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NBA 2K14: Rookies Perfect to Build Around in Association Mode

GREENBURGH, NY - AUGUST 06:  Shabazz Muhammad #15 of the Minnesota Timberwolves poses for a portrait during the 2013 NBA rookie photo shoot at the MSG Training Center on August 6, 2013 in Greenburgh, New York.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 4, 2013

Don't be that guy to play with the Miami Heat or Oklahoma City Thunder in NBA 2K14's Association Mode in order to have the easiest path to success.

Unless you're a fan of one of those teams, go ahead and take some team lower down in the standings and start more from the ground up.

Part of that process is taking one of the top picks in the most recent draft and building around him. It's always more fun to take a bad player ratings-wise and turn him into an All-Star. Plus, you're setting yourself up to have a good team for a longer period of time.

Of this year's rookie class, these five players stand out as the best building blocks at their respective positions. If you're feeling extra ambitious, you can just stick them all on one team and make some sort of Super Friends group of rookies.

 

PG: Trey Burke, Utah Jazz, 73 OVR

GREENBURGH, NY - AUGUST 06:  Trey Burke #3 of the Utah Jazz poses for a portrait during the 2013 NBA rookie photo shoot at the MSG Training Center on August 6, 2013 in Greenburgh, New York.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by do
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Every team needs a floor general, and there won't be a better one to come out of the 2013 draft than Trey Burke.

What's nice about him is that he's more than just somebody who can get the ball up the court, dish it off and that's it. While not a sharpshooter, Burke has a nice stroke and can knock it down from mid-range and behind the three-point line.

With the rise of the pick-and-roll offense in the NBA, you'll be more than prepared to cash in on that growing trend. Burke is a very good passer and equally prepared to drive to the hole if he gets a lane.

 

SG: Ben McLemore, Sacramento Kings, 72 OVR

SACRAMENTO, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: Ben McLemore of the Sacramento Kings poses for a photo on media day September 30, 2013 at the Kings practice facility in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/o
Rocky Widner/Getty Images

When you think of a video game player, somebody like Ben McLemore comes to mind. He's an explosive scorer who can make a variety of shots. His shooting stroke is a thing of beauty, and it's not far off to see him as one of the best three-point shooters in the league in a few years.

Additionally, McLemore will be able to drive into the paint and pull off some highlight-reel dunks. If there's one rookie you should put at the top of your wish list, McLemore is the guy.

Perhaps what's most important is whatever attitude issues he seemed to have at Kansas and his ability to thrive in a place like Sacramento are both issues you won't have to deal with in a video game.

 

SF: Shabazz Muhammad, Minnesota Timberwolves, 65 OVR

Jul 15, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Shabazz Muhammad dribbles the ball towards the basket during an NBA Summer League game against the Phoenix Suns at the Thomas and Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

If you're looking for a safe bet at a small forward, you go with Otto Porter. He was one of the most polished players in the draft, and his bust potential is almost nonexistent.

If you're willing to gamble a bit and watch a player really grow, Shabazz Muhammad is the much better pick.

His game needs more work, but offensively, he's very skilled on the court. Muhammad arguably has a higher ceiling than Porter and should be much more fun to control in a video game.

Just don't be surprised if a few years into Association Mode, you find out that Muhammad aged a couple of years in the span of an offseason.

 

PF: Anthony Bennett, Cleveland Cavaliers, 76 OVR

INDEPENDENCE, OH - SEPTEMBER 30: Anthony Bennett #15 of the Cleveland Cavaliers poses for a portrait during 2012 NBA Media Day on September 30th, 2013 at the Cleveland Clinic Courts Practice Facility in Independence, Ohio.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly ac
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The pickings at power forward are pretty slim. It's pretty much Anthony Bennett and then everyone else. Admittedly he's the No. 1 overall pick, so he's not a bad player. You're going to have a guy with a load of talent and potential.

The problem is whether or not he's going to be a good power forward. Even in a video game, you might get a bit frustrated by his lack of size and ability in the paint.

Still, there's a reason Bennett was the top draft choice, so you could have a perennial All-Star on your hands here.

 

C: Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia 76ers, 72 OVR

BILBAO, SPAIN - OCTOBER 3:   Nerlens Noel #4 of the Philadelphia 76ers arrives at the hotel during the NBA Global Games on October 3, 2013 in Bilbao, Spain. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photog
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

Injury issues? What injury issues?

Nerlens Noel will be out until December at the earliest. But that's the real world. When you fire up NBA 2K14 and start your Association Mode, you'll have Noel right from the start. More importantly, he's going to be much more of a sure thing.

Although he'll be more prone to injuries than other big men, it's not like degenerative knee problems are common to video games.

Just keep Noel in the paint, and watch him become a force on the defensive end.

 

*Note: All ratings are courtesy of The Real 2K Insider.

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