The Prelude: A Celtics Crossover Gaming Preview

By Kristian Cuaresma

Brooklyn, NY – March 23: Nets Gaming Crew 2022 Photo Day on March 23, 2022 in Brooklyn, NY. (photo by Rhea Nall)

For the first time in NBA 2K League history, professional players will compete in a 3v3 setting, a format that a majority of the NBA 2K player base is familiar with. With that in mind, it is  not a coincidence that the league will also be allowing the best amateur players to compete for the same prize pool.

Like their peers, NetsGC is in uncharted territory, and it will be interesting to see how the team navigates through the opening week of the SLAM OPEN. Experiments will be conducted, lessons will be learned, and a meta will be formed.

Up first is a best-of-five matchup against Celtics Crossover Gaming. While both teams have yet to play one another this season, NetsGC won both of their games against Celtics Crossover Gaming last year and with their opponent bringing back a majority of its roster, the familiarity should offset the uncertainty that comes with the new 3v3 format.

Finishing with a record of 1-4, Boston failed to get out of group play in THE TIPOFF. The beauty of the league’s new structure is that this week is essentially a mass reset, providing teams that stumbled out of the 5v5 gate with a clean slate to work with. However, the counterbalance to two different sets of standings for 3v3 and 5v5, is that the truncated schedule doesn’t provide teams with room for error.

Celtics Crossover Gaming Expected Lineup 

Guard: FT

Lock: TayZo

PF/C: Colt

 

Players to Watch

 

FT – 17.0 points, 8.8 assists, 2.6 turnovers, 47% FG, 48% 3P

FT has dealt with his fair share of adversity since entering the league. As someone who went undrafted, he shattered expectations when he scored 109 points in his first three games back in 2020. While his team struggled last season, he’ll once again be tasked with leading them back to prominence. In five games of group play during THE TIPOFF, 50 of FT’s 62 shot attempts came from beyond the arc and with the spacing that 3v3 provides, he will  have plenty of room to hunt for his favorite shot.

 

TayZo – 9.4 points, 1.8 steals, 0.2 blocks, 59% FG, 56% 3P

When it comes to spacing in 3v3, guards may love the extra freedom but it is a nightmare for locks. The various options that a lockdown defender can funnel opposing ball handlers to are no longer available and different rotations that are staples to the average 2K League defense are not possible. For the former 5th overall pick, TayZo will need to spearhead whatever defensive strategy Celtics Crossover Gaming adopts. How successful he is with containing Doc will likely determine the outcome of the game.

 

Storylines

Despite failing to qualify for live in-person play last week in Indianapolis, Celtics Crossover Gaming has something brewing. Three of their four losses have come in competitive contests against top teams such as 76ers GC, Gen G Tigers, and Wizards District Gaming. With the latter two opponents winning by only six points or less, it is possible to argue that Boston is one of the early favorites to turn it around in 5v5. The key for them will be whether they can carry some of the lessons they’ve learned over to 3v3.

For NetsGC, it’s important to do the opposite. As successful as group play was for Brooklyn, THE TIPOFF ended in disheartening fashion. With the next three weeks of league play revolving around 3v3, this gives NetsGC a chance to temporarily take their minds off 5v5 and lock in on a different objective.

If there’s one player on NetsGC to keep an eye on, it’s Doc. Doc was explosive in the first few games of the year, wrestling in Player of the Week honors in week one. Unfortunately, he has struggled since, slowly regressing from the unstoppable force he made his Season Five debut as. Regardless of his reserved demeanor, the sophomore sniper still has the potential to destroy defensive gameplans, akin to a monster that is not always aware of its true nature. Doc’s extensive familiarity with the 3v3 environment will be invaluable to NetsGC as he finally takes over the reins as NetsGC’s lead guard.