Nothing hurts like getting beat in a video game when someone like Richard Jefferson goes off for 14 dunks in one game. It’s a continuous, unending slap in the face. Being at the receiving end of a Kobe Bryant 65-point game is one thing. But losing because your opponent discovers the sweet spot for some scrub three-point shooter is worse than jury duty.
In real NBA games, coaches want certain guys doing certain things and everyone has a role. In the gaming world, if you want Kwame Brown to drop 25 a game, you could probably make it happen (he actually catches passes). No matter how realistic we try to make these games, it can never be real. There are always going to be role players who have that one skill people can take advantage of: the one-trick pony.
Whether it’s NBA Live (now NBA Elite) or NBA 2K, we all have done work or been worked over by a player who is way better in digital world than they are in real life. I still remember on NBA Live 05 when Pau Gasol was somehow turned into Bill Russell and the Memphis Grizzlies somehow became the Monstars.
Here are five guys whose real-life production doesn’t match up to the video-game exploits of their digital doppelgangers:
Daniel Gibson — Gibson’s video game prowess may take a hit now that some guy decided to take his talents to South Beach, but he can still light it up on the sticks. Everyone cheesed the hell out of LeBron when they played with Cleveland, but it didn’t always work. The smart ones however surrounded James with guys like Mo Williams and Gibson and meticulously picked apart their opponents. You pretty much had to double LeBron, leaving Gibson to take open threes. It got really annoying whenever one of my boys would drop 27 with this dude. Someone definitely overreacted to this cat after he had one good playoff series against Detroit in 2007.
Ben Gordon — Gordon isn’t garbage by any means in the NBA, but he’s a spectacular acquired taste on the sticks. In NBA 2K9, this man was a monster. Sure, the creators didn’t do his signature shot a lot of justice; it is a tough one to master. But if you did get it, he was automatic. I remember my boy dropped close to 100 with BG in one game — granted, he was that dude who utilized every glitch and trick in the book. Once he learned Gordon’s awkward release, he was pulling up on fast breaks and shooting 25-footers, banging everything.
Kyle Korver — Notice a theme here? Korver is another one of those video game shooters who can put you right into a game. Unlike real life, where Korver can never play big minutes because his defense is so bad, in video games he can play the whole game, shooting off the dribble, catching and shooting, pulling up on the break or even with someone like James Posey all over him. He’s the Jimmy Chitwood of digital ballers. Korver has one of the easiest releases in the game; you can pretty much release it at any point during his jump and the thing goes in. Basically, it’s the anti-Ray Allen shot. Believe me, I’ve had more than enough of Ashton Kutcher in my gaming career.
Smush Parker — Back in the day (’06, ’07) when he was actually in the game, Parker was a force. I remember I beat someone once after Parker had something like 11 steals and 38 points. He had a decent dunk rating and a pretty high steal rating. When you put those two together with a point guard, it makes for a deadly combination in video games. The best part about him? You never had to run the triangle in a video game, so you were free to ignore Phil Jackson all you wanted. Too bad Smush did a lot of this in real life; I would probably still be signing him in every one of my franchises if he was around.
Nick Young — The perfect video game player. Young can shoot it a little bit, but more importantly, he can soar. Basically, whenever I run with Washington, the former Trojan always gets a lot of minutes and he will always get buckets. If you can get Young on the break, it won’t matter that he can’t dribble or that he doesn’t remember the offense — just be happy that he can jump. Thank God he wasn’t around during the 05-07 renditions of NBA video games. Back then, there was this dunk my boys called the “Superman” where a guy would take off from almost the foul line, basically magnetizing himself to the rim for a dunk. Unstoppable.
Honorable Mentions — Hasheem Thabeet, Rashad McCants, Larry Hughes