We are now just a week away from NBA 2K11 being released, and I could not be more amped. Both titles are offering up a ton of different options, but when it comes down to it with sports games, I always fall back on the franchise modes.
There will be so many teams to choose from this year to run with, starting with the Miami Heat and their new big three. It’s going to be hard not to go with them this year or make one last run with my Suns and Steve Nash.
However, the team that is standing out above the rest this year has to be the Oklahoma City Thunder. They are the sleeping giant in this year's franchise mode.
Arise Sleeping Giant
Kevin Durant is coming off a great performance at the 2010 FIBA World Championship and will definitely be rewarded in the ratings department. But the Thunder are more than just Durant these days.
In addition to Durant, they have have one of the ultimate video game point guards in Russell Westbrook. And, like Durant, Westbrook should benefit from his performance in the World Championships.
Westbrook is especially perfect for the way NBA 2K11 feels. I say that because it feels like there is an added ability to get by many defenders with speed. Plus, if all else fails, he can still just use his ball handling to cross over any defender in his path before soaring over the defense for a jam. He also played the small forward position at times in Turkey this summer, so he will obviously be a huge mismatch for just about any point guard.
So, the Thunder have a great one-two punch with Durant and Westbrook, but let's not forget about Jeff Green, Serge Ibaka and Cole Aldrich, all three which should be perfect complementary pieces for the future.
I’m not sure about Ibaka progressing much in 2K, but Green should be fine, and Aldrich may eventually turn into a beast defending the rim and paint.
Green complements Durant and Westbrook in that he is also versatile and can guard a few different positions. He can also handle the ball and knock down 3-pointers. In other words, when Green gets a defensive rebound, you won’t have to outlet to Westbrook. Instead, you can ignite the fast break with a Lamar Odom clone and utilize Westbrook as a finisher on the wing.
You can cry foul all you want Kobe, but the Thunder still get my pick in this year's franchise mode.
When it comes to NBA 2K11, the new logic within the Association mode means it won’t be all about just surrounding OKC’s big three with the highest rated players you can find. Chemistry is more important than ever, so you have to put the right pieces together.
But it should not be hard to find some shooters and savvy veterans looking for a shot at a title down the road, especially after you have turned Oklahoma City into the next big NBA dynasty.
Get Out of Their Way
The overall youth in Oklahoma City immediately makes the Thunder a fun choice to play with this year. Other teams have also had youth in the past, but it didn’t necessarily lead to championships down the road. Nevertheless, Oklahoma City might be able to be a real contender in just a year or two.
In the West, the Lakers are really the only competition left for the young Thunder and that may not last too much longer. There’s a good chance that if you start a franchise with the Thunder and are able to keep the main core of players on the roster, you could shoot for six or seven straight NBA Finals.
Andrew Kennedy is a staff writer for OS. He lives in Orlando and is really good at watching sports and playing video games a lot. You can follow him on Twitter @akennedy41, on OS as crusaderhoops10 or at his sports blog akennedy13.wordpress.com.