Warriors Gaming Squad is in the playoffs. Warriors Gaming Squad is the first-ever NBA 2K League team to win two tournaments in one season. Warriors Gaming Squad has two legitimate Defensive Player of the Year candidates in Gradient and Type as well as MVP candidate BSmoove.
Warriors Gaming Squad is also 0-4 since winning the Ticket Tournament in Orlando. They allowed a high of 69 points to Jazz Gaming in a week four loss. Since the Ticket, Warriors Gaming Squad has allowed an average of 73.25 points per game.
What is going on with the Warriors?
Accusations of less-than-locked-in play from the Warriors surfaced after the team, fresh off blowing a massive lead against Mavs Gaming in a 74-72 loss, was blown out by Celtics Crossover Gaming 92-44 in one of the most lopsided games of the season. Several NBA 2K League players took to Twitter to express their frustration with the placement of the Ticket tournament. A number of frustrated players contend that the Warriors are purposely taking their collective foot off the gas in order to play on the studio’s away side, on which, thanks to the league build, the point guard can speedboost at any time (so goes the claim).
“It’s just stupid how they are basically trolling when everybody in the hunt needs them to win,” one player told DIMER. “Like, why couldn’t we play the Warriors while they are trolling?”
In week 10, the Warriors had two games, against all-but-certainly playoff-bound Kings Guard Gaming and bubble team T-Wolves Gaming. They lost 56-55 to the Kings on a last-second shot by Zakyychan after blowing a 53-41 fourth-quarter lead, and fell 71-62 to T-Wolves Gaming in their second game of the night.
“We had two tough games,” head coach Tommy Abdenour said. “Against the Kings, we played really well for three quarters and they outplayed us in the fourth quarter. In the second game, similar to last week, it’s very hard to play two games in one day. Games are so emotional.”
Asked about allegations of purposefully underperforming, Abdenour called them “ludicrous” and pointed to his team’s strong performance in three of the four games since the Ticket.
A number of league players have taken to Twitter to express their displeasure with the Ticket Tournament’s placement in the season, before the final four weeks of the season. The suggestion, of course, is that a secure playoff spot enables teams to play less competitively, secure in their playoff spot thanks to the automatic berth.
This game is an indication that the Ticket format needs to be addressed for next year.
“I don’t know,” Abdenour said when asked if the Ticket tournament is in the proper place in the season. “It’s not my decision to make.”
There’s no conclusive proof that the away side point guard can speedboost, although a number of players have made the claim. Away teams are 72-59 at the NBA 2K League studio in the regular season, winning at a 57% clip, though home teams outplayed away teams 19-9 in the Tipoff Tournament. At tournaments outside of New York, with the same tech as at Brooklyn Studios, home teams are 24-16, a 60% clip. Considering the seeding mechanism that determines home and away teams for each tournament game, and the small sample size of tournament games outside New York City, the New York City numbers are more concerning than the tournament numbers. Tournament seeding in the Turn and the Ticket always has the higher-seeded team (and thus theoretically the better team) as the home team.
A number of players and coaches told DIMER that the issue is incredibly real. The claim is that the away point guard can speedboost at any time, whereas the home team point guard needs to play well in order to gain the ability to speedboost, which can, in turn, be lost for an entire game by going on a cold ring.
One player sent the league the followng videos, depicting Blazer5 Gaming’s MamaImDatMan and Jazz Gaming’s Compete, which the player claims clearly pinpoint the away side point guard’s ability to speedboost.
The league tested the issue and determined no discrepancy between sides, per sources. Several other players and coaches said that they didn’t believe the issue was real. Those making the original speedboosting claims content that the league tested the wrong issue. The league’s testing has been very thorough this year, for example in the Cavs Legion cheating situation, and these two competing claims have no certain resolution.
“Personally, I don’t have any opinion on that, since I’m not at their level of gaming” Abdenour said. “They’re the only ones who can tell you. I know there’s been chatter around the league. For me, I want to win every single game. I want the number one seed.”
The Warriors made a lineup change between the loss to the Mavs and the loss to the Celtics, putting sixth player Quita into the lineups. That move is definitively not a “tanking” one; the Warriors came into the game 2-2 with Quita in the lineup, and earned the right to give their sixth player some playing time after qualifying for the playoffs. Her institution into the lineup for the Celtics game was merely bad timing. Correlation does not equal causation.
That’s probably the motto for the Warriors’ four-game losing streak. They haven’t necessarily tanked. Their results make it seem as if they have. Several teams are out of the playoffs thanks to their losses, and it’s likely they’ll be playing on the away side for the duration of the playoffs.
Everyone seems to know how and for what purpose the Warriors are using their golden ticket. The Warriors, now on a four-game losing streak, appear to know least of all.