After winning the NBA Title in three different years through three different alternate timelines, let’s get weird.
A reminder of some of the ground rules before we hop in:
- I’ll be using downloaded draft classes (from NBA2kCreationz on PS4) for as far into the future as I can, and also turning on 2k’s storyline stuff with the prospects which should shuffle up the order of the picks a bit, leading to even more spinoff-universes.
- I’ll have to play with “force trades” on because 2k doesn’t QUITE nail the protections on the Lakers/Kings picks. I will only be using force trade to ensure those picks behave the way they do in real life.
This is the final installation of my four-part series, and I’m forcing mayhem. I’ll be making sure the league adds expansion teams, approves every rule change, and more. As I did in Sim 2, I will be taking a backseat to the technology when it comes to the team’s decision making. Here are the changes I am starting out with:
- As suggested by @FreeCollin on twitter, Joel Embiid is now 7’7”.
- Ben Simmons is now right-handed.
- Markelle Fultz accidentally went back in time and got into some shenanigans that caused him to never be born. He no longer exists.
- As suggested by commentor fr_fry228, non-Finals playoff series’ are all now a single win or go home game. The Finals remain a best of 7.
- There is no longer any salary cap.
- To start with these changes, I had to start the season from day one.
Let’s go ahead with chaos:
SIM 4 – THE CHAOS THEORY
- The league announces two expansion teams to form next season: The returning Seattle Supersonics and the Eastern Conference’s Nashville Stars.
- A newly 7’7” Joel Embiid blocks 3 shots in his first game after the growth spurt, grabbing 10 rebounds and scoring 27 points in the process.
- The Sixers sign free agent Mike James to a one-year, $790k contract.
- Dario Saric shin splints (1-2 weeks).
- TJ McConnell left foot stress fracture (4-6 weeks).
- JJ Redick sprained knee (1-2 weeks). The universe knows something is wrong and it trying to course correct.
- Ben Simmons lower right leg stress fracture (2-4 months). This is like when the Matrix freaked out and sent the robots to find Morpheus.
- Sixers forced to sign James Young for reaminder of season after his two-way limit runs out.
- Kings fire Dave Joerger and replace him with a made up man.
- Robert Covington (15.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 37.9% from three) and Joel Embiid (18.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.6 blocks) are All-Stars.
- Elsewhere, Jusuf Nurkic gets three-years, $58.04 million and Aaron Gordon gets four-years, $106.75 million.
- Dario Saric hyperextended right elbow (1-2 weeks).
- Hornets fire Steve Clifford and hire another made up man.
- Sixers clinch playoffs on March 13th, before any other team in the NBA.
- Dario Saric right knee tendinitis (4-6 weeks).
- Ben Simons returns on the 24th.
- JJ Redick broken right thigh (4-6 weeks).
- Lonzo Ball, with an injured Ben Simmons missing most of the year, wins Rookie of the Year on 9.1 points, 7.3 assists, and 5.1 rebounds per game, shooting 37.1% from the field.
- Mike James of the Sixers makes the All-Rookie 1st Team.
- Joel Embiid 18.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.7 blocks (8th in the NBA), 24.1 PER (9th in the NBA).
- Robert Covington 15.9 points and 1.5 steals on 38.3% from three (7.4 attempts).
- Ben Simmons 14.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 6.5 assists in 35 games.
1st seed in the East (57-25).
Due to the NBA’s new one-and-done in the playoffs rule, the Sixers lose to the 8th seeded Toronto Raptors in the first round, 122-99. DeMar DeRozan, as he does often, dropped 37 points on the Sixers.
The new sudden death rules play right into the 8-seed Raptors’ hands as they coast to the NBA Finals against the 3-seed Spurs. The Raptors win in seven games, becoming the NBA’s newest 8th-seeded champions. The takes are scorching.
The following rules are approved:
- Players now foul out with 5 fouls.
- Only the #1 pick is decided via the lottery, the rest are determined by team record.
- Modifications to the team foul bonus rule.
Due to the new expansion teams, the Sonics join the Northwest division, pushing the Thunder to their more reasonable home in the now six-team Southwest division. The Nashville Stars join the Southeast division, which pushes the Wixards into the now sixt-team Atlantic Division.
The Lakers’ pick ends up with the 12th best Lottery odds. LAL doesn’t win the lottery, and the two new franchises pick at #2 and #3, pushing the Sixers’ posession of the pick down to #14. The Atlanta Hawks win the #1 pick.
First, the expansion draft takes place, where Seattle takes Cody Zeller first, followed by Nashville’s selection of Tyler Johnson. With their 12th pick, the Nashville Stars select Furkan Korkmaz.
In the NBA Draft, the Hawks select Michael Porter Jr. with the first overall selection, before Nashville adds Marvin Bagley III to their expansion roster and Seattle snags Kemba Walker and Dwight Howard from the Hornets for the #3 pick and expansion pick Alan Crabbe. The Hornets take DeAndre Ayton and Collin Sexton at 4 and 5. The Sixers use pick #14 on Gary Trent Jr. They pick Rawle Alkins (again) at #29.
The Sixers pick up options on Richaun Holmes and TJ McConnell.
Freed of the existence of a salary or hard cap, the Sixers sign…..uh…..Derrick Rose, Rudy Gay, and Chris Paul. Paul gets four-years, $147.01 million, Rose gets three-years, $37.07 million, and Gay gets three-years $30.69 million. I should probably mention that I didn’t mess with any positions, so Ben Simmons is listed as a PF.
Elsewhere, DeAndre Jordan goes to Indiana, Isaiah Thomas goes to Denver, Paul George goes to Golden State, as does Carmelo Anthony creating the NBA’s first Big Seven. The Warriors also sign Mike James away from the Sixers, JJ Redick joins the Thunder, and Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel each get two-year deals from Houston and Portland, respectively. Abolishing the salary cap was maybe not the most rational thing the NBA did, but they did it.
As a final measure in the off-season, the NBA awards the All-Star game to Seattle.
PG – Chris Paul (92), Derrick Rose (79), TJ McConnell (76), Jerryd Bayless (73)
SG -Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (74), Gary Trent Jr. (73), Rawle Alkins (73)
SF – Robert Covington (81), Rudy Gay (80), Justin Anderson (75)
PF – Ben Simmons (84), Dario Saric (78)
C – Joel Embiid (91), Richaun Holmes (77)
- The signing of Chris Paul caused streams to cross somewhere, as Joel Embiid opens the season with 9 points, 12 rebounds, and 13 assists in a loss to JJ Redick’s Thunder.
- Rudy Gay right high ankle sprain (4-6 weeks).
- On November 30th, Ben Simmons fouls out in 9 minutes.
- Ben Simmons right foot bone spurs (1-2 weeks).
- Robert Covington right hand fracture (2-4 weeks).
- Orlando Magic fire Frank Vogel and hire made up man #3.
- Halfway through the season, the Sonics shockingly lead their division, while Nashville is 11 games under .500.
- Through 48 games, DeMarcus Cousins has run afoul of the new 5-foul foul-out rule 33 times. He’s one of 13 players averaging a foul-out per 36 minutes.
- Chris Paul (15.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 9.4 assists, 2.8 steals, 39.4% from 3) is an All-Star Starter and Joel Embiid (15 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2.3 blocks) is a reserve.
- Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot is in the dunk contest.
- Sixers clinch playoffs on March 23rd.
- Richaun Holmes severe right ankle sprain (2-4 weeks).
- Nerlens Noel wins Sixth Man of the Year for Portland.
- Chris Paul makes All-NBA 3rd Team, and All-Defensive 2nd Team.
- Joel Embiid makes All-Defensive 2nd Team.
- Embiid 16.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.2 blocks (2nd in NBA)
- Paul 15.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 9.5 assists, 2.6 steals (1st in NBA), 38.8% from 3
- Robert Covington 12.5 points and 5 rebouns on 40.2% from 3
- Sixers allow 3rd best Defensive Rating (104.5), lead the league in FT%, lead the league in assists per game, 5th in Net Rating (5.5)
2nd seed in the East (52-30).
Once again, the single game playoff screws the Sixers as they once again lose to the Raptors. DeRozan dropped 38.
The following rules were approved:
- The shot clock is now 35 seconds.
- Euro goaltending rule is adopted (anyone can touch the ball after it contacts the rim).
- The backcourt violation no longer exists.
The Sacramento Kings come in with the NBA’s worst record. If they win the lottery, the pick goes to the Sixers, if they don’t it goes to the Celtics. The Miami Heat jump into the top lottery spot, pushing the Kings’ pick to #2 and Boston. The Sixers pick at #28. It’s a heartbreaker, but once again, the draft has deteriorated in importance since the NBA abolished the salary cap.
The Sixers draft wing Kevin Greene at #28. The 2nd overall pick that fell just out of their grasp is used to pick RJ Barrett after Zion Williamson goes #1.
Sixers exercise options on Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, and TLC.
The Sixers pick up Alec Burke for $22 million over two years, and re-sign Richaun Holmes to a three-year, $15.02 million deal.
Elsewhere, Kemba Walker joins the Jazz for four years, $132 million, Carmelo Anthony hops on over to the Pacers for three years, $68 million, Dwight Howard rejoins the Lakers for three years, $24 million, and the Warriors add Hassan Whiteside on a four-year, $132.97 million deal. The Warriors now have Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Seth Curry, Kevin Durant, Paul George, Draymond Green, and Hassan Whiteside.
TJ McConnell signs with the Thunder to hang out with JJ Redick.
PG – Chris Paul (92), Derrick Rose (80)
SG – Alec Burks (79), TLC (76), Gary Trent Jr. (76), Rawle Alkins (74)
SF – Robert Covington (82), Rudy Gay (78), Justin Anderson (75), Kevin Greene (70)
PF – Ben Simmons (86), Dario Saric (79)
C – Joel Embiid (91), Richaun Holmes (77)
- As a result of the 35-second shot clock, scoring across the league is way down. In the first thee games of the season, the Sixers score 49 points, 65 points, and 69 points. Through the first month an a half of the season, the NBA’s leading scorer is James Harden, averaging just 19.6 points per game.
- In a November 18th game against the Wizards, the Sixers win 84-38, and the Wizards attempted 58 shots, making just 18. The Sixers actually attempted even fewer (53). The Wizards attempted zero free throws to the Sixers’ 32. Fans at the game in D.C. broke into a near-riot.
- After the first 21 games of a 35-second clock, the Sixers are averaging 56 FGA per game. In 2018-2019, they averaged 84.5.
- The 35-second shot clock has rendered the NBA damn near unwatchable. The league’s top scoring team, the Warriors, is averaging 76.7 points per game. The Heat average 58.4.
- No NBA player averages more than 20 points per game. One player averages 10 rebounds, and the league’s assist leader is dishing out 6.2 per contest.
- Rudy Gay dislocated right patella (1-2 weeks).
- Ben Simmons strained right MCL (2-4 weeks).
- Sixers sign Dario Saric to a three-year, $40.13 million extension.
- Sixers sign Ben Simmons to a four-year, $109.34 million extension.
- The abolition of the salary cap has mostly dried up any and all trade market that would have existed.
- Chris Paul (9.6 points, 5.3 assists, 41.3% from 3) and Joel Embiid (10.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 blocks) are both All-Stars.
- Ben Simmons wins the dunk contest.
- Sixers clinch the playoffs on March 28th.
- Chris Paul high ankle sprain (1-2 weeks).
- Joel Embiid makes All-NBA 3rd Team.
- The Sixers play the entire season never cracking 90 points in a game. They average 67.5 points per game (14th), and allow 63.5 per (4th).
- Joel Embiid 10.6 points, 6 rebounds, 1.5 blocks (1st in the NBA).
- Chris Paul 9.2 points, 5.5 assists, 42.2% from 3.
- Ben Simmons 8.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 12-26 from 3.
3rd seed in the East (48-34).
Determined not to be one-and-done in the playoffs for the third straight year, and facing the defending champion Brooklyn Nets in the first round, the Sixers once again go one-and-done, dropping their only playoff game 75-65.
The Nets head back to the Finals, where they come back from 3-1 to force a game seven, but it’s not enough against the 3rd seed Denver Nuggets. Nikola Jokic is the Finals MVP.
The league approved the following rule changes:
- The Stepien Rule is abolished.
- Three-second violations will now become five-second violations.
- There will no longer be any in-game jump balls, and the league will use a possession arrow instead.
Due to….something, the Celtics end up with Memphis and the Clippers’ unprotected firsts, which end up at #3 and #4. The Sixers pick at #27.
Before the draft, the Sixers re-sign Brett Brown. Jeff Hornacek signs on to coach the Thunder, the Jazz hire Fred Hoiberg, and Gregg Popovich decides to coach the Lakers.
The Celtics use pick #3 on LaMelo Ball. The Sixers pick a 22-year-old wing from Providence at #27. He stinks.
The Sixers make a huge offer to Brandon Ingram, but it’s matched by the Lakers so he stays there. They sign Bismack Biyombo for two years at $7.61 million. It’s the only signing they make. I’m staring to worry about the team’s leadership.
JJ Redick heads to the Cavs on a one-year deal, Nerlens Noel makes $10 million a year for two years with the Kings, the Nets give Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot $11.55 million over two years, and Mario Hezonja heads to Milwaukee.
PG – Chris Paul (92), Derrick Rose (80)
SG – Alec Burks (79), Gary Trent Jr. (79), Rawle Alkins (76)
SF – Robert Covington (82), Rudy Gay (74), Kevin Greene (71), Shawn Collins (65)
PF – Ben Simmons (89), Dario Saric (79)
C – Joel Embiid (92), Richaun Holmes (78), Bismack Biyombo (78)
- Bismack Biyombo hyperextended right knee (1-2 weeks).
- Two weeks pass.
- Bismack Biyombo torn left ACL (season).
- Sixers sign Derrick Rose for three-year, $11.46 million extension.
- On December 6th, a team scored 100 points against the Sixers for the first time in the 35-second shot clock era when the Clippers win 100-74. The Sixers have yet to surpass the 90 point mark.
- Derrick Rose broken left leg (6-8 weeks).
- The league remains unwatchable.
- On February 5th, for the first time since the NBA introduced the 35-second shot clock, the Sixers scored 90 points in a game, when they beat the Magic 90-70. Ben Simmons scored 22, Robert Covington dropped 16, and Chris Paul put up an increasingly rare double-double in the modern NBA.
- Chris Paul leads the Eastern Conference in All-Star votes and enters as the Sixers’ only participant (11.2 points, 6.3 assists, 1.4 steals on 37.3% from 3).
- Sixers sign Chris Paul to a two-year, $66.94 million extension, at age 35.
- Sixers end season on a seven game win streak.
- James Harden wins the MVP and becomes the first player in the 35-second era to average over 20 points per game.
- Chris Paul and Ben Simmons make All-NBA 3rd Team.
- Joel Embiid 11 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.3 blocks
- Chris Paul 10.8 points, 6.3 assists, 41% from 3
- Ben Simmons 9.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists
1st seed in the East (54-28).
Back in the 1 seed, back facing their old playoff nemesis the Raptors, who eliminated them in the first round 2 of the last 3 seasons (the Nets have the honor of the other). And for the fourth consecutive season, the Sixers fail to escape the first round when they lose 79 to 54.
The 4th seed Knicks beat the 1st seed Warriors in the finals in 6 games.
Before the league meetings, JJ Redick retires from the Cavaliers as a career 42.1% three-point shooter. The longer shot clock late in his career effects the number of made threes, but he still retires with 1801, good enough for 15th on the current list.
The league changes the following rules:
- Teams will reach the Bonus after four fouls in a quarter.
- The top 11 picks are now done through the lottery, instead of top 1.
- Rookie wage scale is reduced for some reason.
The Sixers have the #30 pick.
The Sixers pick a German dude named Dirk Meier. He also stinks.
Malik Monk goes to the Knicks, Kyle Kuzma heads to Charlotte, and Evan Turner ends up with the Spurs.
PG – Chris Paul (90), Derrick Rose (77), Dirk Meier (64)
SG – Gary Trent Jr. (81), Tyreke Evans (79), Rawle Alkins (77)
SF – Jonathan Isaac (84), Robert Covington (82), Shawn Collins (67)
PF – Ben Simmons (91), Dario Saric (80)
C – Joel Embiid (91), Richaun Holmes (78), Bismack Biyombo (75)
- Joel Embiid twisted ankle (1-2 weeks).
- Tyreke Evans broken toe (2-4 weeks).
- Sixers sign Joel Embiid to a three-year, $108.48 million extension.
- Sixers sign Dario Saric to two-year, $23.44 million extension.
- Sixers trade Derrick Rose and Rawle Alkins to Portland for Spencer Dinwiddie and a 2022 1st.
- Sixers sign J.R. Smith to a one-year league minimum deal.
- Dario Saric right knee tendinitis (2-4 weeks).
- The Raptors trade Kyle Lowry for a top-3 protected first and a scrub from the Timberwolves.
- Joel Embiid sore back (day to day).
- Raptors go full tank as they trade Serge Ibaka for a 2024 top-5 protected 1st.
- Ben Simmons is the Sixers’ only All-Star (10.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists).
- Jonathan Isaac strained left Achilles (2-4 weeks).
- Robert Covington right knee tendinitis (2-4 weeks).
- With seven games left, not a single Eastern Conference team has clinched a playoff spot.
- Sixers clinch with two games left, on a day when the entire playoff picture locks up. The 8th place team is 3 games back from the 1st place team.
- Chris Paul and Ben Simmons named to the All-NBA 2nd Team.
- Ben Simmons 10.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists.
- Joel Embiid 10.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.2 blocks
- Gary Trent Jr. 9 points
The Sixers are 2nd seed in the East (49-33), and with bad luck they once again face the defending champions in the first round, the New York Knicks. They’ve made the playoffs every year since 2018 but failed to escape the first round until now, when they beat the Knicks in a 65-60 barn-burner. Ben Simmons leads the team in points, rebounds, and assists (13/6/5).
Their second-round draw is the 6th seed Detroit Pistons, who are no challenge at all. The Sixers put away Detroit 82-64 behind Gary Trent Jr.’s 15 points, and Joel Embiid’s total line of 11/5/4/1/1.
They now head to the Eastern Conference Finals to face off against the 4th seeded Milwaukee Bucks. They take Milwaukee out 71-62 behind 26 assists on 27 made baskets. Joel Embiid had 20 points and Ben Simmons dished out 9 assists. Now, finally, the oft-top seeded Sixers are in the NBA finals, facing off against the consistent powerhouse Golden State Warriors, who beat the Lakers to reach the finals.
Sixers 64 – Warriors 58
Game one of the whatever the hell year it is NBA Finals belongs to the Sixers, and Joel Embiid wins the first ever Whiteside/Embiid finals matchup out-scoring and out-rebounding Hassan by 1. Embiid’s 12 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 blocks shine.
Warriors 96 – Sixers 78
As if remembering that they can use the shot clock to find that perfect shot, the Warriors attempt 10 fewer shots than the Sixers and make 2 more (and 5 more threes) to walk away with this one.
Sixers 65 – Warriors 56
Early in the game, Spencer Dinwiddie fractured his arm and will not return for the rest of the playoffs. But in his absence the Sixers came together. Ben Simmons’ 14 points led the night, but the team’s 18-20 from the free throw line kept the Warriors out of closing distance. Both Embiid and Simmons fouled out (after 19 and 22 minutes each), but the Warriors couldn’t capitalize.
Warriors 83 – Sixers 79
Game four belonged to the Warriors pretty much all night, until a late push turned a Warriors 11 point 4th quarter lead into just a four point cushion. Steph Curry shot only 2-10 from three but still put up 24 points and 9 assists. Ben Simmons’ near-impossible 35-second-era triple-double was off by just one assist as he posted 18/10/9.
Warriors 73 – Sixers 68
Game five was a repeat of game four, as the Warriors’ 20-point halftime lead almost vanished and left them with 5 points to spare as time expired. Curry was cold from range again (1-9), but no other Warrior missed a three-pointer. Simmons fouled out after 28 minutes, and Chris Paul’s double-double wasn’t enough to pull them back in.
Sixers 68 – Warriors 52
Facing elimination at home, the Sixers controlled the whole game, not losing a single quarter. Steph Curry (2-7 from 3) led the Warriors with 10 points, but three Sixers ended with the same total (Isaac, Simmons, Covington) trailing Joel Embiid’s 18. Simmons added 10 assists to his point total as he played the de facto point guard role most of the night. Chris Paul added 6 assists and 5 points.
Sixers 64 – Warriors 48
On paper, without looking at the final, this was a close game. The Sixers shot 38% from the floor, while the Warriors shot 40%. They tied in points in the paint, fast break points, and second chance points. Each team had 18 assists. The Warriors had 34 rebounds to the Sixers’ 33. So where was the difference? The Sixers made 14 of their 20 free throws (Golden State only attempted 6) and escaped with only 7 turnovers to the Warriors’ 17. The Sixers’ once led by 19. The Warriors never had the lead.
The Sixers are your 2022 NBA Champions.
NBA Finals MVP: Ben Simmons (12.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists 54.4% FG)
The Sixers’ championship was so good that Chris Paul was inducted into the Hall of Fame while he’s still playing.
The league changed the following rules:
- Number of fouls required to foul out changed from 5 to 7.
The Sixers enter the Lottery with Portland’s pick, a 4.7% chance at being #1. It sits at #9. They also pick at #32.
I didn’t pay any attention.
You know, with the NBA Title in hand and no real reason to continue, I was gonna stop here. I didn’t pay any attention during the draft, but I’m very glad I didn’t turn my system off, because that’s when the 2023 Sixers did the strangest thing. First, the Sixers signed Evan Fournier to a three-year, $97.43 million deal. Then, they added three more years to Richaun Holmes’ deal.
But here’s where things got strange: Five days into free agency, the Sixers signed a big man who has done well in the 35-second era, putting up 9.1 points last season, and 12.1 in the league’s first year of the new clock. In that same year, he put up 19.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per 36. Hell, you could even round that up to 20 and 10. That’s right, the Sixers signed Jahlil Okafor to a two-year, $18.99 million deal. Welcome home Jah, but I’m done.
PG – Chris Paul (87), Ken Farmer (68), Dirk Meier (68)
SG – Evan Fournier (84), Gary Trent Jr. (83), Tyreke Evans (76), Carl Armstrong (67)
SF – Jonathan Isaac (85), Robert Covington (81)
PF – Ben Simmons (93), Dario Saric (80)
C – Joel Embiid (93), Richaun Holmes (78), Jahlil Okafor (78)