For any NBA 2K League team, the season is full of highs and lows, tense matchups, and a certain excitement knowing every night could be when your year is turned around or completely lost.
And then there’s NetsGC’s 2020 season. You’d be hard-pressed to find any team this year that personified the unpredictability and razor-thin margin for error that defines this league more than Brooklyn in season three. From breakout rookies to (multiple) buzzer-beater wins to, ultimately, a triumphant debut in the NBA 2K League postseason yet to come, NetsGC has had a year to remember.
So let’s recap.
The wheels for this season were first set in motion late last year. After NetsGC started its inaugural campaign 7-5 in season two, it dropped its final four games and was on the outside looking in at playoffs in a disappointing end to what looked like a promising debut year.
Vowing to put together a squad for season three that would be both more proficient on the court and more energetic off of it, the Brooklyn front office wasted little time upheaving the roster. Through trades and shrewd drafting, General Manager Ivan “OGKINGCURT” Curtiss and Assistant General Manager Wael Ankouni crafted a roster consisting of season two mainstays Shuttles and Wavy, draft picks Choc, Randomz, and Potts, and free agent acquisition Chess.
The team was ready to take on the season in March, but the pandemic delayed the NBA 2K League until May, and Brooklyn still yet wasn’t scheduled to play for the first few weeks.
But finally, during the fourth week of NBA 2K League play, NetsGC tipped off for the first time on May 29 against Mavs Gaming. Though Brooklyn fell 2-0 in the series, both losses were just by six points to the eventual playoff squad, and the team’s play was promising considering how little time it had to gel as a unit compared to other teams in the league.
The early stumble set up an excellent (and busy) week five for NetsGC. The team was tasked with playing four series in four games, and Brooklyn rose to the challenge.
It started with a 2-0 sweep of Magic Gaming on June 2, followed by a sweep of Heat Check Gaming the next night. Celtics Crossover Gaming managed to push NetsGC to a three-game series, but Choc’s 30 points and 8 assists combined with Shuttles’ 10 points and 15 rebounds closed out the victory in the final game. Brooklyn’s lone loss on the week came to the eventual undefeated Raptors Uprising GC.
Speaking of Choc, his efforts were more than enough to earn himself the league’s Week 5 Player of the Week honors. The rookie made his presence known in just his second week of action with averages of 31.2 points per game and nine assists per game on 65% shooting from the field and 50% shooting from three.
Week six was mixed for Brooklyn. It swept Hawks Talon GC thanks to 45 points from Choc in game one and stellar defense, 16 steals as a team, in game two. But NetsGC dropped a tough series against Kings Guard Gaming and its stingy team defense, falling to 4-3 on the year in a 2-0 sweep.
The following week provided Brooklyn with a brief respite from the regular season as THE TIPOFF took place a few weeks after it has traditionally been held. NetsGC drew into Group 1 with Pistons GT and 76ers GC, and went 2-2 in group play, but was eliminated on tiebreakers. The tournament was highlighted by a 42-points, 11-assist effort by Choc in the team’s final game against 76ers GC.
Brooklyn got a much-needed bye week during week seven then returned with two series against Cavs Legion GC and T-Wolves Gaming in week eight.
NetsGC started well against Cavs Legion by taking game one, but dropped the next two games in close fashion to fall to 4-4 on the year.
Brooklyn atoned in what turned out to be its most crucial series of the entire year against T-Wolves Gaming. NetsGC dropped the first game, 70-68, in a tight matchup where it still had a chance to tie it at the end. Choc came out in game two ready to go, however, notching 11 assists in the first half alone, eventually ending with 17 dimes, en route to a 77-65 win to tie the series.
Game three was an even bigger win against the defending champions. Choc and Randomz both scored 30 points, Shuttles snagged 24 rebounds, and the team’s defense stepped up to slow down the potent backcourt duo of JMoney and BearDaBeast in a 78-58 win to take the series.
Not only did it improve NetsGC’s record to 5-4, it earned Brooklyn a tiebreaker over Minnesota that would end up being the difference between automatic playoff qualification.
Just a few days after the series, Choc earned the second honor of his young career by winning the NBA 2K League Player of the Month for June. He averaged 28.9 points per game, 8.8 assists per game, and 1.3 steals per game on the month, by the end of which NetsGC sat in eighth place in the league standings.
Week nine was both the wildest and most successful stretch of Brooklyn’s season thanks to some of those aforementioned tense matchups and razor-thin margins.
It started somberly enough for NetsGC after the team fell behind in game one of its series against Bucks Gaming, who it was tied in the standings with at the time, with a 41-28 halftime deficit. Brooklyn fought back, however, and a key stop late in the final quarter led to a Choc bucket to give the team a 68-67 lead.
Milwaukee responded with a play out of a timeout where Arooks took a handoff to the midrange and buried the jumper to take the lead, but left just over two seconds on the clock.
It was just enough time for Choc to take a pass from out of bounds and greened a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give NetsGC the 71-69 win. Brooklyn dropped game two but cruised to a 13-point win in game three to take the series.
The next night, NetsGC struggled out the gate against a scrappy Pacers Gaming that made a major lineup change, dropping game one.
After some adjustments of their own, Brooklyn found itself in a tight game that was headed down to the wire, but as he has all season, Choc came up clutch. It started with a 3-pointer with just a minute and a half left in the game to tie it at 65-all. Less than a minute later, he drained a midrange jumper along the baseline to make it a 69-67 NetsGC lead.
Indiana managed to tie the game, but gave Brooklyn the final possession. With only a few seconds on the clock, Choc took the inbounds pass right at the basket and sunk a contested layup for a buzzer-beater game-winner—his second in two nights.
Both teams kept it close in game three, but it was eventually NetsGC’s win on the back of 31 points and 13 assists from Choc and 24 points and 13 rebounds from Shuttles. Brooklyn won the final game 77-73 to improve to 7-4.
Week 10 proved to be a comedown for the crew. They first took 76ers GC to three games, but Radiant scored 55 and 53 points in games one and two, respectively, both Philadelphia wins, to take home the series for a 76ers team that was the hottest in the league at the time.
Later in the week, Brooklyn once again went three games against Grizz Gaming, another team in the thick of the playoff race, but it was more strong opposing point guard play that eventually led to a 2-1 Memphis win to drop NetsGC to 7-6.
Week 11 featured just one series, but it was against the stalwart Wizards District Gaming. The series turned out to be a tight one, first evidenced in game one where Brooklyn again found itself in a tie game with just seconds left. This time, Washington point guard JBM missed a shot with time still left in a 66-all game, and Shuttles pulled down the rebound, slinging it down the court past a defender to a streaking Choc who slammed home the game-winner.
Game two was a point guard battle, and was again close late. The crucial sequence, however, came in the final minute when Newdini grabbed an offensive board and kicked it to ReeseDaGod, who sunk what would be the game-winning 3-pointer in a 75-72 Wizards win.
Game three went down to the final quarter again, but NetsGC couldn’t close in on the small lead Wizards District maintained throughout the game. Brooklyn eventually lost the game and the series, falling to 7-7.
The final week of the regular season presented a dizzying amount of playoff scenarios for NetsGC. Finishing ninth or higher in the standings guaranteed a postseason berth, while spots 10 and down would have to fight through THE TICKET.
The team fell to Knicks Gaming in game one of its penultimate series, but looked up to the challenge in games two and three. Knicks Gaming came close to sweeping Brooklyn pulled out a 72-69 win in game two thanks to a strong fourth quarter. Game three was more comfortable: a 67-60 win that Knicks Gaming was never really in to take the series and improve to 8-7.
A win against Hornets Venom GT in the final series of the regular season would guarantee a playoff berth for NetsGC, though Charlotte was fighting for postseason implications of its own. The two teams traded wins in games one and two, but Hornets Venom GT emerged victorious with a 79-70 win.
At 8-8, NetsGC needed help to secure an automatic berth. It got exactly what it needed when Magic Gaming beat T-Wolves Gaming, 76ers GC beat Blazer5 Gaming, and then Wizards District Gaming beat the 76ers just 24 hours later. The results meant Brooklyn finished ninth during the regular season, earning the team its first playoff appearance in franchise history.
That means the work isn’t done yet. NetsGC will rematch week 12 opponents Hornets Venom GT in the first round of the playoffs on Thursday, Aug. 20 at 5 p.m. ET. The matchup will be a best-of-three series with the winner moving on to face first-seeded, and undefeated, Raptors Uprising GC. Brooklyn’s series against Charlotte can be viewed on the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels.