Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a list of five strange occurrences in my NBA 2K17 MyCAREER game.
Having played through the first season in NBA 2K17’s MyCAREER and started on my second, it’s fair to say that I’ve greatly enjoyed the mode, really for the first time since NBA 2K13 if I’m to be completely honest. The story was unintrusive, I found myself back on the Denver Nuggets, and it was a lot of fun dominating the league and setting some records on route to the NBA championship. Jumping to the Chicago Bulls and turning up the difficulty level has freshened things up in my sophomore season, and although I’m not playing the mode as frequently as I was a few weeks ago, I know that I’ll eagerly pick it up again whenever the mood strikes.
The experience has been fun, and I do feel that it’s the best incarnation of MyCAREER since the implementation of the story-driven approach, but there’s definitely been some weirdness. Now, there’s an element of fantasy to all of the modes in a basketball video game, and since strange and unexpected things do happen in the real NBA, it can be tough to say what’s realistic and what isn’t. At the same time, certain events are highly unlikely, and only seem to occur in video games in the name of shaking things up. When it comes to strange occurrences in my NBA 2K17 MyCAREER, here are five that come to mind.
1. A Flurry of Player Movement
When Justice Young and I jumped ship to the Chicago Bulls after leading the Denver Nuggets to a championship in our rookie season, it was without a doubt an unusual move that you’re very unlikely to see happen in real life. As it turned out, we opened the floodgates on a bunch of other players changing teams. Andrew Bogut has joined us in Chicago. Derrick Rose has replaced me at point guard in Denver. J.R. Smith has gone to the Spurs. Brandon Jennings returned to the Bucks, where he began his career. The Magic signed Andre Iguodala. Zach Randolph went to the Pelicans. Paul Millsap signed with Brooklyn. The Rockets got George Hill.
Those are just some of the more noteworthy players who changed teams during the offseason; quite a few other players are also now wearing different jerseys. Additionally, during my first season the 76ers acquired Joakim Noah in a trade with the Knicks, and there’s been another very surprising move that I’ll get to in a moment. In all fairness, I guess it’s difficult to say what constitutes realistic player movement, especially after the wild 2016 offseason in real life. Stars move on, and teams make strange trades. Still, it seems like quite a few players left good situations for random destinations, simply for the sake of having some player movement in the game.
2. Kevin Durant Has Returned to Oklahoma City
While I was flipping through all of the teams’ stats screens to check out their rosters and see who had changed teams, I noticed something pretty amusing. Kevin Durant is back on the Oklahoma City Thunder, as of the start of the second season. I guess things didn’t really go as planned with the Golden State Warriors, as they didn’t even make it to the Western Conference Finals. As far as I can tell, Durant opted out of his contract and ended up signing with his former team in the offseason. That must be the case; glancing at the rosters for both teams, no trade appears to have taken place.
The idea that Durant would play a single season for the Warriors, fail to win a championship, and immediately go back to the Thunder, is pretty funny. Somehow, I don’t see that happening in real life. Of course, glancing at his player card, his Personality type is listed as “Unpredictable”, which is rather apt given the circumstances. As I noted above, he’s hardly the only player to change teams after the first season in MyCAREER, but he’s one of the biggest names to do so, and ended up in the unlikeliest of places. It’s such a strange turn of events that I had to note it separately to all the other eyebrow-raising player movement.
3. Several Coaches Have Changed Teams
Even if the results can be a little strange, a significant amount of player movement isn’t completely unheard of. It’s far less common to see widespread changes in the coaching ranks, however. After all, there are fewer jobs to go around – one head coaching gig to fifteen roster spots – and most teams prefer not to have a lot of turnover with their coaches, for financial reasons as much as anything else. For their part, while some coaches have found ways to jump ship while still under contract, they’ll usually hang onto a job until they’re fired (or allowed to resign in order to save face). In short, you’ll see a lot more players swapping places than coaches.
In NBA 2K17’s MyCAREER, teams are far more willing to fire coaches, who eagerly move on to the next gig. I’m not just talking about Brubaker Smith following you to your new team, either. Doc Rivers now coaches the 76ers. Tom Thibodeau left the Timberwolves after one year to coach the Hawks. Gregg Popovich threw away twenty years with the Spurs to take over the Celtics. Terry Stotts replaced Rick Carlisle in Dallas, with Carlisle now at the helm of the Grizzlies. As with some of the free agent signings, some of the changes just seem too random, with coaches unlikely to quit or be fired moving on, and coaches likely to be on the bubble staying put.
4. The 76ers Are Winning
I suppose all things considered, becoming the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers wasn’t the worst career move that Doc Rivers could have made. Noah’s numbers off the bench are pretty decent, and they’re off to a 4-2 start, good for fourth in the Eastern Conference. They also went 44-38 in the 2017 season, which was good enough to earn them a Playoff appearance. In fact, it was good enough for the fourth seed, after spending most of the season as one of the top teams in the conference. The Cavaliers ended up as the number one seed, with a record of 54-28, but it was the Bulls (47-35) that made it through to the NBA Finals.
Suffice to say, the Eastern Conference in my NBA 2K17 MyCAREER game isn’t much stronger than it is in real life at the moment. Still, the real 76ers haven’t exactly rocketed up the standings; they’re doing better than last year and could be looking at a brighter future, but they’re still looking at another year in the lottery. Considering that the Clippers went 47-35 and were bounced in the first round by the Spurs, I guess you could say that Doc’s patience had worn thin. It doesn’t explain why Gregg Popovich left the Spurs (55-27) for the Celtics (40-42), but hey, the 76ers are winning. A lot of things are topsy-turvy in this MyCAREER game.
5. Players Only Want Hang When You’re Busy
Are the connections worth it in MyCAREER? Ultimately, I’d have to say yes. They don’t take very long to complete, and they allow you to unlock some cool things, including star players’ animations. Completing your connection with Coach K unlocks the Jumpshot Creator, and taking a couple of rides on a private jet with the team owner lets you select jerseys before games, and even customise the arena sound effects; privileges that even carry over to your new team if you sign on elsewhere. Some of the screenshots of your player taking part in off-court activities with NBA players and other personalities can also be pretty amusing.
But man, do your connections ever have a bad sense of timing! It feels like at least eight out of ten invitations to hang out conflict with important business meetings and sponsorship events, or team practices. It actually makes you wonder whether anyone else in the NBA is attending practice and making public appearances! You also don’t find out what most events are until you’ve agreed to them, so you have no idea how long they’ll run, and what scheduling conflicts will arise as a result. It’s not a big deal – you’ll eventually find a way to make the connections – but it is weird how often you’ll receive invitations you can’t accept, at least while keeping your other commitments.
What are some of the strange things that have happened in your NBA 2K17 MyCAREER? Let me know in the comments section below, and as always, feel free to take the discussion to the NLSC Forum! That’s all for this week, so thanks for checking in, have a great weekend, and please join me again next Friday for another Five.