With the NBA season currently under suspension, let’s use NBA 2K20 to simulate the remainder of the Detroit Pistons year!
It was announced yesterday that the NBA season will be suspended for the foreseeable future due to growing concerns of the coronavirus and it’s ability to spread. This means that there’s a chance that the Detroit Pistons season is over.
The Pistons are currently sitting at 20-46 on the season, so it may feel like the need to simulate anything further than that would be insignificant. However, the implications of a draft selection still remain!
Along with the further development of some of Detroit’s younger players, there’s still reason to watch the team if they are to play out their remaining 16 games.
However in the event that they don’t, there still remains a way to see what could have potentially happened. Enter; NBA 2K20.
2K does have a “Start Today” feature in their franchise mode, but due to the current suspension of the season it’s a bit bugged. This makes sense, considering the game thinks there’s suppose to be basketball on today, when there isn’t.
Then I relegated Blake Griffin, Luke Kennard, and Derrick Rose out of the lineup. While Rose could have potentially made a return to the lineup to close the season, there was a chance he could have been shut down. This way we get to see how Detroit’s most recent rotation would fare to wrap up the season.
With Griffin and Kennard missing a majority of the year, it just makes sense not to include them in this simulation.
I tried to replicate the current rotation as best as I could using recent box scores to determine proper minute allocations.
Then through an even more meticulous process, I spent time doing live simulations of every single game leading up to the Pistons most recent game against the Sixers.
Doing this ensured that players like Griffin, Kennard and Rose weren’t getting minutes, as well as to make sure Detroit was actually losing and winning the correct amount of games.
I didn’t think it was necessarily important to create an exact replication of Detroit’s schedule this year, it was more to just to arrive at the 20-46 record that they hold today.
After three attempts, it worked!
As it stands, the real-life Pistons have lost five games in a row, and 12 of their last 13 dating back to February 5th.
The 2K simulation saw their losing streak pushed to ten consecutive games, which included a 133-97 loss to the Golden State Warriors. While that may feel slightly demoralizing given the Warriors are currently struggling just as much as Detroit is, there’s a silver lining to it.
For starters, Sekou Doumbouya scored 27 points and secured 13 rebounds. So not only did they get sound production from their youngest player, but it also helps the Pistons secure a higher draft pick.
So with a record of 20-51, Detroit finds themselves in a home match up against Portland where they pour on 121 points and finally snap their losing streak.
As the season progresses, the Pistons lose 109-72 to the Clippers, 101-81 to the Rockets, and 115-87 to the Heat. While things are looking bleak, we have some positives to look at.
Sekou has averaged 19.7 points per game on 57.3 percent shooting over a five game stretch, and Wood is continuing to dominate on the offensive end with 23.8 points and 12.3 rebounds over that same span.
Additionally, I’ve officially changed Bruce Brown‘s position to point guard despite how Dwane Casey has laid out his vision for him as a primary shooting guard.
Doing this has caused him to averaged 10.0 points, 8.3 assists, and 6.7 rebounds over his last ten games.
At this point, Detroit is 21-58 and heading into the final stretch of their season. They currently posses the second worst record in the league behind the Warriors who stand at 19-60.
As it stands, the Pistons have only won two games since the February 6th trade deadline, when they sent Drummond to the Cavaliers and made their organizational direction clear.
With three games remaining on the schedule, Detroit falls to the Mavericks but pull off a shocking upset over the Boston Celtics at home.
The Pistons won 101-96 and as has become customary, Wood led the charge.
Scoring 35 points and securing 12 rebounds, he was the catalyst in what was the final bright spot of the regular season in Detroit, as the went on to lose their season finale against the Knicks on the road.
So with all 82 games over with, the Pistons officially finished with the second worst record in the league at 22-60. This means they’ll have one of the best chances at landing the top overall pick in the draft.
Before we get to that, let’s go over some numbers.
Over the final 16 games, Wood averaged 25.2 points and 13.1 rebounds on 53.2 percent shooting. Sekou averaged 15.3 points and 6.1 rebounds, and Brown had 9.3 points, 8.9 assists, and 6.9 rebounds.
While his scoring output wasn’t anything substantial at just 10.3 points per game, Svi closed out the year shooting 49.1 percent from three-point range.
So all in all while the final record wasn’t pretty, players saw great progression and Detroit has a great shot at a top selection in the draft.
I considered simulating the lottery, but was actually kind of intrigued to sit through it as if it were the real thing.
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After spending a few minutes in desperate anticipation, the Pistons landed the second overall pick in the draft, while the Warriors (who again possessed the worst record) fell down to fourth overall, and the Timberwolves climbed up to number one overall.
Naturally I also imported an updated draft class with all the proper players in the upcoming class.
While it was certainly pretty tempting to go in and manually select who I think Detroit should draft, that’s not the point here. So, I went ahead and simulated the draft and they made their selection.
With the first pick in the draft, Minnesota selected LaMelo Ball. With the second pick, the Pistons selected Anthony Edwards.
For real-life purposes, this is an ideal scenario and was most definitely pretty neat to see. Edwards is one of the main players in this upcoming draft that most assume will make a direct impact on day one.
Moving on to free agency would sort of break into next season, so I ended the experiment there.
The season amounted to quality development from Detroit’s core, and a top prospect in the draft. Hopefully basketball is able to resume in the near future so this can come to fruition.