NBA 2k16 76ers vs Thunder 2020 Finals - Jahlil Okafor Kevin Durant

With the NBA trade deadline behind us, we fast forward to this summer's NBA Draft and attempt to rebuild NBA franchises that are in need of desperate help.

We started with the Philadelphia 76ers.

We limited our rebuild projects to the end of the 2020 NBA Finals.

2015-16 NBA Season

Jahlil Okafor Rookie of the Year
  • 22.4 points per game
  • 8.7 rebounds
  • 53.5% FG
  • 59 Games played due to a broken wrist
2015-16 Season MVP - Kevin Durant

The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in a seven game series - LeBron James was named Finals MVP

2016 NBA Draft Top 5 Picks

  1. Raptors - Ben Simmons
  2. Utah Jazz - Jaylen Brown
  3. Celtics - Brandon Ingram
  4. 76ers (Lakers Pick) - Kris Dunn
  5. 76ers - Buddy Hield
With those two picks I no longer need to go create a backcourt duo and can let Ish Smitih and Isaiah Canaan test free agency.

I traded the 18th overall selection (Heat) to the Bulls for a future first round pick (Kings) in the 2017 NBA Draft.  They drafted Damian Jones out of Vanderbilt.

With the 39th pick, 9th of the 2nd round, I added Taurean Prince.

Entering free agency, I was looking to add a veteran PF/C to play behind Okafor, Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid who will be limited to 24 minutes per game in his first full season.  J.J. Hickson seems like a guy who would sign anywhere for $5 million.  With all this cash at hand, it is easy to sign a player to a one year deal they are not really worth.

As if the Tyson Chandler contract wasn't bad enough, the Suns signed Dwight Howard to a 3 year $57 mil contract.  The Wizards failed to match Phoenix $46 mil deal that Bradley Beal accepted.

The Memphis Grizzlies failed to re-sign Mike Conley who signed a 4 year $41 mil deal with the Denver Nuggets.

2016-17 NBA Season

Both rookies will play 30 minutes per game as starters and we got off to a hot start, with a 10 game win streak in December to improve record to 22-14.  Okafor suffered an injury to his calf muscle that held him out 4-6 weeks.

On a seven game losing streak entering the All-Star break, I turned down a deal from the Mavericks which would have landed me Chandler Parsons $16 mil expiring and a first round pick in 2018 for Nerlens Noel and Robert Covington.  Noel is set to hit free agency as well and I will have to see if I want to spend $10+ mil on a defensive center.  Hopefully I don't lose him to free agency and get nothing in return!

With a 27-25 record at the All-Star break, I finally got Okafor back.

We finished 5th in the East with 45 wins and was the #1 defense in the NBA, allowing 88 points per game.

Kevin Durant was named MVP

Raptors Ben Simmons won Rookie of the Year

Kris Dunn All-Rookie 1st team
  • 12.4 points
  • 39.5% FG 
  • 7.1 assists
  • 5.1 rebounds
  • 30.5 minutes
  • 82 games played
Buddy Hield All-Rookie 2nd team
  • 16.8 points
  • 44.2 FG% 
  • 37 3pt% 
  • 3.8 rebounds
  • 3.6 assists
  • 31.5 mpg
  • 82 games played

NBA Playoffs 2017

Round 1 vs Knicks (4) - lost in seven

After losing the first three games, we forced a Game 7 but Kristaps Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony combined for 42 points.

Hield averaged 18.4 points per game in the series.  Okafor was limited to just 13.7 points despite three straight 20 points games, all wins, but scored single digits in three of the four losses.  Dunn posted 10 points 7 rebounds and 5 assists.

OKC and Cleveland found themselves in a NBA Finals rematch - The Thunder beat the Cavs in five.  Russell Westbrook was named Finals MVP.

2017 NBA Draft Top 5 Picks

  1. Celtics - Harry Giles
  2. Rockets - Jayson Tatum
  3. Magic - Josh Jackson
  4. Mavericks - Markelle Fultz
  5. Wizards - Malik Beasley
With three first round picks, I was able to draft Thomas Bryant 19th overall, Antonio Blakeney with the 21st pick and Ivan Rabb 30th.

Blake Griffin hit free agency and I offered him the max 3+1 player option totaling $109 mil over four years. In order for me to know if this was going down, I had to let Nerlens Noel sign with the Wizards for 3 years $40 mil and not match.  Griffin then decided to sign the Chicago Bulls.

Needing to replace the loss of Noel, I added another veteran PF/C in Kris Humphries for the same $5 mil one year deal.

2017-18 NBA Season

12-5 start to the season before Joel Embiid suffered a collapsed lung!  Embiid missed 12 games, and we won 7 of those games.  Not a week later, Okafor broke  his ankle and missed the next two months.  Rookie Ivan Rabb moved into the starting lineup. We had a 23-11 record when Okafor went down, before losing the first six games without him,  By the end of March we were a game under .500.  We held our own and were 38-38 when Okafor returned, clinging onto the 8th and final seed in the East.  Okafor sparked us to four wins in our last six games and shot at the playoffs again.

Russell Westbrook was named NBA MVP

#1 defensive in NBA again - 90.5 points per game allowed

Raptors drafted the ROY again - Isaiah Hartenstein

Ivan Rabb All-Rookie 2nd Team
  • 6.3 points
  • 6.9 rebounds
  • 48.5 FG%

NBA Playoffs 2018

vs Magic (3) - Advance in six
  • Okafor - 24.7 ptsg 12.2 reb 3.8 ast 51.3 FG% - five double doubles
  • Hield 19.8 pts 40.4 FG% 47.2 3pt%
  • Dunn 10.7 pts 5.3 reb 4.4 ast 44.6 FG%
  • Embiid 8.3 pts 10.2 reb
vs Celtics (2) - Lost in six

Okafor average 27 points per game and it still wasn't enough.

All that money the Suns spent finally paid off as they beat LeBron James, Kevin Love and the Cavs in a five game series to win the NBA Championship.  Eric Bledsoe was the MVP.


I traded two second round picks for Robin Lopez in the final year ($14 mil) of his contract with the Knicks, needing a veteran big man to come off the bench.  Even in 2018, Lopez is just 30 years old.  I signed Embiid prior to free agency so that I did not lose him the way I did Noel.  Embiid signed for $33 mil over three seasons.  He has proven to be healthy, unlike Okafor!

The Knicks went and signed Brook Lopez in free agency for $56 mil over four years.

The Heat signed Jared Sullinger for very cheap at $18 mil over three years.

I signed Doug McDermott in free agency for $5 mil a year over three years

2018-19 NBA Season

At 15-5, the Magic offered me Aaron Gorodn and Victor Oladpio for Okafor.  Okafor was due for a big pay day while Gordon and Oladipo had two years left on their contracts.  I quickly turned that down as the plan was always to sign Okafor to a max deal in the offseason.

Now 20-11, Dunn broke his arm and missed a month.  Thankfully, I held onto T.J. McConnell to run the second unit and he had to step up as a starter.  He was already averaging 5 assists per game as a bench player.

The Wizards offered me Noel (2 years and $27 mil remainig on his contract) and 1st round pick in exchange for Okafor.  Nice try guys.

Before I got Dunn back,  I lost Hield to a high ankle sprain, holding him out for a month.  Eight games over .500, I slid Taurean Prince to SG, moved McDermott into the starting lineup and added minutes to Blakeney.

Still eight games over .500, I got Dunn back and paired him with McConnell in the backcourt, moving McDermott back to the bench.

Up 12 games at the All-Star break, I got Hield back and as the 3 seed in the East, this could have been the year we reach the NBA Finals if we stay healthy!

HAHA who am I kidding - first week of April Embiid goes down with a broken toe, gone for a month.  RoLo to the starting lineup! Thomas Bryant finally got a chance off the bench.

49 wins was good for the four seed, but we made the playoffs for a third straight year!

Sixers #1 Defensive in the NBA for a third season - 88.6 points per game allowed

Kevin Durant is named MVP again

Kris Dunn - Most Improved Player - All-NBA 2nd Team - All-NBA Defensive 2nd Team
  • 15.1 points
  • 9.3 assists
  • 6.3 rebounds

NBA Playoffs 2019

vs Pistons (5) win in six
  • Hield 20.2 points per game
  • All five starters average double-digit points per game
  • Dunn 9 assists
Embbid is back for the second round, but we lost to the Celtics in six games again.  Okafor posted double-doubles in all six games.  Dunn and Hield each scored 30 points in a game two win.

The Golden State Warriors beat the Boston Celtics in five games to win the NBA Championship.  Draymond Green named Finals MVP.


Looking to add depth to my bench, I traded one of my three first round picks, this one was originally owned by the T'wolves, to the Raptors for Solomon Hill and Brandan Wright, both on expiring deals.

Okafor accepted a deal from the Nets, which I matched at $88 mil over four seasons.

The Celtics gave Dwight Howard another $50 mil over four years - in 2019!

The T'wolves signed Oladipo, Clippers added Horford and Thaddeus Young and the Kings signed Jeff Teague.

2019-20 NBA Season

Entering my fifth and final season as the GM of the Sixers, I have to win a Championship so I was more than willing to make a big splash at the trade deadline.

Not a great start to my final campaign - just eight games into the season, Hield was sidelined with knee tendinitis for a month.  Antonio Blakeney has improved to a 75 overall rating and played 30 minutes per game in his absence.  The team was 18-9 when Hield returned.

Oh but as my luck would have it, he would return only to break his leg 11 games later!

Then the other shoe dropped - Okafor broke his leg too!

At 27-12, I would much rather lose these guys in January than April.  Rabb entered to the starting lineup and Brandan Wright finally got some playing time.  Glad I made that draft day deal.

Despite the injuries to my top two scorers, my Sixers were 38-15 at the All-Star break, but the trade deadline passed and I was not offered any deal that I liked, including Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors for Kris Dunn and a draft pick.  I wanted to win with Dunn.  18 points and 10 assists per game at the break, he was having his best season yet - including 43% from the field.

Three game winning streak to start the second half of the season and I get back both Hielid and Okafor.  We racked up 41 wins by the end of February!

Cursed. This team is cursed.  Dunn goes down with a knee injury the day after both guys return.  Only out a week or two.

Did I mention this team was cursed?  Okafor broke his ankle and missed two months.  Dunn returned only to break his elbow and will miss the first round of the playoffs.

Despite all the injuries, we won 58 games and clinched the #1 seed in the East and the most wins in the NBA.  Head Coach Logan Schmidt won Coach of the Year.

Sixers #1 Defense in NBA for a fourth straight year - 87.8 points per game allowed

Russell Westbrook won the MVP, again

Markelle Fultz - 4th overall pick by the Mavericks in 2017 draft - made the All-NBA 1st team
  • 21 points per game
  • 10 assists
  • 7 rebounds
  • Baby Westbrook?

NBA Playoffs 2020

vs Raptors (8) - advance in seven

It took 30 points from Buddy Hield to knock off the 8 seeded Raptors.  He averaged 25 points per game in the series shooting 50.4%, including 52.6% from downtown on 5 attempts per game!

vs Knicks (4) - advance in five

Somehow or another we reached the Eastern Conference Finals without Dunn and Okafor.  After getting blown out in Game 1, 110-74, Taurean Prince dropped 30 on New York thanks to nine free throws made.  In Game 3, six players scored in double figures and the defense stepped up as we held the Knicks to just 81 points.

McConnell had a double-double with 13 points and 11 assists.

Game 4 was dominated by Hield/Blakeney - combining for 46 points.  Hield was amazing that night adding 12 rebounds and 9 assists.

The defense came up big and NY scored just 81 points again.

For a third straight game, the defense limited New York to 81 points.  Hield scored 20 points, Embiid had a double-double with 10 points and 13 boards and McConnell handed out 13 assists to close out the series

vs Magic (7) -advance in five

Okafor returned for Game 2 of the ECF after we won an ugly Game 1 70-65.  Even with a double-double for Okafor and Embiid, Orlando held us to just 72 points, and won by 21.

The offense came alive in Game 3, scoring 108 points to take a 2-1 series lead.  Okafor dropped 32 points and Dunn added 24 points and 11 assists.  Embiid posted another double-double.

Game 4 was another ugly one, but Okafor scored 16 points, grabbed 18 rebounds, added five assists and blocked five shots to lead us to a 74-68 win.

With a 3-1 series lead, and one game away from the NBA Finals, Okafor carried the team in Game 5 with 26 points and 12 rebounds.  The defense proved it was the best in the NBA again, holding the Magic to just 69 points.

NBA Finals 2020

vs OKC Thunder (1)

The Thunder swept Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and the Minnesota Timberwolves to reach the NBA Finals.

I played Game 1 - Jahlil Okafor scored 29 points, adding 7 rebounds and 5 assists in a Game 1 victory.  This game would have gone to overtime if Buddy Hield had not hit a game winning buzzer beater!  Hield scored 16 on the day and Dunn added 18 points.  Durant dropped 31 on us, including 5 three pointers. We were able to limit Westbrook to just 9 points on 4 of 11 shooting.  The Thunder missed 7 FT attempts while we knocked down all 12 of ours and that was the difference in the game.

Simulating Game 2, the Thunder won 99-95 despite Westbrook scoring just 11 points again.  Will Barton led them with 19,  Chuck Diallo added 16, Enes Kanter and Durant scored 14 points each and Serge Ibaka added 11.  Diallo also grabbed 12 rebounds for a second game in a row.

We also had five players in double digits, but only scored 35 second half points.  Okafor led with 28, Hield added 15, Dunn 11, Blakeney and Prince scored 10.  Dunn was an assist and two rebounds away from a triple-double.

Durant's 27 put the Thunder up 2-1 in the series, with a 101-89 victory. Okafor and Embiid posted double-doubles in the Game 3 loss.

Game 4 was all about the Thunder missing free throws again, as they lost 100-98 but missed 10 free throws.  Durant and Westbrook combined for 45 points in the loss.  Okafor and Hield scored 51 of the Sixers 100 points to even the series at 2-2.  Dunn finally posted a triple-double with 13 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds.

Game 5 was dominated by Durant and Westbrook, scoring 53 points and picking up 24 assists.  There were six '6ers in double digits but our defense allowed 110 points and we lost by nine.  Okafor was limited to 10 points.

Using Simcast in a must win Game 6 - the Thunder led 57-56 at halftime thanks to six three pointers from six different players.  Westbrook (14) and Durant (10) led OKC.  We had four starers in double digits with Hield's 15 a game high at half.

By the end of the third quarter, OKC had jumped out to a 10 point lead and it took a miracle for us to force a Game 7.

With four minutes remaining we cut the lead to just four, 100-96 and tied the game at 100 with 3 minutes and 27 seconds left.  With just under a minute to play, it's 110-107 Sixers!  I jumped in to make sure we force a Game 7!

Watch the final 20 seconds of Game 6




Dunn finished with another triple-double, this time scoring 25 points dishing out 13 assists and grabbing 10 rebounds.  Okafor also scored 25 points including that game winning buzzer beater that had to be confirmed by the refs to force a NBA Finals Game 7!

Final score 116-114.

Using Simcat again for Game 7 - we jumped out to a 26-21 first quarter lead.  Okafor led with 9 points.  Westbrook and Durant combined for just 4 points on 2-7 shooting and no free throw attempts.

The 2nd quarter was a disaster, with OKC going on a 20-2 run and they led 61-45 at halftime, scoring 40 2nd quarter points.  Durant now has a game high 20 points.

It gets even worse from there as the Thunder outscored us by 10 in the third and now lead 93-67 heading into the fourth quarter.

In the end, the offensive fire power of the Oklahoma City Thunder was too much and we lost Game 7 of the NBA Finals 112-90.

Durant finished with 32 points and was named the Finals MVP averaging 26.6 points per game, shooting 56.2% from the field and 48.3% from downtown.  He even added  5.4 assists and 4.9 rebounds over the seven game series.

I leave Philly with Okafor locked up through the '22-'23 season and leave the new GM $55 mil in cap room and the freedom to match the Kings four year $64 mil offer to Dunn and the Bucks three year $24 offer to Hield.

Mike plays GM next as he tries to rebuild the Brooklyn Nets, who just waived Joe Johnson today.  With a lack of draft picks, that seems even more difficult than my Sixers rebuild!  In real life, best of luck Sean Marks.  If you can turn that franchise around, you will become a basketball legend.

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