At last, we’ve reached the final installment of our Seasons in Review series. A quick thank you to everyone who has read these and given us feedback. It has been a blast to cover all of these teams and not only look back, but do some forward thinking for each and every team.
Check out our review of the other finalists, Heat Check Gaming, where Josiah Cohen has you covered.
Current roster: Goofy757, IamAdamthe1st, IdrisDaGoat, Yeynotgaming
Protections: Goofy757, IamAdamthe1st
Offseason transactions: Retained IdrisDaGoat at the cost of a third-round pick. Retained Yeynotgaming at the cost of a second-round pick.
Draft picks: 1st round (21st overall), 4th (73rd)
The Good: Do I even need to say it? Knicks Gaming became the first-ever NBA 2K League champions on the back of not one, but two miraculous runs through the TICKET and playoffs. Post-patch, IamAdamthe1st made a smart business decision to green almost all of his shots, allowing offensive rebounding machine Goofy757 to mop up whatever didn’t go in. IdrisDaGoat, who the Knicks couldn’t quite figure out what to do with pre-patch, blossomed into perhaps the best third option in the league when he made the switch to small forward. And don’t forget NateKahl, the ultimate 5-Out stopper and the man who won Finals MVP on the strength of his defense alone.
I was fortunate that the two times I’ve been to the NBA 2K League studio were the TICKET and the playoffs. I may be biased, but those seemed to be the two most magical moments in the history of this young league, both provided by this team. It was undoubtedly special for it to happen and a great way both start the league and end season one. Congratulations, Knicks Gaming.
The Bad: Does it really matter what went wrong when you won it all? No, it doesn’t. But we gotta put something down for every team here. Pre-patch, the Knicks were inconsistent at best. And that’s being generous. There’s a reason they needed to win the TICKET to make the playoffs. Adam struggled mightily from three-point range, the team couldn’t figure out the optimal composition for Idris and Goofy, and the Knicks didn’t have much in the way of an identity.
But hey, who cares? THEY WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP!
The Good: The gang is mostly back together. Adam and Goofy were rightfully protected, and the team was literally so talented they could have had multiple players get selected in the expansion draft had the rules not limited one pick from each team. That allowed Idris to come back into the fold and for sharpshooter Yey to follow soon after. Head coach Kyle Rudy is likely to be back. All that remains is a fifth starter, and they still have their first-round pick to do just that. And with the versatility of Idris, they have some wiggle room on who they can select.
Plus they have something no other team has: the prestige that comes with having a championship. You think anyone in the draft is going to say no to that? And they live in New York so there’s no travel to and from the studio, which proved to be a big challenge to players. Life is good.
The Bad: The gang is mostly back together. That one missing piece? NateKahl. It stings to have to give up the Finals MVP, but it was always known that no matter who Knicks Gaming protected, they would lose someone to the expansion draft. The 2K League can be cruel sometimes. His defense will be sorely missed, and it’s not something that can be easily replaced through the draft either.
Also with the Jekyll and Hyde performances of the pre- and post-patch Knicks, is there a danger that we could see a return to their pre-patch form in the future? I don’t know, but I’m throwing the question out there. It’s something to keep an eye on at least.
The Big Question
Can they repeat?
This should really be the question for every champion. The Knicks deservedly took home the title, but there are a lot of dangerous teams in this league after what happened in the trade window.
On pure talent alone, no one would blame you for putting the Pacers or Wizards or Blazer5 over Knicks Gaming. Those teams took the course of acquiring big names while the Knicks stood pat and got their pieces back together. Both are fine courses of action and make sense in each situation.
What the Knicks will have going for them over those teams is chemistry. There is plenty to be said about continuity and continuing to do what you know works. Only 76ers Gaming brought back as many season one players as the Knicks did.
But will continuity and chemistry be enough? Maybe. It’s certainly a factor, though it’s unknown just how much of a good thing it is since the league is only one season old. The fact is it can only be a good thing, but the question is whether it’s enough to overtake the most talented teams in the league.
My personal theory is it’s going to be a lot tougher to repeat in the NBA 2K League than it is to repeat in the NBA. Superteams are possible, but every player is a 90 overall and there is plenty of talent to spread around in this league. Based on that alone, it’s hard for me to see a repeat happening.
But then again, I also didn’t see the Knicks winning it all.