With NBA 2K17 season in full swing, and the NBA regular season set to tip off on October 25, this felt like as good a time as any to put NBA 2K17’s season simulation algorithm to the test. I went into this expecting chaos, and boy, did we get chaos.
I simulated one season. I let NBA 2K17’s simulator handle everything from trades, to coaching hires to coaching firings to injuries to wins to losses to playoffs results, etc. This is my way of qualifying what you’re about to see. In other words, don’t shoot the messenger. This is NBA 2K17’s doing, not mine!
Western Conference Standings
This doesn’t look considerably different from what most hoop-heads are predicting, until you take a gander at the team that finished dead last in the Western Conference. I’m so sorry, Utah. The Jazz didn’t suffer any catastrophic season-ending injuries, either. This is just how the year played out. Also, it looks like Russell Westbrook and company gelled nicely without Kevin Durant.
The Jazz fired Head Coach Quin Snyder at the end of the season and hired former Sacramento Kings Head Coach, Dave Joerger. Yes, this means the Kings fired another head coach after just one season on the job. The Kings went on to replace Dave Joerger with David Blatt, so, yeah. Sometimes NBA 2K17 is too accurate.
Eastern Conference Standings
Not the worst simulation I’ve ever seen! I don’t expect the Hornets to be east coast cellar-dwellers, nor do I expect the Philadelphia 76ers to finish 41-41, even with a healthy Ben Simmons. NBA 2K17 favored the younger Eastern Conference teams like the Magic, 76ers, and Bucks over the veteran-laden Knicks, Pacers, Hawks, and Wizards in terms of playoff contention. Not likely, but not totally out of the realm of possibility, either. How the Pacers missed the cut here, with NBA 2K17’s cover athlete Paul George, is beyond me.
All-NBA Rookie Team
No arguments here, Ben Simmons’ injury aside. Kris Dunn, Dario Saric, Buddy Hield, and Joel Embiid is a great all-rookie foursome, and I could certainly see the All-NBA Rookie Team playing out like this in 2016-17.
All-Defensive First Team
NBA 2K17 is projecting a huge year for John Wall. Other than his inclusion on this list, which isn’t actually all that farfetched, this is doable! A sincere congratulations to you, Washington Wizards fan.
All-NBA First Team
Not terribly inaccurate! John Wall likely stole the spot Stephen Curry would have occupied had he not suffered a season-ending high ankle sprain (knock on wood). Seriously, if we lose Stephen Curry this season, I will not accept the blame for it. It’s not my fault. It wasn’t me. I’m so sorry.
Coach of the Year – Billy Donovan
If Billy Donovan leads the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 57-25 season after losing Kevin Durant, yeah, give that man Coach of the Year. SPOILER: It’s not the only award a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder will be receiving in NBA 2K17‘s simulation.
Sixth Man of the Year – Brandon Knight
Brandon Knight is probably the most talented non-starter in the NBA right now after he agreed to come off the bench for new coach Earl Watson in Phoenix. He could be a starting guard on around a third of NBA teams, but the Suns are so stacked with young talent in the backcourt, that he’s been forced into a bench role. Except, he absolutely should be considered as a real Sixth Man of the Year threat, as NBA 2K17 is predicting here.
Most Improved Player – Karl Towns
Another solid prediction! Karl-Anthony Towns was awesome last season. I have little doubt that he’ll be even more awesome this season. Most Improved Player is a good goal for him, and one that he could potentially run away with.
Rookie of the Year – Ben Simmons
I’m going to start crying if NBA 2K17 continues to throw Ben Simmons in my face while knowing he could miss the entire season with a broken foot. It’s a travesty that we could miss out on watching that guy ball this season. Trust the process, I suppose. If he was healthy, he’d be the ROTY favorite.
Defensive Player of the Year – DeAndre Jordan
If virtual Doc Rivers campaigned for DeAndre Jordan to win NBA 2K17’s Defensive Player of the Year award half as hard as the real Doc Rivers did last season, than this selection is easy to understand. DeAndre Jordan really wants it, Doc Rivers really thinks he deserves it, and he just might get it this season.
Most Valuable Player – Russell Westbrook
RUSS! This was my favorite NBA 2K17 prediction because it so mirrors what everyone wants to see Russell Westbrook this season. NBA 2K17 has him finishing one rebound shy of a triple-double average, which is both absurd and on the table. NBA fans want maniac Russ in 2016-17, and so does NBA 2K17. Awesome.
I told you this thing was going to go off the rails.
An injury to Stephen Curry made the Warriors vulnerable in NBA 2K17’s playoffs, but beyond that, the Portland Trail Blazers just dominated the competition. They took care of the Grizzlies, swept the Warriors, took down the Clippers in seven games, and then dismantled the healthy Cleveland Cavaliers without home court advantage in six games to win the NBA Finals. What a time to be (virtually) alive.
The Portland Trail Blazers are so much fun that I don’t have it in me to trash this prediction. If they went on this sort of run, it would be on the backs of two of the NBA’s most exciting young stars in Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. It would be so out of nowhere, so unpredictable, that I feel compelled to roll with it. Let’s go Portland. I’m with you.
Is it going to happen? Unlikely. Would I root for it? Hell yes.
NBA Finals MVP – Damian Lillard
I mean, duh. If the Blazers win the NBA Championship, it means Damian Lillard played out of his mind. 32.2 points per game against the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals is a Finals MVP performance, no doubt. I wouldn’t bet against him.
Bonus Round – NBA Transactions
I’ll leave you with this slightly-disappointing rundown of NBA 2K17-simulated transactions. I was expecting a few NBA-landscape-changing trades, and NBA 2K17 just didn’t give us any. They must have used up all their allotted chaos on that NBA Finals prediction, but here you go.