Just hours away from NBA 2K17’s early launch, any details 2K releases about its newest game are met with a lot of excitement. Such is the case with last week’s blog on the improvements made to the MyGM/MyLeague modes this year. When you compare what was added to 2K16 vs. 2K17, it’s quite obvious that the folks over at 2K spent a significant portion of their time on the franchise modes.
Given that I spend the majority of my 2K time with these modes, I am ecstatic about all of the improvements that were announced. But I wouldn’t be a video game fan if I wasn’t also disappointed in a few omissions as well. Let’s take a closer look into what was announced and why we should be, first and foremost, excited.
2K was so excited to announce this feature that it got its own blog post, and deservedly so. The seeds were planted when relocation was added in 2K16, and the flower has now bloomed to full-on league expansion. Now your leagues can have anywhere from 30 to 36 teams. The 2K team will include a handful of developer-created teams complete with in-game audio, logos, courts, etc. You of course also have the option to create your own from scratch. Even better, you can upload your creation for others to download. Now, I’m not willing to spend two hours to perfectly re-create the Vancouver Grizzlies, But if it’s there for the taking? Sign me up.
With expansion comes everything necessary to make it a success. Aside from the obvious necessity of an expansion draft — which sounds fun just by itself — there comes all of the additional details, like re-formatting the draft lottery to include additional franchises, completely re-tooling the scheduling engine to accommodate the change, and more.
If there is anything negative to be said about expansion, it’s that contraction did not tag along for the ride. Its omission is understandable as a considerable amount of work went into making expansion possible. And if the team had to choose one or the other to focus on, expansion makes the most sense, my personal feelings aside. I’ve already made my feelings clear on this particular issue, so let’s hope the evolution from relocation to expansion is a roaring success so that it needs to the next logical step: contraction.
Improved Front Office Realism
I’ve said several times that I wish the 2K franchise modes operated more like OOTP. It’s unrealistic to expect the same depth of realism given that we’re talking about a video game vs. a text sim, but for us front-office gurus out there, you want the game to mimic real life as much as possible. And with additions like veteran’s minimum contracts, the Derrick Rose rule, and being unable to trade newly signed players for three months, it looks like 2K17 is taking a gigantic step forward in that direction.
One of the most puzzling omissions over the years is how you were unable to make trades in the offseason. This is a huge part of the NBA life and it’s finally here in 2K17. No more will you make it all the way to free agency, confident you have enough cap room to go after the number one free agent on your list, only to realize you are 3 million over your budget with no ability to make a trade to get yourself under the cap to make that offer.
Another key addition is pick swaps and pick protections. These have always been around the league, but as they become much more common in the modern NBA, it makes sense to add them in 2K as well. That, along with improved trade logic, offers a lot of reasons for optimism. And while 2K16 did feature much more realistic trade offers, there were far too many head scratchers. Here’s hoping that we inch closer to realism in this particular area as, obviously, making and fielding trade offers is a huge part of the virtual front office.
Dynamic Rule Changes
This particular announcement is the biggest question mark for me. It sounds like it has the potential to come across as a novelty that will wear off quickly, but I am excited to give it a shot. Without a complete list of possible rule changes, it’s difficult to say how much I will use these.
I do like that 2K gives you the option to disable rule changes so you can keep the game as is. They made mention of a rules committee that will vote on and approve changes, but it isn’t clear whether you can manually set these, similar to how you can in OOTP. That would be for the best, but it’s possible time/resource constraints pushed this out a few years.
For now, I have cautious optimism, but I do appreciate that the team is always thinking of new, less obvious wrinkles to throw in the game.
Start The Season Now, Start It Earlier, Or Just Start The Playoffs
Another example of it feeling like 2K has an insight into my brain, they now give you the option to start a franchise not just at the beginning of the season, but at the end of the previous season as well as the current date you boot up the game. Starting at the end of the previous season gives you the option to re-do the draft and take another crack at free agency, while starting now gives you — well, you get the idea.
Ok, I had to give an entire section to this, because setting rotations was one of my biggest pet peeves in previous years. Setting your rotations was always far too simple, absent of all the nuance that goes into sculpting a roster. If I’m running with my Pistons and I want Stanley Johnson to play exclusively with the second unit, I can now do that. I can also have him start the game at SF and then run with the second unit at SG. These are basic decisions front offices and coaches make that were absent last year, but not anymore.
We want to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below: What new features you are most excited to try in MyLeague/MyGM, and what key features you feel are still missing?