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Ok, let’s try this again shall we? After the unfortunate, irritating and untimely death of the Knicks save, I’ve decided it’s time to start again, sort of. I’ll still be following the same format as last time, focusing on keeping updates brief, and explaining my reasoning behind my decisions, but this time the starting point will be a little different. After making my way through Season One with the Knicks, and really building the team into the unit I wanted for Season Two, I must be honest I have little desire to begin from scratch, so I’m going to do something a little different using NBA 2K19, and I’m calling it My Coach. I’m going to be playing My League much like last time, but I’m applying conditions and settings to it so that I’m playing solely as a coach.

I’ll be able to control some aspects, particularly players’ minutes and how the team plays on the court (particularly which playbook we’ll be using). I’ll also be able to set target players for the team, which I’m rationalising as effectively me as coach saying which players I’d like the team to take a look at. However, I’ll have absolutely no control over trades, scouting and the NBA Draft, meaning that I’ll basically have to work with what I have, and work with those pieces to build the best possible team, and hopefully win a championship down the line. As you can tell from the above, I’m going to be playing as the Head Coach of the Atlanta Hawks. I decided this because the Hawks were one of the teams that hired a Head Coach in the 2018 offseason (along with the Bucks, Knicks, Magic, Hornets, Pistons and Raptors). Plus, I wanted to coach Trae Young.

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So, I’ve gone into MyLeague – created my Head Coach and Assistant as you can see to the left – and put the correct settings in to allow me to play in this way. So far, all I’ve done in terms of influence on the CPU GM is I’ve set Trae Young as an ‘untouchable’, in my mind the equivalent of telling the GM that he’s a core part of what I’ll be building on the court moving forward – which certainly he is. In terms of what I want to build, I have a very clear philosophy that I’ll be building with the team, that builds from a very definite influence – the Houston Rockets and Mike D’Antoni’s offense.

I’ll embellish on this more and more as we make our way through this series, but the Rockets focus on spacing the floor, using playmakers and taking the most efficient shots in basketball, the 3pt shot, 2pt shots underneath the basket, and free throws. I’m using the Rockets playbook – which I will build on moving forward – and with most of the plays being reliant on the play of the Point Guard, Trae Young should hopefully be an absolute beast, hopefully becoming our version of James Harden. I’ve also set the overall philosophy of the team as Pace & Space. The offensive style is to ‘get shooters open’ and ‘shoot at will’. We’re going to move the ball quickly, and exploit advantages to get great shots. Sounds good doesn’t it?

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The minutes I’ve assigned to the starting 5 to begin the season.

Here are the minutes I’ve assigned to our starting 5 to start the year. Our rookie sniper Trae Young is going to be the core aspect of anything we do in this series, so he’s dominating our minutes with 36 of them, meaning he’ll be playing almost all of the available Point Guard minutes in every game. Hopefully this will help him develop as much as possible this year. Fellow rookie Kevin Huerter will be his shooting partner in the backcourt, and again has been given plenty of minutes in order to develop. Huerter could be good moving forward, but has nowhere near the potential of Trae. Both Point Guard and Shooting Guard are vital in the system I’m playing, so hopefully Huerter can develop enough, or my GM can draft/sign someone for this role. Taureen Prince is a solid 3 and D player, the kind that will suit this system very well. John Collins is a do-it-all forward, who can be part of a pick and roll, shoot the 3 ball, and post-up. However, I have removed the post-up aspect from his play type (in my mind me as coach telling him not to post up anymore), so that he focuses on the two core things I need him to do in this system. Alex Len is a decent enough center who can shoot – which will help us – but I must be honest, I would like to see us be able to play small-ball with Collins at the 5, but right now, the team isn’t set up to able to play like that.

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This is our bench unit to begin the season. Kent Bazemore will lead our second unit as Sixth Man on 26 minutes a game, followed closely by Dewayne Dedmon, who as you’ll notice is the same overall as Alex Len, a competition I’ll be keeping a close eye on this year. DeAndre’ Bembry will be a jack of all trades (although he really is master of none), with rookie (2nd round pick) stretch 4/5 Omari Spellman getting 16 minutes a game, and legend Vince Carter rounding off our bench with 13 minutes a game. These mminutes are certainly fluid, and will change throughout the year, depending on performance, which I’ll be tracking (which I imagine as the equivalent of my GM giving me the advanced stats of my players and advising me based on those stats).

Moving forward, I’ll most likely update every ten games or so, and they’ll be updates on our record, how I feel the team is doing, and analysis of the statistics of my players through those games. I’m not expecting us to do well first season at all, but the most important aspect is putting the system in place, and developing the core pieces (particularly Young and Collins). So, until next time, thank you very much for reading, and as always, if you have any questions about this new series, my approach for the Hawks, or just NBA 2K in general, then please don’t hesitate to contact me either on this blog, or on Twitter (@JLAspey). Thank you once again, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading.

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