I tuned into the MCPA 2K League’s Xbox One best-of-five finals to get a sense of the league, as well as do some scouting on the players (and coach) of the Energy and the Surge.
Standard scouting caveat: in-game scouting doesn’t provide a perfect view of a player, his/her communication with teammates, or anything of that nature. But in this series sweep, I do feel that I started to get a good grasp on the players in it and their strengths and weaknesses.
Quick series summary: Energy pulled away in a tight game one before blowing the doors off the Surge in game 2, cruising to a second win, before pulling out a tightly contested game in the third outing to complete the sweep.
I decided to just collect all my thoughts on each player, with series strategy background below. The implied comparison is to NBA 2K League gameplay and players. I’ve suggested the best projected position for the player.
Slowmo (PG, Energy): Great ability in the PnR with Lucky2kCharms. Good decision-making when the defender goes under the screen to step back and hit a three. Might be over-enamoured of the dribble. Good perimeter rotation on defense. NBA 2K League arch projection: shot-creating sharpshooter.
DoolaWolfy (SG, Energy): Good dangerous transition offense and a lights-out shooter when open. Quiet on defense and not really a personal shot-creator. Will need to be more alert against adjusted wraps. Projection: pure sharpshooter.
Cop2k (SF, Energy): Phenomenal offball cutter and leak-out guy in transition. Moves very well on offense and gets up high to throw down posterizers. Defense a consideration against better small forwards. Might be better served as a sharpshooting shot-creater against tougher competition with a green light to leak out.
YesAdonis (PF, Energy): Help defense and rotations stood out to me, as well as respectable shot selection on offense. Good recognition through and through, but hardly a focal offensive threat. Room to improve on rebounding. Projection: sharpshooting rim protector, if he can stay consistent with his three-pointer.
Lucky2kCharms (C, Energy): Terrific series over all. A potent rim-running big who works well in the pick-and-roll and can suck in defenders when need be. Strong diving to the hoop and a very good and able on-ball defender in the post. Small improvements to be made reaction-wise in passing out of the post when help comes. A slashing rebounder, for sure.
Smooky (PG, Surge): Creates his own shot, but is hesitant to take it. Decisiveness and vision both need an upgrade to take his offensive game to the next level. Pieces are then in playing off ball defense, but pick-and-roll defensive communication must improve to stay at point guard. Projection: Sharpshooting playmaker, should he take the next step.
MaxKamakura (SG, Surge): Good dribble penetration decisiveness and good late-game poise in the third game. Smart player who might consider a move to point guard, especially if he can take a step up in on-ball defense. Capable of executing the offense and extending broken plays. Projection: Sharpshooting shot-creator.
WyleeKoyote (SF, Surge): An off night, I hope. A good shooter when open, but shot selection is questionable and inconsistent. Not safe to leave on an island on defense, as Cop torched him repeatedly along the baseline. Projection: pure sharpshooter.
YaBoyPancake (PF, Surge): An underrated game, I think. Certainly not a focal point offensively, but a potent rebounder and a good screener in the mid range. Good defensive recognition from the corner, but he’ll need to commit more when he knows help rotations are coming. Projection: two-way rebounder.
CTKilla (C, Surge): Struggle of a series. Remarkable post moves in game one that the Energy adjusted to spot in games two/three. Good pick-and-pop threat and well-used in the Surge offensive playbook, but certainly doesn’t create his own shot. Needs to improve PnR communication and willingness to hedge on shooting point guards. Might be best-served as a sharpshooting rim protector.
The Surge ran a lot of plays in game one, instituted by Coach Kutta (@KingOfTheCouch2). He was kind enough to send me his scouting report, and—without diving into it too much—I can say that his player assessment was very good, his team assessment a little less so. Tough to coach these sort of things, and in-game management is tricky. The plays were very good—it’s a shame the Surge got away from them—but the team ran them too frequently in game one and made too many other mistakes to fully capitalize. A variance in plays is best done without an equal variance in sets.
Surge lost because they couldn’t defend the pick-and-roll and because they were a worse transition team on both sides of the ball.