This morning 2K released their All-Time rosters for all 30 teams in the NBA, a first for the extremely popular NBA simulation game.
These rosters, of course, include the All-Time Phoenix Suns.
It is unfortunate to report, however, that whether or not it was on purpose, lack of contractual agreements, or utter mis-judgement, the list of Suns players is lacking some seriously important and popular names that do bring the entire idea of an “All-Time Suns team” way down.
To begin with, since the end of the 1992-93 season, Charles Barkley has refused to allow his likeness added to video games, thus never allowing players to re-live those glorious Barkley years in video game form. In fact, aside from the SNES’ NBA Showdown released in 1993, the 92-93 Suns have never since been memorialized on another system.
This personal rejection by Sir Charles continues to this day, so not only is he not on the list, but we can now infer that none of his three great teams from 92-95 will be part of the “Historical Teams” additions that too will be also be added this year.
A bummer, but expected.
The rest of the All-Time list, however, is still somewhat of a letdown due to a lack of several very key, and popular names.
Had 2K wanted to truly complete a full and accurate list of Suns greats, they first could have looked at the franchise’s Ring of Honor, and included each of those names, then building out from there.
Fortunately some did make the cut, Connie Hawkins (I can’t wait to play as him), Paul Westphal, Kevin Johnson, Tom Chambers, and Dan Majerle are all included. Disappointingly though, three notable names are not: Alvan Adams, Dick Van Arsdale, and Walter Davis.
Whether those three names are omitted intentionally or not is unknown.
While one might make the argument that Dick Van Arsdale was never the team’s best player, and that after his Rookie of the Year winning season that Adams’ statistics declined nearly every year, fans would still prefer to have each of those players at their primes in the game, especially above several other added names.
It is a travesty, though, that Walter Davis is not on this list. One of the most pure scorers in league history, he, to this day, leads the franchise is scoring. He was Klay Thompson before the 3-point line was mainstream, and is still widely remembered as the best shooter the franchise has ever known. “Sweet D,” as he was affectionately known, should be in this game without hesitation, and his absence is glaring.
But for every addition, there must to be a subtraction. If 2K were to add those players to the roster, three players easily could be taken out: Goran Dragic, Leandro Barbosa, and Cedric Ceballos. (I’d also take out Dennis Johnson, but will explain that in a moment.)
As many fond memories Suns fans have of those three players, there is no doubt that the vast majority of the Valley of the Suns would prefer to see those other three Ring of Honor members in the game first. Save for the 2012-13 season, Goran Dragic was never the only starting point guard on the roster and thus, while very good, was never truly the face of the franchise. Plus, he has been in every NBA2K game in his career as it is, so Suns fans have had many opportunities to play, and win, with him.
Barbosa too has been in every game in his career, but while he was a Sixth Man of the Year award winner or runner up in his prime, the fact that he too would be selected over a Ring of Honor member is ludicrous. In fact, the Valley of the Suns ran a poll on Twitter following his early summer release asking fans if he deserved a spot in the Ring, and the resounding answer was no.
Having Cedric Ceballos is undoubtedly pretty cool because he actually was the best small forward in the franchise’s history before Shawn Marion. That being said, he did not have the longevity of any of the other Ring members, and while I am happy to accept him near the end of the complete roster, there just are too many players ahead of him that deserve a spot before his addition.
Finally, 2K chose Dennis Johnson as one of the additional point guards on the Suns’ All-Time roster. A fantastic defense player in his era, and probably the best defensive point guard in the franchise’s history, Johnson still only played three seasons for the Suns, before being traded to Boston – where he won two titles in three years.
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If I had my druthers, I would prefer that Johnson be replaced by Charlie Scott. The best player on some absolutely bad teams in the early 1970’s, Scott is still one of the most prolific scorers the franchise has ever known. He too only played three seasons for the Suns, although with much more impressive personal statistics. Honestly, putting him in a lineup next to Steve Nash might have allowed him to average over 30 points a game for a season or two in his prime, and could easily be achieved in a season on NBA2K18.
Overall I would rate NBA2K18’s All-Time Suns roster a C. Missing out on Charles Barkley to this day still stings, but at least it is not like he was left out because of an oversight. He does not allow it (neither does Reggie Miller) and so there really is nothing they can do.
But whether or not Dick Van Arsdale, Alvan Adams, Walter Davis, or Charlie Scott were each asked and denied inclusion, we do not know. There is no doubt, however, that had they each been on this game, it would have made for a much richer, and more fulfilling All-Time Suns experience on this season’s iteration of the popular NBA simulation game.