Before there was WIS ... there were tabletop and PC basketball simulations.
Here's a "ranked" list of tabletop sims that I have played from the early-90's to the present.
I'm curious if there are some good ones I may have missed (or bad ones to avoid)
1. Replay Basketball
2. Strat-o-Matic Basketball
3. Pro Basketball (SI and Statis Pro)
25. Basketball Strategy
99. APBA Pro Basketball
Replay Basketball is a very playable sim that yields realistic results, and has "enough" coaching options so that you feel you can influence the game results. Has particularly nice models of usage, rebounding, fatigue and injuries. The last 10 NBA seasons are available and the designer occasionally releases earlier seasons, including some ABA models. Very active set of users that collectively simulate NBA seasons as player cards become available. Takes a few games to learn but then plays in about an hour even when keeping statistics. Has both "fast-action card" and "cards+dice" for randomization with a few charts to consult. Designer regularly visits and responds to questions in discussion forums... Probably best as a solitaire game. Elegant and fun!
(for stat geeks, a deck of "fast action cards" have a weighted distribution of various game-play results for each possession)
Strat-o-Matic Basketball has been around since the 1970's. It has a Basic, Advanced and Super Advanced gameplay.
After you quickly outgrow Basic mode, you'll spend a bit of time staring at the Advanced rules. Nice model of shooting tendency, range and court positioning. Gets a bit fiddly as you try to take advantage of some of the strategic options, but still playable. Usually can order any of the last 10-15 seasons from the publisher. Earlier seasons can be found for resale. All results from "fast-action cards" with some dice rolls -- no charts required. Playable as solitaire or two player, though my co-workers will only play Strat Football.
SI/StatisPro Pro Basketball also has been around since the 1970's, originally from Avalon Hill (which was mostly a war game publisher). The player models are simple though reasonably accurate for shooting. The instructions come with a guide to create your own teams, which is handy as the game has been out-of-print for years. Relies solely on Action Cards. Plays quickly.
Basketball Strategy also appeared in the mid 1970's, again from Avalon Hill, as a companion to their Baseball and Football Strategy Games. It is an extremely abstract game -- think of it as basketball from the perspective of a brigadier general, which is not surprising as the designer was renowned for his war games. It consists of two teams with exactly the same generic players with a handful of attributes that range from 1-3, and a 24-page manual on how to decisively conquer the opposing team. With all that said, it still has some intriguing concepts regarding matchups and positioning. Interestingly, in the "designer's notes" there is commentary on the weaknesses of computer basketball simulations of that era (40 years ago) which still pretty much holds true today.
APBA Pro Basketball arrived in the 1960's. My edition is from the mid-90's. How it lasted that long I will never know. The first big hint arrives when you open the box and you find a single one-sided "rules" sheet that says "DON'T READ THE MANUAL - READ THIS". I guess people were confused by the additional 9-page and 8-page instruction manuals, and the "other" rules found on many of the game action charts. Of course, step #6 in the "DON'T READ THE MANUAL" manual, tells you to see page 1 of the manual (hmmm was that the 9-page or 8-page version?). But wait, upon opening up the dusty game box tonight I see a note at the end of the 8-page manual suggesting that there is another "Partial Game Instruction Manual" that must be lurking somewhere in the box or was mercifully not included.