NBA 2K Simulation: Final Standings
March 6, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) shoots against Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
With the NBA season currently on hiatus, we can all but guess if the regular season will continue at some point. In the meantime, I decided to take matters into my own hands and simulate the rest of the season on 2K. In this article, I will provide the final standings along with a brief recap of each team’s season. Let’s get to it!
Eastern Conference Standings
- Bucks (53-12) ? (67-15): Following the hiatus the Bucks win twelve straight before losing the last three games in which they were without Giannis Antetokounmpo. A great season for the Bucks but they will be heading into the first round without their star due to a hamstring injury. Brook Lopez found his shot as he shot over 50 percent from three in the Bucks last 15 games.
- Raptors (46-18) ? (59-23): There is no way the Raptors will be a contender after losing Kawhi Leonard, they might not even make the playoffs. This was a belief held by many at the beginning of the season after the Raptors lost their star who brought them their first finals. Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, Serge Ibaka, OG Anunoby and Chris Boucher all had something to say about this as they each put up career scoring numbers with the Raptors finishing with a better record than last year.
- Celtics (43-21) ? (54-28): Contrary to last season, this Celtics team had good chemistry. Following the departure of Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown both flourished into 20 point scorers. Kemba Walker also averaged 20 points, Gordon Hayward found his rhythm scoring 17 a game and Marcus Smart averaged 13 points and 6 assists. Boston will be without starting center Daniel Theis for at least the first round due to a broken toe.
- Pacers (39-26) ? (52-30): Without a superstar, the Pacers proved themselves to be the most balanced team in the league. Led by all-star Domantas Sabonis who recorded the most double doubles the Pacers had a total of six players who averaged double figures. Victor Oladipo found his groove after the hiatus, averaging 25 points and propelling the Pacers to the four seed.
- Heat (41-24) ? (51-31): Despite a good all-around season highlighted by the emergence of Bam Adebayo, the Heat have a disastrous stretch to close out the year. They lose their last five games, but more importantly, they lose all-star Jimmy Butler for the playoffs after he tore his Achilles.
- Sixers (39-26) ? (49-33): It was a disappointing season for the Sixers who were projected as a top three team in the east at the beginning of the year. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have solid seasons; but Al Horford is never able to fit in with the team finishing with career lows in points, rebounds and field goal percentage. With Simmons healthy for the playoffs, the Sixers are still a real threat.
- Magic (30-35) ? (37-45): Despite having eight players in double figures, the Magic finished with the worst record of any Eastern Conference seven-seed since the 1978-1979 New York Knicks. They will also be without Nikola Vucevic in the playoffs due to a broken hand.
- Nets (30-34) ? (36-46): When the Nets decided to shut Irving down for the season, they made it clear they were not trying to contend this season. They were still able to squeak into the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference. Spencer Dinwiddie closed out the season with a career-high 53 points.
- Bulls (22-43) ? (32-50): Lauri Markkanen, after showing all-star potential last season, struggled taking a step back in all statistical categories. The rest of the Bulls young core, however, showed promise: Coby White averaged 17 points a game after the hiatus, Wendell Carter Jr. finished the season averaging a double-double and Daniel Gafford averaged a double double per 36 minutes.
- Wizards (24-40) ? (29-53): Without John Wall, Bradley Beal was able to average 31 points per game along with five rebounds and five assists. As great as Beal’s offense was, his defense was just as bad and so was the Wizards; allowing a league worst 119 points per game.
- Cavaliers (19-46) ? (28-54): The Cavaliers had a winning percentage over 0.500 following the hiatus, going 9-8. This was in large part due to the spectacular play of Colin Sexton and Darius Garland as they combined for 40 points per game in the last 17 games.
- Hawks (20-47) ? (27-55): Despite Clint Capela not returning, the Hawks finish the season just under 500. Trae Young recorded 40 points and 16 assists in the last regular season game to become only the second player to average 30 points and 10 assists on the season. Much overshadowed by Young’s spectacular play, John Collins finished the season in the top five in field goal percentage and three-point percentage.
- Hornets (23-42) ? (26-56): The only real bright spot for this Hornets team was the play of Devonte’ Graham who finished the year averaging 18 points and 7 assists. This was good enough for Graham to finish 2nd in the Most Improved Player voting.
- Knicks (21-45) ? (26-56): The Knicks finish 2nd to last in the Eastern Conference, making it the fifth straight year they finished in the bottom five in the east. R.J Barrett has a solid season finishing with 14 points per game, good enough for an All-Rookie 2nd team nod.
- Pistons (20-46) ? (26-56): The Pistons rap up their season losing eight straight. A horrible season all around but the Pistons will now have the 2nd best odds entering the lottery and the chance to land a stud in the upcoming draft.
Western Conference Standings
- Lakers (49-14) ? (61-21): After clinching home court advantage with nine games remaining, the Lakers used this time to rest LeBron James. In James’ absence, the Lakers struggle going 2-7 but Kyle Kuzma is able to average 19 points. With James fully healthy and the improvement of Kuzma the Lakers enter the playoffs as the favorites.
- Clippers (44-20) ? (54-28): Whether it was the hiatus, or just sheer dumb luck, Clippers star Kawhi Leonard breaks his foot in their first game back. Without Leonard for the playoffs it is unlikely that Clippers will be able to make a deep run in the playoffs.
- Nuggets (43-22) ? (52-30): Following his Instagram scandal, Jamal Murray elevates his play, averaging 26 points the rest of the season. Nikola Jokic stellar play to close out the season earns him an All-NBA first team nod. The Nuggets do not play their best going 9-8 to close out the regular season; nevertheless, their 52-30 record is good enough to earn the 3rd seed.
- Jazz (41-23) ? (51-31): The Jazz finish the season with a five-game win streak giving them home-court advantage in the first round. In the final game of the season, Rudy Gobert catches an alley-oop from Mike Conley with 0.1 seconds remaining to propel the Jazz over the Nuggets and finish as the four seed.
- Rockets (40-24) ? (51-31): A last second loss to the Grizzlies drops the Rockets from the three seed to the five seed. Russell Westbrook continues his stellar play but James Harden’s continued struggles are a major cause for concern as the Rockets head into the playoffs.
- Thunder (40-24) ? (50-32): After trading away Westbrook and Paul George it seemed the Thunder were going into rebuild mode. With the stellar play of Chris Paul and the emergence of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander the Thunder finish with a better record than last season.
- Mavericks (40-27) ? (45-37): The Mavericks struggle losing 10 of their last 15 games, but the MVP-like play of 21 year old Luka Doncic is good enough to earn them the seventh seed. Kristaps Porzingis, after struggling the first half of the season finds his groove averaging a 20 point double double the rest of the season.
- Grizzlies (32-33) ? (40-42): The Grizzlies were able to fight off late pushes from the Kings, Pelicans and Trail Blazers and earn the eighth seed. Although the Grizzlies are heavy underdogs against the Lakers, Ja Morantand company will be around for a long time.
- Kings (28-36) ? (37-45): A disappointing season for the Kings who start the season off slow and are never able to find a rhythm. Marvin Bagley III plays one game after the hiatus before being held out for the rest of the season with a hand injury.
- Pelicans (28-36) ? (37-45): Although the Pelicans fail to make the playoffs, this season can be seen as a success for them. Despite missing the first half of the season, Zion Williamson comes in and takes the league by storm, as he averages 20 points. The Pelicans also see major improvements from Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball, giving them a lot to look forward to in the future.
- Trail Blazers (29-37) ? (37-45): Having made the Western Conference Finals last season and acquiring Hassan Whiteside the Trail Blazers had high expectations. Despite Damian Lillard’s phenomenal play, Portland never finds their groove as they miss out on the playoffs.
- Suns (26-39) ? (34-48): Sorry Devin Booker, but looks like you will have to wait another year before making the playoffs. Booker and De’Andre Ayton were exceptional with Booker averaging 28 points a game and Ayton putting up a double-double. With this being said, the Suns did not have enough talent around their two young studs to make the playoffs.
- Spurs (27-36) ? (33-49): A weird season for San Antonio as they miss the playoffs for the first time in 22 years. Demar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge both had decent seasons but the Spurs lacked the talent to make the playoffs.
- Timberwolves (19-45) ? (26-56): The Timberwolves finish with the second worst record as Karl Anthony-Towns plays less than half the games. D’Angelo Russell improves his play averaging 25 points per game following the hiatus.
- Warriors (15-50) ? (22-60): After Steph Curry broke his hand it was clear the Warriors were using this season to develop their young players while Curry and Klay Thompson recovered. The Warriors will now have a top five draft pick and with Curry and Thompson returning will be title contenders again next year.