Amnesty Sports ‘Herd of G.O.A.T.s’: All-Era NBA 2K21 Roster

by Amnesty Sports

Any avid NBA fan has had their fair share of G.O.A.T debates over who the greatest is— who left the greatest impression on the hardwood. As the new season looms near, a new crop of rookies will embark on their journey for a chance to carve their own likeness onto the ‘Mount Rushmore’ of NBA greats. Whose stoic stone faces would we expect see chiseled with the limestone of fandom onto your metaphorical landmarks? What does it even mean to be THE best?

Our path to trying to answer those questions led us to a bold conclusion— you really shouldn’t pick just one. In the 70+ years since the first NBA tip-off, countless coaching strategies have been theorized, implemented and improved upon, incorporating an increasingly diverse skill set from a globalized player pool. The eras have seen several rule changes be implemented over time to protect players and preserve healthy competition. Scientific advances in the realms of kinesiology and nutrition have ushered in an era of unprecedented athleticism and durability. It’s almost unfair to pit one generation against another. The myriad of styles, the varieties of physiques — maybe we shouldn’t even compare players at all!

We know, we know, comparisons and rivalries seem to make everything more intriguing. If we don’t acknowledge (sometimes to the point of obsessive scrutiny) who came before us, we won’t learn much moving forward. With that said, there’s plenty of merit to studying the titans of old— if only to further our appreciation of today’s hard-wood giants.

For the purposes of fleshing out an NBA 2K roster, we moved passed the mere Lebron-vs-Jordan debates and decided to carve out an entire herd of G.O.A.T.s. This full, 12-man squad, represents the best-of-the best across all-eras. The [5] starter slots were reserved for our ‘Mount Rushmore’— the GOATS-OF-THE-GOATS. The reserves are every but as talented and could pick up the slack at a moment’s notice.

While this isn’t exactly scientific, we did established a few statistical and quantitative criteria for our selection process:

1) The Long Game: The player has to have played [10] seasons or more (ending with 2018-19).

Reasons: Sustained excellence is just very rare. Time and chance happen to all but, choosing to push forward weighed heavily as a means differentiation during our selection process.

2) The Mold: Player’s game should be recognized as prototypical for their position.

Reason: The player has to be unmistakably one of the best at that position at the time they retired (And yes, this is hard to quantify).

3) It’s A Team Sport!: Players are selected based on their primary position(s) played with the intent of creating a viable roster that can compete against any* other collection of All-Stars.

Reasons: The 6th man on our roster, isn’t necessarily the 6th greatest. If another player fills the spot ahead of him, we chose to do what’s best for the team in staying true to the roles [PG, SG, SF, PF, C]. This will make more sense when we break down which centers we chose and why (statistically speaking, we could’ve fielded an entire roster of All-Time centers which would’ve met our criteria but, would’ve made for a lackluster NBA 2K20 squad).

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4) Stay Competitive?: It’s not really a game without 2 teams right? How about 3? In order to put our squadron supreme to the test, we chose 2 additional existing All-Time rosters to match up stats to as well as run NBA 2K20 simulations.

The Original [1992 Barcelona Olympics USA Mens Basketball] ‘Dream Team’: No explanation required.

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stats courtesy of basketball-reference.com
  • Curry/Durant/Draymond/Klay/Igoudala 2018 Golden State Warriors: Arguably the greatest assembly of talent in the modern era on one team.
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stats courtesy of basketball-reference.com
  • 2016 Golden State Warriors: Pre-Durant but, 73–9.
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stats courtesy of basketball-reference.com
  • 2012 Miami Heat: The ‘Original’ Super-Friends team.
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stats courtesy of basketball-reference.com
  • 1996 Chicago Bulls: 72–10. NBA Title.
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stats courtesy of basketball-reference.com
  • 1972 Lakers: 33 straight wins (still a record). NBA Title.
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stats courtesy of basketball-reference.com
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The Roster

STARTERS [PG | SG | SF | PF | C]

Stephen Curry [PG], Michael Jordan [SG], Lebron James [SF], Hakeem Olajuwon [PF], Shaquille O’neal [C]

RESERVES [6th-Man + 3 Front Court +3 Back Court ]

6th Man: Kevin Durant [SF]

Front Court: Wilt Chamberlain [C], Kareem Abdul Jabbar [C], Tim Duncan [PF]

Back Court: Kobe Bryant [SG], Magic Johnson [PG], Jerry West[PG]

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stats courtesy of basketball-reference.com

We wanted to put our roster to the test and see just how our squad would hold up against history’s best. Below you’ll find some highlights|graphs|game-play footage of our selection process as well as the results. What do you think? Who would your starting 5 be? Who did we miss? Enjoy!

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G.O.A.T.s vs Historic Team PER Comparison*

Originally Published: Freedom Papers