NetsGC General Manager and Head Coach Ivan Curtiss feels the team’s roster has been transformed after drafting three new players at the 2020 NBA 2K League draft on Saturday night at Terminal 5 in Manhattan.
The theme of this offseason was on recruiting players with certain qualities Curtiss felt were missing from last year’s roster. With the selections of Josh “Choc” Humphries, Marquis “Randomz” Gill and Jackson “Potts” Potts, along with trade acquisition Randolph “Rando” Moreno, the team now has an overhauled roster and a completely different vibe heading into season three.
“We wanted high-character guys that can be entertaining, enthusiastic and play the game,” the Pro-Am legend said after one of the biggest events on the NBA 2K League calendar this weekend. “We accomplished those goals starting with Rando. We lacked a lot of energy on stage last year.”
Another focus was to acquire players who were hungry to compete…and win. “The guys we selected, particularly with Potts and Choc, come from a winning culture with [Pro-Am team] Kiss My Timbs. It was big for us to bring in winners and players used to winning.”
The potential chemistry between Choc and Potts, along with NetsGC center Aziz “Shuttles” Salem, was an important consideration when constructing the roster. Second-round pick Randomz has previous Pro-Am chemistry with a number of his new league teammates as well.
“Last season we had guys who had not played with each other,” said Curtiss. “Now we have a group who has played numerous times and won together.”
With four new players and plenty of lessons learned from their inaugural season, expect a whole new NetsGC in 2020. Last year, the team got too comfortable, tried too many lineups, and lost games it felt would be easy wins. This season, Curtiss wants the players to be hungry after narrowly missing the playoffs in 2019.
“We have dynamic and laid back personalities. We have three New Yorkers. We have a different vibe,” said Curtiss. “I see us having a good time, pushing each other, challenging each other.”
Round 1, Pick 9: Josh “Choc” Humphries, point guard
Every box is checked with another “legend” himself. Choc, Brooklyn’s first-round selection with the 9th overall pick in the draft, spent this NBA 2K cycle not by playing Pro-Am, but rather the Park game mode, becoming the first player to achieve legend status in the game while quickly building a vast social media following.
— NBA 2K League (@NBA2KLeague) February 23, 2020
Choc will spearhead NetsGC’s transformation both on and off the court, and is the team’s point guard heading into the season, Curtiss confirmed. Choc is one of the most versatile players in the game, but he and the front office agreed it’s best to see what he can do when he runs the offense.
Choc will undoubtedly be seen as the star player for NetsGC this upcoming season.
“He’s a high-skill player. Passionate and wears his emotions on his sleeve. Wants to win and can make the players around him better. He can get inside his opponent’s head,” explained Curtiss. “Great playmaker, vocal player and emotional leader alongside Rando.”
“Choc is everything you could ever want in a player plus so much more,” agreed NetsGC Assistant General Manager Wael Ankouni. “He’s proven that he’s a winner. He’s who we wanted from day one and I’m glad we were able to get our guy.”
It’s been a long journey for Choc. After missing out on the draft pool the previous two seasons, he’ll finally make his much-anticipated league debut this summer. Years of involvement in the Pro-Am community clued Curtiss into the kind of person Choc is, but he still wanted to gauge his mindset in pre-draft interviews.
“He had situations people can look at however they want,” he said. “I saw growth.”
Speaking to the media at the draft on Saturday, Choc emphasized his commitment to putting his head down and doing things the right way to make it into the league. He now has a chance to show what he can do in a city he can’t wait to play in.
“Brooklyn has really come up in the last couple of years, so I’m ready to bring up the 2K version of it,” he said.
Round 2, Pick 29: Marquis “Randomz” Gill, Small Forward
After securing a potential superstar in the first round, Curtiss and Ankouni went with a more “under the radar” player in the second round.
Bringing out Brooklyn-native and Roc Nation recording artist Casanova to the stage to announce the pick, the team selected lockdown defender Randomz, who Curtiss said can defend at a high level at either small forward or power forward.
“Randomz is one of the best locks in this draft class and we’re lucky that we were able to get him at 29,” said Ankouni. “I’ve spoken to him and I know he’s ready to be our defensive anchor. Excited to get to work with him.”
— Brooklyn NetsGC (@NetsGamingCrew) February 23, 2020
Round 3, Pick 50: Jackson “Potts” Potts, Power Forward
Rounding out the 2020 roster is Potts, a skilled power forward and the kind of person Curtiss feels every team needs in its locker room. Along with Potts’s instant chemistry with teammates Choc and Shuttles, he and Curtiss share a connection through their Ohio roots.
Welcome to Brooklyn ⚫️⚪️ pic.twitter.com/Yc58gWXEFZ
— Brooklyn NetsGC (@NetsGamingCrew) February 23, 2020
“He’s a big, fun-loving kid. High I.Q., high skill, wants to do everything it takes for the team to win,” Curtiss said. “You need role players that are willing to do what you ask them to.”
Ankouni echoed those sentiments. “There truly aren’t enough great things I can say about Potts. On top of being a great power forward, Potts is someone everybody wants in their locker room. He’s a great teammate who’s ready to put his head down, grind and become the best player he can be.”
Choc, Randomz, Potts, Rando, Shuttles and 2019 first-round pick Isiah “Wavy” Hancock will head into season three with two important goals: win more tournament games and secure the team’s first-ever postseason trip. Curtiss thinks this roster can do that.
“This is a defensive-minded team, but we have more weapons at every position than last year,” he said. “And we’ll click together a lot easier than last year.”
Speaking about the draft process, Curtiss noted the importance of the organization’s support.
“Having great help never hurts. One thing I like about Wael, he’s not thrilled just to be in his position. He works diligently. Having somebody like that that’s objective and understanding is what’s needed,” he said. “It’s important to have someone not thinking the same things you are. I couldn’t think of anyone better to be doing this with.”
It wasn’t just NetsGC personnel pitching in. BSE Global Senior Vice President of Global Partnerships Josh Pruss and his son Gavin were also in the war room on draft day. Gavin even helped put together the team’s draft board. “Josh’s trust in me and Wael to make NetsGC what it is is priceless.”