By Kristian Cuaresma
NetsGC return to action tonight with a pair of games against the new look 76ers GC at 7:00 p.m. (EST). Despite splitting its set of games against Magic Gaming last night, 76ers GC pose a stiff test for NetsGC and raise the stakes past what would normally be expected of an early regular season game. Philadelphia was one win away from claiming THE TIPOFF tournament championship and currently sit near the top of the Eastern Conference at 3-1.
After trading Radiant in the offseason, 76ers GC ushered in a new era without the only player it has ever known as its face of the franchise. While several pundits and scouts expected the team to take a few steps back to begin the season, 76ers GC has instead sprinted out of the starting gate.
With tonight’s matchup involving the first of two Eastern Conference opponents slated for this week, NetsGC look to grab its first sweep of the season. Brooklyn opened its 2021 campaign last week with a split against Magic Gaming and Pistons GT. As NetsGC continues to tweak its offense and sort through defensive struggles, the team will need to pick up a few sweeps early on if they expect to keep pace in a competitive Eastern Conference and eclipse the .500 record the team finished with last season.
76ers GC Expected Lineup
Players to Watch
OneWildWalnut – 22.5 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.5 steals, 1.0 blocks
The former NBA 2K League regular season MVP and Defensive Player of the Year is in new threads this season after being traded by Blazer5 Gaming. The Los Angeles native isn’t new to the spotlight that comes with leading a team. Initially expected to share the offensive workload with Radiant, OneWildWalnut now finds himself leading an inexperienced group while reminding everyone why he is one of the most dominant players in the league.
Dre – 26.0 points, 11.0 assists, 0.5 turnovers, 50% FG, 57% 3P
Using the 4th overall pick it acquired in the Radiant trade with Pistons GT, 76ers GC selected Dre to be its point guard of the future. Dre is expected to fill the large shoes of his predecessor and so far, he is off to a great start. While he struggled with his shooting early in THE TIPOFF, the young guard eventually shook off the early nerves and has established himself as an early candidate for the Rookie of the Year award.
Bridge to Victory?
With all the early jockeying happening in the Eastern Conference, 76ers GC won’t make it easy for NetsGC to close the gap, especially in a two-game set. However, if there is a path to a series sweep, it will consist of containing Dre and OneWildWalnut. This year’s early meta seems to prioritize a dynamic backcourt, but 76ers GC has instead found success in the point guard and center formula that has dominated the league in its first three seasons of existence.
In 76ers GC’s season opener against Cavs Legion, Dre did a fantastic job of taking care of the ball, especially during the team’s narrow 63-61 victory in which he did not commit a single turnover. Meanwhile, OneWildWalnut is a certain bet to affect the matchup in one way or another, but NetsGC will hope to limit at least one aspect of his game.
While the responsibility of containing these two players will initially fall on SlayIsland and Shotz, the entire NetsGC roster will have to pitch in throughout the night. If Brooklyn is not able to do so, then it will again have to rely on its offensive firepower. 76ers GC’s highest scoring game of the young season is 75 points, while NetsGC is averaging 80 points per game – 78.5 points during THE TIPOFF – and has already eclipsed the 100-mark total twice.