2019 is—thank goodness!—almost here, which means that the league office will soon turn to the NBA 2K League’s schedule. With four new teams joining the league for the 2019 season, the schedule could be even more jam-packed than it was last season, without even considering the Trifecta Tournaments. The variables all have to fall into place, of course, but here are the top 5 week-one matchups that will build and develop narratives from season 1.
Just missed the cut: Lakers Gaming vs. Kings Guard Gaming; Heat Check Gaming vs. Knicks Gaming.
5. Pistons GT vs. Pacers Gaming
The return of Ramo. The 9-5 Pistons shipped their season-one MVP candidate Lets_Get_It_Ramo to Indiana with the first-ever (official) trade in NBA 2K League history. The return? The Pacers’ first-round pick, No. 4 overall. This will be that selection’s chance to get his/her new team off to a good start in the regular season, and disprove those who doubt the Pistons’ playoff potential for season 2. It will also be a fearsome Pacers squad’s first regular-season chance to show off their formidable roster featuring a man who’s out for revenge. The sideshow is Coach of the Year KingDuOne combatting innovative Pacers coach Cody Parrent’s unparalleled sets. But the main card is easy. Ramo vs. No. 4.
4. Blazer5 Gaming vs. 76ers GC
One of the best rivalries from season 1 gets an immediate resurfacing. The Blazers and 76ers had some great battles early in season 1 and finished the regular season ranked first and second, respectively, in the standings. Both B5 and 76ers GC return four season 1 league players. For Portland, it’ll be all about integrating King_Peroxide and getting OneWildWalnut and MamaImDatMan back to MVP form. For Philadelphia, it’ll be all about recuperating from the loss of iFeast to T-Wolves Gaming and Radiant redeeming himself after a disappointing second-round exit to Heat Check Gaming. With this matchup, the league gets two playoff projected teams going at it as well as a chance to quickly get the old rivalry going again.
3. Mavs Gaming vs. Celtics Crossover Gaming
The Mavs totally revamped their esports staff over the offseason, hiring coach LT Fairley and bringing in Trey Christensen and Jonathan Miller on the business side of things. They also reset the roster, keeping a league-low one player by trading Dayfri to Wizards District Gaming for the 14th overall pick. Conversely, it’s all about continuity for the Celtics, who extended head coach Ricco Phinisee after Phinisee led the team to two second-place tournament finishes and a 7-7 regular-season record. Anything else? Oh, yeah, only the head-to-head matchup of Dimez and Fab. Last year’s first and second overall picks, respectively, Dimez and Fab are the face of their franchises and two of the faces of the entire league. Fab got the best of Dimez last season, but Dimez will have a whole new team and will be eager to settle the score.
2. T-Wolves Gaming vs. Cavs Legion GC
The Hood bowl. T-Wolves Gaming traded the third pick in the expansion draft (oLarry) to Cavs Legion GC for Hood, one of the league’s leading scorers and marquee players. The T-Wolves look to have a very talented core and one of the best training facilities in the league. But the Cavs were a final-four team last season and know how to win without Hood; they’ll have Sick, Larry, and Godddof2k in the lineup, promising a defensive effort to contain Hood. It’ll also be Larry’s first regular-season game back after his remarkable offseason comeback and he’ll no doubt be eager to show the Bucks and the world that he’s better than ever on the court. But let’s be real. Hood wants it; so should you.
Give the people what they want. Cavs vs TWolves Week 1, Thank you @NBA2KLeague
1. Knicks Gaming vs. Nets Gaming Crew
This is just too good to miss. The Knicks, of course, were season one champions after a miraculous Ticket and 8-seed run saw them turn their season around from worst-to-first. Their run culminated in a trophy presentation and an awarding of the first-ever Finals MVP to NateKahl… whom Nets GC selected with the second pick in the expansion draft. Nate is now a few subway stops south, joined by Newark native Shockey. The Knicks are in fine form after their title win, and would like nothing more than to begin their title-defense campaign with a win over close friend Nate. Nets Gaming Crew, of course, would like nothing more than to mark their entrance to the league with a statement win over their natural rivals.