June 3, 2012

Adventures In NBA 2K11: Year One



October 1, 2012 - It was a year of great hope and great disappointment.

     The Cleveland Cavaliers began the 2011-12 season with a 44-point win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, marked by an epic 92-point outburst from rookie center Orlando Quinn.  The phenom continued to produce throughout the season, averaging 27.6 points (6th in the NBA), 12.0 rebounds (2nd), 2.2 blocks (3rd), 1.8 steals, and 4.6 assists per game.  Not only was Quinn the runaway Rookie of the Year; he also won the Defensive Player of the Year award for the entire league, was named an All-Star, made the All-NBA First Team over Dwight Howard, and finished 3rd in the MVP voting behind LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.  The Cavaliers, without a great supporting cast around Quinn, managed the third-best record in the Eastern Conference.

     However, Cleveland lost to Howard's Orlando Magic team in the first round of the playoffs and had to watch LeBron win his first title with the Heat.  Even worse, the 4 first-round draft picks picked up by Cleveland during the 2011 Draft all ended up outside the top 11.  But Cleveland's GM found a way to make his vision known.  Having a ton of salary cap space left, the Cavs picked up four of the best young players on the free agent market, and then swapped them out for a four-rookie package like they originally wanted, as well as three first-rounders for 2013.  Though the rookie starters aren't as talented as the four free agents were, they are cheaper and have a longer period of time to grow with the team.

     Joining Orlando Quinn next year are SF Russell Wilson (pick #3), a high flier from England; PG Donovan Holmes (#6), a talented scorer; PF Warren Sheridan (#11); and SG Devin Simmons, the player Cleveland drafted at #12.  While the team looks to be below average this year, the future looks very promising for them.

9 comments:

  1. I guess this just goes to show that the NBA is a star-oriented league. If one player, albeit an amazing one, could turn a destitute Cavs team into a playoff contender, it goes to show that you really don't need an amazing supporting cast to succeed. Sure, you need important role players, and a more balanced team like the Thunder or Spurs can succeed as well, but your simulations prove that the NBA is really a one man show. Maybe you could do something about that...

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  2. That's a really good idea! But you should know the following year's Cavs were terrible. Old guys vs. young guys thing maybe?

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  3. I honestly think that experience is useful in the NBA, but not as much as people think. I would love to work with you in an experiment to somehow test my theory that it really only takes one guy. 2K is perfect because it essentially operates in a vacuum. I propose something along the lines of putting Mr. Quinn, or simply the highest rated player in the game, on a team with a 1/2 actual role-players and compare to the player on a team without said role-players. Or, you could simply put the best player in the game on the Cavs and compare to the rest of the league. I think it'd be an interesting study. Or we could go a different route and look at all the teams with players among the top 10 in scoring, except the Heat for obvious reasons, and compare W/L records to teams without a top 10 scorer...

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  4. So what you're basically saying is, would a team like the Heat be about the same with or without Wade and Bosh? I'd love to test your theory out, though I think using actual NBA teams would be better because it's actual basketball, and also because we can judge the star players by their real-life production and not just an overall rating.

    I gathered some data from the 2011-12 season and started playing around with it. Right now it looks like having two to four players that are much better than the rest is the best way to go, while one-star teams like Minnesota and Orlando don't fare as well. And while experience seems to help you get to the playoffs, it isn't a factor once you get there. Kind of the opposite of what everyone says.

    Also, how are we qualifying what a superstar is? Should we use PER and end up overvaluing a guy like Kenneth Faried or use points and end up overvaluing a guy like Monta Ellis? I'm thinking now that the points leaders have more star power and would work better but I'm wondering what you think.

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  5. Exactly. For the "star" issue, I would go with the teams with a top 10 scorer, but for the occasional Monta Ellis, I would include him because he controls a large part of his teams possessions, as do other scorers. Or we could go with big names. Or we could compare teams today, like the LeBron Cavs compared to the 2012 Thunder, or Cavs to the 2012 Heat.

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  6. I like the designation of superstars as top 10 scorers, but we should also include fringe stars (top 50 scorers) like Pau Gasol and Chris Bosh.

    I'd like to take the top 10 and numbers 11-50 (including everyone who played at least half of their team's games, so Wade, Carmelo, and Rose are included), and see how many of each group every team has. That should divide them into 9 or 10 different team structures, and we can see which one works the best. I already tried it out on the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons.

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  7. Ok then...but I'm worried about the using players from the Heat and Knicks. But go with what you've been thinking about.

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  8. The Heat and Knicks and similar teams will tell us whether it's the one superstar that makes the difference or if it's the second and third. And they'll be in a seperate group from teams like Minnesota with just one guy, so the Big Three teams shouldn't screw up the results at all. I'll throw down a post once I get the last ten seasons done.

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  9. Cool...I also think the Carmelo Nuggets vs. the Modern-day Knicks...

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