The underlying theme of week two of the NBA 2K League regular season is “change,” and specifically, changes to starting lineups. Lots of them.
Some teams moved around some role players. Others were absent their star player. One or two had an identifiable reason, but most of the motives and/or reasoning behind the changes remain a mystery.
But the league doesn’t care if you change. You still need to win. Some of the teams that made changes did this and others did not. It was an interesting week of NBA 2K League action, so let’s just go ahead and break it down.
Pistons GT 57-56 Bucks Gaming
The week’s first big lineup change came in the first game. Bucks Gaming shooting guard Procis1on was moved to the bench and XxSTL2LAxX was put back in the starting lineup.
I hate to say this was outright the wrong move, but this seemed like outright the wrong move. XxSTL2LAxX struggled mightily at THE TIPOFF and did much of the same in week two, after not being featured in week one, with a four-point, 2/8 performance at small forward. To facilitate XxSTL2LAxX’s place in the lineup, the Bucks moved KinG PeroXide, you know, that guy who scored 41 points last week, off of the Shotcreating Slasher and onto a Pure Sharpshooter at shooting guard and gave the main ballhandling duties back to Game6Drake at point guard.
Not only was XxSTL2LAxX inefficient, but the same problems of inefficiency and questionable shot selection plagued Game6Drake as well, which was the other problem with this lineup change. Drake got a couple early buckets but ended up shooting 3/11 and 2/8 from three (!) with iiNsaniTTy guarding him the entire game. That is where PeroXide at small forward would have been useful. If one of your ballhandlers is struggling, let the other run the offense. Meanwhile, oLARRY had only three more shots than Drake—but made six more of them—and PeroXide only had five shots. At this point, it looks like the Bucks need to go back to PeroXide at small forward and get the ball in his and oLARRY’s hands if they want to start winning games.
But the reason this was such a close game with all of those Bucks Gaming issues was the relative inefficiency of the Pistons GT offense as well. Im So Far Ahead led the charge with 24 points but Lets Get It Ramo was the only other player to crack double-digits at just 11. Ramo only got five shot attempts, which is a big problem for this offense. It didn’t cost them this time, but it may in the future.
Heat Check Gaming 69-58 Warriors Gaming Squad
Continuing the trend of lineup changes, Warriors Gaming Squad came out with a never before seen look against Heat Check Gaming. BSmoove was moved to point guard, Sleep to shooting guard, LYKaPRO was at small forward and Vert and Type were at their usual positions of power forward and center, respectively. That meant no first-round pick Shawn Win, who appeared to be back in the bay after coming down with something (and being the only absence with a known reason this week).
What resulted is the most disjointed effort put forth by an already inconsistent Warriors team. BSmoove didn’t look at all comfortable running the offense (he hit a couple threes and had eight assists, but ended up shooting 2/8 from the field with four turnovers), Sleep was a non-factor and though the rest of the team put in solid performances for the most part, the Warriors committed 18 turnovers against the Heat.
To make things worse for them, Heat Check put together their best all-around performance of the season, including at THE TIPOFF. Majes7ic was aggressive and attacking the rim, shooting 6/9 from inside the arc and draining his lone three-point attempt. The frontcourt of Hotshot, who continues his run at power forward, and 24K Dropoff combined for 44 points on 31 shots. It’s a big confidence booster for a team that would have started to feel the pressure if they went 0-2.
Wizards District Gaming 63-62 Pacers Gaming
After the failure of week one’s gameplan, Pacers Gaming went back to what worked at THE TIPOFF: putting the ball in WoLF’s hands.
It almost looked like it wasn’t going to work. The first quarter shouldn’t have resulted in only a four-point deficit for the Pacers. WoLF had zero points and was turning the ball over. It took points coming from the unlikely offensive source of TuckerLocksUp to keep the game close. And although Tucker continued to provide some offense and WoLF found his footing near the end of the first half, there wasn’t enough from the rest of the team. The Swizurk at power forward experiment continues, and I don’t know if this is a temporary assignment or something we should expect to see all season, but it has been inconsistent so far. Ten points on 5/14 shooting is not the kind of production you want from a Rebounding Athletic Finisher. Gooner was almost non-existent on the court. That promising TIPOFF start has turned into a 0-2 regular season record for Pacers Gaming.
For the Wiz, I’ve written how they needed to focus on a DemonJT and Boo Painter two-man game. Now, it’s obvious Jin is the other star of the show in D.C. The fourth-round pick has been a revelation since Wizards District started running the offense through him. With Boo Painter’s continued excellence at power forward, the duo is up there with the oFAB-Arsonal’s and Dimez-Dayfri’s of the world. Keep giving them the ball and good things will happen. And if the Wizards continue to be a top-5 three-point shooting team, they’ll be in the playoffs.
CLTX Crossover Gaming 59-66 Mavs Gaming
Usually when Dimez and Dayfri only combine for 27 points, Mavs Gaming is in trouble. This time, BallLikeSeem came to the rescue and the Mavs got one over on their early rivals.
If you want to be one of the best shooters in the NBA 2K League, you can’t just shoot. Players like ZDS, Newdini and BallLikeSeem not only are automatic from deep, they attack the rim enough where their defender has to respect it and not stick to them like glue every possession.
BallLikeSeem, on a Pure Sharpshooter, led his team with 24 points against CLTX Gaming but only made three shots from deep. Profusion had trouble guessing whether Seem was going to sit still in the corner or make a cut to the basket, and if a man is open like that, Dimez is gonna find him.
This kind of ties into MelEast on the other side of the floor. The CLTX Gaming small forward had a good game, scoring 16 points on 8/15 shooting, but he took just a few too many long twos and threes on the Shot-Creating Slasher build. I’ll give credit to MelEast and say he hits those shots more than anyone else using that build, but you still don’t want to take too many of those kinds of shots. Indeed, MelEast was 0/2 from deep in this one.
MelEast is good on the build, but could it still be costing the CLTX? As oFAB himself pointed out, they’re not good when it comes to three-point shooting. It’s early, and it’s not entirely on MelEast to remedy their shooting situation, but I wonder if he couldn’t make a Pure Sharpshooter work for his aggressive, get-to-the-basket style like we saw BallLikeSeem make it work in this game. There are a couple of other shooting builds available at small forward, but few teams have touched them so who knows how good they are. Otherwise, if they do stick with the Shot-Creating Slasher, I’d like to see him cut down on those long shots because there are better looks available for this team.
Magic Gaming 65-70 Wizards District Gaming
This was another promising performance for Magic Gaming.
If DemonJT (who had his best game of the entire season so far) doesn’t hit multiple contested three-pointers in the first quarter, we could be talking about a different result here. But defensive problems continue to plague this team. I counted three or four times where DemonJT got virtually free points in the paint off of Boo Painter pick and rolls because KontruL couldn’t keep up with him and Marley213s would stay on Boo Painter from near the three-point line. NachoTraynor was a liability on defense again as well, allowing ReeseDaGod23 to get open more times than you would like.
On offense, the Magic still need to find a way to get three-pointers more consistently. Credit to them, they fell behind big early and climbed back to make it close the rest of the way, but that only happened once they got some shots off from beyond the arc. Overall, though, they weren’t terribly efficient from deep. KontruL was 0/4 and SupremePuller, on the Shot-Creating Slasher small forward, missed his only attempt. If UCManny (4/6 from range) can keep up his good shooting and the rest can follow suit, or maybe put SupremePuller on a sharpshooting archetype, they’ll start winning games soon.
Cavs Legion GC 62-52 Grizz Gaming
This Cavs Legion team really keeps people guessing.
After coming out with a revitalized purpose for sharing the rock in week one after the Hood hero-ball offense of THE TIPOFF, they leave Hood at home for… reasons? No one really knows, and the NBA 2K League producers didn’t seem too keen on the commentators and analysts dwelling on it too much. What matters, though, is that the offense still looked good, great even, for a team missing their best player.
Savage filled in quite nicely at point guard, dancing and probing his way through the Grizz Gaming defense en route to an 18-point performance. Week two MVP Sick x 973 was probably much happier with his role in this temporary offensive set up as he got a lot more touches than he has been used to in the league and scored 24 points. The other three Cavs Legion players only scored a combined 20 points, but they didn’t need to be on their best game against the Grizz on Saturday.
Speaking of the Grizz, they’ve had far worse performances, but this wasn’t their most inspiring game either. A measly 52 points isn’t going to win you a lot of games in the NBA 2K League. First-round pick Winner Stayz On had a poor shooting night and Phenom vv was a non-factor. AuthenticAfrican continues to shine (though he had trouble guarding Savage on defense) and UniversalPhenom looks to be a decent consistent 2nd or 3rd option, but this team needs a consistent third threat on the court in order to have future success. It could be AyeTHREAT, but he needs to show just a little bit more.
Raptors Uprising GC 76-79 (OT) Jazz Gaming
This was a vastly improved Raptors Uprising team with the new look they trotted out on Saturday.
The decision to leave out Yusuf Scarbz was puzzling, though, and another benching where no explanation was provided. Instead, Detoxys moved to center and Kenny moved to small forward. Both looked a lot more comfortable in their new roles, especially Kenny, who went off for 29 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists, and didn’t look nearly as timid a scorer as he did on the point guard builds. Meanwhile, Detoxys had a modest 13 points and went 3/5 from beyond the arc as a stretch-five.
But it took a hot-shooting All Hail Trey late in the game for this one to go into overtime in the first place. Every week there seems to be a lack of production from multiple positions on this team, and this week it was TsJosh and KingQuai614. To KingQuai614’s credit, he had a good game against CLTX Gaming last week and deserved to be in the lineup. But TsJosh continues to be a problem spot on this team with just 29 points in 123 minutes played. This week at point guard he shot 4/11 from the field and 3/8 from three. The day Raptors Uprising gets contributions from all five players is the day they win their first game.
For Jazz Gaming, Yeah I Compete had his best performance of the season with 27 points and 14 assists. Playmaking has never been a problem for the third overall pick, but 27 points was a season-high for him and it was his first dominant scoring effort in a Jazz Gaming uniform. The roleplayers continue to impress on this team, and MrSlaughter01 continues to be a rebounding machine, grabbing 15 boards in this one. If Yeah I Compete keeps his scoring touch and regularly gets 20+ points this will easily be a playoff, and perhaps even top-5, team.
Kings Guard Gaming 63-78 Cavs Legion GC
This was a sloppy game on both ends from Kings Guard Gaming. Both the offense (Mootyy, Worthingcolt and TimelyCook combined for just 20 points) and defense (Sick x 973 and Godddof2K combined for 60) looked disorganized and out of answers against a weakened Cavs Legion team.
I mentioned last week how relieved Kings Guard looked to get a win after all the pressure put on them. With no Hood this week, it should have been the perfect time to build on that and go home 2-0. Instead this could be a potentially big swing in morale and/or confidence for this group. Fortunately, they have an opportunity to reclaim a winning record with a match against Grizz Gaming next week. I will still insist that Kings Guard needs an in-game coach to reach the next level.
If you’re Cavs Legion, what more could you ask for? A double-header weekend without your best player turns into a 2-0 trip, and they made it look easy. Savage was a surprising breakout star and gives this team the depth and flexibility that will have them competing well into August. Whether they focus their offense through Hood or Sick x 973, other teams will not have a good time when they face Cavs Legion.
Mavs Gaming 65-75 76ers Gaming Club
One of the highly anticipated games of this week was nothing more than a repeat of when these two faced off at THE TIPOFF.
Two weeks ago, as I mentioned in my week two preview, BallLikeSeem, Devillon and JLB combined for seven points in a blowout loss against THE TIPOFF champions. This week, BallLikeSeem had 12 but Devillon only had three while JLB had zero. It’s a troubling trend for one of the best teams in the league. Not only did they struggle on offense, their coverage on defense was downright miserable. I lost count of how many times Newdini was left open in the corner, and this would not have been as close a game if the 76ers found him there more often.
For 76ers Gaming Clubs, they did what they always do: hit threes (12/18 from distance!), spread the ball around (four players in double-digits scoring) and play disciplined, mostly mistake-free NBA 2K. Such a simple formula. Why doesn’t every team do this?
Joking aside, there is little doubt (if there ever was any left) that this is the best team in the league. Other teams are waiting for some sort of exploitable weakness, but right now it seems like the only way you can beat the 76ers is if they beat themselves. But with another double-digit victory over an elite opponent, they’re on top of the NBA 2K world.
Knicks Gaming 70-74 Blazer5 Gaming
If you’re a fan of elite big-man play, this game was for you.
Neither Knicks Gaming nor Blazer5 Gaming decided to trot out a Pure Rim Protector, and that meant it was a party in the paint. GOOFY757 went for 29 points and 12 rebounds while Blazer5 teammates OneWildWalnut and DatBoyShotz combined for 47 points on 20/27 shooting. Mutually assured destruction. If you want an example of how a Pure Rim Protector affects the game, just watch this matchup.
If you also want to see how little the Sharpshooting Rim Protector power forward build does on defense, watch this game too. I can’t remember when or where, but I recall DirK explaining how useless the rim-protecting aspect of that build is. It’s purely a stretch build in practice. It’s why Dat Boy Shotz was also able to have a field day against IdrisDaGoat6 in the paint.
But in all actuality, Knicks Gaming probably should have won this game. They shot 50% on 16 attempts from beyond the arc while GRANT MONSTER was the lone member of Blazer5 to even attempt from range and they won the turnover battle 6 to 13. It took some impressive paint defense from Walnut and Shotz in the 4th quarter for the Knicks’ fortune (they had the lead up until the final frame) to turn for the worse. They’ll be disappointed to lose this one after generally outplaying one of the best teams in the league, but it’s a good building block in a long season.
These aren’t entirely based on a team’s win-loss record. Regular season records are listed first while regular season plus TIPOFF records combined are listed in parentheses.
17. Magic Gaming, 0-2 (0-5), Last Week: 17
Have yet to put together a complete game and need improvement on both sides of the ball. All hope is not lost, though.
16. Grizz Gaming, 1-1 (1-5), LW: 15
Looked uninspiring against a weakened Cavs Legion team. AuthenticAfrican can’t do it all. This team needs more scoring threats.
15. Bucks Gaming, 0-2 (1-4), LW: 13
I have no idea what they wanted to do with their lineup changes this week. There’s promise on this team, but they need results, and quick.
14. Warriors Gaming Squad, 0-2 (2-4), LW: 11
Not having Shawn Win hurt them, but there is just no telling what kind of Warriors team we’re going to see week in and week out.
13. Raptors Uprising GC, 0-3 (1-5), LW: 14
This may be overrating them, but I liked some of the new changes to their lineup. Fit Yusuf Scarbz into the system and get some shooting and this team can turn it around.
12. Heat Check Gaming, 1-1 (2-4), LW: 16
Put together their best performance of the season this week. As long as Majes7ic keeps up the kind of production he had against the Warriors, this team will climb the rankings.
11. Pacers Gaming, 0-2 (3-4), LW: 8
I would say they have to figure things out, but they already know what formula is to be the best team they can be.
10. Kings Guard Gaming, 1-1 (2-3), LW: 9
Please give these guys a coach.
9. Knicks Gaming, 1-1 (2-3), LW: 10
Went toe-to-toe with one of the league’s elites and probably should have won. Keep up the shooting and let GOOFY dominate down low and they could be a playoff team.
8. Wizards District Gaming, 2-1 (3-3), LW: 12
A crucial 2-0 weekend has this team looking like contenders to make the playoffs. Keep working the Jin-Boo Painter partnership and good things will happen.
7. Jazz Gaming, 2-1 (4-3), LW: 6
I mentioned this before, but this team goes as far as Yeah I Compete goes. If he keeps scoring like he did this week while maintaining that playmaking touch, this will be a dangerous team.
6. Pistons GT, 2-0 (5-2), LW: 5
It feels a little wrong to rank one of the league’s three remaining undefeated teams at sixth. But Pistons GT has played one game against a team in my top-8, and they lost it. We’ll get a better feel for the quality of this team when we see them play more elite opponents.
5. Cavs Legion GC, 2-1 (5-3), LW: 7
I’m assuming that will be the only time Hood is benched for a weekend. Still, the depth they showed by going 2-0 without him means something.
4. CLTX Crossover Gaming, 2-1 (5-2), LW: 3
They have some shooting issues, and it may continue to haunt them like it did against the Mavs last week.
3. Blazer5 Gaming, 2-0 (7-1), LW: 4
Another close game in the regular season. No games are easy, but people expected them to have a better time against mid and lower-tier opponents.
2. Mavs Gaming, 2-1 (5-3), LW: 2
Is the fact that their role players haven’t shown up against the 76ers twice now the beginning of a trend or just unlucky? Need to figure it out between now and the playoffs if they want a shot at winning it all.
1. 76ers Gaming Club, 2-0 (7-1), LW: 1
The kings stay the kings. You can’t stop them, you can only hope to contain them, and no one has figured out how to even do that yet.