So after writing the article about LeBron’s comments on Anthony Davis, an interesting idea came to mind. What if AD does decline the extension? What if the Pelicans DO TRADE Davis? What do they get in return? How do the Lakers do adding Davis? Well, NBA 2k19 gives us those answers.
To begin, I left all the default settings on for as much realism as possible. All trade restrictions were left on. Player fatigue, team chemistry, and injuries all still came into play. I decided to use a Start Today feature with Pelicans, simulate the rest of the season, trade Anthony Davis after the 2019 Draft, in which I used an actual 2019 draft class, and then simulate until the 2019-2020 NBA Finals. Here’s how it went:
So after simulating the 2018-2019 season, the New Orleans Pelicans ended with a record of 35-47, after Jrue Holiday tore his labrum on January 23rd against the Detroit Pistons and missed the rest of the season.
The Pelicans finished as the 12th seed in the West. The Lakers faired far better; they finished with a record of 49-33, good enough for the 3rd seed. Anthony Davis averaged 25 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks. Davis was honored as an All-Star, on which he played for Team LeBron (a sign of things to come) and was on the All-NBA 2nd team and All-Defensive 1st team. LeBron James finished up his regular season with averages of 27 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.6 assists. James was selected to All-NBA 1st team.
In the playoffs, the Lakers would not face much success. They lost out in the first round to the underdog San Antonio Spurs, led by All-Star Demar DeRozan. The NBA Finals would pit the Golden State Warriors against the Toronto Raptors. Again, the underdog prevailed as the Raptors beat the Warriors in Game 7.
Now comes the offseason, Anthony Davis declines his extension and gives the Pelicans no choice but to trade him. The Pelicans decide to wait until after the draft and team/player options are picked up in order to maximize the return for their superstar. Through the lottery, the Pelicans acquire the #10 pick which they eventually used to draft Sekou Doumbouya, a 6 foot 8 small forward.
It was now time for the day New Orleans hoped would never come: time to trade Anthony Davis. After multiple offers, the Pelicans trade Davis to the Lakers and receive Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and the Lakers 1st and a 2nd round draft pick for the 2020 draft. This was far from the worst thing to happen to the Pelicans this offseason.
Not only did they lose their franchise player in AD, but New Orleans also lost Nikola Mirotic and Julius Randle to free agency. The Lakers just became even more exceptional. With their remaining cap space, the Lakers brought in Golden State Warriors sharpshooter Klay Thompson and a rejuvenated Derrick Rose. The offseason led to these new starting lineups, also featuring the team’s 6th man.
Pelicans- PG: Lonzo Ball SG: Jrue Holiday SF: Brandon Ingram PF: Cheick Diallo C: Jahlil Okafor 6th man: Sekou Doumbouya
Lakers- PG: Derrick Rose SG: Klay Thompson SF: LeBron James PF: Kyle Kuzma C: Anthony Davis 6th man: Josh Hart
Now, time for the 2019-2020 NBA season.
The Pelicans would profoundly feel the loss of star Anthony Davis, as they drop to 25-57, ten losses more than the season before. This record resulted in New Orleans falling to the 14th seed. The only bright point of the Pelicans season was their rookie draft pick Sekou Doumbouya. Sekou averaged 13 points and four rebounds off the bench and was honored to the All-Rookie 1st team. The Lakers, however, shot up the boards. They finished 56-26, as the Western Conference’s #1 seed. Anthony Davis was a monster Los Angeles, averaging 24.1 points, a career-high 13.7 rebounds, and another career high 3.2 blocks. He was also named Defensive Player of the Year and was elected to both the All-NBA and All-Defensive 1st teams. LeBron James also had a solid year. He averaged 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists, while also making the All-NBA 1st team.
While the Pelicans looked to the future and began their offseason early, the Lakers rolled through the Sacramento Kings in Round One and the Houston Rockets in Round Two of the playoffs. Unfortunately for the new-look Lakers, they had to face the second seed Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. Even though the Lakers now had former Warrior Klay Thompson, the Warriors managed to defeat the Lakers 4 games to 2 and advance to the Finals, where they would sweep the Philadelphia 76ers en route to another title.
So the Pelicans, a team now looking to rebuild around their young players and future assets, watch as their former star Anthony Davis makes a name for himself on the newest super team waiting to take the NBA by storm, the Los Angeles Lakers.