Following a Week Seven bye, NetsGC returns to action in Week Eight with two tricky matchups against opponents who aren’t far from them in the NBA 2K League standings.
Both Cavs Legion GC and T-Wolves Gaming present challenges for Brooklyn this week, but NetsGC is also being given an opportunity this week to separate itself as the league-wide playoff race heats up.
It begins Monday night against Cleveland, who hasn’t played a regular-season series since sweeping Pistons GT in Week Five. The Cavs had a bumpy start this season and currently sit at 3-4 with wins over teams near the bottom of the standings, while their losses come from some of the league’s upper echelon.
The player NetsGC will need to keep an eye on Monday night is Strainer, a combo guard who has taken over point guard duties for Cavs Legion GC this season, save for one series against Warriors Gaming Squad. The second-year player is the driving force for this team – or at the very least has so far been their most consistent player with 25.7 points and 4.5 assists per game on 58.6% shooting from the field and 47.5% shooting from three.
It’s the lack of consistency elsewhere both with the lineup and production that has perhaps taken its toll on Cleveland this year. The team has tried a number of configurations to get the most offensively from its other players like All Hail Trey and oLARRY, the two of which have had occasionally faced trouble with producing consistent scoring numbers at the same time. All Hail Trey has split time at power forward and small forward, with JoshJay coming off of the bench, as Cavs Legion Head Coach Austin Peterson and his staff have looked for their optimal lineup.
One clue as to how the team will look on Monday follows their performance during THE TIPOFF Tournament just two weeks ago, when the Cavs went 3-1 in group play, qualifying for the knockout stage in one of the toughest groups of the event. During the tournament, Godddof2k – Season Two Defensive Player of the Year – and Doza switched positions with Strainer at point guard, All Hail Trey at power forward and oLARRY at center, a set up the team tried in its Week Five sweep over Detroit. The results were promising: a 2-0 sweep of T-Wolves Gaming and a split 1-1 series against Wizards District Gaming in its group before falling to Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai in the quarterfinals.
NetsGC must first and foremost key in on Strainer, with a secondary goal of keeping Cleveland’s frontcourt duo in check. In both wins of that TIPOFF quarterfinals series, Gen.G’s frontcourt out-scored and out-rebounded the Cavs’, and kept Strainer to just 22 points in the decisive 90-53 game two victory. If Brooklyn can replicate a similar defensive effort, Monday’s series may result in their victory, though NetsGC will be without Randomz as he serves a one-series suspension.
On Friday, Brooklyn will wrap up Week Eight in a matchup against T-Wolves Gaming. Minnesota initially looked the part of a defending champion when it opened the season at 5-1, but has since stumbled to 1-3 in its last four series with a TIPOFF group stage exit to boot.
The team has tried to reinvigorate itself with a major lineup shift – moving JMoney to point guard and letting last year’s Finals MVP BearDaBeast man the small forward position. It’s a bold move, but not as extreme as it may seem at first: JMoney has been operating as the team’s secondary ball-handler since arriving in Minnesota and was initially drafted to Heat Check Gaming in 2019 as a point guard.
The success of the change is still yet to be determined. T-Wolves Gaming defeated 2-9 Lakers Gaming last Wednesday in its first series with the new lineup but was subsequently swept by THE TIPOFF finalist Kings Guard Gaming on Thursday.
Whether or not the T-Wolves stick to that lineup will be seen when they play NetsGC, with no other series on the schedule for them in Week Eight. In either case of BearDaBeast or JMoney running the point, the NetsGC defense will have its hands full. Both players have proven they can be effective at point guard or small forward.
Down low, Feast is a matchup problem for any center in the league and Shuttles will have to play the boards hard: the two big men are tied for second in the league with 14.6 rebounds per game. Feast is also second in the league in field goal percentage, converting 75.8% of his shots.
Both series this week start at 7 p.m. ET on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels.