NBA 2K Game Preview: 2007-08 Nuggets host 1997-98 Chicago Bulls
Although time travel is yet to be created, Denver Nuggets fans will enjoy a unique experience Thursday night due to the power of video games.
Through NBA 2K20, fans will experience a rare matchup between the 2007-08 Nuggets and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls. Yes, Carmelo Anthony, Allen Iverson and the crew will face off against the Bulls team that is currently the subject of the popular “The Last Dance” documentary on ESPN.
The matchup pits an all-time great team nearing the end of its illustrious run against a talented Nuggets squad that won 50 games and finished second in the league in points per game at 110.7.
Meanwhile, the 1997-98 Bulls won 62 games and completed their second three-peat with a victory over the Utah Jazz in the NBA Finals.
Starting lineups (with 2K overall rating):
Chicago: Ron Harper (79), Michael Jordan (98), Scottie Pippen (89), Dennis Rodman (85), Luc Longley (70)
Denver: Allen Iverson (89), J.R. Smith (79), Carmelo Anthony (91), Kenyon Martin (79), Marcus Camby (87)
WATCH: Nuggets’ Twitch channel, Twitter, Facebook or YouTube channel at 7 p.m. MT.
How to contain MJ?
Perhaps nothing will decide Thursday’s virtual contest more than whether or not Denver can limit the impact of the game’s greatest player. Despite not being at his peak performance level in 1998, Jordan still boasts a 98 overall rating, which is seven points higher than Denver’s top-rated player in Anthony.
Unfortunately for Denver, elite defense on the wings isn’t the strong suit of this 2007-08 team, with J.R. Smith or Anthony likely spending the majority of time defending Jordan. The best hope for the Nuggets is that Martin or Camby can provide elite rim protection and interior defense to stifle Jordan and the Bulls’ offense.
Can Denver find success against Chicago’s defense?
You don’t have the amount of success that the Bulls did during the 1997-98 season without thriving on the defensive end, which could pose a serious challenge for Denver’s offense. Chicago ranked third in the league in defensive rating during the 1997-98 season and boasts several quality defenders in Ron Harper, Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman.
However, Denver isn’t short of offensive firepower, led by Anthony and Allen Iverson. Both players averaged at least 25.7 points per game that season, and with a supporting cast that includes J.R. Smith, Nene and Eduardo Najera, there is reason to believe that the Nuggets can put up enough points to pull out a victory.
Winning the battle on the boards
Denver’s frontcourt faces a daunting task of keeping Dennis Rodman off the offensive glass on one end of the floor while securing enough offensive rebounds to generate second-chance points could go a long way in helping Denver’s offense.
Rodman averaged 15 rebounds per game during the 1997-98 season and is considered one of the greatest rebounders in league history despite measuring in at just 6’7”. Martin and Camby present a quality opposition to Rodman and the Bulls in the frontcourt, but whichever team controls the boards could gain a significant advantage in what should be a fascinating matchup.