The 2017-18 NBA regular season is finally here, and we couldn’t be more excited. With the amount of player movement and online drama that took place in the NBA this summer, this has to be one of the most anticipated seasons in recent memory. You could write an entire book on the Kyrie Irving trade alone. Then, there was the Kevin Durant fake twitter account fiasco. We’ve got Joel Embiid trading shots with Hassan Whiteside, and really, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
The NBA has owned the last several months without playing a single game.
That changes on Tuesday, Oct. 17, with the tipoff of the 2017-18 NBA regular season. Opening night features an incredible double-header with the Celtics facing off against the Cavaliers, followed by the Rockets vs. Warriors. With anticipation at it’s highest point, we thought it’d be a fun idea to jump into NBA Live 18, simulate the entire season, and see what kind of madness the folks at EA Sports are predicting.
If you’re familiar with our work here, you know that we already did this with NBA 2K18 last month, and if what NBA 2K18 is predicting holds true, we’re in for a wild ride. We’ve also simulated things like the future of the Golden State Warriors’ super team, and the rest of LeBron
James’ career using NBA 2K, but this is our first crack at an NBA Live sim, and I’m excited to see what they’ve got in store for us today. Let’s get to it.
2017-18 Western Conference All-Star Team:
I wouldn’t say there is anything completely shocking, or out of the realm of possibility here. Would I be surprised if Paul Millsap and C.J. McCollum make the All-Star team in a loaded Western Conference? Sure, but those are two excellent NBA players. It’s not inconceivable. Klay Thompson is notably missing, as well as DeMarcus Cousins and Blake Giffin.
2017-18 Eastern Conference NBA All-Star Team:
NBA Live 18‘s Eastern Conference All-Star predictions are a beautiful disaster. Andre Drummond and Avery Bradley? Nicolas Batum? Zach LaVine? In fairness to NBA Live, a lot of top-end Eastern Conference talent moved west this summer, but the talent gap between All-Star teams here is jarring.
2017-18 NBA Regular Season Awards:
Coach of the Year: Tom Thibodeau
You’ll learn just how far Tom Thibodeau takes the Minnesota Timberwolves in NBA Live 18’s simulation a few minutes, but I’ll provide a minor spoiler for you here. Thibodeau earned this. If the Timberwolves go 60-22, good for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, Coach of the Year is going to be his without question.
Most Improved Player: Jordan Clarkson
I’m kind of really into this prediction from NBA Live 18. Clarkson is a most improved player contender, but I haven’t seen anyone actually make that prediction. If he can get enough touches away from the likes of Lonzo Ball and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, this is doable.
Sixth Man of the Year: Jeremy Lin
If Jeremy Lin isn’t a starter in Brooklyn and he puts up 16 points and 6.3 assists like NBA Live 18 is predicting, he has as good a shot as anyone.
Rookie of the Year: Lonzo Ball
Lonzo Ball is the trendy Rookie of the Year selection, and for good reason. His talent speaks for itself, but said talent coupled with the wide-open opportunity in Los Angeles to make that team his own results in a very safe Rookie of the Year prediction.
Defensive Player of the Year: Rudy Gobert
Rudy Gobert could have easily been the Defensive Player of the Year last season, so I have no qualms with NBA Live 18‘s prediction here. Gobert has been an excellent defender for a majority of his career, and at some point before his career is over, this award will be his. If NBA Live wants to give it to him in 2017-18, that works.
Most Valuable Player: Russell Westbrook
Russ! NBA Live 18 is predicting that Russell Westbrook will win his second-straight Most Valuable Player award at the end of the 2017-18 season, and it’s hard to argue with that logic. Westbrook has as good of a shot as anyone else. To this point, NBA Live 18 has been pretty reasonable with its predictions, but we’re about to throw sanity out the window. On to the playoffs we go.
2017-18 NBA Playoffs: Round One
We’ll get to the results in a minute, but look at this playoff bracket! The Minnesota Timberwolves are a No. 1 seed. Boston and Cleveland have to play in the first round. The Warriors finish third in the west! The Milwaukee Bucks are a No. 2 seed! Absolute chaos.
The No. 8 seed Charlotte Hornets sweep the No. 1 seed Toronto Raptors in the first round? Ok. Cleveland made quick work of Boston, and everything else in the east makes some sense. The West featured the Gordon Hayward-less Jazz taking out the Houston Rockets, and most importantly, it looks like we’re getting a Golden State Warriors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder matchup in the conference semifinals. Thank you, EA Sports.
2017-18 NBA Playoffs: Conference Semifinals
The Hornets followed up their first-round sweep of the Raptors by making quick work of the Cavaliers. Someone at EA Sports must be a Dwight Howard fan. In the bottom half of the bracket, Joel Embiid stays healthy and The Process is heading to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Over in the West, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder take down the almighty Warriors with relative ease. The #1 seed Minnesota Timberwolves are still the team to beat, however.
2017-18 NBA Playoffs: Conference Finals
Here you go. NBA Live 18 is predicting an absolutely absurd NBA Finals matchup between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Philadelphia 76ers. Look, we all know this isn’t going to happen, but try and take a step back for a minute and imagine a world where the NBA is this unpredictable. It’s pretty nice, right? While NBA advertisers might feel different, if we actually got the 76ers vs. Timberwolves in the NBA Finals, I would be very, very excited. New teams, new players, and a new champion? Sign me up.
2017-18 NBA Finals
TRUST. THE. PROCESS. You heard it here first, folks. The Philadelphia 76ers are going to win the 2017-18 NBA Finals, Joel Embiid is going to stay healthy forever, Ben Simmons is going to be awesome, Markelle Fultz is going to fix his jumper, and everything else in between is going to be just great. Welcome to the future.
While we’re at it, pour one out for Sam Hinkie. You earned it, buddy.