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Predicting the Dallas Mavericks season using NBA 2k21

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A highly scientific study of the upcoming season

Los Angeles Clippers v Dallas Mavericks - Game Four Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images

The NBA season is upon us. This is one of the best times of the year as a basketball fan, when anything can happen. But, I’m impatient. I want to know what’s gonna happen, and I want to know now.

I’ve always loved simulating sports on video games. It started with Tecmo Super Bowl on NES and continued on through every version of Madden and every wrestling game I ever played. In college, my roommate and I would stage elaborate Knockout Kings tournaments on Playstation 2, where we would draw names to make a bracket of the greatest heavyweights of all time and watch them duke it out. We were losers, in other words. Anyway, let’s see how the Mavericks will fare this year, using NBA 2K21 Standard Edition on XBOX One.

To give credit where it’s due, I had a lot of help from my 11 year old son, who had to stop playing 2k with his friends in order to endure the apparently terrible hardship of playing 2k with his dad. To make sure he was fairly compensated, we agreed to a contract where I paid for the cost of him being alive for the last 11 years, with a parent option to pay for at least the next 7 years.

I’m simulating the season with the roster as is and I won’t seek any trades, so we can see what will happen if this team plays the entire year together. For some reason, the game is still using an 82 game schedule. Also Courtney Lee is on the roster, but not Tyrell Terry. I don’t know why.

Alright, here we go folks! Remember, this game is made by some of the finest minds in sports, so we should expect a simulation that will accurately predict the results of the upcoming season.

The Simulation

The people that make this game are fools who know nothing about basketball. The Mavericks finished as the 8 seed and lost to the Lakers in the first round. I was so irritated that I forgot to write down the regular season record. Partly because of this terrible outcome and partly because I noticed the game has Boban’s personality set as “neutral”, instead of “absolute source of joy.”

Luka earned his second consecutive First Team All-NBA nod after putting up 35.4/11.2/8.8 and leading the league in scoring. But Kristaps Porzingis suffered a significant setback and didn’t make his season debut until May 17, and that spelled doom.

Side note: In this simulation the 7th seed Orlando Magic defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. When I saw this, I assumed the Magic had made some kind of incredible league altering trade, so I went to check the transaction history. At the deadline, the Magic traded Terrence Ross for Patrick Beverly and a 2022 2nd round pick. Maybe Pat Bev was right.

Ok, so this isn’t going to be a fun season with the roster as is. But what if Dallas makes some moves? I decided to add some potentially available guys to this current Mavs roster just to see what would happen.

I didn’t worry about making realistic trades, because I was limited in the amount of time my son would spend in a room with me before he started foaming at the mouth from boredom. So I did what any good NBA GM would do, turned off the “Trade Logic” setting and swapped each guy for Courtney Lee. Yes, I understand adding any of the following guys would mean having to lose multiple players that are currently on the roster, either as trade assets or because of the salary cap. Just relax, and let’s have some fun.

Victor Oladipo

I started with the Thingamjig, since he’s one of the players most frequently connected to the Mavericks in trade/free agency rumors. With Oladipo in the lineup, the Mavericks finished as the 2 seed. Luka again made First Team All-NBA after putting up 30.8/10.4/9.4. Oladipo added 17.6/3.1/3.6. and KP had 21.7/11.7/1.4. Interestingly, in this simulation, Kristaps Porzingis played all 82 games. Maybe Oladipo’s beautiful singing voice helped speed up the healing process.

This simulation also ended poorly, with the Mavericks losing 4-3 to Houston in the first round. This is getting annoying, so let’s knock out some more of these, rapid-fire style.

Bradley Beal

49-33 and the 4 seed. Lost to Denver in the first round. Beal made second team All-NBA but Luka didn’t make an All-NBA team because he tore his patellar tendon on March 2 and missed the rest of the season. Let’s move on, quickly.

Jrue Holiday

46-36 and the 8 seed. The Mavericks upset the Lakers in the First Round, beat the Blazers 4-3 in the next round and fell to The Nuggets 4-3 in the conference Finals.

Spencer Dinwiddie

50-32 and the 3 seed. Beat the Nuggets only to be swept by the Clippers in the second round.

Otto Porter Jr.

Luka won MVP with 33.3/10.8/8.4 but Dallas finished 43-39, was the 8th seed and lost to the Pelicans in the first round.

All of the above. All of them.

If we add Oladipo, Beal, Holiday, Dinwiddie and Porter, the Mavericks finish 47-31 and the 4th seed. They beat Utah in the first round and lose to the Pelicans in the 2nd round.

EVERYONE

Screw, it, let’s see what happens if the Mavericks get slightly more aggressive and add everyone.

“Clint, what do you mean by everyone?”

Let’s add Lebron James, Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, Nikola Jokic and Jayson Tatum. Oh and let’s heal Klay Thompson’s Achilles and add him too.

This iteration of the team finished 79-3 as the number one seed. They beat the Suns 4-1, swept the Rockets, swept the Clippers and then swept the Bucks in the NBA Finals.

That’s more like it. I feel like of all the simulations we’ve run so far, this one is clearly the most realistic so let’s go with it as the official prediction.

In conclusion

Through a highly scientific method, I have determined this will be the greatest season in Dallas Mavericks history. You may be skeptical, but remember, this game is made by some of the most brilliant basketball minds in the world, so who are you to argue?

You read it here first folks. NBA 2K21 predicts the Dallas Mavericks will win the 2021 NBA Championship! It’s gonna be a great year, so sit back and enjoy it.