Wizards District Gaming doesn’t have quite the resume of its Finals counterpart Warriors Gaming Squad, but Washington can’t be underestimated after taking down Raptors Uprising GC last week.
It’s time to break down, player-by-player, what makes the Wizards a threat to win it all tonight.
Point guard: JBM (25.9 points per game, 6.9 assists per game)
The league’s No. 1 overall selection this year has shined during the most important games of his career. Tonight is unquestionably the most important, as the rookie point guard has one final test of his first NBA 2K League campaign, before being crowned champion or filled with disappointment.
JBM finds a lot of his success through patience. It really is that simple. That patience has only grown stronger throughout the season and it’s been shown especially during the team’s playoff run.
Lockdown defender: Just_Awkward (11.2 PPG, 2.6 SPG)
Just_Awkward was a superstar in the previous round against Raptors Uprising GC. All season long it felt like Awkward flew under the radar but he’s had a coming out party as of late. He was a star, locking up Kenny Got Work, the NBA 2K League’s likely first unaminous MVP, en route to clinching a Finals appearance.
It’s not just the defense either: Awkward is scoring the ball at a higher rate than he was during the regular season. He’s become a transition demon, regularly plucking his matchup and turning them into fastbreak points.
Secondary/sharpshooter: ReeseDaGod (11.6 PPG, 2.4 APG)
ReeseDaGod comes through on both ends of the court in clutch moments time and time again. Reese took a backseat to Washington’s rookie point guard, becoming a readily available option for JBM as the offense maps out their possessions.
Power forward: Newdini (8.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.9 SPG, 1.0 BPG)
I think people are finally starting to see Newdini’s importance to winning as a whole. He just has an impact, and it’s so cliche to say, but Newdini does all the little things that lead to success for WDG. He’s Dayfri’s personal safety valve on both ends of the ball. Look at these offensive possessions between the two. Pure chemistry.
Center: Dayfri (14.0 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 1.1 SPG, 2.9 BPG)
There’s a reason Dayfri finished top-five in MVP voting and it’s shined bright during Wizards District Gaming’s playoff run. He’s continued to anchor the defense, with the help of Awkward of course, but it’s been Dayfri’s extra playmaking ability and high IQ that’s kept them alive offensively.
These are essentially the objectives that fueled every successful team this season. Get your point guard comfortable early and turn defensive stops into easy fastbreak points. A lot easier said than done, especially against topflight competition in Warriors Gaming Squad.
Key 1: Get JBM Going Early
When Washington can get their rookie point guard hot early, everything else seems to fall into place naturally. This is something NBA 2K League point guards have stressed on Twitter throughout the season: get that takeover meter moving in the right direction as soon as possible. For a rookie point guard, in the most high-pressure situation of his life, the importance of this is only amplified.
Key 2: It Starts With Defense
Wizards District Gaming is coming off a dominant performance on the defensive end, containing the league’s most potent offense for two straight games. Tonight, they run into another team with lethal weapons on the offensive end of the court. It really comes down to which team can string together those early game stops together consitenly in order to build momentum.
Key 3: The Little Things
Awkward and Dayfri have done an excellent job providing help to beat the opposition’s press defense. Reese saves plenty of points on both ends of the court. Whether it be providing a safety option for JBM in late shot clock situations or hustling back in transition to get a stop, Reese excels at his role.
Another guy who excels at his role: Newdini. We talked about Dayfri and Newdini’s chemistry above, and in games like this, it only grows more important. Having a veteran, high-IQ froncourt will prove valuable.
Lastly, WDG’s young, rookie leader JBM. Truth be told, JBM doesn’t have to go out there and score 30 points per game for this team to be successful. As long as he keeps it simple, utilzies his teammates and avoids turnovers, JBM typically finds success. The pressure is just a bit higher tonight, making all of “the little things” much more important.