The regular season is finally upon us, and if you’re like me you’ve waited to start your My GM franchise-building mode. For those who don’t know, 2K Sports sends out updated rosters online that reflect what’s going on in the NBA. The company should release an updated roster -- that includes changes to ratings, lineups and rotations -- for every team sometime this week after each team has hit the court. So with that in mind, here are five teams to be in charge of in My GM that are not the clear frontrunners (Warriors, Cavs, Spurs, Clippers, etc.).
Portland Trail Blazers
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more exciting player in the league than Damian Lillard, who is a superstar you can build around. Lillard can break guys down off the dribble and shoot from almost anywhere on the court and is fearless. C.J. McCollum is the perfect complement -- a rising star who can do many of the same things Lillard, giving you a chance to play as either if you don’t want to focus on playing as one predominantly. Meyers Leonard is a big who can stretch the floor, giving your guards room to drive and score or kick out for the open 3. Evan Turner is a do-everything forward who can handle the ball when you send either Lillard or McCollum to the bench.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Want to be a one-man wrecking ball who could average a triple-double for a season? Russell Westbrook is the most obvious choice. You will not be lacking for highlight-reel plays as long as Westbrook is on the court trying to prove that he won’t miss Kevin Durant. But what about when you send Russ to the bench? If you stagger Westbrook and Victor Oladipo’s minutes, you could run the offense through the former Magic guard. Stretch 4 Ersan Ilyasova can provide some space in the middle, which will be clogged up by Enes Kanter and Steven Adams. But if you’re in need of a bucket in the post, Kanter is your man.
If you’re looking for a project, you’ve got an intriguing one right here. You probably should trade two of their bigs (Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel) for some much-needed shooting and possibly additional draft picks. Joel Embiid has shown flashes in the preseason that he could be a go-to post player. Dario Saric is the perfect stretch big. But the first thing you need to do is put Ben Simmons on the active roster -- even though he’s technically injured. This is about having fun, and playing with Simmons is the key to having a good time with the Sixers.
Paul George is a top-10 player who can play both sides of the floor as well as anyone. He’s the one you should funnel everything through, making a case for an MVP run. If you want to go small, move George to the four, put rising big man Myles Turner at the five and surround them with Jeff Teague, Monta Ellis and either Thaddeus Young or C.J. Miles. Al Jefferson is available if you want to go big and slow things down. Whatever style you want, this team can play and is ready for a Finals push (at least in the virtual world).
Nearly half of NBA general managers say they would like to start a franchise with Karl Anthony-Towns. Why not take their advice and go with this young, exciting squad? Towns can stretch the floor or play with his back to the basket and is a force on the glass and on defense. The anchor is set. Want some flash? Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins are athletic as they come, and both have improved as threats from beyond the arc. Kris Dunn could walk away with Rookie of the Year honors if you focus on him. If you want to shake things up, trade Ricky Rubio for either more shooting or some frontcourt depth. And trying to dethrone the heavy hitters in the West will be a real challenge.