If you’re a long-suffering fan of an NBA franchise (hi, Orlando fans!) and think you can be a better general manager than the real-life counterparts, franchise mode in 2K games have long been the way to prove your virtual mettle. For others, it’s about the challenge of taking a rebuilding team and turning them into powerhouses. NBA 2K23 has the traditional franchise mode, but also with a few twists depending on your playstyle – and your favorite era of the NBA.
Below, you will find the best teams to rebuild in NBA 2K23 based on a specific criteria; you may have your own, and that’s fine! First, there is an overview of how to begin franchise mode, including an era-specific mode.
The best teams to rebuild in NBA 2K23
Below, you will find the best teams for rebuilding in NBA 2K23. Each team will also have its managing governor’s (formerly team owner’s) views of success for each team and how important certain factors are to them. Rosters were accessed on September 9, 2022. Teams will be listed in alphabetical order.
1. Detroit Pistons (83 OVR)
Offensive Rating: 84
Defensive Rating: 82
Best Player: Cade Cunningham (84 OVR)
Best Supporting Players: Saddiq Bey (80 OVR), Jaden Ivey (76 OVR)
2023 First Round Draft Picks: One (kept if pick 1-18; goes to New York if 19-30)
Detroit, fresh off of revealing new jerseys, has seemingly been in a rebuild for around a decade. The team does have young superstar hopeful in Cade Cunningham (84 OVR) at the two, with Saddiq Bey (80 OVR) seemingly fulfilling his potential for Detroit at the three. The team does need a bit of assistance with consistent shot making and defense, but luckily, there’s a quick fix for each.
Detroit has a slew of expiring contracts, including three veterans at least 28-years-old (all 76 OVR) in Kelly Olynyk, Alec Burks, and Nerlens Noel. You could float trade packages involving the any or all of the three and hopefully obtain some young two-way players with high upside. You could try packaging them together to nab a better player, but you’ll probably have to attach additional draft compensation.
Speaking of the draft, Detroit is in a precarious position for the 2023 iteration. If their pick falls within the first 18, they’ll keep the pick. If it falls between 19-30, they’ll lose it to New York. With the state of Detroit’s team, it’s likely the pick will remain.
2. Houston Rockets (82 OVR)
Offensive Rating: 85
Defensive Rating: 78
Best Player: Jalen Green (82 OVR)
Best Supporting Players: Jabari Smith, Jr. (78 OVR), Kevin Porter, Jr. (78 OVR)
2023 First Round Draft Picks: Two (own; Milwaukee’s; can swap with Brooklyn)
A team that went from contender to rebuild with a quickness, Houston actually presents one of the more fun choices to rebuild because the team already has plenty of scoring and shooting threats. Sure, losing Christian Wood hurts, but Alperen Şengün (77 OVR) has many Rockets fans salivating at his potential. Veteran Eric Gordon (75 OVR) can still shoot with precision from deep while players like Kevin Porter, Jr. (78 OVR) and Jae’Sean Tate (77 OVR) can drive and score. Jabari Smith, Jr.(78 OVR) and Jalen Green (82 OVR) should develop a nice chemistry together.
Houston has a lot of young players still on their first contracts with team options, giving you some valuable depth pieces. You could package them for a better point guard (Zach LaVine?), but riding out the season, regardless of the outcome, may be a great option.
This is because Houston has two picks in the next draft, their own and Milwaukee’s. Sure, the latter will probably fall in the last ten, if not last five, but it’s still a valuable piece to nab a second potential superstar or use as a trade asset. Further, with the ability to swap with Brooklyn, you could have three draft picks with Houston albeit at the price of losing one in 2024.
3. Orlando Magic (84 OVR)
Offensive Rating: 85
Defensive Rating: 84
Best Player: Wendell Carter, Jr. (83 OVR)
Best Supporting Players: Franz Wagner (80 OVR), Mo Bamba (79 OVR)
2023 First Round Draft Picks: One (own; obtains Chicago’s if their pick falls between 5-30)
Orlando has been a perpetual lottery presence since the Dwight Howard era ended with only one season at or above .500 (41 wins) since 2011-2012. All those lottery picks didn’t work out early, but the Magic may have hit on some recent ones that can set you up nicely as new GM.
The team is led by Wendell Carter, Jr. (83 OVR) and Franz Wagner (80 OVR), a chic pick in fantasy circles before the 2021-2022 season that paid big dividends for both fantasy players and Orlando. Mo Bamba (79 OVR), who seems like he’s been in the league for at least a decade yet is only 24-years-old, forms Orlando’s twin towers down low. They can pair off with rookie Paolo Banchero (78 OVR), who will look to develop a nice pick game wit point guard Cole Anthony (78 OVR).
Orlando is another team with a lot of young players, so the expiring contracts aren’t abundant aside from team option contracts. Still, some of the players on the team are unlikely to a part of your long-term core, so putting players like Markelle Fultz (77 OVR), Terrence Rose (75 OVR), and even Jonathan Isaac (78 OVR) could help you shore up the roster for a few seasons.
4. San Antonio Spurs (81 OVR)
Offensive Rating: 83
Defensive Rating: 79
Best Player: Keldon Johnson (82 OVR)
Best Supporting Players: Jakob Poeltl (78 OVR), Devin Vassell (76 OVR)
2023 First Round Draft Picks: One (own; obtains Charlotte’s if their pick is between 17-30)
A team that didn’t miss the playoffs for years is now firmly in a rebuild after trading away the franchise’s best player in Dejounte Murray to Atlanta. Now, San Antonio is led by Keldon Johnson (82 OVR), Jakob Poeltl (78 OVR), and Devin Vassell (76 OVR), who looks to build off of last year.
The Spurs do have some expiring contracts like those of Josh Richardson (76 OVR) and Keita Bates-Diop (74 OVR), but unloading Doug McDermott (74 OVR) with two years left may be the best option. He is purely a shooter and you’ll likely be able to find quicker forwards who can shoot from deep that will fit your team better. The one thing the Spurs lack in comparison to the previous three teams is a definitive young player to build around. It could be Johnson or it could be Vassell, but ask yourself this: do those names hold the same potential as those of Green or Cunningham and their counterparts?
San Antonio owns their first round pick, but can also obtain Charlotte’s if the pick falls between 17-30. This would require the Hornets to make the playoffs, or at least the play-in, Just find that superstar and you can quickly return the Spurs to the upper echelon.
Note: San Antonio is the worst team by overall rating in NBA 2K23.
5. Utah Jazz (83 OVR)
Offensive Rating: 83
Defensive Rating: 80
Best Players: Mike Conley (82 OVR)
Best Supporting Player: Bojan Bogdanović (80 OVR), Collin Sexton (78 OVR)
2023 First Round Draft Picks: Three (own; Minnesota’s; least favorable of Brooklyn’s, Philadelphia’s, and Houston’s)
Utah might be a shadow of its former self, an identity built over many years with Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. Still, the departure by trade of both men gave Utah the foundation to become the two decade contender they were beginning with John Stockton and Karl Malone through the days of Andre Kirilenko and Deron Williams.
The roster is led by two veterans, Mike Conley (82 OVR) and Bojan Bogdanović (80 OVR). Collin Sexton – acquired in the Mitchell trade – brings a dose of speed and microwave scoring potential. Jarred Vanderbilt (78 OVR) and Lauri Markkanen (78 OVR) man the four and sometimes five. Two veterans on expiring contracts in Jordan Clarkson (77 OVR) and Rudy Gay (75 OVR) could be assets in the form of outside shooting or be used to trade for younger players.
The biggest benefit for Utah in those two trades was the vast amount of draft picks obtained. In the Gobert trade alone, Utah was able to snag five first round picks (four and a pick swap)! Utah will have three draft picks in 2023: their own, Minnesota’s from the Gobert trade, and the least valuable of Brooklyn’s, Philadelphia’s, and Houston’s. Those picks alone could help you obtain rookie starters at three positions or trade for a big-time superstar (Jayson Tatum?).
How to start a franchise in NBA 2K23
To begin a franchise, go to MyNBA Eras on the 2K home screen. From there, select the first option to be brought to the pictured screen. You’ll notice there are four different eras to choose from: The Magic vs. Bird Era, The Jordan Era, The Kobe Era, and The Modern Era.
If you select one of the historical eras, then remember that you’ll be playing with historical rosters and teams. This means that some teams might not exist due to not having been introduced through expansion or relocation, keeping the number of teams in the league low and progressing to the current 30 teams. This piece presumes you will be selecting The Modern Era and will proceed as such.
After selecting The Modern Era, you’ll be brought to the above picture to select your settings for your franchise. Go through each of the nine grouped options and set your preferences. All but two deal with playing offline though the ninth, Ranked, is about making your league an online league that is ranked against others. In the Start From section, you can decide to begin the 2022-2023 season from the beginning of the previous offseason, the start date of the 2022-2023 season, or (if you start during the season), from the day you begin the mode.
Under Role Playing Elements, you can turn on settings that will allow you to gain skill points as a GM for upgrades. If you leave it off, those will not be present. Not only is this a good way to upgrade your team and make offseason aspects easier (like re-signings and trades), it’s also a nice way to keep you involved with goals to reach.
The next page shows you how many years are left both on the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and TV deal. You can also select rule changes you would like to see among various options. The initial rules set is essentially what you see in the current NBA regarding lottery odds, playoffs and the play-in, and roster size. Go through and customize these as you wish to head to team select.
These five teams should present quick paths back to contention while presenting enough potential to keep you interested during the rebuild. Which team will you choose in NBA 2K23?