When I play a sports video game, like any installment of the NBA 2K series, for instance, I'm often surprised at how good a general manager I am. I go into the league-wide fantasy draft with some sort of game plan. My team chemistry is usually pretty high. I try to assign the proper roles to the proper guys, and maybe bump up some players' usage if I see the potential. All in all, I think sports fans love that part of the gaming experience and pride themselves in being able to take on one of the coolest jobs in the entire sports industry.
So if we can do it, a real general manager should be able to dominate the CPU, right? Daryl Morey is finding out if that's the case. And watching him control a team on NBA 2K is actually a really interesting experience. At times, he plays the game much more like you'd expect from a general manager, relying on his own knowledge.
"I don't really know how important the ratings are," Morey said in the initial draft, selecting Dwyane Wade with the fifth overall pick. "I just have my intuitive sense of how good these players are."
The rules were simple and were part of the reason that he chose Wade: Morey could only select inactive players through the 2K draft, unless they currently play for the Rockets. So James Harden, shockingly rated at 79 overall, was certainly an option for Morey. And that's exactly who he took to complement Wade in the backcourt.
The Rockets are known for their distinctive small-ball style of play, and Morey took that same approach to the game, though the league had not yet reached that type of modernity yet. Shane Battier (former Rocket) was next, followed by the likes of Nikola Mirotic, Jameer Nelson and Marcus Camby. You can check out the draft below.
Morey's team got off to a rocky start, and in a flurry of moves, his GM mind went into action. It didn't take long for Morey to abide by the current Rockets' small-ball standards, swapping Camby and one "Anderson/Andersen" -- Ryan, maybe? -- for Ron Artest. He then got rid of Shane Battier in order to pick up not one but two first-round picks -- not a bad move if you ask me, though it doesn't quite help Morey in his initial goal to win the championship in his first year. His next move helped to change that.
Morey then took those first round picks, in addition to Channing Frye, in a blockbuster move for Chris Bosh, then an 86-overall F/C hybrid. How about that starting lineup, thinking in terms of the 2010-2011 season:
PG: James Harden (whose rating is now an 83)
SG: Dwyane Wade (94)
SF: Ron Artest (82)
PF: Nikola Mirotic (84)
C: Chris Bosh (87)
6th Man: Peja Stojakovic (81)
Bench: Jameer Nelson (78)
Bench: Tony Allen (81)
Bench: Boris Diaw (76)
Bench: Chauncey Billups (76)
Now that is a roster. I wonder how many amateur GMs could have made the moves required to come up with a team like this. Still, at 13-20, Morey's 2K Rockets had a lot of work to do. He reached the .500 point after a solid stretch, but faltered after the trade deadline. The anguish he goes through as he watches his team lose is a scene to behold. Still, he found a way to make the playoffs, and we'll be tuning in to find out what happens next.