The new year is almost here, and with that comes the understanding that we are only a few months away from the official entry draft for the 2020 NBA 2K League season.
Rather than doing the ever so popular mock draft (which may become an interest of mine as the draft inches closer), I decided to delve a little deeper into selections I believe will be extremely important to the draft, known as impact picks.
It is pretty self-explanatory, but impact picks are selections that can potentially cause a ripple effect in how the rest of the draft could shake out.
As we saw with a player like Plondo going to Bucks Gaming at 6th overall last year—a spot at which many anticipated a point guard would be selected—an impact selection then allowed some other valued guards, like eventual Finals MVP BearDaBeast, to fall to a later pick.
These types of scenarios can be common in drafts. Whether it is due pre-draft hype content (like mock drafts) creating an assumption about who everyone believes should be selected at a certain spot, or just a team simply valuing a player much higher than many others, you can at least expect a handful of prospects to fall much further than anyone could anticipate.
To further help you see some potential scenarios that could create this type of madness, let’s take a look at some of these impact picks.
Round 1, Pick 1: Wizards DG
This appears to be a year in which the first overall pick isn’t consensus across the board.
In both seasons one and two, it was pretty much a known fact that Dimez and Ria would be the selections when Managing Director Brendan Donohue finally walked across the stage to announce the pick.
This year, however, it appears many have come up with their own reasons and opinions as to who the top selection should be.
I’m not here to make any specific predictions but there is one guarantee, it has to be a point guard.
The last time the Wizards were in a similar scenario dates all the way back to when the league was still brand new. Wizards DG put the keys of their franchise in Demon JT’s hands, and unfortunately he never quite got control. With two disappointing seasons under his belt, he has since been traded to Pistons GT in exchange for a second round pick.
This illuminated the writing on the wall: a new ballhandler needs to come to town, and his/her presence is needed immediately.
The interesting part is that the void is similar toward the top end of the draft: basically all of the teams inside the top 10 are in need of a point guard. So when the Wizards finally make their decision, it could start a ripple effect that could shake up a lot of the predictions media and fans will have coming into the night.
Round 1, Pick 6: Hornets Venom GT
Hornets Venom GT is in an interesting spot for two reasons.
- They currently have three first-round picks in the 2020 entry draft.
- They sit outside of the top 5, an area which seems most favorable for finding an elite point guard.
This pick is fascinating because if the Hornets aren’t satisfied with the guard talent when they are finally on the clock, they’ll have another selection in seven more picks, at pick 13. This could wind up being extremely important because (as I noted with the Wizards pick) a majority of the teams picking in the top 10 of this year’s draft, outside of maybe NetsGC, need a point guard.
However, none have quite the same flexibility as the Hornets.
If the Hornets decide to forego drafting a ballhandler here, it could send the next 5-6 picks into a frenzy as there could potentially be some valuation differences amongst the late lottery teams.
I still believe this pick to be an impact pick, regardless if Hornets Venom goes point guard or not, because it’s outside of that top 5 range and if the following teams see another valued guard come off the board, it leaves some room for some to stray from the “auto-draft a guard” mentality.
Round 1, Pick 12: Bucks Gaming
Bucks Gaming is interesting here.
They find themselves outside of the top 10 and still in dire need of a point guard. Yet, they are also in front of a handful of teams who have guards and can potentially find themselves finding the same guard they want, at 12, at 33 — their next overall selection.
Bucks Gaming is also, as mentioned in the intro, the team that took a center when many expected them to go point guard in the 2019 entry draft. If the Bucks have shown anything, it’s that they believe they can scout deeper round talent.
Whether you believe that to have been a complete failure—as both players drafted to play point guard last year flopped—or just some unfortunate luck with how the draft shaped out, I wouldn’t be shocked for them to take another risk at this spot this year.
You look at teams that select after them and outside of the Hornets, who pick directly after them at 13, no other team looks like they’ll need a point guard.
This can be huge because a lot of these teams need role guys, and if you’re able to shore up another position while still getting the same exact value in the second round, that could be huge!
All of which is to say, I believe the Bucks are scarred from their risks last year and hold tight to the “take a PG early” tactic that many teams now believe in. But this can be a huge turning point in the draft, if the Bucks eventually decide they want to cause some eyebrow raising in consecutive years.
Round 1, Pick 15: Knicks Gaming
The Knicks come into this year with an entirely new regime, or at least entirely different from the team that shocked the world and brought a championship to New York.
This offseason, we saw them move on from star center Goofy757, sending the franchise’s first-ever pick to Memphis. In that trade, they got back a boatload of picks, and this just so happens to be the first of those.
However, with one center out, that means one center in. And this appears to be the spot to do just that.
With that being said, the interesting part is that it appears Knicks Gaming can be the first team to select a center on draft night. So, essentially the Knicks can potentially replace former champion Goofy with their top-rated center in this year’s draft class. Nothing is guaranteed but it does make matters better whenever you can find the best possible replacement.
The other side of that, however, is there are quite a few teams behind them that need a center as well. This pick could very much dictate a lot in the draft as center is an important position and you can make a case that some teams traded back into the first round specifically to fill that role.
Look for the Knicks to be watched closely by a few teams and if they are to take a risk, expect some of those teams to switch up their draft boards immediately.
Round 1, Pick 17: Kings Guard Gaming
Kings Guard is coming off a season in which they made the playoffs and an offseason in which they traded their superstar point guard.
With that trade, they were able to get the third overall selection in this year’s draft and that appears to be the pick to find their replacement for BP.
This pick, however, looks like a pick that could really go in a number of directions.
I think at this point, you know BallLikeSeem is the sharpshooter for this team. DatBoyShotz, also acquired in the BP trade, is one of the more versatile players in the league and can really play anywhere he’s needed. Some rumors have been going around that the Kings also believe in Yusuf_Scarbz defensive ability so much that he’ll get another chance to play center, which he played during season one with Raptors Uprising GC.
Regardless, nothing is really set in stone and the Kings have a bevy of options at their disposal with this specific selection. If the Kings are to go an unorthodox route, and select a center, this could also cause later selections to rethink the direction they anticipated coming into the night.
A big reason we love these drafts is due to seeing teams valuations first-hand. It’s awesome to see why this player goes there, or why this player fell here. With the 176 announced, this looks to be another one of those nights.
The official date of the draft has yet to be announced, but be sure to keep up with DIMER for all information pertaining to the NBA 2K League.