Hornets Venom GT became the NBA 2K League’s 22nd team in 2019 and a NBA 2K League vet holds the honor of being the first player chosen to represent Charlotte when Season 3 tips off in 2020.
After experiencing success in the Bay Area, Type, who won MVP of THE TURN, has set his sights on making the most out of this unique, first-time opportunity. For a player hungry for a championship, this season represents a fresh second chapter in his 2K League career.
NBA2KLeague.com sat down with Type to talk about the Expansion Draft, what we can expect during Hornets Venom GT’s debut season and more.
Question: You’re the first player to represent Hornets Venom GT. How does that feel?
Type: I felt going into the draft, this was a team where you said ‘Well they have the number one pick (in the expansion draft), they have THAT coach (BiggWest), they have NachoTraynor at the top…’ so there were a lot of positives about this process that helped me get dedicated to being here. I tried to tell West as much as I could that this is what I want. The Warriors weren’t going to retain me and I felt like once that had started down that road, Hornets Venom GT became my new goal. I want to be a part of something bigger. I feel like the expansion teams will have a good shot (at success) this year because of what they can do in the Draft. With West and Nacho, I feel like they’ll be able to make a lot of smart moves because they’re very familiar with the game. These are guys you’d want to play for, honestly. I feel like they did a great job in the draft and it just shows you how they’re going to be during the season.
Q: What was the process during the Expansion Draft of actually getting drafted by Hornets Venom GT?
Type: West wasn’t too straightforward with me. He would ask you the questions about yourself and wanted to know what goals you had for next season. He wanted to share with me what he wanted to see in me, how I could grow. One thing West is really good at is picking apart players’ minds. I talked to him once on the phone, and a second time again the day before draft day. It felt like it was pretty much going to happen. I was talking to my mom before the draft–my mom LOVES the league by the way, she follows it every day on Twitter and loves reading what you guys post–she’s really fallen in love with the whole Charlotte thing now and before the draft she was saying that I was gonna go there while I was telling her I didn’t know what’s gonna happen (laughs). It was kind of like how I was drafted in New York the first time, but this time my mom was there with me, so that was really cool.
Q: Type, you go from being picked in the 4th round of the 2018 draft by the Warriors, you spend two years with them, you win tournaments, you make the Playoffs, to now, where you’re onto a whole new challenge. Are you looking to prove anything with Hornets Venom GT this season?
Type: I’m definitely looking to prove that I can get better. That’s one thing I promised West. I told him that I see a lot of growth in myself from Season 1 to Season 2, so I don’t see why I can’t get even better with Hornets Venom GT. People say that Type is top ‘this’ or top ‘that,’ but whatever I am, I just want to make sure I’m gonna be better than that next season. I just promised West that my growth as a player is what will help me prove myself as a player this year.
Q: There are open starting spots for Hornets Venom GT heading into next year’s draft. What kinds of skill and personality types are you hoping to add to the roster by the beginning of Season 3?
Type: I know for myself, we definitely want to land players who buy in. One thing I noticed through our success with the Warriors was that we added players that were all going to come in and buy into the system. No one was hesitant to try something new. I don’t have any doubt that West and Nacho will make the right pick. There are a lot of great point guards in this draft, for sure. I see a lot of power forwards that are still out there. We’re gonna need a lock for the pick-and-roll defense. We need a lot, but I think we’re set up well with the draft picks we have. Knowing West and knowing Nacho, I think them and I can come together to find the right players.
Q: Talk to us about BiggWest as a coach? What fresh approaches does he bring to the table, and what are you most excited to work with him on this year?
Type: One thing he preached to me as soon as we had our first phone call is that we ought to have the best defensive team in the league this year. He wants to enforce his defense on players. He wants to put pressure on the other team, he wants the league to know that Hornets Venom GT will have the best defense. I think just hearing that, he’s gonna find guys that are super defensive-minded, and West is gonna make us work! He’s a guy that, when he talks to you, he’s not asking you, he’s telling you (laughs). This is what he wants, this is what he expects out of us.
Q: NBA 2K20 is a brand-new game. From a league perspective, how do you think the build will be different this year? Are you preparing yourselves for how different it might be, or are you ready for whatever comes at you?
Type: There are a lot of good builds you can use this year at the big man position, but you see things that are successful like the sharp rebounder, so I’ve been trying a lot of new things. One build that everyone is using right now is the glass cleaner lying down. That’s a build I’m obviously looking at, looking to find that build where I can really swing on defense and also get a bucket on offense. You obviously want to be balanced on offense and defense.
Q: What kinds of advice would you give to players entering their first Combine?
Type: For PGs or anybody who’s actually headed to the Combine this year, it’s all about communication, especially with players you don’t know. You’ll be playing with a lot of players you’ve never talked to before. Everyone will pick builds that might not help your archetype. If everyone picks a flashy build, you still have to work with it and communicate. Find ways to get buckets, but you also gotta play defense. The number one thing is just stay positive throughout the whole Combine. You can have a terrible first half of your 30 games and then the next 30 games you play you’ll play your best. So, staying positive and having the right mindset going into it the Combine is the right thing to do, for sure.
Q: What do you guys think of all the player movement (trades, retentions, expansion drafting) we’ve seen throughout the 2K League this offseason?
Type: I think it’s pretty cool, man! I think this was exactly how it was gonna end up. I think it’s interesting, it makes the league a little more fun, especially for myself. I experienced the West Coast for two seasons–never had been there before–and I’ve never been to Charlotte before, so it’s also cool for players to experience new places around the country. Going into Season 3, you’re obviously excited to represent a new organization as well, so that’s really cool.
Q: In regards to moving to Charlotte, your brand-new experience, is there anything you’re most looking forward to?
Type: I’m kind of interested in seeing all that Jordan gear they got (laughs). I really do want to meet Jordan, some way, somehow. Maybe one day we’re practicing and he walks by, I just want to greet him. Shake his hand and take a picture. That’s the one thing I’m hoping for. I hope the weather’s nice too. I had really consistent weather in the Bay area for my first two seasons, so it’ll definitely be different moving to the east coast.
Q: Can you recount your original draft days? What was it like for you to get selected (in Season 1)?
Type: The Season 1 draft was pretty different. Going into the draft, I wasn’t known in the Pro-Am scene. All the players that were there were guys who were trying to get into the league as soon as they had announced its formation. When I was picked, a lot of guys had said ‘Who’s Type?’ It was about proving myself to the league and to my team actually. That draft day was pretty crazy. That’s when my life really changed. It really told me that this is what I have to put 100% effort into it. And that’s what happened.
Q: What has been your favorite memory so far from being in the 2K League?
Type: Probably winning one of those tournaments (THE TURN and THE TICKET from 2019). Of course I’ll say THE TURN because my mother was there, because I won tournament MVP, not to bring that out (laughs), but that was a really fun tournament. We had our front office there. We had a lot of people there for it. That tournament was the one that showed the league who we really are, and I kind of made a name for myself as well. That was my favorite memory and it’s one I probably won’t forget for the rest of my life.
Q: Do you ever stop and take stock in the fact that you get to play video games in an esports league for a living?
Type: It’s pretty crazy, what it is right now. I never really expected myself to go down this path and have this type of career. Before the Season 1 draft I was working a lot, and I had just left college. Spent two years at Indiana State, then took a couple semesters off to work and try to get enough money to go back to college, so once that happened, it was like wow, this new 2K opportunity is in front of me. At this point, it’s just trying to get better, trying to make sure that this opportunity can take me farther. The league has done a lot for me already and I don’t think this league will ever end. I don’t see the NBA saying no to this league and let it go in any way shape or form. To have this is definitely a blessing. It’s only getting better every year. I can’t wait to see what it looks like when we’re in Season 10!