oFAB and Dimez are two names that are already etched in the history books of competitive NBA 2K. As the No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks in the original NBA 2K League Draft, their talent speaks for itself. The franchise cornerstones of two of the most captivating NBA 2K League teams have played against each other multiple times over the years, both with the NBA 2K League and with their pro-am teams in the offseason. With the two titans heading for another clash this weekend, we’re going to breakdown what makes the two of them tick and how their play styles overlap more than you think.
oFAB’s best skill is his ability to get the most out of his teammates. Whether that’s setting them up for open shots, using their screens effectively, or assisting on defense, oFAB just always seems to know how best to help his team. On the offensive end, his ability to see the defense and know how they are going to react is why he is an MVP candidate.
Let’s start with one of the most impressive passes all season long. Here’s the scenario: one-point lead, overtime, shot clock winding down, oFAB makes an incredible cross-court pass to Bulleyy in the corner to basically put the game away. What’s behind this play is fantastic design, but even better execution. This play is an option, like a RPO (run-pass option) in football. If the slasher gets to the rim with open space, you hit him in stride for an easy bucket or a foul. If the defender pulls off the corner to defend the slasher, hit the guy in the corner and you have an open shot. oFAB takes that to a whole other level. The timing and accuracy of this pass is so good, it tricks his defender into pulling away from the player that oFAB is passing towards. The vision and wherewithal to know what the defender is going to do in this situation is what separates the men from the boys. Most players in that situation would try to force a pass down low or try to fight out of the double team to get a shot off. oFAB does none of that and seals the game for CLTX.
Another one of oFAB’s great skills is his use of deception. Very few PGs in the NBA 2K League uses ball fakes and pumps to open up shots for teammates as much as oFAB does. Without calling it a signature move, it’s a huge part of his arsenal and a big reason why he led the league in assists per game this year (12.5). The play above is a perfect example. ProFusion is cutting to the basket, as he does as well as almost any player in the league, but G O O F Y 7 5 7 is right there waiting for him. When a coach or fellow player ever asks what it means to create offense for other players, show them this play. The brilliantly timed and directed pump fake opens up just enough space for oFAB to fit a pass through. The timing on the pass is perfect as well. Too early and G O O F Y would have time to move over and get in front of the slasher. Too late and that’s an easy steal. oFAB places it just right to get the bucket.
Defense for point guards in the NBA 2K League is not usually a primary concern. The archetypes for the position are about as anti-defense as you can find, unless your instincts are good enough. For oFAB, it’s not a problem at all. As the self-titled “best defensive PG in the league”, he leads all point guards in total steals with 38, 15 more than the next highest player.
Much like his offensive style, oFAB’s defensive prowess comes from his great use of deception and fakes. On the play above, it’s a pretty simple set up. Matty brings the ball up the floor, Ramo rolls to the hoop, guy in the corner comes open, and boom, usually a corner 3. Not this time! oFAB plays this perfectly and baits Matty into a turnover. Yes, Matty was “baited” by oFAB here. He shades ever so slightly to his left as if he is going to defend Ramo only to quickly jump back into the passing lane for the steal. A big part of defense in the 2K League is turning those extra possessions into points. MEL EAST gets a great break in transition, oFAB spots him instantly and delivers a quick pass for the bucket.
While doing research for this article, we managed to find maybe the best all-around clip to show just how good oFAB really is. First, he intelligently breaks off his man in the corner to snag the pass to the rolling center. Great awareness by him to see his Center get stuck in the pick and roll and jump the passing lane. Once he has the ball, the real magic begins. There are 3-4 times he could’ve made that pass up the floor. Instead, he waits a full 4 seconds before delivering a strike to the far corner. Two touches later, CLTX gets a 4-point swing. Take notes kids, that’s how it’s done.
Being a great pick-and-roll point guard is not as simple as it looks. It’s not just waiting for your big man to set a pick and lobbing it to him as he rolls to the hoop. It’s about understanding spacing and defensive habits in real time and also about making good decisions when put in those situations. No one is betterat this than Dimez. Many will point to PeteBeBallin, his center who is a Rookie of the Year candidate and very likely to make the All-Rookie team, as the force in this offensive set. However, one does not make the other and instead, we get a brilliant marriage of two players who feed off each other perfectly. Since this is about oFAB vs. Dimez, let’s focus on what the former #1 overall pick can do.
This play seems relatively simple. Pete sets a pick, Dimez goes around it, throws it down on two people. There is way more to it than that. First things first, the behind-the-back move into a crossover was a perfect way to not only create space, but give Dimez time to make a decision. When he comes out of his move, he sees a wide open lane, but knows that he is going to get mauled as soon as he makes his line to the hoop. Instead of going dead red to the basket, he shades to his right to make sure the only defender he has to worry about is Mootyy. Mootyy has to make a tremendously difficult slide on the baseline in order to even get close to Dimez. He gets there late due to Dimez move, easy 2 points. Intricacies like this in all forms of basketball is what separates elite players from the pack. Subtlety and patience are key, but it’s also nice to throw it down on a center’s head every once in a while.
This is a loaded section. Obviously, a player playing 2K can’t necessarily be better at dunking than another, this isn’t a dunk contest. Let’s run a test. We’ll put 3 gifs below, see if you can identify what Dimez is doing that made us include this section.
See it yet? It doesn’t stick out, but no point guard in the league is better at this than Dimez. Nobody gets to the rim like he does. His innate ability of finding even the tiniest of cracks in the defense and getting to the rim looks like — to use another football analogy — an explosive running back breaking through a small hole in the offensive line before an 80 yard run. He moves through space that shouldn’t even be there. It’s not even about dribble moves, it’s all anticipation. Knowing where the defense is shading and understanding the positioning of his teammates to create more space for himself helps Dimez go from a middle of the pack player to one of the best in the league. Another interesting note was how this affected the rest of his game. Once teams started to shade to the hoop because of his dominance, his 3P% shot up like a rocket. Adapting on the fly in the middle of a record-breaking season? Yea, that’s the work of a #1 overall pick.
The two facets of each player’s game that we presented are still just a pixel on a large screen. We didn’t even get to how they both probably rank #1 or #2 among point guards in transition offense or overall efficiency. Both players have elite skills and intangibles that have shown true through 2 NBA 2K League seasons. Whether it’s oFAB’s knack for steals or the pick-and-roll mastery of Dimez, we’ll have one of the premiere point guard match-ups on display this Wednesday. If you ask the pro-am community, it’s a long time coming.