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A Guide to Pelicans' Success in NBA 2K16

Five easy steps to win with your favorite team, a team that now is actually a solid go-to pick for gamers.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Pelicans and Anthony Davis have been climbing the NBA ranks since the 2012 draft. Video game designers have taken notice. The Pelicans, believe it or not, are now a top tier team in popular basketball franchise 2K16.

That's right, no more having a 2K team and your favorite team (the Pelicans). Now, the two are one and the same. Here's how to win with the eighth-ranked New Orleans Pelicans in NBA 2K16.

Anthony Davis, Anthony Davis, Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis. Need it one more time? Anthony Davis.

Yes, the first and primary piece of advice for you is not to underutilize the best big in the game. For so many people, it seems like the fast-paced video game style lends itself to guard play at the expense of low-post players. Don't make that mistake when playing with the Pelicans.

Davis is your best player and should be the focus of the offense on nearly every possession. If you're one of those obsessive guard-users, he can even fill a surrogate guard role if need be. Yeah, that sounds sort of crazy but let me break down the stats for you. He has 82 speed, 85 defensive rebound, 80 draw foul, 80 free throw, 86 driving dunk, and 87 driving layup. He's a one-man fast break in the game (and real life). The second you get a rebound with Davis, break out. If there's a guard ahead, outlet pass, but don't hesitate to use Davis as the guard to facilitate the transition.

When the game slows down, Davis remains your best option. Picks and designated play calls should be your number one means to score efficiently, but if you find the rest of the offense to be upsettingly inadequate (as I have on several occasions), let Davis size the defender up and go from there. He's faster than anyone who will be guarding him and a knockdown midrange shooter (85 standing, 81 moving). The efficiency won't be as high if he's used as an iso player, but you'll reach 30 with rapidity.

Here's the best news: expect Davis's third-best 92 overall ranking to burgeon as the year rolls along. I'm no conspiracy theorist, but I can't help but think that several stats for Davis are deflated in order to make room for LeBron James and Steph Curry to sit atop the rankings. Davis is only a 68 in strength -- that's so 2012. James Harden, by comparison, is a 72 in that category. Then, you have the head-scratching 50 contact dunk, 68 offensive rebound, and low three-point ratings (52 standing, 30 moving) which are all likely to increase. Blocking might not be a weakness, but that 92 could see growth, as well.

That's a lot of advice for one player, but if you remember none of that, just remember to use Davis extensively. He's a juggernaut and one way or another, he'll win you games.

For Threeeeeeeee!

That's right, folks, prepare to face your three-point specialists and shot-release perfectionists. They will burn you with the Warriors, Spurs, and Thunder from beyond the arc and show no mercy. Fortunately for you, there are fixes to this common problem.

First, go find those defensive settings and fine tune them to however they best suit you. Yes, it might be meticulous and your friend might be hurrying you with watch-glances, but it's well worth it. Don't go under screens on Steph Curry, smother Kawhi and Klay off-ball, and it'll all work out okay.

Of course, they'll still knock a few down, it's inevitable. If you want to go right back at them, though, the Pelicans have comparable pieces.

First, Jrue Holiday's shot mechanics are easily operable, and he has a slightly overpowered standing three of 85. Get him around that screen or on a hand-off and bombs away. Same goes for Eric Gordon. The only difference is that Gordon is better both standing (91) and moving (87), so chuck 'em. He will miss the occasional open corner but don't get discouraged, the end percentage will favor you.

Heading down the ranks, Ryan Anderson (81 standing) is always a good option as is Luke Babbitt (92 standing). Drive and kick, baby. Drive and kick.

Injuries

Hurry! You only have a few days left of injury-free Pelicans. Use them wisely.

That means that as of Oct. 27, Tyreke Evans, Alexis Ajinca, Omer Asik, Quincy Pondexter, Norris Cole and Babbitt will all begin the season on the mend. It's a shame too because Ajinca is one hell of a 2K player, Babbitt's one dimension (three's) is pretty helpful, and the Pelicans depth will be depleted.

So how do you deal with that? Avoid starting all of the best players rating-wise because that banged-up bench is liable to exploitation. That leaves a couple options, all that work with varying levels of efficacy depending on your style.

If you're into spacing the floor and firing up three's, start Ryan Anderson and keep Holiday on the bench. You always want that go-to sixth man and all point guards on the roster will be respectable for range, meaning Holiday's presence in the lineup won't be so missed.

So then there's the option of starting Kendrick Perkins and Holiday. This is my preferred option because Perkins is still a good rebounder and interior defender, giving you room to let Davis leak and get on the fast break more often. Holiday keeps you threatening from deep in the starting lineup and Nate Robinson won't be too shabby paired with Ryan Anderson against second units.

Neither is perfect, but, hey, neither is the predicament.

Squad Up

I touched on this in the last section but if there's one thing to avoid, it's unbalance. When going up against the Warriors or Spurs, that second unit will erase all you've done with the starters. Yeah, you might be the better player, but if you're trying to guard David West with Dante Cunningham, something is awry.

Keep either Holiday or Anderson in that second unit. Three-minute scoring droughts are one potent formula for losing, so you want to keep a player on the court at all times that you know is a reliable scorer. Hey, if that's Robinson for you, be my guest, but for me and most players, he doesn't pass muster.

Whichever way you go, make sure that squad plays together, though.

I know it's just a video game, but it's pretty damn realistic and cohesion will hide weaknesses while poor lineup construction will reveal them. That means don't go small with Dante Cunningham and Ryan Anderson both playing big men unless you expect your opponent to make every shot anyway, in which case, this article won't be of much help.

Rotate and then rotate some more to elude any tricky situations with no floor-spacers and good rebounders. If you're apathetic with substitutions, you'll have to energize yourself with regular down D-Pad presses. Because if you just sit back, that second unit will be bad with rebounding and the first unit will have just two players who can score. If you let the computer handle it, you'll get torched by rebounds and lack of viable threats. Do it yourself, and it'll be smooth sailing by addressing weaknesses and playing your best bench players more.

Playing Your Best Players More

And with that seamless transition, here's where I leave you before kicking you out of the nest. (Get it? Pelican, bird, nest...) 2K16, thanks to its life likeness, will treat players like human beings, and it's your job to realize they're animated athletes.

This goes back to substitutions, but don't be afraid to shove your least favorite players into the locker room and throw away the key. Davis has 98 stamina yet still gets taken out with 30 seconds remaining before halftime, the game recognizes that Holiday is on a minutes restriction as playing time distribution reflects, and Anderson sees the court less than he should. All of those are easy fixes that will make you lots better.

Don't be afraid to stand up for the players you're best with and question the auto-substitution. Ryan Anderson, after being horrifyingly underrated for years, is finally a 76 but still plays less than he should. Feel free to manually insert him whenever necessarily.

And while the game did a fantastic job of replicating the role the Pelicans have set for Holiday, you don't have to. The game rates his durability a 77. Don't question a mistake in your favor. Holiday is ratings-wise your third-best player. He can be a sixth man if you'd like, but don't accept the measly few minutes he'll receive. Use him like there's no tomorrow because in quick games, there isn't.

Just as a general rule, overrule confusing substitution patterns. You know yourself better than anybody else, so take the time to tailor the team to suit your needs.

And with that, you're off. Go represent the city well to the world, even if it's just a video game.