NBA 2K14 has officially begun "balling" in stores, introducing players to a number of new features that will have you scoring points for hours on end.
That said, it helps to have teams that know what they're doing on the court. Obviously, every team has its own particular skills, but they need to work cohesively as a unit if they're going to accomplish big win records – and more importantly, championships.
Here are ten teams that you should definitely try out. Even if they aren't your favorites – or may be be rivals to your favorites – we guarantee success with them every time you enter the arena.
After winning their second straight NBA championship, the Heat have proven themselves true contenders. Not only do you get the superstar power of LeBron James – the cover star of 2K14 – but you also get several other players who can contribute. The "Birdman," Chris Andersen, will be hopping it up alongside two dual threats, Chris Bosh and long-time Heat player Dwayne Wade. Throw in Greg Oden, Ray Allen and others, and you've got a team destined for a three-peat.
San Antonio Spurs
Though they haven't won a major championship in a few years, the San Antonio Spurs are still a huge threat on the court. Led by veteran Tim Duncan, this squad knows how to put digits on the board, and can also handle themselves defensively. Duncan knows how to go on a streak, and you shouldn't ignore Tony Parker, Marco Belinelli or Matt Bonner. Who knows, this could be the year the Spurs return to their championship ways.
Not since the Michael Jordan era have the Bulls been this much of a contender. Derrick Rose, who's been sidelined for some time with nagging injuries, should be returning to his squad. On top of that, other players, including Carlos Boozer, Marquis Teague and Mike Dunleavy should have no problem moving into double digits. Chicago could be on fire once again, once Rose finds his groove.
They may not have Reggie Miller, but the Pacers still came up with an impressive 49-32 record this past year, and are bound to repeat themselves with the likes of Solomon Hill, Roy Hibbert, and Chris Copeland in their line-up. They're a threat both in the main section of the court and on the outside shooting three's, so keep that in mind once you've got the "hot hand.”
Once considered a joke around the NBA league – while the Lakers were the team to beat – the roles were surprisingly reversed this past year, with Kobe's squad falling and the Clips rising to the occasion. It doesn't hurt to have a number of key players, like Blake Griffin, J.J. Redick, and Chris Paul driving to the lane and keeping the score close. They're bound to repeat their success this year – and put the Lakers to shame again.
Oklahoma City Thunder
This team has managed to move up in the ranks very quickly, with a conference title in 2012 and two consecutive division titles heading into the playoffs. They've done well since their transition from Seattle – where they were the Supersonics – with Kevin Durant leading the charge, followed by the likes of Nick Collison, Russell Westbrook and others backing him up. Durant, though, is the main draw. He's the lightning that definitely follows this Thunder.
Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors were the surprise underdog in last year's playoffs, and this year they're likely to attract a bunch of new fans. Signing on former Denver Nugget Andre Iguodala was a key move during the off-season, though the team still has hotshot shooter Stephen Curry to rely on, along with Seth Curry, Jermaine O'Neal and Andrew Bogut, among others. If you like playing with a team that has a good success story behind it, the Warriors are your guys.
New York Knicks
C'mon, they're the Knicks – and I'm not just naming them because most of our editorial staff is in the New York area. They've been back with strong performance ever since they acquired Carmelo Anthony, and it's only gotten better with Amar'eStoudemire, Tim Hardaway Jr. and others. Plus, with this squad, you get to play in the legendary Madison Square Garden. Who could deny the Garden? Certainly not our staffers.
They may not have Hakeem Olajuwon or Yao Ming, but don't count the Rockets out. They returned to contention with ease last year, with a moderately good 45-37 record. The Rockets have a mixture of players that can get the job done on the court, whether it's former New York Knick Jeremy Lin shooting threes or newly acquired Dwight Howard doing his "Superman" thing. These Rockets are taking off.
Even though the squad dealt away big names like Carmelo Anthony and Andre Iguodala, they're doing just fine with who's "left." Led by the excellent T.J. Lawson and the monstrous dunker Kenneth Faried, the new team did just fine last year, with an impressive win record and a lead-in to the playoffs a second year running. Even though George Karl is no longer coaching the team – Brian Shaw has replaced him during the off-season – they'll still be as hungry as ever for a championship.
NBA 2K14 is available now for Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation 3, and will release on PlayStation 4 on November 15th and Xbox One on November 22nd.
Be sure to check out our ten most challenging teams article as well!