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Players Who Were More Fun in NBA 2K13 This Year Than Real Life

Grant HughesNational NBA Featured ColumnistApril 19, 2013

Players Who Were More Fun in NBA 2K13 This Year Than Real Life

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    Back before the 2012-13 NBA season started, you shelled out $60 for that shrink-wrapped package of female deterrent known as NBA 2K13, and your hopes for Derrick Rose and Andrew Bynum were high. All of your favorite players were healthy, hungry and ready to do your bidding as you chased down records and constructed super teams.

    But that's not how it went in the real world, where some of the video game's most exciting players hit the pause buttons on their seasons.

    Whether it was injury, underperformance or age, a handful of the NBA's best failed to deliver the goods on the hardwood like they did on your flatscreen.

    Take a break from Year 4 of your dynasty and check out the players whose virtual realities were more fun than the real thing this year.

Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks

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    The real Josh Smith plays a lot like a video game in the first place, so in some ways his actual performance mirrored the ones users got from him in 2K13.

    The dunks where there, as they always have been, and Smith still flew around the floor on defense en route to averages of 1.7 blocks and 1.4 steals per game. Unfortunately, Smith's bad shot selection and worse body language combined to make 2012-13 one of the most frustrating of his career.

    Add in the season-long trade speculation and a career-low 51 percent shooting from the foul line, and the real Smith wasn't much fun at all this year.

    Of course, a playoff upset against the Indiana Pacers would probably change that narrative.

Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks

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    With great quickness and a decent three-point stroke, Brandon Jennings was an excellent video-game point guard this season.

    Players could overcome his pedestrian rating of 80 by zipping Jennings all over the court to create open looks for himself and his Milwaukee Bucks teammates.

    It's too bad Jennings' real season didn't go quite so smoothly.

    To be fair, Jennings' on-court production this year wasn't markedly worse than his work in 2011-12. The modest declines in his scoring average and overall field-goal percentage were offset by an extra assist per game and a greatly improved three-point stroke.

    But Jennings' ongoing feud with interim coach Jim Boylan made things tense in Milwaukee all year. And now that the point guard has given the Miami Heat some bulletin-board material by predicting that his Bucks will knock off the defending champs in six games, things are about to get even less fun.

    Way to poke the bear cage, Brandon.

Eric Gordon, New Orleans Hornets

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    New Orleans Hornets guard Eric Gordon has size, quickness, leaping ability and a great outside stroke. Unfortunately, he only got to use them on your XBox.

    The soon-to-be Pelicans' max-money player suited up for a grand total of 42 games in 2012-13, and his disappointing numbers came nowhere close to the ones his virtual counterpart probably produced.

    Even though Gordon topped his output from his lost season a year ago, his scoring average of just 17 points per game hardly measured up to what was expected of him. A 40-percent-shooting season, clashes with coach Monty Williams and ongoing questions about his desire to be in New Orleans only made things worse.

    And now, perhaps worst of all for the gaming public, Gordon's back-to-back disappointing seasons probably mean his rating in NBA 2K14 is headed down from the gaudy 85 he was generously awarded this past year.

Andrew Bynum, Philadelphia 76ers

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    Like another big-name player we'll get to momentarily, Andrew Bynum never made it onto the court this season.

    And because there are no points awarded for leading the league in bizarre hairstyles, Bynum registered a big, fat "zero" in the real-life contribution category. The big man will hit unrestricted free agency this summer, but his blase attitude and scary knee troubles hardly make him an appealing target.

    His video-game persona, though, was dominant. Rated an 86, Bynum probably carried plenty of Sixers fans' dynasties to multiple championships.

    With his devastating low-post game on offense and sheer size on D, Bynum was tons of fun to use in 2K13.

    In the real world? Not so much.

Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

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    Considering that Derrick Rose didn't play a regular-season minute in 2012-13, the only fun he generated was of the video-game variety.

    Rated a 92, the cover boy for 2K13 spent a virtual year dicing up opponents with a wicked handle and embarrassing big men with a handful of posterizing dunks. In fact, Rose's performance probably netted him plenty of MVP awards—in the game.

    But there was no fun to be had in Chicago, as Rose failed to get back on the court after tearing his ACL in April of 2012 and teased fans with impressive pregame workouts.

Steve Nash, Los Angeles Lakers

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    Admit it, you spent the season setting assist records and bombing in seven three-point shots per game with virtual Steve Nash this year.

    Paired with Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol, the pick-and-roll opportunities were endless, and the floor spacing gave the two-time MVP more than enough room to chuck away from long range.

    But a fractured leg and ongoing issues with his hamstring, back and hip limited Nash to just 50 actual games this past season. When he did play, the point guard's shooting percentages (49 percent from the field and 43 percent from long distance) were as good as they've been in recent seasons.

    But Nash just couldn't move like he used to, which tends to happen when you hit your 39th birthday.

    His virtual representation didn't suffer from the ravages of age, as his 87 rating and dead-eye shooting made for an enjoyable couch-based experience. It's a shame the real thing didn't measure up.

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