Week six has come and gone, and boy was it an exciting one. There were more than a few blowouts, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t plenty of close games.
Here are four takeaways from another great week of NBA 2K League action.
1. There is no need for Pistons GT to panic
The true “grit-n-grind” squad of the NBA 2K League took two losses in week six; one to the high-flying Mavs Gaming and another to the revitalized Pacers Gaming. While the latter game was mostly a close one until the end, the former… let’s just say Lets Get It Ramo and crew won’t be having a fun time reviewing that game film. Not only did it make them 0-2 on the week, it made them 1-3 in the past three weeks if you count their loss to Warriors Gaming Squad at THE TURN. A troubling trend for sure.
But it’s no reason to panic—assuming adjustments are made. Because of the sweet new listen-in feature added to the league broadcasts, a small nugget of info about the Pistons’ week six lineup was dropped during a timeout in their game against Pacers Gaming, where Ramo said something to the effect of “we’re using this lineup for a reason.” That reason, I’m assuming, was to draw Pure Rim Protector FrostyTheTruth onto Ramo, leaving Rux defended by TuckerLocksUp on a non-defensive build. If that was indeed the plan, it didn’t work too well, as Rux went just 7-for-16 against the Pacers. Part of that lineup change also included subbing in xisplashkingix at shooting guard. To say he struggled would be an understatement with his combined 2-for-11 shooting performance on the weekend. Not only that, but Mavs Gaming Head Coach Jonah Edwards mentioned xisplashkingix’s defensive problems during another timeout listen-in. BallLikeSeem went for 21 points in their game on Saturday. Pacers Gaming Head Coach Cody Parrent also told his players to “remember who we’re trying to exploit” during a timeout. He didn’t outright mention xisplashkingix, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that is who he was referring to.
If two opponents have potentially identified that big of a defensive weakness in a team that normally prides itself on its defense (and one that certainly needs that defense, as they’re the worst offense in the league, scoring-wise) then it’d be a surprise if they don’t make a change next week. JosephTheTruth has proven himself as a more than capable center and should probably get the nod in the lineup going forward. But even with the week six snafu, the Pistons are still in good position to make the playoffs at 4-3. With plenty of teams below them being as inconsistent as they are, there shouldn’t be too much worry.
2. Despite their loss to Blazer5 Gaming, Warriors Gaming Squad impressed
Yes, that loss will sting, both emotionally and in the standings. But if there is such a thing as a moral victory in this short NBA 2K League regular season, this was as good a moral victory as it gets. Holding Blazer5 Gaming to just 64 points is a feat in its own right, and if the Warriors shot even just a touch above 50% in this game—something even the worst offenses in the league do on a regular basis—they would have gone home with the biggest momentum swing possible.
Currently at 1-5, it’s hard to see them making a run into the playoffs. But this is valuable experience for a team that has a great coaching staff and a couple of players that they can build on moving forward into next season. If the next few games don’t go well, it may be time to start finding out who should join Vert as the key pieces to build around in the future.
3. The jump shot update was beneficial to all players
NBA 2K players care dearly for their jump shots. The right form can be the difference between being cold from all areas of the court and being one of the best shooters in the league.
After weeks of waiting, the league finally updated jump shots for all players, much to the delight of players and coaches alike. Big names who have suffered with their stroke looked to be a lot better this week with the changes. In particular, CLTX Gaming point guard oFAB and Pacers Gaming’s new Pure Sharpshooter vGooner had vastly improved shooting performances. There were other players here and there that were mentioned by Scott Cole and Dirk during the broadcast who had new jump shots and looked to have improved, but the usually potent shooters oFAB and vGooner probably needed it the most. That’s particularly a good thing for CLTX Gaming, whose three-point shooting has been their biggest downfall so far.
4. The league log jam gets even more crowded
It seems to be as things move along in the NBA 2K League that things become less and less clear, specifically the playoff picture. If you say you know with confidence who the playoff teams will be, you’re a liar.
The sixth-placed team in the league sits at 4-3. The 13th-placed team sits at 3-5. There isn’t much of a gap, folks. If you believe that one of the usual suspects will win THE TICKET, the final in-season tournament in which the winner gets a playoff berth, that means eighth place in the standings will be up for grabs as a playoff spot. As it stands, there are a number of teams you could make cases for to take that final spot.
It won’t just be eighth place either. The final two or three playoff places are going to be a race right until the very last game of the season.
5. The production team continues to step it up
This isn’t necessarily gameplay related, but shout out to the NBA 2K League production crew and their continued excellence.
After adding the lovely reaction cameras into the upper corners of the screen last week so that we could see every player react to every play, another wrinkle to the broadcast was added (or brought back) when team communications listen-ins could be heard during timeouts. Plenty of great pieces of information were dropped during these, and it gave some insight into what both the players and coaches are seeing during the game.
I also couldn’t help but notice how open the coaches seemed to be to players calling for certain plays. There is a lot of trust that has been built between the coaching staffs and the players.
Hopefully these listen-ins continue, and assuredly the league production team will continue its great work.
Another tough week to rank, and this time it’s the middle of the league that gets tough to sift through. 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. Warriors Gaming Squad, 1-5 (4-8), Last Week: 16
It hurts a bit to have to put this team at the bottom, but a loss is a loss, and last week’s defeat to the team just above them cements their status at the bottom of the league right now.
16. Grizz Gaming, 2-5 (2-10), LW: 14
There were too many little mistakes from this team against CLTX Gaming in week six. UniversalPhenom was the only player to shoot well. Meanwhile, almost everyone around them grabbed a win.
15. Pacers Gaming, 2-4 (5-7), LW: 17
Big win against a good opponent. But as I’ve said for multiple teams before: cautious optimism. They seem to have found the right setup, though, and I’m sure they’re full of confidence again.
14. Knicks Gaming, 2-5 (5-8), LW: 12
Uh, what happened to these guys? They’re 1-4 since week three now and their schedule hasn’t been tough enough to justify that kind of record for a team with this kind of talent.
13. Kings Guard Gaming, 3-4 (4-7), LW: 10
This is where it gets tough to sort everything out. But it’s two losses in a row for Kings Guard against teams they probably feel like they should have beaten. You can see how frustrated they are with the new reaction cameras.
12. Bucks Gaming, 3-4 (4-6), LW: 15
Almost .500 after their second straight win against two decent teams in Kings Guard and Magic Gaming. The ceiling for their three-point shooting could be among the best in the league.
11. Raptors Uprising GC, 3-5 (5-8), LW: 13
Another good win for them, and they suddenly look to be back in the playoff hunt. AllHailTrey moving to power forward has been the spark they needed.
10. Heat Check Gaming, 3-4 (4-8), LW: 11
That win against Knicks Gaming is their most important of the season. Took a bad loss to Cavs Legion but that’s a much less important result.
9. Magic Gaming, 3-4 (4-8), LW: 9
Two straight losses, and their most recent one to 76ers Gaming was a bit embarrassing. It wasn’t the right time to try and experiment with the lineup and they paid dearly for it. It’s tough for them from here on out, so they need to steal some wins.
8. Wizards District Gaming, 3-4 (4-7), LW: 7
I’ve been high on this team and had them as high as fourth in my power rankings just a couple weeks ago. Two straight losses against teams they arguably should have beaten (Jazz Gaming without MrSlaughter01 and Raptors Uprising) has me questioning if I was wrong all along.
7. CLTX Gaming, 4-4 (10-6), LW: 8
That jump shot update really helped oFAB and company. A close loss to Jazz Gaming is reasonable, and they did what was expected of them against the Grizz.
6. Pistons GT, 4-3 (7-5), LW: 4
The blowout to Mavs Gaming was bad enough, but to follow that up with a loss to the one-win Pacers was just salt in the wound. They have plenty of opportunities to bounce back.
5. Cavs Legion GC, 5-3 (8-6), LW: 6
The move of Hood to power forward paid off big time. He had 32 points, Godddof2K added 30 of his own and Sick x 973 dished out 20 assists in his move to point guard. A 29-point win against a tough Heat Check squad shouldn’t be overlooked.
4. Mavs Gaming, 5-2 (9-5), LW: 5
I’ve never seen a team dominate an opponent both on the court and mentally as thoroughly as Mavs Gaming did against Pistons GT on Saturday. The usually loud Pistons squad was dead quiet by the end of the first quarter. The upside of this team is scary.
3. Jazz Gaming, 5-2 (7-5), LW: 3
Another week, another win against a quality opponent. There are so few exploitable weaknesses on this team, and they look to absolutely be contenders for the league title at the moment.
2. 76ers Gaming Club, 5-2 (12-4), LW: 2
Outright embarrassed a Magic Gaming team that was looking hot and full of confidence. That’s the 76ers Gaming team we’re used to seeing.
1. Blazer5 Gaming, 7-0 (16-1), LW: 1
Survived a big scare against the team at the bottom of the standings. They have a tendency to play down to their opponent sometimes, and it may come back to bite them.