KissMyTimbs (KMT) defeated Breakout 70-44 in an emphatic performance, forcing 16 turnovers and outscoring the nouveau Xbox arrivals 55-30 in the first three quarters.
This scouting session is focused solely on the five members of KMT, not on any Breakout players. I prefer to judge league players on their performance in the league, and KMT made the small contributions of Breakout’s two non-league players completely irrelevant. This will mostly consist of clips and induction thereof.
The phase that won KMT the game was their defense. Running Gradient at a lock and mostly putting him on Dimez, the former Wizards DG draft analyst notched four steals and contributed to many more. Here’s a beautiful defensive play by Gradient, covering two open guys along the weakside perimeter by splitting the distance, and swiping the ball on a kick-out:
GradientHalfDefenseSteal – Clipped by josiahcohen13
It wasn’t just about the steals. Gradient harangued Dimez on every possession, forcing the reluctant shooter to pick up his dribble early and often. That lead to deflections and steals, even here—twice—with Tactuk flashing inside:
TeamBoxGradientSteal – Clipped by josiahcohen13
But arguably the most impressive part of KMT’s defense was their communication. Here’s Gradient and Shuttlesworth communicating perfectly to effect a switch on the pick-and-roll, leading to a Gradient deflection and steal on the entry pass:
GradientShuttlesPnRSwitchSteal – Clipped by josiahcohen13
Gradient is a phenomenal defender, but Shuttlesworth more than holds his own too. He’s not a lock in the sense that Gradient is, and he has what to improve on in terms of on-ball defense, but most importantly he’s a smart player.
ShuttlesBackdoorSteal – Clipped by josiahcohen13
Smart players can be taught. A great play to step in front of that pass to the guy cutting backdoor. If players have talent, smarts, and the will to win—Shuttlesworth does—teaching them is all the more worth it.
The entire team was into it. Mo and Kina were solid on their guys, not needing to do too much. Kina in particular can sometimes fall asleep or overcommit to helping, but his team defense is very competent. Both he and Mo make up for it with their offensive skill. Here’s a particularly nice stepback trey from Kina:
KinaStepbackTrey – Clipped by josiahcohen13
The two project more as secondary ballhandlers in the league, I think. There’s a little more court vision to be developed and more consistent decisiveness to be employed. Both—and this is a symptom to which 99.9% of point guards are not immune—are a little too prone to dribbling ineffectually to the elbow and picking up their dribble, stalling the possession. Mo, I think, hit a walkback jumper there, but the path to consistent offense does not run through occasional elbow jumpers.
There was nice playmaking. Here’s Kina with the textbook good-to-great pass to Gradient for an open three (for all his many strengths, Gradient is understandably not a lights-out shooter on a lock):
KinaExtraPassGradientTrey – Clipped by josiahcohen13
That’s smart playmaking and unselfish decision-making. More of that, please.
The team as a whole communicated very, very well. Choc has a sky-high IQ and is never afraid to voice his opinion. He devastated Breakout time and time again in transition, timing his leaks very well and capitalizing in transition as a result. He also proved more than capable when switched onto Dimez (most do), boxing the former No. 1 overall pick, and he swiped the ball from Scretty several times. Twenty-nine points is nothing to scoff at.
I’ll end with my very favorite clip of the game. Switching isn’t the best-effected defensive tactic in the Pro-Am playbook. Much less teams taking real advantages of mismatches. But here’s KMT averting that crisis with the 2K equivalent of a freaking scram switch:
KMTScramSwitch – Clipped by josiahcohen13
Glorious. A well-deserved win.