In one of the biggest Pro-Am games of the young NBA 2K19 cycle, NoSmoke defeated Breakout 62-58.
I’m going to throw out my usual scouting caveats right now. Although this wasn’t the league-heavy version of Breakout, and Eli wasn’t playing (we don’t need to get into that), the things I’m going to say now don’t just apply to the players in this game, but rather apply to them in general.
Due to the magnitude of this matchup, I’m going to scout it mostly through expositing clips. No one-by-one player notes, though it may devolve into that in each exposition.
In the above clip, Radiant torches Breakout’s Geo for a huge three late in the fourth quarter. NoSmoke primarily ran their offense through almost-MVP candidate Radiant, running a sharpshooting playmaker.
Radiant is an elite point guard. He’s almost unparalleled in the pick-and-roll. He’s simply unparalleled, I think, in creating shots for himself behind screens, as he does about.
He hit this three after giving one up to pure sharp PG Sleetys (a very good shooter) on a little overhelp with Dimez isolated. To get it back in really sweet.
He’s helped by Feast’s improved pick-and-roll game. The two have great pick-and-pop chemistry from 76ers GC, and Feast gets enough of a screen animation on Geo to ensue the clean look.
Feast is beginning to show a nice dive aspect to the pick-and-roll too, which will only complement his pop. It might explain, too, why he’s so good defensively against it.
Feast is just good at getting into the passing lanes and getting deflections.
One thing I liked from that clip and the game overall was that Dimez played more decisively off the ball on offense. His time as a shot-creating slasher in Dallas was hindered by his reluctance to cut hard, and he did it a few times in this game to positive effect.
He cuts hard again here, drawing help defense from Radiant, who is not the best of offball defenders (not that he’s bad; he also more than makes up for it on offense). That enables Goofy to make the correct pass to an open Sleetys for two. Goofy really started to show improved awareness and court vision late in the season with the Knicks, and it’s glad to see that good habit sticking in his game.
He does still hedge a little too hard in the pick-and-roll and close out with intent. That allowed Feast a few dribble penetrations. But sometimes the aggressiveness on the perimeter does work for Goofy and gets him a few steals.
Speaking of aggressiveness, it’s part of what kept Swizurk protected in Indiana. He’s more decisive and incisive than the average pure sharp. Whereas Scretty, for example, is an incredible wrapper, Swizurk plays more independently and can bring the ball up.
He does so to great effect in the above clip. NoSmoke get a fast break, with Swizurk taking it up court. His bit of brilliance is to wait on the pass, forcing Dimez to pick between defending the rimrunning big men and Wolf streaking to the corner. He picks the rimrunners, and Swizurk dots Wolf for a nice transition three.
Is there a better defender than Wolf? I really don’t think so. There are numerous examples I could have pulled of his individual on-ball defense, but I chose to pinpoint his leadership in navigating a tricky wrap with Vert.
On a Scretty wrap cutback, Wolf manages to guard both Dimez’s dribble penetration and the pass to Geo in the corner. That allows Vert, originally guarding Geo, to stay high and stop the cutback. They communicate effectively in switching back and forth.
Wolf is really freaking good.
Very is also really good. In the first half he consistently torched Scretty on backdoor cuts, but the ball never really found him.
Until the above clip. He suggests it to Radiant, who finds him backdoor for a terrific alley-oop. That’s just a great play.
Vert is also a good offball defender. He’s sometimes too aggressive, but is mostly good. The difference between good and bad, of course, is knowing just how much good is good.
And so we come to Dimez, who is not that good of an offball defender. In fact, he’s generally a step slow. Often, he makes the first move on defense.
He shows flashes of brilliance—true brilliance—in the pick-and-roll. He has a unique style that, against even slightly inferior opponents, is utterly devastating.
But here’s the dagger. Swizurk gets a step or two on Dimez, as he has all game long. It came after Feast stepped into the passing lane for yet another steal. Dimez pinches, backtracks, and Swizurk beats him and greens it.
NoSmoke vs. Breakout, part two, was won by the superior team.