June 1, 2012

Adventures In NBA 2K11: The Wilt 2.0 Project

     This idea was inspired by this article on Chasing 23, a website very similar to this one in terms of ideas, but much cleaner and more professional than the Legend.  In the article, the writer says that if Wilt Chamberlain (greatest NBA player ever) had played today, he would have been a freakishly athletic 7'5", 340-pound beast due to overall improvements in size and training in the sports world.  That was something I wanted to see in action on NBA 2K11.  So I added the new and improved Wilt Chamberlain into a draft class and took over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2010-11 season.  Why Cleveland?  They had the distinction of being terrible now, and also having nothing in place for the future (remember the game came out the year before Kyrie Irving got drafted).  I wanted to completely overhaul the team for your and my amusement.  I hope you like it.

Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Orlando Quinn

October 1, 2011 - This is the story of the greatest NBA prospect in 50 years, the team that would do anything to get him, and perhaps the most ambitious roster overhaul the NBA has ever seen.  And it all starts with Orlando Quinn.  Quinn, a native of Cleveland, has been a dominant basketball player his whole life, having grown to 7 feet tall by the time he entered high school.  He decided to attend the University of Kentucky, dominating the competition and winning a national championship before entering the 2011 NBA Draft.  The 20-year-old Quinn is now a 7'5", 340-pound rookie with the speed and vertical of Josh Smith and the strength of a young Shaquille O'Neal.  He is what Wilt Chamberlain would have been had he been born two decades ago instead of seven.  Already the consensus second-best center in the league behind Dwight Howard, it's anyone's guess how dominant Quinn can be this season, and during his whole career.

     Eight years ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted a homegrown, once-in-a-generation talent in LeBron James.  For seven years, James electrified the Quicken Loans Arena, and he led the team to 5 playoff appearances, including one NBA Finals loss.  Then he left his home city heartbroken, opting to sign with the Miami Heat rather than the Cavaliers.  Owner Dan Gilbert promised to win a championship before LeBron's Heat team did.  But the 2010-11 Cavaliers were in no position to do so, finding themselves with a new coach, a new GM, and an aging roster with marginal talent.

     The only hope was another homegrown, once-in-a-generation talent in Orlando Quinn.  The Cavaliers' front office was willing to do anything to get him.  They traded the team's leaders, Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams, other important pieces of the team, and even their own first-rounder (expected to be #7) in an attempt to get the best position for the upcoming draft.  Then came the 16-game losing streak, pushing the Cavaliers to the second-worst record in the league (and the Timberwolves into the #2 draft slot).  At the Draft Lottery, the Cavs could only manage to get the #5 and #8 picks.  It seemed like Cleveland couldn't catch a break.  All the team could do was offer their two picks to the Wizards in exchange for the #1.  Washington accepted the deal.  Cleveland had its new savior.

     But the excitement was just getting started.  Cleveland received an offer early in the Draft that it couldn't refuse:  Ramon Sessions and a second-rounder for the Clippers' #7 pick.  Any ordinary GM would have used the pick on a sidekick for Quinn.  But the Cavs had bigger things in mind.  They traded down.  And then traded down again.  And again.  And again, all the way to the second pick in round two.  But in trading down this year they earned much more in the future:  four first rounders in the 2012 Draft.  The GM had revealed an insane new plan:  a starting lineup consisting of four rookies and the best second-year player in decades.  The NBA version of the Fab Five.  A core of players that would improve together and hopefully bring that title to Cleveland.

     For the current year, though, the Cavaliers send out a horribly unbalanced roster made up of a ridiculously dominant center and a ragtag team of rental starters.  They probably won't win this year, but if the rest of the league can keep the Heat down for a few more years (they lost the 2011 Finals to the Spurs), Gilbert may make good on his promise after all.

1 comment:

  1. Very entertaining blog and very well written. Keep it up.

    -The Anon Blogger