With the frenzy of free agent signings, trades, amnesty waivers and the fact that plenty of NBA players will miss the season due to contracts signed during the lockout, the already underway 2011-12 campaign will be one of the most unique seasons in NBA history. Today, we’ll take a look at how this historic off-season has affected your virtual team in NBA 2K12.
The Boston Celtics added Brandon Bass in a sign-and-trade, sending Glen “Big Baby“ Davis to Orlando. While the Celtics users are losing some defense and rebounding in Davis, Bass is a better shooter from range and in traffic. If 2010 D-League Defensive Player of the Year Greg Stiemsma makes the Celtics roster (and 2K puts him in the game), he could see significant minutes this season.
The New York Knicks made the biggest off-season splash in the Atlantic, acquiring Tyson Chandler, but in order to afford Chandler, New York had to amnesty Chauncey Billups. Chandler gives Knicks users a true defensive presence that they haven’t had since Marcus Camby in NBA 2K2. With Billups gone, Knicks fans have some other options at point guard. New signees Mike Bibby and Baron Davis both have strengths and weaknesses that they bring to the table.
The rebuilding Toronto Raptors added the absolutely average duo of Gary Forbes and Rasual Butler. Neither player excels in any facet of basketball.
The Chicago Bulls should finish at the top of the Central again. They added Rip Hamilton at shooting guard, which meant that Keith Bogans, last year’s starter, was released. Hamilton brings great shooting ability, high offensive awareness and incredible hands to the Windy City. The release of Bogans means a drop-off of strength and defense.
The Indiana Pacers biggest addition unquestionably is David West. The former All-Star should be a great fit with Indiana. He brings a great close and midrange game, along with strong consistency and the highest "shoot in traffic ratings" on the Pacers.
The Milwaukee Bucks hope that the addition of Mike Dunleavy in free agency is another piece to push them into the playoffs. Dunleavy offers strong 3-point shooting ability and good ball security, allowing you to use him at shooting guard and small forward.
The Miami Heat figures to dominate the Southeast this season. The addition of Shane Battier will be an immediate upgrade off the bench as he gives the Heat another 3-point shooter and an elite post defender with incredible defensive awareness and on ball defense. Exceptional hustle and consistency ratings are just icing on the cake.
Everything with the Orlando Magic hinges on Dwight Howard and his “decision.” Orlando’s strategy for the future is absolutely dependent on whether Howard is there for the long haul or not. The Magic added Glen “Big Baby” Davis and Von Wafer in a sign-and-trade and used the amnesty clause to waive Gilbert Arenas. Davis offers improved strength and defense over Brandon Bass and Von Wafer has very good speed, vertical and quickness ratings.
Tracy McGrady signed with the Atlanta Hawks in the off-season, and figures to have a big role off the bench for them, especially with sixth man Jamal Crawford signing in Portland. McGrady offers great ball security, the ability to shoot in traffic, ball handling and decent range with his shot. Atlanta won’t break their 54 year run of not winning an NBA championship, but they should once again make the playoffs.
The Charlotte Bobcats added free agent Reggie Williams to mix. The Cats are rebuilding, but Williams brings great 3-point shooting, strong off hand dribbling, good speed, quickness, and hands to the Bobcats. Not to mention this kid Kemba Walker is in Charlotte, along with his rookie-high rating of 76.
The Washington Wizards signing of Roger Mason adds another legit sharp shooter besides Nick Young, but with much better defensive ratings. A solid addition to the nucleus of John Wall, Andray Blatche, and Javale McGee.
The Portland Trail Blazers face life after Brandon Roy in 2K12. His retirement left a hole at shooting guard that Portland hopes free agent Jamal Crawford can fill. Crawford gives the Blazers a good mid range shooter who can utilize NBA2K’s iso motion system with his elite dribbling ratings. High offensive awareness and elite quickness round out Crawford’s game.
The Minnesota Timberwolves should be very fun to use this year with addition of J.J. Barea and Ricky Rubio. Barea has top-notch speed and quickness with a very good pass rating. Barea also has has the best on-ball defense rating on the T-Wolves. Rubio has finally made his way stateside and he brings high-end passing, ball security and dribbling ability with strong defensive awareness and the second best shoot in traffic rating on the team.
Oh, the Denver Nuggets. With three of their top players from last season in China this season, the roster looks very different than the one they finished with in 2010-11. The biggest move the Nuggets made in the off-season was keeping Nene. Without him the interior scoring situation would have been very bleak. Aside from Nene, Denver also added shooting guard Rudy Fernandez and swingman Corey Brewer in a trade with Dallas. While all of Fernandez’s ratings are pedestrian, Brewer brings the Nuggets high ratings at both vertical and steals.
The defending NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks were big movers in the off-season. The Mavs added three key players in Lamar Odom, Vince Carter and Delonte West. They also lost many key pieces from the squad that won it all including Tyson Chandler, J.J. Barea, Caron Butler and DeShawn Stevenson. In Odom, the Mavericks get the 2reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year to go along with the 2008-09 NBA Sixth Man of the Year, Jason Terry. Odom instantly becomes the second highest rated player on the team with the ability to shoot from distance, defend the post and rebound. He can also pass the ball a little. Vince Carter is probably a little overrated (76 OVR) but that’s good news for Mavs fans. Carter can still shoot the three and finish at the rim with world-class layup and vertical ratings. West’s reputation as a strong defender doesn’t carry over to NBA 2K12. He does however, have all of the ratings necessary to be a good PG.
The make-up of the New Orleans Hornets was forever changed with the trade of Chris Paul. The good news for Hornets users in NBA 2K12 is that you now have one of the most capable shooting guards in the game along with a high caliber center and an up and coming small forward. Eric Gordon becomes the best player on the Hornets by a large margin. His speed, vertical rating, offensive awareness and strong on ball defense combined with his ability to score make him a potential franchise player. Center Chris Kaman becomes the second best player on the new look Hornets. Kaman has a great mid range shot, capable rebound ratings and a high consistency rating. Aminu is still a work in progress with good defensive rebounding ability, great strength and above average on ball defense.
The Los Angeles Lakers had quite a tumultuous off-season. They lost sixth man Lamar Odom and swingman Shannon Brown, while failing to land any of the big prizes the LA front office had targeted. At one point it seemed that the Lakers would acquire both Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. We all know that didn’t happen and LA had to settle for some lower tier free agents to fill out the roster. Josh McRoberts and Jason Kapono are the two most likely to have an impact. McRoberts can score close to hoop but has awful rebound rating for his size. Kapono, while rated much lower, may be a bigger impact in NBA 2K12. His outstanding 3-point rating makes gives him instant value. The problem is that he doesn’t do anything else.
The Phoenix Suns were able to bring back Grant Hill while adding Shannon Brown and Sebastian Telfair. Brown possesses top-of-the-line dunk, layup, speed, and vertical ratings. He’s also above average at on ball defense and steals. Telfair adds sharp passing and quickness ratings.
The Golden State Warriors addition of free agent Kwame Brown gives the team a very solid rebounder, and in NBA 2K12, not much else. The recent trade of Lou Amundson for Brandon Rush also gives the Warriors another three point specialist on a team full of shooters.
No piece regarding the 2011-12 off-season would be complete without writing about the Los Angeles Clippers. These Clippers figure to be serious contenders and a popular choice among NBA 2K players online. The addition of Chris Paul gives the Clips a totally new dimension at point guard. I want to focus on the addition of Caron Butler and Chauncey Billups, however. Butler has a great mid range game to go with strong on ball defense; Billups gives the other LA team a potent 3-point threat, elite free throw shooting, passing, ball security, durability, hands and consistency. The Clippers plan to use Billups at shooting guard, giving the Clippers two guards capable of making play with or without the ball.
So there it is OS. Of course we didn't cover every single free agent signing and trade, but I think we've hit on all of the major impact players. Who is your favorite off-season addition?