This article reflects the opinions of this writer and does not reflect the views of the NBA 2K League or its teams.
The Expansion Draft this year has some added pressure to it. Much like appearing after the funniest comedian during an open mic, Hornets Venom GT and Gen.G have a “tough act to follow” coming off T-Wolves Gaming winning the entire league as an expansion team in Season 2. The good news for both franchises is the quality of talent they will be able to choose from on October 18 (1:30 pm/et, Twitch).
When we say this draft is deep, we’re talking Mariana Trench levels. Included in the eligible player pool are league champions, award winners, former 1st round picks, multi-season veterans, and just about everything in between. However, with teams limited to a maximum of three picks each, a lot rides on who they select. As we saw last year, it can be the difference between championship glory and going back to the chalkboard after 1 season.
Last year’s expansion draft results laid the groundwork for Season 2, so here’s a list of 15 players to keep an eye on. If you’d like to see a list of every non-protected player that could be drafted, check them out here.
2019 Stats: 11.6 PPG, 12.6 RPG, 65.6 FG%
The journey continues for Arsonal. The Maryland native has enjoyed two productive seasons, but for the second season in a row he finds himself on the outside looking in come protection time. His PPG dipped in Season 2, but his 12.6 RPG was third best in the league. Additionally, a consistent player who doesn’t get wrapped up in his emotions on stage should fit onto most teams. Center has proved to be a vital position, so a team looking for someone that will give you a double-double as a baseline every game could find interest in Arsonal.
2019 Stats: 18.8 PPG, 58.9 FG%, 56.4 3P% (9 games)
BigMeek was putting up strong offensive numbers at the PF position before being replaced in the lineup. While he hasn’t proven to be an elite two-way player yet, he has proven over two seasons to be a capable wing scorer. The production he put up as a starter is simply too good to ignore and, like a few players on this list, a fresh start could be just what he needs.
Demon JT, PG
2019 Stats: 8.3 PPG, 5.0 APG, 38.5 FG%
Demon JT is still waiting for the league’s meta to shift his way. Speak to anyone on Wizards District Gaming and they will go on and on about his work ethic, leadership and basketball IQ. He’s a mature PG with playoff experience that has proven his talent across multiple versions of the game, but it hasn’t quite translated to the stat sheet yet in the first two seasons. A fresh start and a new team could be the push he needs to find that next level.
2019 Stats: 13.3 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 71.9 FG%
The advanced metrics darling of Season 2, Gilly lit up the stat sheet once he was inserted into the starting lineup. He proved to be the perfect 1-2 punch with Dayfri, putting up double-doubles in eight of the 12 games he started at Center. He may not bring the defensive brilliance of Type or the leadership of Worthingcolt, but he can be a quality starter at the position. There’s no shortage of talent at Center and Gilly is a part of that group.
2019 Stats: 13.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 57.4 FG%
Outside of a few exceptions, Power Forward was used almost exclusively for role players in Season 2. It was a bit of a lost position with roles ranging from a post-up scorer to a rim protector to a pick & roll defender with many more experiments in between. Gliz was one of the few who stood out at the 4 all season long. He was a steady supplier of points for Jazz Gaming and fit in well on a roster with two Top 3 draft picks.
2019 Stats: 12.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 64 FG%
Idris certainly qualifies as one of the most versatile players in the league. A proven player at multiple positions, his interchangeability could make him a valuable chess piece for any team. He was excellent for Knicks Gaming at THE TICKET when he took over for Goofy at C and was one of only two players from Season 2 to have a 20+ point game at three different positions.
2019 Stats: 11.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 67.9 FG%
JoJo’s switch from a defensive-minded Power Forward to a Pick & Pop Center was a catalyst for T-Wolves Gaming as they began their run to the title. What it showed most importantly was his versatility along with an incredibly high basketball IQ. Finals MVP BearDaBeast could not stop praising him all season long as one of the integral pieces of their championship team. From Pacers Gaming intern to T-Wolves Gaming Champion, the fascinating journey of Dr Jojo continues.
2019 Stats: 15.7 PPG, 45.1 FG%, 41.9 3P%
Kev is another guy with high upside. Lakers Gaming was looking for the right spot to put him in all season long and by the time they found it, it was a little too late. Here’s the kicker: Once Lakers Gaming moved him to the 4 in Week 11, he thrived. He scored 24, 27, 41 points in their last three games while shooting 63% from the floor. There were times where he struggled as the focal point of the offense, but his offensive potential was on display near the end of the season. He could be a sneaky great pickup in this year’s expansion draft.
2019 Stats: 14.8 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 48.6 FG%
Mo is one of the most decorated players in 2K Pro-Am history. A switch to his natural position of PG — he mostly played off the ball in Season 2 — would likely benefit him for Season 3, but whether a team will trust him to man that spot is another story. It may complicate his value a bit, but his talent represents an interesting experiment for a team that wants to shoot a lot next season.
2019 Stats: 16.6 PPG, 59.3 FG%, 53.5 3P%
From Season 1 to Season 2, ProFusion improved his numbers in every single relevant category to his position including points, efficiency, 3-point shooting and transition scoring. He sometimes flies under the radar due to his quiet demeanor, but he was a great yin & yang with the boisterous Mel East on CLTX Gaming the past two seasons. Pair him with a good point guard and a big who can kick the ball back out to him for 3s and you have the start of a budding offensive system.
2019 Stats: 15.9 PPG, 4.1 APG, 59.2 FG%
Many of the players we’ve talked about so far have two main qualities — versatility and consistency. Enter the wing version of that player, Strainer. He can play any position on the wing and also filled in at Point Guard a couple of times last season for Cavs Legion GC. He was a beloved teammate in Cleveland who should bring leadership and work ethic to any franchise that picks him up. He’s also a very smart shooter who ranked top five in FG% among qualified wing players.
2019 Stats: 9.5 PPG, 2.3 SPG, 61.3 FG%
Many of the players on this list have been offensive heavy, so let’s introduce an available elite defensive player. TurnUp is coming off a Finals where he held Radiant to 12.8 PPG and 45 percent shooting, which is no easy feat no matter which way you slice it. Alongside that, he also saved T-Wolves Gaming’s season and hit the infamous shot that sent them to the Playoffs. He’s a two-season vet that won over T-Wolves Gaming with his stoic demeanor and defensive prowess and would be a great leader for any team that needs a lock.
2019 Stats: 12.3 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 61.9 FG%
The only member of the Expansion Draft pool that made the player-voted #Glitchy25, Type proved last season that he is on the top shelf of Centers in the NBA 2K League. Back-to-back years of defensive excellence and leadership became on-court success last season as he helped lead Warriors Gaming Squad to two tournament titles and a spot in the playoffs. The 2019 THE TURN MVP has cemented himself as one of the top defensive anchors in the league as well as an emotional leader on the court.
2019 Stats: 11.6 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 67.6 FG%
On the court, Worthingcolt is one of the best rebounders in the league, ranking fourth in total rebounds in Season 2. His defensive numbers are a bit misleading, Kings Guard’s system had All-Defensive Team member Yusuf_Scarbz manning the rim which forced Colt away from the paint. Off the court, he’s gone toe to toe with the best bigs in the game and got in their heads with relative ease. He helped claw Kings Guard Gaming near a top-4 seed in Season 2 and made sure everyone knew about it along the way.
2019 Stats: 17.5 PPG, 53.7 FG%, 47.4 3P%
A proven winner, ZDS was a formidable No. 2 scorer next to Radiant — averaging 17.5 PPG in the regular season — and borderline unstoppable when he was feeling it. He can be slightly inconsistent at times, but he has as much talent as any sharp in the league. He has experience going deep in major tournaments and with Finals experience as well, he is the type of player a new franchise could build around.