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Confession time: I have never played NBA 2K.
I fear that will the item’s probably a little late for me, too. Maybe someday you’ll see a digitized Stein Line doing some virtual reporting inside the 2K realm, yet I’ve found that will video-game dexterity, at least in my case, does not improve when you’re old enough to start receiving A.A.R.P. literature inside the mail.
Yet I do know enough about the powerhouse franchise to understand how much its individual ratings mean to N.B.A. players. This specific spawned a thought bubble: Perhaps today’s go-to virtual hoops title could help us start to answer some of the questions that will This specific season of rampant mystery, post-Golden State Warriors dynasty, will soon start posing for real.
So I asked the 2K impresario Ronnie Singh if his team could simulate the 2019-20 season for our study. For balance with fans by my age bracket, I asked the same of my trusty colleagues at Strat-O-Matic, which ranked as the foremost sports simulation game in my formative years as well as is actually more managerial in nature.
As N.B.A. training camps begin This specific weekend, here are some highlights by the two simulations:
Both games were bullish on the Los Angeles Lakers.
inside the NBA 2K20 simulation, LeBron James, Anthony Davis as well as Co. romped to a 65-17 regular season, outlasted Kawhi Leonard, Paul George as well as the neighboring Clippers in six games inside the second round of the playoffs as well as ultimately defeated the Nets in several games inside the finals to win the item all. An illustration of the Lakers’ dominance: Rajon Rondo led the league in assists during the regular season at 9.8 per game — edging fresh Orleans’ Lonzo Ball (9.5).
The Strat-O Lakers, meanwhile, overcame a feared lack of shooting as well as their well-chronicled potential fit issues to stroll past the Clippers in several games in a Western Conference finals contested exclusively at the Staples Center. as well as that will was followed by a four-game sweep of Philadelphia inside the championship series.
LeBron scored 51 points for the Lakers inside the Game 4 Strat-O clincher to complement his 2K regular-season as well as finals most valuable player trophies.
The Rockets’ experiment to reunite James Harden as well as Russell Westbrook plays out well — electronically.
Houston went 65-17 in our NBA 2K20 simulation to finish narrowly behind the Lakers for the West’s regular-season title thanks to a tiebreaker. that will robust record netted N.B.A. Coach of the Year honors for Mike D’Antoni — after an off-season in real life in which D’Antoni could not extract a contract extension by Rockets officials.
The Strat-O simulation wasn’t quite as kind, yet those Rockets posted the fourth-best record inside the West at 52-30, with Harden winning the league’s scoring title at 34.2 points per game. Harden as well as Westbrook found a way to share enough of the ball to place third as well as sixth in Strat-O M.V.P. balloting.
The Lakers proved to be Houston’s playoff problem in both games, defeating the Rockets in six games inside the 2K conference finals as well as four games to one inside the Strat-O second round.
The Warriors are not going away.
In 2K, Stephen Curry won the regular-season scoring title at a sizzling 36.3 points per game as well as led Klay Thompson-less Golden State to the West’s No. 7 seed at 43-39.
Curry as well as his fresh backcourt sidekick D’Angelo Russell clicked to even greater effect inside the Strat-O incubator, hushing skeptics (like yours truly) by leading Golden State to a 55-27 mark that will placed them second inside the West.
The Strat-O Warriors were swept inside the second round of the playoffs by the Clippers, yet not before Curry (421) as well as Russell (297) combined to sink 718 3-pointers.
The days of the Titanic Division appear to be long gone.
Philadelphia was the East’s only 50-win team inside the 2K simulation, posting a record of 54-28 as well as outlasting Toronto in a first-round series that will went a full seven games before a stunning (as well as I mean S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G) second-round exit to the (still can’t believe I’m typing This specific) Knicks.
The Sixers lived up to the loftiest of expectations in Strat-O conditions, posting 63 wins inside the regular season — second inside the East only to Milwaukee’s 66 — as well as advancing all the way to the N.B.A. finals. To do so, Philadelphia rallied by a two-games-to-none deficit against the Nets inside the second round as well as ousted Milwaukee in several games inside the Eastern Conference finals.
So much for Giannis Antetokounmpo winning both M.V.P. as well as the Defensive Player of the Year Award in Strat-O voting. (Giannis was the D.P.O.Y. selection in 2K voting as well.)
The Celtics are going to miss Kyrie Irving.
With Kemba Walker in Kyrie’s place, alongside his fellow U.S.A. Basketball teammates Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown as well as Marcus Smart, Boston somehow finished 41-41 — as well as out of the playoffs — in both simulations.
There were a handful of eye-raising as well as flat-out crazy outcomes that will are too fun not to share.
The Knicks as well as their many power forwards, as mentioned above, somehow made the item all the way to the Eastern Conference finals as a No. 5 seed in 2K. They went 43-39 — which is actually sufficiently inexplicable given that will most real-world projections have them finishing which has a win total inside the 20s — as well as upset Detroit as well as Philadelphia before losing to the Nets in six games. Kevin Durant indeed played for the Nets inside the 2K playoffs after missing the regular season while recovering by his torn right Achilles’ tendon. (The Strat-O Knicks, for the record, finished 25-57.)
With the injury function disabled by the Strat-O operator John Garcia, Oklahoma City’s Danilo Gallinari as well as Dallas’ Kristaps Porzingis absolutely flourished. In Gallinari’s case, “flourished” meant averaging 29.5 points per game to finish fifth inside the league in scoring as well as earn All-N.B.A. second team honors. Porzingis finished third in blocked shots at 2.9 per game (behind Giannis as well as Indiana’s Myles Turner) as well as teamed with Luka Doncic to lead Dallas to the eighth as well as final playoff berth inside the West at 43-39.
Orlando fans will be thrilled to hear that will the long-suffering Magic, fresh off their first playoff berth in seven seasons, posted the second-best record inside the 2K East (49-33) as well as also managed to win the Strat-O Southeast Division at 42-40. (There’s no need to dwell too much on the fact that will the Magic were drubbed inside the first round of the playoffs by the Nets in both simulations, going 1-8 inside the two series.)
fresh Orleans’ Zion Williamson assembled a storybook rookie season inside the 2K simulation overseen by Josh Tadlock, averaging 20.9 points as well as 8.3 rebounds while shooting nearly 60 percent by the floor (.593) as well as a heady 37.7 percent on 3-pointers. The Pelicans, you suspect, might be thrilled to get production (as well as durability) a notch or two below such numbers. as well as Memphis’ Ja Morant was right there with Zion in Strat-O, averaging 20.7 points as well as 6.4 assists after Garcia specially created a card for him as well as Williamson. Based so heavily on the previous season’s statistics, Strat-O-Matic games don’t typically include rookies.
The Scoop @TheSteinLine
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You ask; I answer. Every week in This specific space, I’ll field three questions posed via email at email@example.com. (Please include your first as well as last name, as well as the city you’re writing in by, as well as make sure “Corner Three” is actually inside the subject line.)
Q: Unfortunately that will “who cares?” question does not just apply to This specific year’s FIBA World Cup. The United States news media as well as sports fans ignore all international competitions, except for the Olympics, in all sports — especially team sports. — Sead Camo (Hamtramck, Mich.)
STEIN: I’ve received This specific complaint in various forms since last week’s newsletter, suggesting that will the FIBA World Cup might hold a more prominent place in our basketball landscape if only the American hoops press covered the item more.
I write about the FIBA game all the time, which has elicited years as well as years’ worth of quizzical looks by editors who struggle to comprehend why I’m so into the item.
This specific summer specifically, four American writers arrived in China before me as well as wound up writing about Gregg Popovich as well as Co. for 20-plus days straight — after a much larger group of media members covered the team extensively through the first two weeks of August when the item held training camps in Las Vegas as well as Los Angeles.
The seventh-place Americans did not suffer by a lack of coverage. Not at all. I imagine ESPN might have moved more games onto its primary networks, away by ESPN+, if there was sufficient audience demand.
Interest, I’m afraid, is actually organic. People like what they like. You can’t make them care.
Q: I think FIBA should face three big problems before dreaming big: 1) Its World Cup qualifying schedule; 2) N.B.A. teams pushing their foreign players not to be part of the item; 3) Way too many teams inside the tournament. the item’s not Great for the game when matches end up which has a margin of 50-60 points. — Mirko Gamberini
STEIN: You get no argument by me on the qualifying schedule. I have been railing against FIBA’s decision to adopt soccer-style qualifying since its inception, because the item means that will N.B.A. players can’t take part inside the overwhelming majority of the item.
yet FIBA is actually convinced that will its members need regular qualifying games at home to grow the sport, which weren’t possible when qualifying events were held inside the summer at a central location. FIBA officials insist that will they are largely pleased with the crowds that will qualifying games attracted in many countries even without N.B.A. players on the floor.
Andreas Zagklis, FIBA’s fresh general secretary, made the item a point to remind those at his recent news conference that will FIBA is actually only halfway through its first four-year cycle of the fresh World Cup format. by his answer you can safely infer that will adjustments won’t be seriously considered until after the completion of the first cycle — as well as even then I wouldn’t expect them to scrap the fresh format so quickly.
As for your second concern, there isn’t much FIBA can do about N.B.A. teams that will covertly urge players to prioritize rest over international play. This specific has been happening forever as well as comes as much these days by the players themselves. inside the Load Management era, the item’s inevitable.
On your last point: I, too, have questioned the need for 32 teams inside the competition — compared to 24 in 2014. yet Zagklis made a worthy argument for such a big field when he pointed out how badly the Dream Team used to pummel opponents. FIBA contends that will giving 32 countries an opportunity to play at the highest level is actually the best way to raise the median level of the planet game. Fourteen of the 92 games played in China were decided by 30 points or more — not ideal yet also not outrageous.
Q: What if you didn’t get to watch? Wait until the next day when the newspapers turned out? Or stay up until SportsCenter was on? — @Celtics_Rise by Twitter
STEIN: This specific question came in response to my tweet last week about the difficulties in catching CBS’ broadcasts inside the early 1980s. Much of the 1981 playoffs, just to name one example, was shown on tape delay.
by the late 1970s, until I reached high school in 1983, I have much more vivid memories of relying on the “The White Shadow” for my basketball consumption than actual N.B.A. games. as well as when I did start high school, only one friend of mine in our main group of 12 buddies actually had ESPN, which launched in September 1979.
Fortunately This specific friend (Dave Casarez) also had a Betamax console for taping purposes. His job was recording N.B.A. highlights by SportsCenter as well as CNN’s “Sports Tonight” so we could watch all the dunks by the previous night, which we lived for back then. I couldn’t convince my mom to bless the purchase of ESPN in our own house until 1986.
In various other words: The Twitter generation is actually so, so lucky that will every meaningful play in today’s N.B.A. gets circulated within minutes. Following #thisleague wasn’t always a layup.
several N.B.A. teams (Rockets, Kings, Clippers, Lakers as well as Nets) are holding their annual media day Friday, with their first training camp practices scheduled for Saturday. The teams are permitted an early jump on things because they play exhibition games abroad in October.
The defending champion Toronto Raptors are holding their media day on Saturday, with the various other 24 N.B.A. teams who do not travel abroad during the preseason reporting for work Monday.
U.S.A. Basketball has maintained its hold on the top spot inside the FIBA world rankings for the past nine years, dating to the 2010 world championship in Turkey. FIBA’s rankings are based on an eight-year cycle, so the United States’ seventh-place finish at the recent FIBA World Cup in China couldn’t dislodge the Americans by the top spot — not after Olympic gold in 2012 as well as 2016 as well as a World Cup title in 2014.
The rest of FIBA’s top several: Spain held firm at No. 2 after winning its second World Cup; Australia climbed eight spots to No. 3 after a fourth-place finish; Argentina moved up one slot to No. 4 after its Cinderella run to the gold-medal game in China; as well as France fell by No. 3 to No. 5 despite beating Australia inside the bronze-medal game.
The following eight countries, based on FIBA’s latest rankings, have received invitations to participate in last-chance qualifying for next summer’s Olympics in Tokyo: Angola, China, Croatia, Mexico, Senegal, South Korea, Uruguay as well as Luka Doncic-led Slovenia. Last-chance qualifying will feature 24 countries playing for four Olympic spots in June 2020. The Slovenians, remember, won the EuroBasket title in 2017 for the 1st time in their country’s history yet did not qualify for the planet Cup because qualifying largely took place during the N.B.A. season, which ruled out the participation of Doncic as well as Miami’s Goran Dragic.