After an unexpected delay, NetsGC will start its second NBA 2K League campaign this month with a revamped roster and new approach. Although last season ultimately ended in disappointment, Brooklyn has the chance to make some noise this year with a clean slate for season three of the league.
In Case You Missed It…
The league’s third season, originally slated to tip off on March 24, was postponed over concerns regarding COVID-19, but on April 27, it was announced the season would begin on May 5 with at least six weeks of remote play.
Other changes were made to the regular season format as well. Games will now be played every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. ET, with four distinct matchups each night. Teams will play at least eight matches that will count toward their regular-season record.
Every match will be a best-of-three format. A best-of-three series win counts as one regular-season win toward a team’s record and a best-of-three series loss counts as one regular-season loss.
The league’s three tournaments—the TIPOFF, the TURN and the TICKET—will still be played at a date to be decided. All 23 teams will compete in the first two, while the 14 teams not in one of the top nine playoff seeds will compete at the TICKET, with the winner earning the 10th and final spot in the 2020 NBA 2K League playoffs.
Previously announced rivalry matches and round-robin events will be played at later dates.
A Busy Offseason
NetsGC General Manager/Head Coach Ivan Curtiss and Assistant General Manager Wael Ankouni had a busy offseason overhauling the team, and retaining only two players from last year’s roster.
Brooklyn’s first move after its inaugural season ended was to protect NateKahl and Shuttles from the offseason expansion draft. When none of its other players were picked, NetsGC retained Wavy at the cost of a fourth-round pick.
The team’s next move came by trading NateKahl to Pacers Gaming for the 16th overall pick in the 2020 NBA 2K League draft. Brooklyn wasted little time putting the pick to use, trading it to Hawks Talon GC in exchange for Rando.
At the NBA 2K League draft at Terminal 5 in New York City, NetsGC picked up Choc with the ninth overall pick, then selected Randomz and Potts with its second- and third-round picks, respectively.
“I felt that we got all of the guys we wanted,” said Ankouni. “In Rando, we got that high-energy stage presence that we lacked last season. Choc, Randomz and Potts are the three that we wanted since we began the pre-draft process and it was exciting to see our team come together the way we wanted.”
The delay of the regular season does provide one advantage for the new Brooklyn team: more time to practice and gel together.
“We [have] put in a ton of hours and tried to make the transition from practicing at Barclays Center to practicing at the team apartment as seamless as possible,” Ankouni said.
A New Culture
An overhauled squad presented Curtis and Ankouni with the unique opportunity to reshape the organization’s culture, and both had similar ideas when constructing the new-look roster.
“Simply put, we want NetsGC to have a winning culture,” said Ankouni. “With our current core of players, we’ll lay the foundation for NetsGC to be known as a winning organization. We preach hard-work and accountability to our players all the time. Our goal is for players who come into our system to develop not only as 2K players, but as people as well.”
All 23 NBA 2K League teams will participate in remote, regular-season gameplay from their local markets with games simulcast live on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels. Dates and venues for the remainder of the season are still to be announced.
NetsGC’s schedule is as follows:
|Week 1||BYE WEEK||5/5-5/8|
|Week 2||BYE WEEK||5/12-5/15|
|Week 3||Bucks Gaming||5/21, 7 p.m. ET|
|Week 3||Celtics Crossover||5/22, 7 p.m. ET|
|Week 4||Magic Gaming||5/26, 7 p.m. ET|
|Week 4||Mavs Gaming||5/28, 7 p.m. ET|
|Week 5||Raptors Uprising GC||6/2, 7 p.m. ET|
|Week 5||Heat Check Gaming||6/3, 7 p.m. ET|
|Week 6||Hawks Talon GC||6/9, 9 p.m. ET|
|Week 6||Kings Guard Gaming||6/11, 9 p.m. ET|
The first eight games of the season will provide a real test for the NetsGC squad. Three teams on the beginning-of-season schedule qualified for the 2019 playoffs, and every team on the docket added fresh talent from the draft earlier this year.
“We’re facing a lot of really great, talented teams early on,” said Ankouni. “We’re excited for the challenge and our players are looking forward to competing at the highest level.”
The tough schedule gives Brooklyn the opportunity to gain some momentum heading into the remainder of the season.
“We want to get off to a hot start,” Ankouni said. “We know we have a really talented, hard-working group that wants to go out there and execute.”
The move to remote play for the beginning of the season, rather than playing on-stage at the NBA 2K League Studio in Manhattan, could pose another potential challenge for players, but the front office believes the team will be able to adjust the unique situation.
“I believe we’ll adapt well,” said Ankouni. “I know our players have their full focus on winning and competing for $1.4 million, so I don’t think adapting to remote play will be a challenge.”
Extending the Series Lead
Vs. Bucks Gaming, Week Three
Brooklyn got the better of Bucks Gaming in their first-ever matchup back last year, and will have the chance to extend that advantage with its first game of the 2020 season. In the team’s 69-52 win, Lav went off for 30 points, NateKahl and Wavy contributed 15 and 10 points, respectively, and Shuttles had a stellar game with 12 points, 15 rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks while shooting perfect from the field. Twenty points from Plondo and 17 points from ARooks weren’t enough for Milwaukee to come out with the victory.
Vs. Heat Check Gaming, Week Five
Week Nine of last season was great for NetsGC, who also picked up a 71-66 victory over the season one finalist, Heat Check Gaming. Hood, Hotshot and MOAM were able to combine for 57 of Miami’s points, but Wavy’s 30 points and nine assists on 66% shooting was the difference of the night. Brooklyn as a whole shot 25-for-39 from the field, including 10-for-16 on 3-pointers.
Vs. Kings Guard Gaming, Week Six
NetsGC picked up an impressive win over eventual fifth-seed Kings Guard Gaming in the first week of the 2019 season. Wavy, NateKahl, Shockey and Lav all had double-digit points, led by Wavy’s 24-point, six-assist outing on 10-for-12 shooting. MVP candidate BP’s 24 points weren’t enough to overcome Brooklyn’s 29-for-43 shooting night, leading to the 74-66 NetsGC victory.
A Shot at Revenge
Vs. Celtics Crossover Gaming, Week Three
NetsGC’s first chance at getting back at an opponent comes in Week Three against Celtics Crossover Gaming. Brooklyn fell to the Celtics in Week Four of the 2019 regular season, 65-59, after oFab, ProFusion and N0 xAUT0GRAPHSx combined for 54 of Boston’s total points. A balanced scoring effort from NetsGC, led by 18 points from Wavy, wasn’t enough to overcome the Celtics’ hot shooting and defense
Vs. Raptors Uprising GC, Week Five
Brooklyn fell to Raptors Uprising GC in Week Three of last season primarily due to a 10-point, 20-rebound performance from Toronto center KingQuai614, who also had four assists, three steals and three blocks throughout the game. An 18-point effort from point guard Kenny Got Work ensured the 54-42 victory for the Raptors. Lav led NetsGC in scoring for the game with 14 points.
Vs. Hawks Talon GC, Week Six
Week Four was a disappointing one for NetsGC last season, after the team lost to Hawks Talon GC to go along with its initial loss to Celtics Crossover Gaming. Wavy was able to get 20 points and eight assists on the game while NateKahl chipped in 12 points, but Dat Boy Shotz’s 29-point, 12-for-16 game was more than enough to give Atlanta the 68-54 win.
Gaining the Advantage
Vs. Magic Gaming, Week Four
NetsGC played Magic Gaming twice last year, the first in a TIPOFF tournament matchup and the second a Week One bout. Orlando got the better of Brooklyn in tournament group stage play, winning 50-42 despite its highest scorers only getting 11 points. In the regular-season rematch, NetsGC got its revenge with a close 61-58 win with a balanced scoring night. This season’s Week Four matchup will give one side bragging rights for an all-time series lead.
Vs. Mavs Gaming, Week Four
The only team on Brooklyn’s beginning-of-season schedule it hasn’t faced yet is Mavs Gaming. Dallas is coming off an impressive season where it secured the second seed in the playoffs, but fell to Celtics Crossover Gaming in the first round. Its roster boasts season one first overall pick Dimez, along with a number of talented players who had stellar rookie seasons. The Week Four matchup will likely prove to be a tough test for the revamped NetsGC squad.