Welcome to the first in a series of DIMER articles analyzing each team’s 2018 season and its outlook for the 2019 season. We’re going team-by-team, worst-to-first, and looking incisively at how each team got to its current point and how it will move forward.
Today, it’s Warriors Gaming Squad, who finished the 2018 NBA 2K League season 4-10, sharing the basement apartment with their fellow Californians from Sacramento.
Current roster: Type, BSmoove
Protections: Type, BSmoove
Offseason transactions: Protected Vert in exchange for their second-round pick, acquired Lakers Gaming first-round pick (10th overall) in the entry draft in exchange for Vert
Draft picks: 1st round (2nd overall), 1st (10th), 3rd (38th), 4th (54th)
The Good: The Warriors, by Pythagorean win expectation, were a much better team
than their regular-season record suggested. WGS lost only one game in the regular
season by double-digits, to Heat Check Gaming in Week 2, and for the most part lost
to really good teams by three points in games that they had a real chance to win. In
Week 12, WGS swept their doubleheader, essentially ending Pacers Gaming’s playoff
hopes before beating playoff-bound Pistons GT. Their tournament play was slightly
more indicative of their overall play; the team finished 3-4 and made the knockout
round in both the TIPOFF and TURN tournaments.
The Bad: The above is not to say that the Warriors were a team deserving of the
playoffs. Their losses were tough to stomach—they choked away a not-inconsequential number of games that should have gone in the win column.
Moreover, the offense just never became prolific or consistent enough. The Warriors
finished second-last in the league with 63.5 points per game and hit an egregiously
low 39 percent of their three-point attempts, dead last in the league and three points
behind the second-worst mark. They also topped the league in turnovers with 9.4
per game. Shawn Win didn’t provide the offense expected from a first-round pick,
and the team couldn’t ride Vert to a winning record, even before the patch.
The Good: The Warriors think they have a defensive lynchpin in Type, whom the
team protected alongside BSmoove, who in turn is an interesting combo guard who
flashed serious potential at the end of the season. Coach Tommy Abdenour has more
real-life coaching chops than just about anyone else in the league, and while that
didn’t translate so clearly to 2K in year one there’s little reason to expect stagnancy
in 2019. They also have two first-round picks (No. 2 and No. 10) in the entry draft
after landing the No. 2 pick in the lottery and pulling a retain-and-trade (at the cost
of a second-round pick) that sent Vert to the Lakers for the No. 10 pick.
The Bad: Their fate is still very much up in the air. The enormity of their picks
cannot be understated. The team brought in WR Pro-Am League analysts as well as
Jonny2k to handle the scouting and drafting process. Hiring is not a guarantor of
success. The new trio, along with Abdenour and GM Rustin Lee, has its work cut out for it. The draft pool won’t be circumscribed and set in stone like it was in 2018.
Type and BSmoove aren’t enough talent. The Warriors have to hit on their draft
picks in a way they didn’t in 2018. Thankfully, they’ll have a little more time for
scouting this year.
The Big Question
What is WGS looking for at No. 2?
The Warriors seem to have two distinct options with their second overall pick: point
guard or center. That will define a lot about their team, even though they have the
No. 10 pick as well. Do they go center with their top choice and try to reestablish a
paint-dominant offense that saw Vert put up impressive production when he got the
ball? Or perhaps they go point guard and embrace an outside-in game, enabling
BSmoove to shoulder less of the ballhandling burden and relying on Type to
embrace rim-protection duties inside. They’ll have the chance to get very good
players with both picks, but the person they go for at No. 2 will define the Warriors’