One of the key advantages NBA video games have over the real life Association, is that when your team is locked in the doldrums of 7-seed stagnation year after year, you can simply have the computer “simulate” entire seasons for you. With any luck you’ll then lose all your games and arrive at the Draft Lottery with the best chance of getting Wiggins or Parker in next year’s draft.
Except in the real NBA, you have to actually PLAY all of your games. That’s where the malarkey going on in the Eastern Conference comes in. The Pacers and the Heat are the only teams over .500 in the East. The Celtics, at 8-12, are alone in first place in the Atlantic Division. If the playoffs started today, they would be the 3 seed.
The rest are mediocre Veteran teams (like the Rose-less Bulls at 7-9), the bad teams with big-name players (like the 5-13 Nets and the 3-13 Knicks), and the forever terrible teams whose chance at Wiggins or Parker represents their only path to playing competitive basketball (like the 3-14 Bucks).
Speaking of which, the Bucks, Magic, and Bobcats must be pissed. The Gods of Losing Basketball are finally shining down upon them, and the Knicks and Nets are crowding them out of the league’s cellar. For these teams, the horrible, inescapable reality is, that no matter how bad they are, one team MUST win every game. And of course, when the Lottery comes around, David Stern’s marching orders to new commissioner Adam Silver will be simple: The Bucks aren’t getting the first or second pick, what are you, nuts? Those dudes are heading to New York!
So let’s do away with the charade: the NBA should start a program, whereby any team from the East that wants to, can sit out the rest of the season, they can “sim” the whole thing, and be entered into the Draft lottery immediately. No more Atlanta vs Milwaukee games that neither team wants to win.
Every team other than the Pacers and Heat would be stupid not to do this. We’ll have the Pacers and Heat play against each other and the West all year, and then they can play a 7-game…wait, make it a 5-game series, while we’re fantasizing here. And hold the Draft Lottery at Madison Square Garden so everyone can go nuts and act surprised when the NBA gives the Knicks the first pick like they undoubtedly will.