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NBA 2K20 Wizards simulation: Boston dominates the paint in win over Washington

NBA 2K20 Wizards simulation: Boston dominates the paint in win over Washington

The Washington Wizards season, along with the rest of the NBA, has been put on hold for at least 30 days due to the spread of the coronavirus, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find out what might’ve happened in postponed games.

In an effort to see how Wizards games could have played out, I started a season on the video game NBA 2K20 for the PlayStation 4 console. I started a season because I not only wanted to see Wizards results, but also the results of other games to determine how the final playoff picture would look.

Note: For whatever reason, 2K’s “Start Today” feature was unavailable when I began this experiment, so I used the standard “Season” mode. With updated rosters, I simulated up until the March 13 slate of games. And that’s where we’ll pick things up. I’ll continue with future simulations using the "Start Today" mode for an even more accurate depiction.

On Friday, the Wizards were scheduled to play the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. I watched the complete simulation of that game, and it got ugly fast. The Wizards struggled to find any consistent offense and were outscored by a combined 25 points in the second and third quarters. They lost to the Celtics, 117-93.

After a strong start that saw the away team go up by as much as five points before Boston pulled even to end the first quarter, the Wizards got lazy. Boston kicked up its energy to a level the Wizards were unable to match and went up by as much as 28 points before it was all said and done.

Washington Wizards   24 27 24 18 [93]

Boston Celtics             24 38 38 17 [117]

Related: NHL 20 Caps simulation: Penalty kill saves Washington in sloppy win over Detroit

Top Performers - Wizards

Bradley Beal: 26 Pts (10-22 FG)

Shabazz Napier: 20 Pts (7-14 FG), 5 Ast

Rui Hachimura: 15 Pts (3-11 FG), 5 Reb

Top Performers - Celtics

Kemba Walker: 26 Pts (10-16 FG), 5 Reb, 5 Ast

Jaylen Brown: 24 Pts (10-13 FG)

Marcus Smart: 17 Pts (8-15 FG), 5 Ast

Gordon Hayward: 16 Pts (6-10 FG), 5 Reb

Poor Shooting

It was an abysmal night shooting for the Wizards, as they finished the game just 38% (33-88) from the field and 31% (5-16) on three-pointers against Boston's stifling defense. Typically, a team with 14 more free throw attempts than its opponent stands a good chance at the end, but that wasn’t the case despite the Wizards going 22-of-26 from the stripe.

Transition

The Celtics shot much better than the Wizards but it helps that they were getting uncontested layups and dunks. Boston outscored Washington 28-6 on fast break points. Their bigs would grab rebounds and push the ball up to guards already up the court while the defense lollygagged. This is largely where Jaylen Brown made his mark. The Wizards were unable to push the ball in the same way. Boston also outscored the Wizards on points in the paint by a large margin, 70-46.

Davis Bertans

The Wizards’ second-leading scorer this season was mostly absent in this one, but at no fault of his own. You can blame virtual Scott Brooks for this one, as Bertans played just 14 minutes -- less than half his season average. Unexcusable. In limited time, Bertans scored just four points and hoisted just two three-pointers, knocking down one of them.

Next Game: The Wizards’ next virtual game is Sunday at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder. They have some things to clean up before going up against the savvy Chris Paul and his upstart Thunder squad.

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How Mark Cuban's proposed regular season and expanded playoff format for NBA's return could benefit the Wizards

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USA Today Sports Images

How Mark Cuban's proposed regular season and expanded playoff format for NBA's return could benefit the Wizards

As the NBA continues to work toward resuming the 2019-20 season, one of the biggest questions remaining revolves around what the format of the remaining campaign will be.

When the season was put on hold, most teams had about 17 or 18 regular-season games left on their schedule. With play not set, it's unlikely the new timeframe could accommodate completing the original schedule. Though that won't impact the league's top teams, those fighting for the final playoff spots will lose valuable chances to gain ground.

How can the league hit the ground running and get into the playoffs while also giving almost every team a fair shot? Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has an idea.

"I want to change things around," Cuban told Mike Tirico on NBC Sports' Lunch Talk Live. “You know me, I’m a mover, shake. I want to experiment.”

Cuban suggested a plan that would include impactful regular season games for a majority of the league and an expanded playoff format. The regular season would have five games for every team, thus giving all 30 squads a chance to move up, or down, in the standings.

The five matchups become more important for those in the bottom half of the conferences when Cuban's playoff plans are taken into consideration. In this format, the field would be expanded from 16 teams to 20, with 10 coming from the East Conference and 10 from the West Conference. Teams outside of the eighth seeds would now have five games to secure one of the extra seeds in the postseason, and plenty of teams would be part of the race.

“If we do that, every team in the Eastern Conference would have a chance, at least, of making the playoffs," Cuban said. "All but two in the Western Conference would do it.” 

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The innovation doesn't end there, the 17-20 seeds in the playoffs would play in a one-game elimination-style matchup. The winners then take on the eight seed from each conference in a best-of-five series, while the top two teams from each side have a first round bye. After that, the playoffs resort back to the normal format the NBA has followed for years.

Cuban feel his idea works not only because it brings more teams into the mix, but because it also ramps up the intensity and playoff-like feel of every matchup once the season resumes. It's something new for the league, but he thinks the unique situation of the season calls for just that.

“That gives us a chance to have some more playoff games, some more excitement, some more meaningful games," Cuban said. "That gives almost every team a chance  when we come back for whatever’s going to be left of our regular season to do something interesting and compete for something.”

“I think we gotta change it up some. We can’t just go the tried and true way," he added. 

For the Wizards, Cuban's idea would change everything, specifically the expanded playoff format. As it stands now, Washington is ninth in the Eastern Conference, but 5.5 games back of the Orlando Magic for the eighth spot. Even with five regular-season games, a perfect record combined with an 0-5 showing from the Magic would leave the Wizards a half-game short. But with 10 teams allowed, Washington could easily find its way into the four-team playoff with a chance to play a full series.

The 2019-20 season comes with unique circumstances. In standard times, the Wizards would have had 18 games to try and catch Orlando and others. But with that off the table, the extra seeds is the most appealing option. 

Besides giving more teams a chance in the shortened season, Cuban also believes that his idea could be a beneficial trial as the NBA continuously tries to adapt and improve the game. As someone who has had plenty of experiences with implementing new business ideas, he knows that the only way to see if something works is to try it out and see how the consumers react.

“Like a shark tank, we'll test it out first," Cuban said. "We'll see how the market responds.”

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Bradley Beal says 2017 version of him was 'trash' and 'F the analytics'

Bradley Beal says 2017 version of him was 'trash' and 'F the analytics'

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks has recently incorporated some 2017 playoff games into his film sessions, in part to show the team's younger players what John Wall was like in his prime. It is one way for them to prepare for playing with Wall once he returns from injury, which is likely to be next season.

Bradley Beal has been watching those games and offering commentary to his teammates and, apparently, isn't impressed with the old version of himself. He joined Showtime's 'All the Smoke' this week and had some harsh words for the player he used to be.

Keep in mind Beal averaged 23.1 points and shot 40.4 percent from three that year, in the 2016-17 season.

"It's amazing to watch. I hate watching it because it's like 'I am f---ing trash.' I'm watching it and I'm like 'why are you hesitating on your shots? Why you ain't shooting? Why you ain't pass it right there?'... That dude from three or four years ago, that is not me today. I know that for sure," he said.

Beal spoke at length about his development into a multi-time All-Star. He said his constant improvement year-to-year has a lot to do with him watching players like James Harden, Damian Lillard and Klay Thompson continue to ascend, and realizing "it's either get with the program or you get left behind."

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As for what he's focused on, Beal said it is being a consistent scorer "with efficiency." He wants to increase his volume as a scorer without leaving his shooting percentages to suffer.

He has been able to achieve that for the most part, this season averaging 30.5 points while holding a 52.0 effective field goal percentage. That is not easy to do, especially as a guard.

But don't let the efficiency talk lead you to thinking Beal is poring over the numbers, especially the advanced metrics. He also dropped a line on the show that may raise some eyebrows.

"Honestly, I'm not an analytical guy. I say F the analytics, just go hoop," he said.

That may be surprising to some, especially given Beal happens to show up well in advanced statistics. He's an efficient player who makes a lot of threes.

But it's also not surprising given many NBA players have shared the same opinions. Analytics have changed basketball in many ways, but they still aren't widely embraced by a lot of the players they benefit.

You can listen to Beal's full interview right here:

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