As you probably already know, 2k18 will feature each NBA franchise’s All-Time teams. The All-Time teams consist of the a franchise’s best players based solely on their tenure with each NBA team.
While there is some debate about who boasts the strongest All-Time team, the consensus is that it is either the Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, or Boston Celtics. They are the winningest franchises in NBA history, so it would make some sense that they have the best All-Time teams. Can you really imagine a world where Kobe and Shaq are not the best players on a Lakers team because Magic Johnson was actually running the show? Or how about a scene where Scottie Pippen outlets a pass to MVP D-Rose, who blows by everyone on his way to setting up MJ for the alley-oop? Or maybe the efficient, dynamic offense that Larry Bird, Bill Russell, and prime Paul Pierce would create on the Celtics? Those are some scary scenarios. It’s fairly easy to see why these teams are the front-runners for the best of the best All-Time teams.
However, it is not as if these three teams have no competition in this hypothetical arena. One franchise in particular really stands out to me as a team that could challenge the All-Time Lakers, Celtics, and Bulls.
That team, folks, is the the All-Time Houston Rockets.
Why the All-Time Houston Rockets Could Compete With the All-Time Lakers, Celtics, and Bulls:
Obviously, the odds are stacked against the Rockets. Each the Lakers, Celtics, and Bulls aren’t dubbed the best for no reason; the best players from these franchises, plucked from across time and placed all on one team, really would be incredible. I just think that if you had to choose one other team to match up with them, Houston is a strong choice.
And call me crazy, but I actually think they wouldn’t match up half bad.
Or at least better than the rest of the league.
First, here is who 2k decided would be on the All-Time Houston Rockets:
- PG: James Harden
- SG: Tracy McGrady
- SF: Clyde Drexler
- PF: Hakeem Olajuwon
- C: Yao Ming
- Calvin Murphy, Ralph Sampson, Steve Francis, Elvin Hayes, Kenny Smith, Otis Thorpe, Cuttino Mobley, Vernon Well, Patrick Beverly, Robert Horry
Now for why this team would at least stand a chance against the others:
Rockets vs Bulls: Rockets Big’s Dominate Paint, Boards in Shootout
Chicago is headlined by none other than Michael Jordan, whose resume speaks for itself. Considered by many to be the greatest scorer ever, Jordan was nigh unstoppable. That exact same statement is why the Rockets having no premier defenders doesn’t necessarily kill their chances. MJ is going to get his 30 a night, you only hope to limit it to that. I suppose you throw T-Mac and Clyde “The Glyde” Drexler at him, both who would be “maybe” athletic enough to limit MJ to 30-something, and maybe even pester MJ with someone like Patrick Beverly. The GOAT is going to get his, so you the Rockets would just rely on other factors to win.
On the flip side, the Rockets offense is definitely not one to be disrespected. James Harden has established himself as an elite scorer and play maker after averaging 29 points and 11 assists a game last season. Prime D-Rose may be a more explosive athlete, but defensively he probably still can’t lock down James Harden when he is at his best. I’d say the Bulls have MJ guard Harden, making Pippen have to move up to guard the dynamic Tracy McGrady. The duo are extremely good defenders, so this will be alright for the Bulls, but Rose can definitely be exposed defensively.
The Bulls will have much, much bigger problems down in the paint (literally). Houston undoubtedly has the edge when you look at each team’s big men. At 7′ 6″, Yao Ming would tower over Dennis Rodman and Artis Gilmore. Rodman and Gilmore are both great defensively, but Gilmore will have to guard Yao to counter his height. If not, Rodman will be utterly useless defensively and rebounding since he will be almost a foot shorter than Yao. Off the bench, 7’4″ HOFer Ralph Sampson will also cause problems for the Bulls.
That puts Rodman on none other than arguably the most offensively gifted center ever in Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon. 3 inches taller already, Olajuwon would completely dominate Rodman; he could average 30 or more, with ease. I don’t say this to discredit Rodman, but goodness gracious, Olajuwon was awesome. His post game was too sweet, he was extremely quick on both ends of the floor, and overall Hakeem is too talented for any of the Bulls’ big men to handle.
Olajuwon and Yao’s presence on defense are just as important. MJ and D-Rose aren’t getting one easy bucket in the paint. They would be meeting one of the greatest defenders and shot blockers of all time in Olajuwon, and one of the biggest guys ever in Yao. Scoring at the rim wouldn’t be an easy task. Also, the Bulls are only getting one shot at at time, because those two are rebounding machines.
The bench for the Rockets would bring some firepower as well. Steve Francis and Calvin Murphy would be perfect scorers off the bench, and both could do more than “just” score. Sampson would get 12 by just being huge. Sampson would tower over anyone the Bulls brought off the bench; his closest challenge would be Joakim Noah. Jimmy Butler, Jerry Sloan, Luol Deng, and B.J Armstrong is a nice second unit, and I would call it even when compared to the Rockets bench.
The result: If Olajuwon leads the Rockets offensively, and the big’s dominance slows down MJ and D-Rose just enough, and the Rockets win in a shoot-out with the Bulls.
Rockets vs Celtics: New Era Proves More Talented, Olajuwon Dominates (Again)
The All-Time Celtics team is a hard one to judge. The starting guards for Boston, PG Bob Cousy and SG John Havlicek, did not even play with a 3-point line. For the sake of this analysis, I’ll give Havlicek the benefit of the doubt that he could knock down a 3. However, Cousy isn’t getting a free pass. He was a elite play maker, but he never had a great shooting percentage. They’d be matched up with the much more athletic Harden and McGrady, both who could exploit the Celtics back-court for 25 each. I think based on pure athleticism and talent, Harden/McGrady/Drexler are able to outplay Cousy/Havlicek/Pierce.
Now, it gets tricky for the Rockets when you game plan for the Celtic of All-Time yet. Larry Bird is listed as the starting power forward. That matches him up with Olajuwon, who will not be able to handle Bird on the perimeter. Larry Legend will dice up Olajuwon numerous times over the course of the game. What Olajuwon does do though, is take away Bird’s post game. Another huge factor is that this also matches Bird vs The Dream in the post, where Bird most definitely will have problems.
Bill Russell is a force in the post, where he could be a 20-20 guy every night. I actually think that Yao might be the perfect force to match that. Yao will have 10 inches on Russell, and will at least bother Russell enough to throw off his game.
The Celtics bench is definitely deeper and more talented than the Rockets. McHale, Cowens, Parish, and KG would all rotate in and play great at both ends, and Sam Jones is a perfect 6th man scorer. Ralph Sampson and Elvin Hayes are no joke, but the Celtics would just be too deep. Houston would definitely rely on their guards outplaying the Celtics all night, while hoping Olajuwon, Yao, and Sampson could slow down Bird and Russell.
The outcome? New age guards Harden and McGrady out play Cousy/Havlicek, and Olajuwon is able to handle the greatness of Larry Bird and Bill Russell, leading to a Rockets win.
It would be a hard sell, but it could definitely happen.
Rockets vs Lakers: Epic Duel of Talent and Strength, Rockets…. Fight Uphill Battle.
For the grand finale, the All-Time Rockets defeat the…. I’m not sure I can even say it.
Yeah, even in my imaginative scenarios where Olajuwon dominates everyone, Harden and McGrady out play HOF guards, and Yao Ming towers above the opposition, it’s hard to dream up a way the Rockets beat this All-Time Lakers squad.
It’s just not fathomable to say Harden and McGrady are on Magic and Jerry West’s level. In their primes, Magic and The Logo combined for around 50 points and 20 assists. Not to mention, Jerry West once averaged 30 points a game without a 3-point line. Maybe the Rockets back court sag off Magic and West, and they shoot the basketball poorly. Magic wasn’t a very good shooter from 3 at all, and you pray West isn’t either since he never practiced it.
I told you, it’s hard to even think this stuff up at this point.
Olajuwon and Yao finally meet their match when they face off against the most physically dominant center and, at worst, the second most skilled center of all time (I hope its pretty obvious which is which). Olajuwon will hold his own, he is up on Shaq and Kareem’s level. But poor Yao. Whether he is being bulled by Shaq or schooled by Kareem, he is in trouble.
I guess… I guess maybe Shaq gets thrown out after dunking on Yao (again). That’s a start, right?
Wait, then George Mikan or Wilt Chamberlain is up next off the bench?
Result: This is probably impossible. Maybe the Rockets get lucky or something.
Well Houston, we gave it our best shot, and accomplished a lot. Defeating the All-Time Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics is no easy feat, and definitely something to be proud of. If anything, I do honestly believe that there is a case that the All-Time Houston Rockets could most definitely compete with the best of the best All-Time teams.