The NBA season is right around the corner with preseason hoops kicking off this week. In just a few weeks, we will be watching Victor Wembanyama make his NBA debut alongside the newly extended Devin Vassell and company.
Today however, the best we have is digital basketball. Soon we can trade in the controller for a remote and watch real San Antonio Spurs hoops (thank goodness.) The digital Spurs in Pounding the Rock’s NBA 2K24 simulation will have to do for today.
Last time we caught up with the sim, the Spurs struggled to deal with injuries to key players like Vassell and Tre Jones. A struggling offense could not get off of the ground as the Spurs limped to the All Star break with a 15-40 record. They are on pace for the worst record in the league.
As we wrap up the 2K24 series, let’s look at how the Silver and Black faired in the end of the simulation.
Results + Statistics
The Spurs improved their record from last year, but still finished the year tied for the worst record in the NBA. The Charlotte Hornets and San Antonio finished with a 25-57 record.
The offense continued to struggle through the end of the simulation. They were the worst offensive team in the league in just about every metric. The Spurs scored just 106.6 points per game, and shot 43% from the field. They shot 32% from three, which would have been the worst in the NBA last season as well.
What would prove to be the first of many silver linings in a bad season, the Spurs finished as a top-10 defense in the league, allowing 114 points per game. They were the 4th best rebounding team in the NBA (51 per game) and blocked 5 shots a game (thank you, Wemby.) Opponents shot just 47% from the field agains the digital Spurs, and hit 35% of their threes, good enough for top-10 in the league in both categories.
Keldon Johnson ended up leading the team in scoring yet again, putting up 17.8 points, 5 rebounds and 1.7 assists on 44.6% shooting from the field and hit 34.3% of his attempts from deep. The Spurs other promising wing, Vassell, had a down year. he averaged 14.5 points, 4.2 assists and 1.3 steals while shooting 39.9% from the field and 35.1% from three. Despite the decreased efficiency, the uptick in playmaking is a promising development.
Wembanyama struggled to start the season, but found his footing as the year went on. He scored 14.9 points a game while adding in 9.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.1 steals and 2.2 blocks. He struggled with his efficiency, hitting 39.7 of his shots from the field and knocking down 27.9% of his three-point field goals. His defensive impact was clearly felt, and helped the team improve on that end in the simulation.
Accolades and the NBA Draft Lottery
Despite a rough season that left the Spurs with the worst record in the league, there are reasons for hope about the future.
Wembanyama was named rookie of the year and first team all rookie alongside Brandon Miller, Chet Holmgren, Scoot Henderson and Amen Thompson. He becomes the Spurs first rookie of the year since Tim Duncan in the 1997-1998 season.
The Spurs missed out on the playoffs yet again, and judging by the simulation, it was a pretty boring postseason anyways. The Memphis Grizzlies and Boston Celtics ripped through their conferences for the “Marcus Smart bowl” in the NBA Finals. The Grizzlies would handle the C’s in 5 games, taking home their franchise’s first NBA championship. Ja Morant was named Finals MVP.
I don’t plan to simulate the offseason, but I did want to see how the Spurs faired in the lottery. They have a 14% chance to get the number one pick going in. Here were the results:
Oof. Not the result you look for after a losing season. Perhaps the simulation is making the Spurs pay for landing a generational talent in the previous draft. Fortunately for the Spurs, the 2024 class is not known for it’s high end talent, but has some good depth. With picks #5 and #19, they will be able to pick up two promising young players. Alexandre Sarr, Isaiah Collier and Matas Buzelis are players to watch out for with a top-5 pick.
The NBA 2K24 simulation should be taken with a grain of salt. The video game bases it’s results on their rating system that rewards players for their performance in the previous system. The Spurs didn’t have a great season last year, so it makes sense that they would predict that to continue. It is an interesting exercise in analyzing possible results for the year ahead.