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NBA 2K17 Says This Team Could Beat The Warriors With A Payroll Lower Than The Cavaliers

As the 2017 NBA Draft approaches, there are a ton of rumors circulating as teams jockey for position in an effort to produce a roster that closes the gap between them and the NBA champions. There was no team in the NBA this year capable of stopping the Warriors, so there is a idea to find a group of players who could get the job done.

We could put together an All-Star team that could best Golden State, but what about a real team whose payroll would be under the salary cap? With the help of NBA 2K17, we found a collection of players who were collectively good enough to handle the Warriors, and their salary weren't just under the salary cap, it was less than the Cavs' during the 2016-17 season.

What were the criteria for picking players to take down the Warriors? First of all, we needed the world's best player, and that's James. From there, we needed a tempo-controlling, high-I.Q. point guard and there's no one in the NBA who better fits that description than Chris Paul. Next, we need versatile, long and athletic players who excel on both ends of the floor. Few are longer and more athletic than Giannis Antetokounmpo. Paul George also checks all of the boxes and Anthony Davis is a new breed big who can step out and shot the three, block shots and he's athletic enough to guard smaller players in space on the pick and roll. His size will cause an issue for Golden State inside, but he won't get exploited if the Warriors go small.

This team's bench needs to be stacked with shooters. Devin Booker is one of the best long-range bombers in the NBA. Avery Bradley, Patty Mills, Malcolm Brogdon, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Gary Harris are all gunners. Even Robert Covington and Aaron Gordon can make threes at a respectable clip. Willie Cauley-Stein may not see the floor a ton, but he's long and athletic and he can be a defensive force as a shot blocker.

After tabbing James, Paul, Davis and George, I had to target players with lower salaries. In fact, they are the only players on the team who made $10 million or more last season. So here came the result, that team's total payroll would have been $126,018,929 for the 2016-17 season. The Cavs' payroll last season was $127,998,668.

Two teams simulated a seven-game series for 10 times and also loaded the players on the Philadelphia 76ers rosters, just for kicks. The results weren't as lopsided as you might expect.

The new look 76ers won six of 10 simulations. That said, the fact that the Warriors actually beat this team 40 percent of the time is a testament to how special they are as a group. Unfortunately for Warriors haters, there's zero chance of this version of the 76ers playing together to stop what could be a dynasty by the Bay.