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Boomers x NBA2K3: A what if simulation
The Australian Boomers in the NBA? Just how would they go? We find out with a little help from NBA 2K23.
It’s September. For some people in Australia, it might mean excitement for the AFL and NRL finals. But for hoop heads and gamers alike, it means a new edition of NBA 2K.
This year’s version of the game includes plenty of new upgrades and features including the Jordan Challenge and perhaps more importantly, the ability to rock an Australian Boomers jersey as you’re wandering around the City in MyCareer.
One of the ongoing great features of the NBA2K series is the in-depth simulation detail and customisation possibilities. With that in mind, I decided to put a Boomers team together to see how the green and gold would fare in an NBA season.
Getting the band together
Compiling the team was an interesting —and at times complicated— process but the result was an Australian team to be proud of.
It includes all the current players, with the addition of Luc Longley and Andrew Bogut from classic teams for some much-needed size. The remaining roster spots were filled by players who at least had some link to the one down under, having played in the NBL.
Sadly Makur Maker wasn’t available to add to the squad, despite him signing a deal with the Wizards.
There was obviously one significant error with this roster: Patty Mills’ rating. We all know that when he puts on the green and gold he goes to a whole other level, so with that in mind he got a much-needed ratings boost, was swung to point guard, and Ben Simmons shifted to the power forward spot.
A tough start
With the roster and rotations set, it was time for the Boomers to get their season underway and like they do so often, those in charge of the NBA schedule nailed it. Up first was the Dallas Mavericks, giving Luka Doncic the chance to exact his revenge for the Tokyo Olympics bronze medal match, and that’s just what he did. Doncic finished with 45 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists, putting the Aussies to the sword.
It was over a week into the season before the Boomers finally scored their first W, belting Cleveland thanks to a MONSTER night from Josh Giddey, who had 34 points including five triples.
Over a month into the season and the Boomers were struggling, come December 1 they sat 9-14 in the Eastern conference, having won just three of their last 10 games. Matters only got worse as over the month the injuries began to pile up, the most significant being Joe Ingles’ torn calf.
Despite the poor run of injuries, Australia found life in December, racking up 14 wins in the month. The run meant they would enter 2023 at .500 with an 18-18 record.
By the time the league had reached the All-Star break, Joe Ingles’ calf had improved and he was back on the floor, however, the Boomers’ record hadn’t, still sitting .500 (30-30).
Both Ben Simmons and Patty Mills missed out on All-Star selection despite featuring in the voting, but the land down under was well represented over the big weekend. Both Josh Giddey and Dyson Daniels featured for the World team in the Rising Stars game, while Mills proved just how good he is in a Boomers uniform, winning the 3-point contest against a bumper field.
The run home
After All-Star weekend the goal was simple, make the playoffs. The Aussies were in the hunt, but a destiny with the play-in tournament seemed likely.
Any hopes of a guaranteed playoff spot were stunted by a troublesome Ben Simmons knee, which didn’t rule him out for any considerable stretch but did enough to impact the Boomers.
They finished the season with a 42-40 record, claiming eighth place in the East. Ben Simmons, Josh Giddey and Patty Mills were the standouts as expected, while Dyson Daniels had a great rookie season coming off the bench. Simmons was good enough to earn All-NBA 3rd Team honours and also, somewhat strangely, claimed Most Improved Player, while Dyson Daniels made it to the All-Rookie 2nd Team, which the judges deemed only four players were good enough to make.
I would have loved to begin the story of the incredible run the Boomers had from the play-in tournament to championship glory. But sadly, this video game is a little too realistic, with Australia losing back-to-back play-in games and bowing out of the NBA season.
Both losses came by 10 points or less, with the Knicks doing the damage first, before the Raptors did. Toronto at some point in the season had picked Derrick Rose up, who torched the Boomers for 30 points and sealed our fate.
For those keeping score: in an incredible twist, the New Orleans Pelicans won the championship, sweeping the Heat in the Finals. Zion Williamson was judged Finals MVP, averaging 25 and 10 on over 60% shooting across the four games.
It wasn’t the fairytale we were all hoping for, but it was a fun experiment that shows us again the strength of Aussie basketball, albeit in 2K form.
If you’re keen on running your own simulation or want to put an All-Aussie squad together and need some help, hit me up on Twitter (@mhickey23) and as a 2K nerd I can help you out. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the one to lead the Boomers to championship glory.