June 6, 2020, 8:18 pm
With quarantine going on and no actual basketball being played, Hunter and I have found ourselves spending more hours than we’d like to publicly admit on PS4.
Whether it be GTA V, COD Warzone, MLB The Show 20, or NBA 2k20 rest assure if it’s past about 8pm you’ll find us with a controller in hand, our mics placed firmly on our heads and our minds stuck in a virtual world. With that being said, last year we recorded an episode in which we simulated the Nets’ season in NBA 2k19’s MyLeague mode from about the mid-way point and recapped everything that happened.
Well, here we are back at it again but this time we’ve decided to both record a podcast and put everything into writing with pictures included so that you all can truly feel like you were here with us.
Just to preface things, we simulated through three seasons which included finishing the one that is currently on pause right now due to COVID-19. We also switched everything to automatic so that the Nets made every single move on their own including lineup changes, trades, drafts picks and free agent acquisitions.
Here is the kicker though, we started from where the season left off with everyone in the league fully healthy. Which means, yes, both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are fully healthy heading into the playoffs for the Nets.
This was a super fun experience and we hope that you all have just as much fun reading and listening about it as we did doing it.
Also, if anyone who is reading this plays NBA 2k20’s Pro Am mode and has a team, Hunter and I will most certainly accept any challenges. We want all the smoke.
Without further ado, I present to you The Hoop Ball Nets NBA 2k20 Simulation, which you can also listen to here.
Year 1 (2019-2020 Season)
We picked up right after the Nets beat the Lakers on March 10 and they were 30-34 with a hold of the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. Now, they had a completely healthy team including two of the NBA’s top-10 players at their disposal, so lets see what they did with it.
The answer to that question is simple: not much.
In their next 18 games, the Nets went 8-10 and dropped to the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference while also finishing with a Team Chemistry grade of just 38%. Throwing KD and Kyrie back onto a Nets team that didn’t have them for most of the season really messed up the fluidity that the team was creating and they floundered to even stay in the playoffs race.
Before we get into the playoffs, lets see who won this year’s season awards:
MVP: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
6th Man of the Year: Dennis Schroder, Oklahoma City Thunder
Defensive Player of the Year: Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers
Most Improved Player: Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat
Rookie of the Year: Ja Morant (2k tried so hard to make Zion get this award but Morant barely managed to hang onto it)
Coach of the Year: Mike Budenholzer
Unfortunately, none of our Nets made any All-NBA teams either, but here’s the All-NBA First Team:
G James Harden
G Luka Doncic
F Giannis Antetokounmpo
F LeBron James
C Nikola Jokic
All of those awards are pretty accurate considering we basically flipped the league upside down by un-injuring every single player but lets get into the playoffs.
So, the Nets are the eighth seed going up against The Greek Freak and the Bucks in the first round. Things aren’t looking too good at first as they get blown out the first two games and then manage to blow a 15-point lead in game three. Now, they’re looking at a 3-0 deficit to perhaps the best team in the league and what do they do?
They come back and win three straight games to force a game seven in Milwaukee.
Hunter and I literally started screaming like someone had just hit a game-winner in Game 7 of the NBA Finals as we saw the Nets claw back to tie up the series. In those three games combined KD and Kyrie each averaged over 30.2 points and literally put Brooklyn on their back but it wasn’t enough.
In Game 7, the Nets lost by two points and just like that their season was over. A season that was paused for 3 months due to COVID-19 over in just a matter of days as they couldn’t complete the comeback. Irving ended the playoffs averaging 26.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.1 steals on 46.4 percent shooting while KD averaged 24.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.3 blocks on 49.1 percent shooting in just seven games. Outside of that, the rest of the team was quite a disappointment with Caris LeVert failing to average over 14.9 points per game and Spencer Dinwiddie only shooting 40.4 percent from the field. The Jarrett Allen and DeAndre Jordan experiment also didn’t work too well in 2k20 because 2K’s logic doesn’t allow for two players at the same position that have the same archetype to truly co-exist. Therefore, Allen finished the playoffs averaging 9.9 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks on 52.7 percent shooting while Jordan averaged 4.9 points, 10.9 rebounds and 1.7 blocks on a horrific 37.1 percent from the field.
Our resident sharpshooter in Joe Harris, or as we like to call him around here, “Ol Reliable”, shot only 32.1 percent from deep in the playoffs and the Nets just couldn’t pick up much production outside of their two mega-stars.
With the Nets out of the running for the championship, the Bucks found themselves facing the Celtics in the second round where they were upset in Game 6. In the Western Conference, the number-one seeded Lakers were knocked out in the first round by the Trail Blazers and when the Conference Finals came only four teams were left standing.
The Celtics, 76ers, Trail Blazers and Clippers battled it out for a spot in the NBA Finals with the Celtics and Clippers emerging as the victors. In a six game series, the Celtics conquered the Clips to take home their 18th championship and first since 2009. Jayson Tatum emerged as the Finals MVP and a slew of players including Vince Carter and Jamal Crawford announced their retirements.
Throughout all of this, the Nets were using Kenny Atkinson as their Head Coach but once the season was officially over, they made a blockbuster move that nobody expected.
Hunter and I tried firing Atkinson when the simulation began, but the Nets hired him back in the next week and so we figured it would be best to just wait until the season ended.
Fresh off of the Kenny Atkinson era, the Nets hired 5x NBA Champion, 15x All-Star and 2x MVP Tim Duncan to be their next head coach and the rest of the league, including Hunter and I, were stunned. Both Durant and Irving would’ve had to agree to allowing Duncan to be their next coach and it seems as though they did. Putting all of the playoff battles aside, Duncan saw the Nets as the perfect place to build a new legacy and the Nets saw Duncan as the perfect hire.
The Nets were pretty quiet on the draft front, selecting Jahmius Ramsey out of Texas Tech with the 24th pick in the NBA Draft. The 6’3, 195lb shooting guard finished his college career averaging 15 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists on 44.2 percent shooting in 27 games. As an 18-year old Freshman, Ramsey shot 43 percent from beyond the arc, was named Big 12 Freshman of the Year and landed a spot on the All-Big 12 second team. The Nets hope that Ramsey can provide some solid scoring off of the bench while also learning from two of the greatest scorers the league has ever seen in Durant and Irving.
The rest of the draft shaped out like most would expect, except for in a shocking move the Pistons (who already had the first pick) traded up to get the fourth pick in the draft. Now owning two of the first four picks, the Pistons selected James Wiseman at one and LaMelo Ball which gives them a young core of Ball, Wiseman and Luke Kennard.
Then came free agency and in one of the most shocking moves of the entire simulation, the Nets managed to ink Nikola Mirotic to a 3yr,$28.2 million deal to bring him back from the EuroLeague. For years the Nets have needed a consistent stretch four that can space the floor and allow for their isolation heavy guards in Caris LeVert, Dinwiddie and Irving to work and now that they have that, the sky is the limit.
Year 2 (2020-2021)
Set to embark on their first full season as a complete unit, the Nets were ready and here was their lineup:
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Caris LeVert
SF: Kevin Durant
PF: Nikola Mirotic
C: DeAndre Jordan
6th Man: Spencer Dinwiddie
Bench: Jarrett Allen, Joe Harris, Jahmius Ramsey
Head Coach Tim Duncan decided to run a 9-man rotation, which knocked Taurean Prince, Dzanan Musa and Rodion Kurucs completely out of the lineup. However, they came out of the gates red hot, going 18-4 in their first 22 games and looking like the powerhouse everyone thought they’d be.
Then, on November 14 Durant was diagnosed with a bruised left knee which forced him to miss 1-2 weeks and shortly after, Nikola Mirotic went down with a high ankle sprain which was set to keep him sidelined for 4-6 weeks. Around that time, the All-Star captains were announced and they were revealed to be Kevin Durant and Luka Doncic, marking the first time that neither LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo were the captains.
Durant’s knee healed up fairly quickly and he was back in the lineup after missing just four games but as soon as he returned, both Irving and Dinwiddie went down. While Dinwiddie’s flu was only supposed to keep him out for 10 days, Irving was facing a bruised heel that kept him sidelined from November 20 up until December 10. During that time span, Durant found himself a new partner in crime and it wasn’t Caris LeVert but instead, 19-year old Jahmius Ramsey.
During Irving’s injury, coach Duncan decided to thrust Ramsey into the starting lineup and he flourished, averaging 19.2 on 49.4 percent shooting and making his way into the Rookie of the Year conversation. With Duncan and the Nets seeing how gifted Ramsey was and knowing that Mirotic was far from being ready to return, they decided that Taurean Prince’s services were no longer needed and shipped him across town to the New York Knicks to acquire JaMychal Green and a the Hornets 2021 second round pick that the Knicks had previously acquired.
Now it was time for the All-Star break and the Nets were sitting at 38-17, which was the second best record in the NBA at that time due to the Mavericks being a game ahead of them.
We do have a confession though, this entire All-Star draft wasn’t simulated, Hunter and I drafted Irving with Durant’s first pick because 2K would’ve just drafted Kawhi Leonard since he has a higher overall. However, other than that it was completely automated and the teams ended up looking like this:
We have absolutely no clue how Giannis ended up being a reserve while Butler was a starter but that’s 2K logic in a nutshell.
Unfortunately for Durant though, his team lost 131-122 to team Luka while Steph Curry went on to win his second three-point contest and Zion Williamson destroyed the Dunk Contest.
Simulation to the end of the season, the Nets were monsters and destroyed most of their competition easily, finishing four wins shy of a 60-win season at 56-26. That would serve was their highest win total since the 1974-75 season when they were still the ABA’s New York Nets and would be their first 50-win season since 2001 in which they were swept by the Lakers in the NBA Finals.
They finished with the most points per game of any team in the NBA with 122.1 and had a middle of the pack defense, allowing 112.9 points per game. Fixing a mistake that had plagued them for years, Brooklyn actually finished with the fifth fewest turnovers in the entire league but was unfortunately bottom-10 in bench scoring.
Heading into Year 2’s playoffs, here were the seasons awards:
MVP: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks (2K reaallllyy loves Luka)
Rookie of the Year: LaMelo Ball, Detroit Pistons
Defensive Player of the Year: Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers
6th Man of the Year: Dennis Schroder, Oklahoma City Thunder
Most Improved Player: Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors
Unlike last year however, we’ve got some Nets on the All-NBA team, with Irving being awarded the honor of second team while Durant was placed on the third team.
At the end of the year, Irving finished with 28.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 1.3 steals on 53.4 percent shooting while Durant ended with 27.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.1 blocks on 55.3 percent shooting from the field. Irving was inducted into the 50/40/90 club for the first time in his career while Durant once again reached the illustrious milestone for the first time since 2012.
Spencer Dinwiddie yet again averaged 17.2 points but this time he raised his field goal percentage up to 47.9 and dished out 6.4 assists, serving as a crucial cog in the Nets’ success. On the other hand, LeVert only averaged 13.2 points per game and dealt with a nagging achilles injury for most of the season although he never actually ruptured or tore it.
Heading into the playoffs the Nets were the one seed and were set to face the Hawks in the first round. In a gentleman’s sweep of only five games, the Nets advanced to the Semi-Finals to take on the defending champion Boston Celtics who were fresh off of a sweep over the Toronto Raptors.
In a grueling battle that saw each team go back and forth, the Nets and Celtics went back to Brooklyn for Game 7. In a game that went to double overtime with neither team wanting to go home, the Nets were finally able to send the Celtics packing and advance to the Conference Finals for the first time since the 2002-03 season.
They were now looking at the Philadelphia 76ers who were extremely hungry to finally make it out of the East after years of being ridiculed.
With the series tied 1-1 and the Nets up by 15 in Game 3, Kevin Durant goes down with a high ankle sprain which will cost him the remainder of the series.
After leading the Nets all the way there, Durant was now forced to sit on the sideline and watch as his team battled to get to the Finals without him, just as he did with the Warriors two years prior. When Durant went down in Game 3, the Nets had no one that could guard Ben Simmons and so the 76ers rallied back from being down 15 to take a 2-1 lead over the Nets. In Game 4, Irving did everything that he could to keep the Nets’ hopes alive and dropped 54 points to lead them to a win and tie the series at two games a piece.
However, in the end it was too much for Irving and the Nets to handle without their 6’11 superstar the the 76ers took the Nets down in just six games to advance to the NBA Finals where they faced the the Los Angeles Lakers and managed to beat them in six games.
Just like that the Nets’ season was over and it was yet again due to injuries. The heartbreak of losing in the playoffs in back-to-back years forced Garrett Temple into retirement and former Net Jared Dudley joined him as well.
With the draft now upon them, the Nets received the 28th pick and used it to select Josh Cristopher, the 6’5, 215lb shooting guard out of Arizona State University. Christopher averaged 22.9 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists on 47.0 percent shooting from the field in his freshman season and was considered a steal in the draft by many analysts.
In free agency, Spencer Dinwiddie’s contract had run it’s course and he was now on the open market free to choose whichever team he, or the fans, wanted to be on. Fortunately for the Nets though, Dinwiddie returned to Brooklyn on a 4yr, $89 million deal and decided that he wanted to run it back with the team where he truly blossomed as a player.
Year 3 (2021-2022)
Heading into Year 3, the Nets are more motivated than ever before to get that NBA Championship and their lineup is basically the exact same but now with another year of experience and grit.
Here’s the catch though, in order to see how this season turns out, you’re going to have to go and listen to the podcast! Come on now, we couldn’t put all of the juicy stuff in here, we had to leave something exclusively for the listeners.
I’ll help you out though, if you want to skip directly to Year 3, head to the 29 minute mark in the podcast and listen from there on.
Thank you to everyone who read or listened, we appreciate every bit of it. Make sure you leave a five-star rating and review on Itunes, which you can do here!!!!!
July 2, 2020, 9:02 pmKawhi LeonardSF, Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers closed their practice facility in a precautionary move after a member of their Orlando traveling party tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.
This seems like something that will continue to happen as we prepare to move teams into the Orlando bubble. We'll keep an eye on whether any specific player is infected and how that will impact the restart plans for this team.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
July 2, 2020, 4:49 pmStephen CurryPG, Golden State Warriors
According to Adrian Wojnarowski and Jackie MacMullan of ESPN, the NBA is close to signing off on a secondary bubble location in Chicago for the eight teams left out of the league resumption with a target date of September.
They went on to say that this bubble would allow those eight teams who were not invited to Orlando to have an opportunity to have mini-training camps as well as games. It has been reported throughout the last few months that the teams that were not invited should have an opportunity to prepare for next season. Many of the teams who were not included would benefit greatly from additional practice time and game reps as most of these teams have young players who need to continue to develop their skills. There will still be a lot of logistics that need to be ironed out so this a situation to monitor as we learn more.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
July 2, 2020, 4:01 pmMarvin Bagley IIIPF, Sacramento Kings
Marvin Bagley confirmed that he is "ready to go" for the NBA restart in Orlando after rehabbing from a left foot sprain.
It was previously reported in early July that the Kings' training staff believed that Bagley would be available for game action soon and this report confirms that Bagley will in fact be available for the league resumption. Bagley has yet to live up to the hype of the second overall pick in 2018 as he has only been able to play in 75 out of a possible 146 games (51.3 percent). It is unclear what role Bagley will have in Orlando but it appears that his injury woes are behind him and we will learn more about his ability during the league resumption. Bagley's return would likely cut into the playing time of Nemanja Bjelica, Harry Giles, Jabari Parker and Harrison Barnes.
Source: Sean Cunningham on Twitter
July 2, 2020, 2:57 pmJusuf NurkicC, Portland Trail Blazers
In a conference call with Portland media, Terry Stotts revealed that Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins are likely to return to their starting jobs and won't be under minutes restrictions when the NBA resumes.
It should be a huge defensive lift for a Blazers squad that gave up points like crazy, though this will throw a wrench into plans for DFS players. Stotts mentioned that he's considered starting Nurkic next to current starter Hassan Whiteside, though that fit would likely only be tenable in certain matchups. This, plus news of Trevor Ariza's absence during the restart, also has big effects on the wing rotation, where it sounds like Carmelo Anthony and Gary Trent Jr. are competing to start with Nassir Little and Mario Hezonja also in the mix off the bench. This is a big blow to Hassan Whiteside's fantasy appeal — a top-15 player in 31.3 mpg this year– as his minutes should sink into the mid twenties. Anyone participating in a short league that covers the restart may want to view Whiteside as more of a middle-round, blocks specialist type, though this all obviously hinges on how Nurkic and Collins look when games begin.
Source: The Athletic
July 2, 2020, 12:59 pmDevin BookerSG, Phoenix Suns
Monty Williams said that he wants to play Devin Booker and Ricky Rubio less than their typical minute allotment when the NBA resumes in Orlando.
The Suns have extremely slim playoff hopes and Williams doesn't want to risk one of the team's starting guards sustaining an injury in what amounts to a meaningless game. Expect similar moves from plenty of teams who realistically have no shot at the playoffs, even if they don't declare as much publicly. Anyone playing fantasy games for the eight-game restart should familiarize themselves with the depth charts on such teams and maybe downgrade some of the bigger names in case their minutes are limited.
Source: Valley Tales
July 2, 2020, 12:43 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
Out of 344 players tested between June 24-29, nine have tested positive for COVID-19.
That brings the NBA up to 25 positive cases among players since June 23 testing began, a positive rate of 7.1%. 10 out of 884 staff members have also tested positive. How the NBA handles any potential spread of the virus inside the Orlando bubble will make or break their entire plan.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
July 2, 2020, 12:39 pmJontay PorterC, Memphis Grizzlies
Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said that rookie Jontay Porter may be available for games in the Orlando bubble.
Porter missed the entire 2018-19 college season after suffering a knee injury and hasn't suited up as a pro, so if he accompanies the Grizzlies to Orlando it'll be more for the experience than actual playing time. His college numbers were intriguing but Porter is only of consequence in deep dynasty formats for now.
Source: Daily Memphian
July 2, 2020, 12:34 pmGrayson AllenSG, Memphis Grizzlies
Grayson Allen (left hip) may be able to play when the NBA season resumes in Orlando.
Allen has been sidelined with left hip soreness since leaving a game in late January, and his ailment would've ended his season had things finished as scheduled. While he hasn't received the all-clear yet, the Grizzlies will evaluate him after he gets through some practices in the Orlando bubble. He's unlikely to play much even if he can, as the Grizzlies currently boast a fully healthy roster.
Source: Daily Memphian
July 1, 2020, 8:28 pmDwight HowardC, Los Angeles Lakers
Dave McMenamin of ESPN reported that Dwight Howard remains in his Atlanta-area home and the Lakers hope he will eventually join them in Orlando.
The Lakers do not plan to replace Howard on the roster. They are being patient with Howard, but if he decides to not play in Orlando the Lakers will likely look to sign another center.
Source: Dave McMenamin on Twitter
July 1, 2020, 7:40 pmLuc Mbah a MouteSF, Houston Rockets
Shams Charania reported that the Houston Rockets plan to sign Luc Mbah a Moute for the Orlando restart.
Thabo Sefolosha announced on Wednesday that he will not participate in the Orlando restart, leaving the Rockets with a need for an additional three-and-D wing. Mbah a Moute played 61 games for the Rockets in 2017-18 and averaged 25.6 minutes per game, so he is familiar with their system. Mbah a Moute will be a low-usage player that the Rockets can plug in at the end of their rotation and will provide them more depth, which could be imperative for teams given the COVID-19 concerns surrounding this Orlando restart.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter