February 2nd, 8 p.m. EST was a day and time circled on the calendar of anybody and everybody who wanted a shot at getting drafted in the first season of the NBA 2K League. With the start of the combine, the next steps toward playing NBA 2K professionally would begin.
That’s how it was supposed to be anyway, until the combine didn’t start on time. Players hoping to get their 40 games in and prove they’re one of the 102 best NBA 2K players in the world logged in to the combine mode at 8 p.m. EST only to find the matchmaking system not working. Needless to say, “2K Twitter” was in a panic.
But all was saved approximately 27 minutes later when the mode was back online and players were finally able to play.
Though the community has been excited to get the event underway, there have been issues, such as search times due to a lack of players at certain positions–particularly at power forward–and other bugs where games aren’t being properly recorded or players have been banned due to fouling out in multiple games.
Overall, the reviews are mixed so far. We asked some players for their thoughts on the combine and their combine experience:
JLBTrey2 (who you can read about in our list of top overseas players)
General impression “In general I like it and I’m just happy to be a part of it. On the the other hand it can be really frustrating dealing with lesser players. So it has been a rollercoaster of emotions but I feel like that’s how the 2K League will be too, in terms of the ups and downs. But of course there’s room to improve the combine.”
On the European combine experience versus the North American combine experience “In terms of gameplay and what I’ve watched in streams [the European experience of the combine] seems to be the same [as the North American] experience. A little bit more difficult for Europeans in my opinion because there are a lot less players and searching takes incredibly long, up to an hour sometimes, and then you have the whole language problem. A lot of people don’t speak English so it’s hard to communicate.”
General impression “It’s pretty cool when you get teammates that you can tell want to get drafted. I’ve had teammates that are nice people and we work as a team. As for the negatives, I feel like this mode doesn’t show who a top-102 player is. I’ve been blessed so far with teammates but I go into a stream of a top player and they’re losing by 20 (most likely because of unfair teams). Sometimes I’ll have teammates that literally don’t care about getting drafted (not playing defense, most likely texting).”
On what the league could have done better with the combine “Definitely add more shooting builds at the power forward spot. It’s so difficult to run a good offense on 2K with two inside bigs in my opinion. Qualifying was definitely too easy. I think walk-on wins shouldn’t count. Maybe they could’ve done like 50 wins against Elite 4+ teams, but make the matchmaking tier-based.”
General impressions “I’m actually really impressed at how well the NBA 2K League set this up, I think they did a great job to make it fair for everyone. Even though every player is limited to certain things it really shows the true talent. Only real thing that is difficult and I dislike is the guys that just want the ball not being a team player and also guys without mics because communication is key in any team sport.”
On what he has enjoyed about the combine so far “I really enjoyed just competing. I’m a true competitor and I’m up for any challenge. The fact that we have to play with random teammates is so hard to explain how difficult that can really be and I honestly love the fact that it brings the best out of me and I’m all for it. It already helped me become a better leader. This combine is preparing me for the 2K league already.
General impressions “I like it because it made the game more difficult. It’s a few things I feel could’ve been done better though. I dislike the fact that younger kids can be in it.”
On what the league could have done better with the combine “Yeah I think it should’ve been more games to qualify so only the real grinders and people that was willing to put their all into it would qualify. I also think people that quit on their teams and just leave should be banned for the whole combine. That would cut down the number of people to people that are really serious and dedicated.”
General impressions “It’s definitely tough but you just have to grind and endure. There are many things to like as well as dislike. It’s a great learning lesson if anything. Take the positives from the negatives and better yourself each game. Adversity can’t hurt, only makes you better at the end of the day.
On what he has enjoyed about the combine so far “I like the overall concept and format of the combine. The matchmaking, for the most part, has been quality and waiting time for games hasn’t been an issue so far.”
On what the league could have done better with the combine “What I believe could’ve been addressed better is the amount of wins needed in order to be eligible to participate in the combine. For example, I posted a video recently of one of my teammates, the guy literally went the entire game with his mic unmuted speaking with a female friend who was in the same room. He was also smoking weed and not paying attention at all, allowing his matchup to score at will and ultimately costing us a chance to win with his overall poor play. They could’ve expanded it to at least 75-100 wins, just a more logical arbitrary number that would weed out some of the participants who simply show that they clearly don’t care or lack the skill that in the end is costing the guys out here giving it their all a chance to come out with a W. Overall I don’t have any reason to complain, though. I’ve had a great learning experience and met awesome people throughout this process already.”