We’re back into the regular season. But even though we’re a week closer to the playoffs, things haven’t really cleared up. In fact, there are probably more questions than there were heading into THE TURN.
Here are some key takeaways from a week that proved anything can happen in this league.
1. Everyone at the bottom gets a win
Well, except for Warriors Gaming, but they played another team near the bottom of the league themselves. I said in my week five preview that this was a good week for the teams in the bottom tier (which I’d personally define as teams placed 13th through 17th) to pick up a win because they all played teams in the middle tier of the league (which I’d define as teams placed about 8th through 12th), with Warriors Gaming and Grizz Gaming also going at it.
What I didn’t see coming was at least a win for four of those teams. The Grizz beat the Warriors, Raptors Uprising took out Kings Guard, Pacers Gaming took down Knicks Gaming to secure their first regular season win and Bucks Gaming dropped their first match of Saturday to CLTX Gaming but bounced back with a win over Magic Gaming. It’s an impressive feat in all honesty, and it certainly makes things more interesting as we get closer and closer to the playoffs. It could also mean future consistency for these teams, as just about all of them made lineup changes and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to stick to those lineup changes.
The question, though, as always, is whether they all can carry this momentum into next week. The schedule for each team only gets harder from here. But as we all know, in the NBA 2K League, anything can happen.
2. Pacers Gaming leaves the “winless” club
It took until almost halfway into the season, but Pacers Gaming is winless no more.
Though they still sit rock bottom of the standings on point differential, getting the monkey off their back will likely mean more to them than the standings right now. We all know by now of the heightened expectations of the Pacers after a breakout TIPOFF performance and the subsequent fall from grace as the regular season progressed. Inept offense and plenty of lineup changes kept this team from replicating what it had done at the league’s opening tournament.
I secretly wondered to myself what the direction of this team would be after their last couple of losses. They seemingly tried every lineup possible. But Cody Parrent decided to really shake things up by moving first-round pick WoLF to point guard and UK import vGooner onto a Pure Sharpshooter at small forward. Not only that, but defensive stalwart TuckerLocksUp was taken off the Pure Rim Protector at center and put on a Rebounding Athletic Finisher at power forward.
And it all worked. WoLF didn’t have the greatest shooting performance but he did bag 14 assists. He didn’t need to do much scoring anyway, as TuckerLocksUp dropped 33 points to lead Pacers Gaming to a comeback win over Knicks Gaming. There’s some fine-tuning to be done if they stick with this lineup and system, but it’s a good start.
3. Blazer5 looks unstoppable–still
If you had doubts about Blazer5 Gaming after their TURN win, they kindly beat 76ers Gaming in week five to alleviate those doubts for you.
It was a shaky start for the undefeated club. To their credit, they took the 76ers out of their game by not allowing them to hit their three-pointers. But the 76ers flipped the script and dominated the paint, something few if any teams have done against Blazer5 this season. Paired with a deadly transition game, 76ers Gaming looked good with a seven-point lead at halftime.
But Blazer5 woke up. Dat Boy Shotz, who had been quiet in the first half, came to life a bit. Point guard Mama Im Dat Man did what he always does with 21 points and 15 assists and OneWildWalnut dropped a monstrous 31 points and 15 rebounds while also denying the 76ers at the rim three times.
I said last week this is the most consistent team in the league, and I should probably add that they’re the most composed team as well. Being down at halftime after being taken out of your game against one of the best teams in the league is certifiably not good. But Blazer5 looked like the best team in the league again in the second half. They got back to playing the way they want to play and that’s not easy.
4. Not much is clear as we near the back half of the season
So we know who the best team is. Beyond that, though… shrugs.
As it stands, there are five teams sitting at four wins, four teams sitting at three wins, five teams sitting at two wins and a couple of one-win teams. It’s crowded, y’all.
At this point I wouldn’t even say it’s a given that teams like Pacers Gaming, Warriors Gaming and Raptors Uprising won’t make the playoffs. In the next few weeks it will become more obvious which teams won’t make it into the top eight, but I suspect the middle of the league will continue to be absolute chaos. That means it’s going to be a wild ride as the season trudges on. But not only will the playoff race be of interest, the race for the bottom spot could have implications for a potential draft in the offseason.
It’s too early to speculate on any of that, though. The league is wide open and anything can happen. Assume nothing with seven weeks to go.
I said that last week’s power rankings were the hardest yet. That’s still true, but this week’s are a challenge in their own right. The bottom of the league is particularly difficult to sort out now. As always, these aren’t entirely based on a team’s win-loss record. Regular season records are listed first while regular season plus TIPOFF and TURN records combined are listed in parentheses.
17. Pacers Gaming, 1-4 (4-7), LW: 17
A win! Knicks Gaming is no pushover, either. The new lineup didn’t look too bad, though who knows if they’ll stick with it. The addition of oShockey is intriguing as well. They’re still at the bottom due to pretty much every team around them winning last week, though.
16. Warriors Gaming Squad, 1-4 (4-7), Last Week: 13
I was high on this team last week after their recent hiring of a former G-League assistant coach and pulling off an upset at THE TURN. But after losing to Grizz Gaming after being up by 10 points with less than four minutes to go, I’m skeptical once again.
15. Bucks Gaming, 2-4 (3-6), LW: 15
This is where it gets hard to sort things out as we move through the bottom tier of the league and into the middle tier. They looked uninspiring in their loss to CLTX Gaming but their win against Magic Gaming was a good one. They still don’t have a set lineup, though.
14. Grizz Gaming, 2-4 (2-9), LW: 16
AuthenticAfrican is a straight up 2K player /end Jon Gruden voice. The man has now dominated at three positions, with his most recent effort guiding the Grizz to their second win of the season as he ran the offense at point guard. This team showed some heart by coming back down double digits with just a few minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
13. Raptors Uprising, 2-5 (4-8), LW: 14
They looked in complete control against Kings Guard for three quarters and completely frustrated their opponents. Kenny took a scoring backseat and let his playmaking do the work this game, but I wonder if that’s going to work for this team in the future.
12. Knicks Gaming, 2-4 (5-7), LW: 11
I’ve said before that the middle of the league is characterized by inconsistent play, and this is the most inconsistent team of the bunch. Following up a semi-finals run at THE TURN with a loss to the previously winless Pacers Gaming is the opposite of how to carry momentum.
11. Heat Check Gaming, 2-3 (3-7), LW: 12
I won’t punish them for falling to Blazer5 Gaming, and they move up because everyone else around them took worse losses. Wins against Knicks Gaming and Cavs Legion in week six would be a good start to proving this team belongs in the playoffs.
10. Kings Guard, 3-3 (4-6), LW: 10
Like I said before, this team looked absolutely frustrated in their loss to Raptors Uprising. Speaking of inconsistent teams, all three of Kings Guard’s losses have been by double digits. My weekly reminder: get them a coach.
9. Magic Gaming, 3-3 (4-7), LW: 9
Slipped up against Bucks Gaming, but I’d still consider them better than the teams directly below them, and I’m not even convinced they necessarily got outplayed in week five. But it was a win they could have really used since they play the 76ers next.
8. CLTX Gaming, 3-3 (9-5), LW: 8
Took care of business against Bucks Gaming. Speedbrook looks to be exactly what they needed in their lineup with his shooting touch. They’ll really impress me if they can beat Jazz Gaming in week six.
7. Wizards District Gaming, 3-3 (4-6), LW: 4
I’ve had high hopes for this team, and I still do. But getting to face Jazz Gaming when they didn’t have MrSlaughter01 and still losing is the kind of thing they can’t be doing if they want to be a contender to win it all.
6. Cavs Legion, 4-3 (7-6), LW: 7
They still don’t have Hood, and they still manage to stay above .500, this time beating a real contender in Mavs Gaming. If they make the playoffs and get back to the level they were at during THE TIPOFF once Hood comes back, watch out.
5. Mavs Gaming, 4-2 (8-5), LW: 3
Not only did they lose to the Hood-less Cavs Legion, they didn’t play particularly well as a unit. Dayfri getting only five shots should never happen again.
4. Pistons GT, 4-1 (7-3), LW: 5
They played a slow, grind-it-out, defensive game against Cavs Legion, and that’s exactly the kind of game they love to play. I think their switch to JosephTheTruth at center is the right one.
3. Jazz Gaming, 4-2 (6-5), LW: 6
I was thoroughly impressed with how this team performed without star center MrSlaughter01 against Wizards District. Tifeworld took Jin completely out of the game with his defense and they held an explosive offense to less than 60 points while winning by double digits.
2. 76ers Gaming Club, 4-2 (11-4), LW: 2
Yeah, they lost. But I still see them as the second-best team in the league. Don’t forget that they took Blazer5 out of their game in the first half even without shooting lights out from three, which is usually how they win.
1. Blazer5 Gaming, 6-0 (15-1), LW: 1
You knew this was coming. An impressive win over 76ers Gaming only solidifies these guys as the best team in the league and the clear favorite to win it all in the playoffs. 15-1 is an insane record in this league full of parity.