The best classic teams in NBA 2K22

Back in the day.

Image via 2K

A fun part of playing NBA 2K22 is matching players and teams from different eras against each other.

The basketball simulation launches with 67 classic teams from throughout NBA history. This includes the greats from the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and the past 20 years. Many of these teams have complete starting rosters full of hall-of-famers and solid role players.

Some teams are more complete than others due to a lack of licensing rights for certain players. Regardless, the classic teams in NBA 2K22 provide more gameplay options and give older basketball fans the chance to play with teams from their childhood.

Here are the best classic teams in NBA 2K22.

1986–87 Los Angeles Lakers

The Showtime Lakers were a dominant force in the 80s alongside the Boston Celtics. Led by a dynamic, big point guard Ervin “Magic” Johnson, the Lakers won their fourth championship of that decade, cementing them as an all-time great team. Johnson will dominate most point guards in the game with his powerful post moves and finishing ability. It will take a solid wing defender to slow him down.

Center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, one of the best post players in NBA 2K22, will punish any team that doesn’t have a strong defender at that position. Byron Scott, James Worthy, and Michael Cooper round out this team’s incredible starting lineup.

2016–17 Golden State Warriors

The first year of Kevin Durant on the Warriors was scary for the rest of the NBA. This team is arguably the greatest team of all time. They ran through the playoffs, only dropping one game in the NBA Finals to the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers.

Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson are three of the best shooters in the game. All three players are 90+ overall and can score from anywhere on the floor. They are supported by the great defense of Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green in the starting lineup.

1995–96 Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls in the 90s were a dominant team and a cultural force. The 1995–96 season might be the peak of the Jordan Bulls. Amassing a regular-season record of 72-10, a record that would stand until 2016, the Chicago Bulls captured the first title of their second threepeat.

Led by a 99-overall Michael Jordan, this Bulls team has a dominant starting lineup. Scottie Pippen is a 95-overall player with top-of-the-line defense and scoring. Dennis Rodman is one of the best rebounders and defenders in the game. The rest of the roster is solid, with Rob Harper, Toni Kukoc, and Steve Kerr offering additional firepower.

1985–86 Boston Celtics

The foil to the Lakers in the ’80s, the 1985–86 Boston Celtics are stacked from top to bottom. Larry Bird is the team’s best player with a 97 overall rating. The all-time forward comes with excellent shooting, rebounding, playmaking, and defense. He’s joined by 91 overall Kevin McHale at power forward. The rest of the team is filled with solid defenders like Rober Parish and Dennis Johnson. The team also boasts an excellent shooter in Danny Ainge coming off the bench.

2015–16 Cleveland Cavaliers

The team that came back from a 3-1 deficit against the 73-9 Warriors is one of the best teams ever, with arguably the best version of LeBron James. 99 overall King James is at his peak on this team. Finishing, shooting, and playmaking are all great. He is joined by a 93 overall Kyrie Irving, an offensive force with a layup and crossover package only matched by Allen Iverson.

Kevin Love and Tristian Thompson are the stars of the team’s big man rotation, bringing elite rebounding and a stretch power forward to the court. This team is an offensive juggernaut.

About the author

Xavier Johnson

My name is Xavier Johnson and I'm a freelance writer who covers Magic: The Gathering. I love control decks and my favorite card is Teferi, Hero of Dominaria.