After one of the better NBA regular seasons in recent memory, the 2017 NBA Playoffs are finally upon us, and we couldn’t be more excited. Despite what some are calling a predictable first round – and I’d even take that a step further by claiming that most NBA pundits are expecting a Warriors vs. Cavaliers NBA Finals rematch – the journey to that point (if we even get to that point) includes a plethora of fascinating narratives.
Will the Cavaliers regret conceding the No. 1 seed in the East to the Boston Celtics? Who will win the MVP duel between the Rockets and the Thunder? Will Harden or Westbrook go on a miraculous postseason run that will make MVP voters look bad if the MVP loser takes his team all the way? We already know Paul George vs. LeBron James is an incredibly fun first round matchup. Or what about The Greek Freak? Once again, nobody is talking about the San Antonio Spurs – can Gregg Popovich do it again?
And even if things play out how Vegas and just about everyone else expects – a Warriors vs. Cavaliers NBA Finals rematch – who is going to complain about that? Last year’s NBA Finals was arguably one of the greatest of all-time. and another win over the Warriors super team gets LeBron one step closer to Michael Jordan and that GOAT status.
What does any of this have to do with a post that will ultimately boil down to an NBA 2K17 simulation of the 2017 NBA Playoffs? Not a great deal, admittedly, but it’s fun to point out what everyone is expecting to happen prior giving the wheel to NBA 2K, because if we’ve learned anything over the course of the last year giving NBA 2K the responsibility of predicting NBA outcomes, it’s to expect the unexpected.
We simulated the entire NBA season back in October, and that went off the rails in a hurry. We simulated the DeMarcus Cousins – Anthony Davis era in New Orleans a few months back, and that one was a disaster. We simulated the rest of LeBron James career, and let’s just say NBA 2K was not kind to King James. We even simulated multiple games of one-on-one between the greatest basketball player of all-time, LaVar Ball, and his subordinate, Michael Jordan. Okay, that last one went exactly how we expected, but still! NBA 2K likes to keep it fun. That’s the point.
Ok, that introduction is long enough. Let’s get down to it, shall we?
Golden State Warriors Defeat The Portland Trail Blazers, 4-0
Despite Damian Lillard predicting that his Portland Trail Blazers could take down the almighty Golden State Warriors, NBA 2K is predicting that this series will end in a four game sweep. I can’t say I’d be surprised by that outcome.
Utah Jazz Defeat The Los Angeles Clippers, 4-3
We have our first miniature upset! It took 7 games, but NBA 2K has the Utah Jazz eliminated the Clippers in round one after a huge Game 7 performance by George Hill.
Houston Rockets Defeat The Oklahoma City Thunder, 4-3
In poetic fashion, the Houston Rockets sent the Oklahoma City Thunder on vacation thanks to a heroic Game 7 TRIPLE-DOUBLE performance by James Harden. You have to appreciate NBA 2K’s storytelling here!
Memphis Grizzlies Defeat The San Antonio Spurs, 4-3
Here we go! NBA 2K went out on a major limb here and is predicting that the Grit ‘N Grind Grizzlies take down the Western Conference Finals favorites. The most shocking part? Take a look at the box score from Game 7 below. Madness!
Boston Celtics Defeat Chicago Bulls, 4-3
Another Game 7! NBA 2K likes drama. Nobody is expecting the Bulls to take down the Celtics in round 1 (even after that Game 1 performance by Chicago), and an 8-seed hasn’t defeated a 1-seed since 2012 when the 76ers took down a Derrick Rose-less Bulls team. It’s only happened 5 times in NBA history, and it took an herculean performance by Isaiah Thomas in Game 7 to keep the virtual Celtics off that list.
Washington Wizards Defeat The Atlanta Hawks, 4-1
Toronto Raptors Defeat The Milwaukee Bucks, 4-2
Cleveland Cavaliers Defeat The Indiana Pacers, 4-0
The lack of anything interesting to report from the virtual Wizards, Raptors, and Cavaliers’ round one wins is a testament to how weak the bottom of the Eastern Conference still is. The real-life Bucks should give the Raptors a tough series, but it doesn’t feel like anyone is taking the Hawks or the Pacers seriously this postseason, NBA 2K included.
Golden State Warriors Defeat Utah Jazz, 4-2
Despite how fun a seven game series between the Utah Jazz and the Golden State Warriors would be, NBA 2K has the Warriors eliminating the Jazz in 6 games. That makes the series sound a lot closer than the simulated 2K scores actually were. At any rate, there is no shame in falling to the Warriors in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals. The Jazz will only go up from there.
Memphis Grizzlies Defeat The Houston Rockets, 4-1
The Grizzlies are officially NBA 2K’s 2017 NBA Playoffs Cinderella team. After taking out the Spurs in round one, NBA 2K has them defeating the Houston Rockets in just five games! And the craziest part is, if any team nobody is expecting a deep playoff run out of actually makes said deep playoff run, the Grizzlies are a perfect candidate. How far can they go? Stay tuned.
Boston Celtics Defeat The Washington Wizards, 4-3
NBA 2K is predicting that the top half of the Eastern Conference playoff bracket will come down to the Celtics and the Wizards in the Conference Semifinals, and if you polled most NBA aficionados, you’d probably find that most are predicting the same result.
The Wizards and the Celtics are on a collision course, and in NBA 2K’s world, it’s the Celtics that come out on top in Game 7 thanks to a huge game from Al Horford. For those living outside of Boston, Horford has been the target of some criticism from the local media because, despite what the number on his contract might suggest, he isn’t what they consider an NBA superstar. He’s not going to give you 30 points every night, but a Game 7 winning performance should silence the critics.
Cleveland Cavaliers Defeat The Toronto Raptors, 4-1
The virtual playoff Cavs are rolling. To this point in NBA 2K’s simulation, they’ve made quick work of their Eastern Conference competition. After a four game sweep of the Pacers in round one, they cruised past the Raptors 4-1 in round two.
Golden State Warriors Defeat The Memphis Grizzlies, 4-0
Unfortunately, this is where the Grizzlies’ miraculous run ends. Just making it to the Western Conference Finals would be a huge win for this Memphis squad, but as most predicted, NBA 2K has the Golden State Warriors making it out of the West on their way to the NBA Finals.
Cleveland Cavaliers Defeat The Boston Celtics, 4-2
There we have it. NBA 2K’s official NBA Finals prediction is a repeat of last years’ incredible NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. We’ve become accustomed to NBA 2K throwing us some crazy curveballs in these simulations, so in some ways having 2K predict things more or less how everyone else is predicting the NBA postseason will play out is interesting in its own way. Is the NBA really that predictable? Maybe. We’ll see. On to the NBA Finals.
The Golden State Warriors Defeat The Cleveland Cavaliers, 4-0
Now this would be interesting. Yes, the Warriors are NBA Finals favorites, but if they go through the entire postseason with just two losses (to the Utah Jazz, no less!) I would imagine you’d find a lot of angry basketball fans.
The Warriors are awesome. The actual definition of awesome. Nearly everyone is rooting against them because we all expect them to win. Predictability isn’t exciting, but pure dominance is awe-inspiring. If you thought the Warriors were villains before, wait until you see how they’re received after destroying the best the NBA has to offer in the postseason.
If LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers can’t even squeak one game out of seven game series, we might be witnessing the genesis of a dynasty. For the sake of a good story, I hope the NBA Playoffs don’t end in this fashion, but we all know that the Warriors have this kind of postseason run in them. The talent is there.