NetsGC will get a brief reprieve from the regular season to play in the NBA 2K League’s first in-season tournament of the year, the TIPOFF, which is set to take place this week. Brooklyn will take on Pistons GT and 76ers GC in its opening-round group.
Though in the previous two years, the TIPOFF has traditionally marked the beginning of the NBA 2K League season, the event was postponed along with the remainder of the 2020 season on March 12 due to concerns regarding COVID-19. The tournament was originally scheduled to tip off on March 24.
The TIPOFF starts with a group stage, which all 23 teams will participate in. Each team will play four games total in their group. The seven group winners, determined by total number of wins, plus a wild card entrant will move on to the knockout round. Knockout round matchups will be played in a best-of-three series throughout the week.
THE TIPOFF Powered by @ATT begins Tuesday, June 16 at 6 pm/et with $160K on the line 💰💰
— NBA2KLeague (@NBA2KLeague) June 11, 2020
What’s On the Line
The total prize pool for the tournament is $160,000. The winners of the TIPOFF will receive $70,000 of the prize pool, while the runner-up will get $50,000. The third and fourth place finishers will earn $20,000 each.
The winners will also receive one-third of the league’s BANNER CHAIN. The remaining pieces of the BANNER CHAIN can be earned by winning the two upcoming in-season tournaments, which have yet to be scheduled.
Group One Preview
NetsGC will face off against Pistons GT (1-7) and 76ers GC (0-6) in Group One as part of Tuesday’s slate of games. Though its two opponents are a combined 1-13 so far in the regular season, each still pose a threat to Brooklyn’s chances of advancing.
The team will essentially play four games in a row, starting with back-to-back matchups against Detroit at 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Pistons GT underwent a roster upheaval in the offseason that included a trade for Ramo, its first-ever draft pick back in 2018, along with the acquisition of a number of other league veterans.
However, the roster transformation hasn’t yet translated to wins. Pistons GT picked up a 2-0 sweep over Lakers Gaming in its third game of the season, but the team has struggled to find a consistent lineup as the losses have piled up.
Its latest iteration has Ramo manning the center position with 2020 first-round pick Charger at power forward and three-year veteran Demon JT at point guard. However, ournaments are notoriously known to be a time where teams experiment with their lineups, especially teams near the bottom of the standings, so anything is possible.
One key for Brooklyn will be to get the first win of the back-to-back series. Detroit has yet to win a game after losing the previous one in any of its series so far. Momentum will be crucial.
The biggest threat to NetsGC will be Ramo, who picked up a triple-double in his first game back at center in week six against Mavs Gaming. In four games at the five position, he’s averaging over 15 points and just under ten rebounds. If he suits up at center on Tuesday, Shuttles will have his hands full guarding the big man.
Later, at 10 p.m. NetsGC will square off against 76ers GC. Philadelphia has been one of the more curious cases of season three. Last year’s finalists have yet to win a series and haven’t looked nearly as cohesive a unit compared to the past two years.
However, the 76ers are the two-time defending TIPOFF champions and have had the past three weeks to work through their issues as their games have been postponed due to technical difficulties. That makes Philadelphia both a threat and a bit of an unknown to Brooklyn, who will have to prepare to face what will likely be a different-looking 76ers team.
It’s also important to note that 76ers GC has had perhaps one of the toughest schedules in the league. The team has faced league-leading Raptors Uprising GC, Hornets Venom GT, Warriors Gaming Squad, T-Wolves Gaming, Pacers Gaming and Gen G Tigers of Shanghai, all of which are .500 or better. Their 0-6 record could be slightly deceiving.
No matter how 76ers GC comes out, Radiant will be the focal point of its attack. The point guard was an MVP finalist last year and has been one of the best all-around ball handlers through three seasons of the league. Season three has so far been a challenge for him, but it’d be foolish for Brooklyn to assume they can take it easy against Radiant. His playmaking and ability to create shots off the dribble make him a tough matchup for any defender.
One of the biggest questions will be how Radiant’s teammates Scretty and Steez contribute offensively. Scretty in particular has struggled to match the production of his past two seasons, where he gained a reputation as one of the league’s premier knockdown shooters.
NetsGC’s games against Pistons GT and 76ers GC will be aired on ESPN2 and the NBA 2K League’s Twitch and YouTube channels.