How do the Timberwolves fare in a NBA 2K16 simulation?


It has been a long-awaited few months, but finally, for video game and basketball fanatics, 2K Sports has released their blockbuster game of the year that helps usher in the annual return of basketball to America.

Besides the current Minnesota Timberwolves being among the 30 modern-day NBA teams found in the game, 2K has also included the 2004-05 Timberwolves (with prime Kevin Garnett, Same Cassell, and Latrell Sprewell, among others) to the list of historic teams as well.

The present day Timberwolves aren’t nearly as powerful as their historic team in 2K, of course. For instance, there are no players with a 90+ rating on the current roster; the highest rated player is Andrew Wiggins at an 80 overall.

Kevin Martin has the second highest rating on the team (79), and Karl-Anthony Towns (78), Nikola Pekovic (77), and Ricky Rubio (77) round out the top-five players on the team.

The default starters for Flip Saunders’ Wolves (the game lists Sam Mitchell as the assistant coach) are Rubio, Martin, Wiggins, Kevin Garnett, and Towns. Pekovic receives the most minutes off the bench, followed by Gorgui Dieng, Shabazz Muhammad, Tyus Jones, and Zach LaVine, and Nemanja Bjelica. Adreian Payne and Damjan Rudez currently receive no playing time whatsoever, according to the game’s projections.

So, without further ado, let’s get to the simulation.

The Minnesota Timberwolves started off the 2015-2016 NBA season well, finishing November with a winning record at 9-8, good for eighth in the conference and third in the division over that period. Statistically, the Wolves were average to that point. Martin lead the way in scoring with 17.8 points per game, Rubio and Towns lead the team in assists and rebounds per game at 8.0 APG and 9.8 RPG, respectively.

The month of December was disastrous for Saunders’ squad, however. Minnesota won only two of sixteen games during the month, and those fourteen losses were all in a row.

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Luckily, the Timberwolves were able to rebound. Martin lead the team to a 14-6 record approaching the All-Star Break, bumping their record to 25-29 (.463) and up four in the Western Conference standings to tenth by mid-February.

Unfortunately, none of the players were named to the All-Star Game, although both Wiggins and Muhammad announced they would participate in the Dunk Contest. Also, Wiggins and Towns were both chosen to play in the Rising Stars Challenge.

Though it seemed as though the Timberwolves were on their way heading up to the break, they lost all of their momentum en route to a 34-48 finish, going 9-19 to finish the season. This put the team back down to the fourteenth spot in the West.

Karl Towns did make the All-Rookie First Team, but other than that, the award shelf was pretty bare for the other Wolves players. Kevin Martin finished leading the team in scoring (16.2 PPG), Towns in rebounding (9.5 RPG), and Rubio in assisting (7.7 APG).

Wiggins underwhelmed, with all of his statistics (steals per game being the exception) dipping below those of his rookie year. 2K gave the sophomore guard/forward passive tendencies that he probably didn’t deserve to receive which played a large part in why Wiggins’ numbers fell.

Overall, however, the Timberwolves didn’t fall. Instead, Minnesota won more than twice as much they did the year prior while having solid play from the young players. The Wolves also lost enough games to put them in contention for a top-ten pick, giving them the ability to add even more talent through the draft.

2K didn’t put the Minnesota Timberwolves in the playoffs like we, as fans, were hoping, but it did show that we should see an improvement from last year in this upcoming season. With the athleticism that this team has, there’s no reason not to feel elated towards this year.

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