Winning a championship is the ultimate goal for every franchise. However, the NBA is an ultra-competitive league, and championship windows don’t stay open for long.
Many good teams fail to reach the top of the mountain for various reasons, including injuries, salary cap issues, or simply running into a better opposition.
Given how difficult championships are to win, choosing a strong team to take over in NBA 2K22 has many benefits, most notably that the groundwork is already done for you, meaning that you will have the best shot to compete for titles right away.
Here is a look at seven of the best teams to use to help you compete immediately.
1. Los Angeles Lakers (OVR 98)
Offense Rating: 99
Defense Rating: 97
Best Player: LeBron James (OVR 96)
Best Supporting Players: Anthony Davis (OVR 93), Russell Westbrook (OVR 86)
Cap Space: -$51.8 million
Despite a very disappointing first-round exit last season, it’s fair to say that injuries were a major reason for this team’s failure to live up to expectations in 2020/21.
Heading into this year, the Los Angeles Lakers are once again a popular pick to be a contender. They had a busy off-season, trading out Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
On top of that, they were able to execute one of the blockbuster trades of the summer, acquiring All-Star Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards. They were also able to bring back NBA championship winners in Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo.
With these new faces alongside plenty of established stars already in Los Angeles, they look likely to be competitive again this year. Led by LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook, the Lakers look like a much-improved team on last year. With LeBron and Westbrook in their thirties and Davis at the peak of his career, it is championship or bust for the Lakers this season.
LeBron James is only signed until 2023, so if they want to win, it needs to be now. Besides the big three, the majority of their core players are on one-year contracts, so the strategy for this team is to try the right find the right complementary players to give them a shot at the title in 2022 and 2023.
2. Milwaukee Bucks (OVR 97)
Offense Rating: 94
Defense Rating: 99
Best Player: Giannis Antetokounmpo (OVR 96)
Best Supporting Players: Khris Middleton (OVR 88), Jrue Holiday (OVR 85)
Cap Space: -$51.1 million
Fresh off an NBA championship, there is no question that the Milwaukee Bucks are one of the best teams to use in NBA 2K22. Finishing with an impressive 46-26 record last year, they were one of the most dominant teams in the NBA.
Heading into this year they have the majority of their core players returning, including Giannis Antetokounmpo, who might be in contention to win his third MVP title. Besides him, they have a number of cornerstone players on their roster; both Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday are locked up beyond 2023 – as is Antetokounmpo – so it’s safe to say that their core is in a good place for a few more seasons.
If they are able to stay healthy, the Bucks have a legitimate shot to defend their NBA title and go back-to-back in 2022.
It remains to be seen whether younger players like Donte DiVincenzo and Grayson Allen can step in and play a bigger role to make this team even better going forward. If things don’t go according to plan, they can always use some of their first-round picks at the next couple of drafts to fix things up before heading into future playoffs.
3. Golden State Warriors (OVR 95)
Offense Rating: 98
Defense Rating: 91
Best Player: Steph Curry (OVR 96)
Best Supporting Players: Klay Thompson (OVR 87), Andrew Wiggins (OVR 80)
Cap Space: -$75.4 million
Last year was another tough season of rebuilding in Golden State. With Klay Thompson out the entire year, other players like James Wiseman and Andrew Wiggins were counted on to step up. Unfortunately, things didn’t go to plan as the Warriors finished with a 39-33 record and failed to make the playoffs.
All in all, there is reason for Golden State fans to be a lot more optimistic heading into 2021/22. When healthy, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are regarded as the best shooting backcourt in the NBA. With Draymond Green rounding out a potent big three, the Warriors also now have more depth with the likes of Otto Porter Jr., Andre Iguodala, Wiseman, Wiggins, and rookie Jonathan Kuminga all part of the supporting cast.
Many would argue that this might be the deepest Warriors team since the pre-Kevin Durant era. As long as Steph and Klay are healthy, the Warriors should comfortably be a playoff team.
On top of that, they are only committed to Andrew Wiggins until 2023 and Otto Porter Jr. for one season. This means that if they feel the need to bring in some immediate upgrades, they can likely do that by trading one of their wings over the next couple of years.
4. Brooklyn Nets (OVR 93)
Offense Rating: 99
Defense Rating: 86
Best Player: Kevin Durant (OVR 96)
Best Supporting Players: James Harden (OVR 94), Kyrie Irving (OVR 91)
Cap Space: -$69.1 million
Considered the favorite to win the east last year, the Brooklyn Nets fell short in a heartbreaking series to the Bucks. Despite their shortcomings, the Nets finished with an amazing 48-24 record and were one of the best teams in the NBA during the regular season.
With three of the top scorers in the NBA (Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving) on the roster, offense shouldn’t be a problem for this team. In fact, they were the second-highest scoring team in the NBA last year, behind only the Milwaukee Bucks.
Obviously, this roster is built to win now, and it is championship or bust for Durant and Harden at this point. Both are closing in on their mid-thirties, and might only have two-to-three years of high-level basketball left in them.
As a result, the key focus for this team going forward is to try to surround their stars with the right complementary players. More specifically, this means building a roster that can beat the Bucks in the playoffs.
Contract-wise, there isn’t much flexibility, assuming that they want to keep their big three, and moving players like Joe Harris might be the only possibility. Moving out his contract – which will see them pay him in excess of $18 million this season – could be a solution for the Nets in their quest to find better defensive players to fill the three and five positions.
5. Miami Heat (OVR 94)
Offense Rating: 94
Defense Rating: 96
Best Player: Jimmy Butler (OVR 91)
Best Supporting Players: Bam Adebayo (OVR 86), Kyle Lowry (OVR 83)
Cap Space: -$28.7 million
Despite a disappointing early playoff exit this past season, many still consider the Miami Heat to be one of the strongest teams in the east in 2021/22. Just two seasons ago, this team – led by Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo – fell just two games short of capturing their fourth NBA title.
They made a couple of big moves this summer in bringing in two key players (Kyle Lowry and P.J. Tucker), both of whom have experience playing on championship teams.
They also have decent role players; Victor Oladipo and Tyler Herro both signed on in the off-season, with their two contracts adding up to less than $6 million this year.
Needless to say, Brooklyn and Milwaukee aside, if things go right in Miami, they are one of the favourites to sneak out of the East once again this year.
If Miami decides to keep their roster intact, it is likely that they will need younger players like Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson to take their game to the next level. If they do so, it could give them that extra edge that they need to come out of the Eastern Conference.
6. Phoenix Suns (OVR 93)
Offense Rating: 98
Defense Rating: 88
Best Player: Chris Paul (OVR 90), Devin Booker (OVR 90)
Best Supporting Players: Deandre Ayton (OVR 86)
Cap Space: -$17.6 million
The Phoenix Suns were a bit of a surprise packet last year, starting out strong and ultimately finishing the regular season with a 51-21 record. They carried that momentum into the playoffs, defeating the Lakers and Denver Nuggets en route to their first finals appearance since 1993.
Despite coming up short in the finals, their young stars in Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton both took huge steps forward in their development. With the help of veteran Chris Paul, this team has a legitimate shot at a top-four finish in the west in 2021/22.
All in all, management has done a great job in assembling this roster. Spreading out the salary and adding a decent bench makes the Suns one of the most well-rounded teams in NBA 2K22.
Unlike the Lakers and Warriors, the Suns have youth on their side. With both Booker and Ayton under 25, their championship window could well be open for more than three years. If you’re looking for a team which will give you some time to figure things out, the Suns might be the best choice for you.
7. Denver Nuggets (OVR 91)
Offense Rating: 99
Defense Rating: 82
Best Player: Nikola Jokic (OVR 95)
Best Supporting Players: Jamal Murray (OVR 85), Michael Porter Jr. (OVR 84)
Cap Space: -$27.9 million
As a result of the fact that there are so many good teams in the west, the Denver Nuggets might be one of the most underrated on this list. Finishing with a 47-25 record last year, they were one of the most consistent teams in the NBA all season.
Led by one of the best centers in the entire NBA in Nikola Jokic, the Denver offense is one of the most efficient in the league when they are clicking.
Besides Jokic, they have also accumulated a nice collection of young players, including Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr., and Monte Morris.
As this core is still improving, they have plenty of upside and might be able to take that extra step this year.
Going forward, the strategy shouldn’t be to break up the core, but rather to let them grow together and find ways to continue to improve. The only real concern would likely be Michael Porter Jr.’s next contract, with his current deal expiring in 2023. If you plan your budget accordingly, though, you should be able to keep your core together for years to come.
With this article, you should have a much better idea about the top teams to use in NBA 2K22 to help you win this year.