Here's something you haven't heard before: I played NBA 2K14 for the story. Seriously. I'll even double down on my ludicrous statement by saying it offered more twists and turns than Mass Effect. If memory serves me correctly, my ball hog of a player was traded four times in a season. He didn't play defense. He refused to pass the ball. He fired his best friend as his agent. He picked fights during practice. He wore a tiger-skin suit. He talked trash in all of his post-game press conferences. Fans voiced their displeasure in his playing style on Twitter. He lost most of the games he played in because he didn't care.
I absolutely adored watching his career unfold. If you want to witness one of video games' craziest stories, check out my blog that chronicles his antics, or pick up NBA 2K14 for cheap, and select the evil option whenever possible. When NBA 2K15 rolled around, I was counting the days until I had the chance to create another miserable human being, but I was told that the game didn't have the same type of good or evil choices, and the story didn't hit as hard. The same sentiments were echoed for NBA 2K16 and 17. I figured this year's iteration of the game would again refrain from making a player look like an absolute monster, and I was right…kind of. NBA 2K18's MyPlayer mode may not offer a wide variety of player-driven choices, but narrative intrigue supposedly resides in the game's new MyGM mode.
Thus begins a chronicle of money squandering and unnecessary firings. With Andrew Reiner standing in as the new general manager of the Minnesota Timberwolves, chaos will hopefully ensue. This is his journey:
After creating a strange facial hair-free version of Andrew Reiner (in the Nintendo Switch version), I learn of my first target: Eddie Chase, the owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves. His bio makes him sound like a real pushover: “Mr. Chase is known to be a patient individual who does not have any strong feelings or needs one way or the other. He doesn’t require much of a profit nor does he expect a perennial winner. It’s widely understood that the Timberwolves position is a great entry-level position for would-be GMs.”
He doesn't need a perennial winner or profit. I will make sure he gets neither of these things.
Six Years Ago
The game then flashes back to show Reiner as a player for the Dallas Mavericks. He isn't on the floor dunking over fools, however; he's lying down on a medical table, holding his right knee.
“My knee – I can’t bend it. Something is… not right here. I’ve never felt this… this level of pain,” Reiner says.
The team trainer says an MRI is coming back soon, and that I should try to relax. Reiner has no idea how this could happen to him – during the playoffs of all times. As he writhes in pain, he brags about scoring 30 points in the game. The trainer corrects him and says he actually scored 36 points. Reiner once again sounds like a ball hog, and I had no control over it. Wonderful!
A doctor enters the room and tells me I suffered a full tear of the anterior cruciate ligament, as well as partial tears of the posterior cruciate ligament and collateral cruciate ligament. Doc says it's unusual to have tears to these ligaments in the same knee, simultaneously. The collateral cruciate ligament damage is usually only seen after a direct blow to the inside of the knee. Weird. I'd love to see the play that destroyed my knee to this degree.
Back to the Present
After learning that my playing career ended at that moment, I now see I am a snazzily dressed guy, with an expensive suit and what appears to be an iPhone 6. I'm on the phone with Eddie Chase. I tell him I am running late for our meeting – a great start for a GM who is ultimately here to destroy the Timberwolves' organization from the inside. This is my first day on the job. I just have to make sure I am on location for a scheduled press conference at 2 p.m. to introduce me as the new face of the team.
When I arrive at the Timberwolves' headquarters, Karl-Anthony Towns approaches me in the parking lot. He is quick to compliment my skills as a basketball player, and is eager to work with me. He's kissing up. He will definitely get a raise.
Another figure then emerges from the shadows. It's coach Tom Thibodeau, and he looks like a real a-hole. I am totally going to fire him today. Just as this plan formulates in my mind, he asks me about staffing, and I am quick to say that I haven't thought about it yet. I counter by saying we are just in the get-to-know each other phase right now. He's totally fired. I hate him.
Towns then makes a critical error: He sucks up to coach and says that he's here for the players. I may have to trade Towns today. They are disgusting together. I can't have this kind of camaraderie on my team. A question jumps into my mind: Why are they in the parking lot together? I'm convinced they are into hardcore drugs. They both have to go.
I'm called into Chase's office to talk about my job. He tries to talk to me about world-famous chai latte spice scones, but uses this moment to brag about making an app or something dumb.
We eventually get around to talking about basketball, and he makes the mistake of bringing up the game that ended my career. He then says "You don't lose. I don't lose. The fans here, they are hungry for success. The media, they are hungry for success. Every Timberwolves fan wants to read one of their columns about how great the team is. When the wins stop coming, the media starts looking for cracks. Cracks that they can exploit for stories. For clicks, whatever it is they strive for." Did he almost call media fake news? Regardless of what they hell he is saying here, he is going to lose big by making me GM, and the media will find cracks everywhere, hopefully within days.
He tells me to be honest and open to the media, encouraging me to say what is on my mind. I plan on it. I want this chai latte jerk to know he made a mistake in hiring me, as he's introducing me to the world. That would be delicious.
The Press Conference
A reporter asks me what my plans are out of the gate. My choices are "total rebuild," "minor tweaks needed," and "I love where we are at." My gut says to go with total rebuild, as the Timberwolves are clearly a playoff team on the hunt this year, and this action should make Mr. Chase swallow hard. I could also lie and say that I like how things look, but I have a feeling the game won't read this as a fib. I select "total rebuild."
I say not everyone will see it this way, but "I'm looking at this as a situation where we have to strip down the roster, pare it down to a core number of guys, then build it back up. From scratch, basically." They are probably thinking I keep Towns. Nope. He's the first to go when I get the power.
I tell the press we have a nice plan in place for getting the team where it needs to go, starting with the draft. "You can't swing and miss there if you're trying to build from the ground up." I plan on selecting the slowest and least-talented player possible. He will make the most money in the league too.
I also detail plans for free agency; another well of despair that I will soon inflict upon this fan base.
When asked for the coach, I try to make out a smile, but this action makes me look like a demon. Perfect. The loser is sitting right next to me.
I'm given the options of "Confident in Head Coach," "Need time to evaluate," and "It's time to move on." You know what I selected. I'm disappointed with how I let this information out there. "First of all, I just want to say that I have nothing but respect for Tom Thibodeau. He's a good coach and a good man. But at this time I feel it's in the best interest of the franchise to go in a different direction. You'll be hearing more about that as the process moves along, but right now that's all I have to say about it." At least I dropped a bomb on him. He didn't see it coming.
The Next Day
Thibodeau is becoming unhinged. He enters my office and drops the lamest insult possible: "Get a grip!" Whatever, man.
He then says something surprising, almost reading like a threat. "One day you'll wake up and it'll be just like any other day. You'll go about your business. Maybe have a nice dinner with your wife. Then out of nowhere you're going to be broadsided just like I was. BOOM. Just like that. And it'll be you out on the street. It'll be you looking like an idiot." I'm impressed with the anger he is showing, and debate keeping him on as a "Sith Lord in training" for a brief second, but his dumb face is just too dumb for me to look at any longer. I'm hoping I can call security.
I didn't have to. He leaves, and in enters Ed Pinckney, the assistant coach. He tells me he understands my desire for fresh blood, but says he's been with the organization for a long time. "I know the maniacs who jump around shooting t-shirts into the crowd. I know their names. I know their families' names. I know their birthdays and what kind of peanut butter they like. I know their comfort zones, I know their fears, and I know exactly what buttons to push." Whoa. This guy is nuts.
He says he's paid his dues, but I couldn't care less. See you, Ed. Don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.
I insult him in saying I need someone who has done it longer. He says he was hoping to become the head coach of the Timberwolves today. My firing of him has to come as a huge blow. Excellent.
I am then called into Chase's office. He says he trusts me, but is already concerned with my actions. "This change comes as a bit of a surprise," he adds. "I haven't liked surprises for a long time, Andrew. A long time."
Dude is clearly not liking me right now. I will have to waste his money quickly, as I fear my time here won't last long. He then drifts off into his childhood for some reason, and paints himself as a real mess of a person in the process.
I have no idea what he was just trying to communicate other than establish I would never want to have him as a friend or family member. He continues to ramble. "Nothing to be done now, of course. That's all in the past. But let's make sure we take full advantage of this opportunity. We call it a pivot in the business world. You start off one way, but that way doesn't work, so you try something else. You figure out what advantage you've got and you pivot. Then you milk every last drop out of that advantage. You wring that bad boy out till it's bone dry."
Holy crap, I hate this man. I hate how he talks, thinks, and looks. I inform him I have a specific coach in mind (which I don't). I then see a screen that looks like a mess of work. A mess I will half-ass my way through.
I have no idea what I'm doing, and that's okay. My first order of business is to rework my team's schedule as best I can. I remove every single practice from the season schedule and replace them with rest days. Tons of rest days for everyone. This should lead to a lack of chemistry on the floor – a crippling blow to the team.
I also find the staff page and immediately begin firing everyone…harshly!
I tell my CFO that "I'm pretty sure my cat could've done a better job than you! Pack up your things and get outta here!" Bwahahaha! Told him! This action lowered my team morale by one point, and my trust with Nicolas Brown (who I just fired) by 56 points.
I then fire my assistant manager saying "You have been the worst sidekick in the history of sidekicks. You make the Scarecrow look like a superhero." Whoa. A Batman reference! Love it! This firing not only lowered my team morale by five points, it also delivered one of the worst comebacks ever.
My joy may turn to dust in my mouth. That's your response? Really? Since I don't have a head coach or an assistant coach, I just have the head scout and trainer to fire. I'm somewhat civil with the head scout, telling him "We're changing things around here and you're not a part of our plans going forward. So, if you could just go ahead and pack up your stuff and get out, that would be terrific. Okay?" He responds brilliantly.
"Excuse me, I believe you have my stapler."
I should have kept him. The team didn't seem to care that much for him, however, with just one point in morale dropping. I tell the trainer "You've been canned like spam!" I regret that one, folks. My A.I.-driven dude has been pretty cool up to this line, but I can't back that one up. The trainer rightfully threatens me.
Losing him results in another huge drop of five morale with the team. I now have no staff around me. We are free-falling and the season hasn't even started. The game alerts me of the openings with a notice of "If you choose to automatically fill all vacancies, they will be filled by minimum wage coaches. Remember that the few least skilled staff free agents will always sign with you, independent of contract length and wage."
"Minimum wage coaches" is music to my ears. Why not, right? I could always fire them if they start putting something meaningful together.
And that's going to conclude the first entry of this ongoing saga. I'll be back soon with another huge update showing what happens when the season begins…