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NBA Live 09 Impact Meter

10/31/2008

Can video games predict the future? Past simulations on ESPN have included a perfect week of NFL predictions using Madden and even the Celtics rise from worst to first using NBA Live 08 (although the game had them losing to the Suns in the Finals, oops).

But the NBA Live 09 simulations should be even more insightful. Why? Because EA Sports has tapped Synergy Sports Technology to drive the data of the game's artificial intelligence, and if you're not familiar with Synergy, it's an analytical and scouting service that's actually used by over 25 NBA teams to track everything from player tendencies to their individual successes and failures running certain offensive and defensive sets.

Pop info like that into the game and when it plays out it should be about as real a simulation as we've seen since players turned polygonal.

No longer is the simulation based off of what some EA Sports producer in Canada thought Tony Parker would do in a double team or how successful Brandon Roy will shoot when he drives left. Now the game is actually crunching the real numbers from a real scouting service.

The results? Shocking to say the least, as if this simulation holds true, this is going to be one of the wildest, and should we say, unpredictable, NBA seasons in a long time.

That's because NBA Live 09's season sim includes facts like Orlando finishing with a losing record (40-42), the Utah Jazz not making the playoffs out West, and Charlotte finishing with a better record than New Jersey, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Washington.

What's not so unpredictable, alas, are the NBA Finals, where Kobe Bryant leads the Lakers to another championship thanks to Pau Gasol actually learning to make some his dunks, not to mention the continued emergence of young superstar Andrew Bynum.

Here is how the league shakes out according to NBA Live 09: