One of my favorite hobbies is playing video games. Throughout high school and college, many hours were spent on games like MLB The Show and NBA 2k. NBA 2k holds a special place in my heart, thanks to all of the time spent creating dynasties in the game’s “Franchise” mode and collecting wins against other players in the “Play Now Online” feature of the game. In this column, we’re focusing on the “Franchise” mode (now called MyEra), except with a twist. NBA 2k has created All-Time rosters for each team, celebrating the team’s most talented and successful players in franchise history. Combining my love for NBA 2k, and covering the Portland Trail Blazers, let’s see how the All-Time Blazers team fares in today’s NBA.
To make this possible, I had to replace the current Portland Trail Blazers with the All-Time team. The roster for the All-Time squad is:
Because of the nature of the simulation, I didn’t adjust any settings, so the computer came up with the lineups. The computer didn’t give any minutes to Z-Bo, CJ McCollum, or Jim Paxson. We started the season 11-0, losing to the New Orleans Pelicans 101-118 and the Nets 121-122. Digging into the Nets game, Bill Walton had a 17/4/14 effort, but the Nets overall played well. This seems to be a trend with Walton that we’ll discuss later. The Blazers did hold Kevin Durant to 5-13 shooting, but the rest of the team (including a 5-5 from three from Yuta Watanabe) picked up the slack. Fast forward to the following week, where our Blazers matched up against the trio of Zion Williamson, current-day CJ McCollum, and Brandon Ingram with the New Orleans Pelicans. These three combined for 77 points and held Damian Lillard and Clyde Drexler to a combined 13-39 night.
The season progressed, gathering mostly wins, heading into the All-Star break at 48-5. No Blazers made the three-point contest or the dunk contest, but we did get some All-Star selections. Clyde and Walton were named starters, and Lillard gathered a reserve role. The stats at the All-Star break had three obvious names leading the team:
Clyde Drexler – 25.3ppg/8.8rpg/8.3ast – 16th in league scoring
Bill Walton – 17.0ppg/10.7rpg/8.2apg – 7th in rebounds
Damian Lillard – 24.7ppg/3.2rpg/10.2apg – 5th in assists
To end the year, the All-Time Blazers only lost one more game, which was to Luka and the Mavs, finishing 76-6. This should come as no surprise, as he won the MVP of the league. Let’s look at the award winners:
Most Valuable Player – Luka Doncic – 38.5ppg/12.1rpg/10.6ast
Rookie of the Year – Paolo Banchero – 20.8ppg/6.9rpg/3.8apg
6th Man – Russell Westbrook – 13.3ppg/5.7rpg/5.8apg
Defensive Player of the Year – Giannis Antetokounmpo – 28.0ppg/13.0rpg/6.6apg/1.1stl/2.6bpg
Most Improved Player – Trey Murphy III – 9.7ppg/4.0rpg/1.3apg
A couple of notes on the awards above:
- Luka, in any simulation, always puts up these stats. While it may not seem realistic, in his past ten games, he’s averaging 36/11/9.
- We weren’t going to win Rookie of the Year as the players that are on the All-Time team are the best versions of themselves.
- 6th Man I thought we had a chance in, thanks to LaMarcus Aldridge’s 14.5 / 6.8 / 1.4 averages, but Russ had more assists.
- While Clyde was a great defender, I think it’s practically impossible to take DPOY away from Giannis unless you have Ron Artest or Dennis Rodman on your squad.
- Trey Murphy III winning Most Improved was funny to me in that I would never have guessed it. In 2021 5.4 / 2.4 / 1.6, so that’s a decent improvement.
As for the regular season awards, the computer-generated coach won coach of the year, but we didn’t win GM of the year. Clyde Drexler and Bill Walton brought home All-NBA 3rd Team honors. Clyde also clinched an All-Defensive First Team, and Maurice Lucas snagged an All-Defensive Second Team award.
Given the amazing record, we were the number one seed. Our first matchup was against Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. That was a sweep. The next round was against the Golden State Warriors, which we won 4-1. The Pelicans were up next. They were responsible for two of our losses during the regular season, thanks to that trio of Zion/CJ/Ingram. However, the All-Time Blazers swept that team. This set up a finals matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers. I had to do a double take, but they easily made it into the Finals. Led by Ricky Rubio and Donovan Mitchell, the Cavs didn’t put up a fight, thanks in part to Damian Lillard. We won that series and the Finals 4-1. Dame was the Finals MVP averaging 25.6ppg/1.0rpg/11.4apg with an astonishing field goal percentage of 61% while shooting 55.9% from three. Looks like Rubio couldn’t keep up with Dame Time.
This was a fun exercise that combined my passion for sports and video games. My biggest takeaway was the triple-double ability of Bill Walton in the game. Remember, the versions of the players on the team are their best selves, meaning they took into account of Bill Walton’s 14-assist night versus the Supersonics back on February 1st, 1975. He had an interesting stat line, finishing with nine points, 15 rebounds, and 14 assists. They managed to lose that game 93-91. At least I got the Blazers to win a championship this year!