader. Sure, you can argue that Jokic is turning that corner soon, but the performance is simply not there yet.
NBA 2K19 Most Underrated Team: Utah Jazz
Best Players: Rudy Gobert (OVR 87), Donovan Mitchell (OVR 87)
Top Prospects: Donovan Mitchell (OVR 87), Grayson Allen (OVR 73)
Current Cap: $99B
Impending Free Agents: Ricky Rubio (2019-2020 UFA)
The same reason I knock on the Nuggets is exactly why I think the Jazz are underrated. Their formula is essentially the same as Denver - go for depth across the board instead of big name stars. The big difference here is that the Jazz know how to win. This squad lost their top player in Gordon Hayward and still matched the previous season's results (a loss in the Western Conference Semifinals against the Warriors). The Jazz were ignored early, and rightfully so, but bounced back with a big winning streak during the second half of the season. As Donovan Mitchell continues to develop, people around the league are going to be forced to #TakeNote.
NBA 2K19 Best Sleeper Team: Washington Wizards
Best Players: John Wall (OVR 89), Bradley Beal (OVR 87)
Top Prospects: Kelly Oubre (OVR 76)
Current Cap: $128B
Impending Free Agents: Dwight Howard (2019-2020 UFA), Markieff Morris (2019-2020 UFA)
The Wizards had a poor year last season with John Wall missing a large chunk of time due to injury. Add in some team drama and you find yourself with an 8th place finish in a weak Eastern Conference. That being said, I do expect them to bounce back to the top half of the Eastern Conference playoff standings this year. They should be entering the season with good health and have made some decent roster changes this offseason. So long as you don't mind playing with Wall, Beal and Porter for the next few years, this might be a team that surprises the league this season.
NBA 2K19 Best All-Time Team: All-Time Greats (the “Michael Jordan” Team)
Best Players: Michael Jordan x4 (x2 OVR 99, x2 OVR 98), Tim Duncan (04-05 Spurs - OVR 98)
Ok, so you can't technically use this roster in MyGM or MyLeague mode... but it's so ridiculous that I had to give it a shout out.
The great thing about 2K is that they allow you to play with some historically great teams and take in all the nostalgia. This all-time greats team is actually just the highest rated players they've rolled out. So they've provided you with every year Michael Jordan was a boss, Tim Duncan for some interior presence, and a bench full of guys like Magic Johnson, LeBron James, and more Michael Jordans.
NBA 2K19 Worst Team: Phoenix Suns
Best Players: Devin Booker (OVR 87), DeAndre Ayton (OVR 79)
Top Prospects: Devin Booker, DeAndre Ayton
Current Cap: $103B
Impending Free Agents: Tyson Chandler (2019-2020 UFA)
Hate to admit this to the readers, but the Phoenix Suns are actually my lifelong favorite team. As embarrassing as the franchise has been over the past handful of years, I still keep cheering and hoping they'll turn the corner. To be honest, I do think this team has the potential to start turning things around in the next few years. Heck, it could be sooner if the rumors of them trading for Damian Lillard come true.
How they are worse than the Sacramento Kings is beyond me. Actually, they may not be the worst team again this year. However, until they walk away with more wins than at least one other team, they hold the title of the worst team in the NBA.
NBA 2K19 Best Team to Rebuild: Dallas Mavericks
Best Players: DeAndre Jordan (OVR 86), Harrison Barnes (OVR 82)
Top Prospects: Luka Doncic (OVR 79), Dennis Smith Jr. (OVR 78)
Current Cap: $101B
Impending Free Agents: DeAndre Jordan (2019-2020 UFA), J.J. Barea (2019-2020 UFA), Harrison Barnes (2019-2020 Player Option), Wesley Matthews (2019-2020 UFA)
When it comes to rebuilding a team in 2K, the most important factors are salary cap flexibility and tradeable player assets. In my humble opinion, draft picks do not carry nearly as much value in the game as they do in real life. Therefore, players with solid ratings and team friendly contracts are much better for rebuilds.
With the Mavs, you've got two young studs in Doncic and Smith Jr. Beyond that, all the veteran players still provide value and are easily traded due to how soon their contracts expire. Any title contender would gladly take on any of the impending free agents this team can offer. You could even package them for a star. Or just take draft picks that the other teams don't value as much and go aggressive after your youth movement.
NBA 2K19 Worst Team to Rebuild: Miami Heat
Best Players: Hassan Whiteside (OVR 85), Goran Dragic (OVR 84)
Top Prospects: Bam Adebayo (OVR 78), Josh Richardson (OVR 78)
Current Cap: $152B
Impending Free Agents: Hassan Whiteside (2019-2020 Player Option)
As discussed above, salary cap flexibility is key when it comes to rebuilding. To be frank, the Heat have little to no flexibility and trade potential is relatively low as well. They have a lot of terrible contracts and are not capable of being competitive, even in a weak Eastern Conference. If you choose to rebuild with this franchise, it'll be tough sledding for the first few years. After that, maybe you can get things going in the right direction. Maybe a good option for any players up for a serious challenge.