NBA 2KL Playoffs Presented by Google Pixel - Preview #1 - NBA 2K League

NBA 2KL Playoffs Presented by Google Pixel – Preview #1

The Tip-off, Turn, and Ticket are behind us which means it’s time to get to the creme de la creme, the best of the best…the NBA 2K League 5v5 playoffs. 12 teams fighting for their share of $900K as they trey to etch their names in the history books forever. The obvious favorites are the reigning champs and Tip Off and Turn winners Warriors Gaming Squad, so we’re going to add a small section to each team about how they match up with the dubs if a fateful matchup happens. Let’s jump right into my favorite yearly article, the playoff preview.


  1. Heat Check Gaming (13-5)


Heat Check Gaming have been the East’s best team for most of the season. Their elite combination of forcing turnovers and 3-point shooting has flipped the East on its head. They are averaging 82.5 ppg, the best in the league and also the 2nd highest of any Eastern Conference team ever behind only the 85 PPG behemoth that was the S3 Raptors Uprising GC. The Ky/Sawc 2-man game has allowed the rest of the team to play a little more loose and this has led to a ton of chaos and confusion for opposing defenses. Add in an East-leading 55.5% from 3 as a team and wham, you have an instant contender. Their only real issue? They have dramatically choked on stage twice. Getting swept by Wiz DG and CLTX Gaming brings a ton of questions into how prepared this team is for the biggest games, but mostly it makes you wonder if the parity of the East makes any “contender” tag a fool’s errand. They are the best the East has to offer. That also means nothing when the ball is tipped on Wednesday.


Can they beat the Dubs? : Yes…but with great difficulty. They are likely the only team on paper who can match them talent-wise at each position, but even then it will likely take a career series from their starting 5 to get it done.


  1. Raptors Uprising GC (11-9)


This is probably the hardest team to predict heading into the playoffs. At their best, they have been the 2nd or 3rd best team in the league this year led by maybe the league’s best overall player in antoinelove. At their worst, they have looked like a mid-tier team with Antoine’s more deferential play style feeding right into the opposing team’s game plan. They don’t really have a 2nd blue chipper on the team. Crush comes the closest, but his work at PF rides with the rest of the team in being a bit up and down. Seem and Simptoms have been the primary offensive outlets for Toronto and have had some excellent streaks this year, especially during the Tip Off where Simptoms had maybe the best week of his career. Still, missing out on the Turn makes this team a tough call for the playoffs. Which team will we see coming off their 1st round bye? The one that got them to the Tip Off Finals pushing the Warriors to OT? Or the one that saw them lose to 3 playoff teams during the Turn and miss out?


Can they beat the Dubs? : Yes…but they need a lot to go right. They pushed them to OT in Game 2 of the Tip Off Finals, but like the Terminator they are, the Dubs have already learned from that game and will be ready for whatever Toronto has for them. Antoinelove will need to have an all-time legacy series.


  1. Celtics Crossover Gaming (10-8)


All year long we were waiting for this team to turn into the contender they were on paper and finally, they made it. A great run through the Turn saw them get matched up with Warriors Gaming Squad in the Finals. They play outstanding defense, are an excellent rebounding team, and when Leche and 630 are firing, are a destructive basketball team. They peaked at the right team and have a nice matchup in Round 1 vs. Brooklyn coming up. Their biggest issue is their offense. At 68.7 PPG on 49.4 3P%, they are 2nd lowest in both categories among playoff teams. If Leche and 630 are both a bit off, this team basically has 0 offense, though you could say the same of almost any team if their backcourt isn’t scoring. In order for this team to make a real run, Leche will have to continue the leap we saw against Cleveland and Miami. His decision making and shot creation was at an elite level and it’s going to have to stay at that peak for them to get to the top of this conference. Weirdly enough, this team reminds me a bit of the S4 Jazz Gaming team that made a run to the 2KL Finals before running into a giant looking for their 2nd title in a row. We’ll see if Boston can get an NBA title and a 2KL title in the same year.


Can they beat the Dubs? : I say no…I think we saw their best shot in the Turn. I would love to be proved wrong, but WGS getting them a 2nd time is a scary proposition.


  1. Wizards District Gaming (10-7)


After suffering for exactly one season, Wizards DG is back in the playoffs. Armed with another excellent defense and a rookie PG who can’t stop dropping double-doubles on teams, it feels a bit like Season 3 all over again. They are 6th in point diff, 10th in turnovers forced, and 2nd in made 3s per game. A true 3-and-D contender built around their star PG, Benzo, who keeps getting JBM comparisons. Frankly, I think he’s better than JBM at this point in their careers, but the real leap didn’t come until that S3 playoffs. JBM went from fun #1 pick on a good team to a “scorched earth, this is my league” opponent in a playoff run that still hasn’t really been replicated by anyone else since. Does Benzo have that kind of next level in him? Probably. Does the rest of the team have enough to keep up? Also, probably? I’m a bit more skeptical than I think most, but don’t get it wrong. Benzo armed with a team of elite playoff-experienced vets makes this team the official dark horse of the playoffs.


Can they beat the Dubs? : I’ve said it all year, but I think this team has the best chance. 4 high IQ veterans surrounding an ascending shot-creating PG is the exact formula you’d want against WGS.


  1. Cavs Legion GC (9-5)


Our official, “Are we sure this team is good?” team of the 2024 playoffs. I just can’t get a real read on this team. On paper, they look great. 52.2 Team 3P%, 3rd best defense in the 2KL, slowest paced team in the league, it all adds up to a classic and quality East team. But then…you turn on the tape…woof. This offense is a brutal watch. They play very low-possession games, but they never force turnovers and are one of the worst transition teams in the league. Their entire offense is slow half-court sets. So while their PPP is 1.5, good for 6th in the league, they average the 3rd-worst 67.2 PPG. It’s a weird team where the classic stats and eye test hate them, but the advanced stats love them. What is a stat guy supposed to do with that? I’m going to go with my gut. My gut says a 1st round matchup with Wiz DG? About as bad as you could ask for.


Can they beat the Dubs? : No…I just don’t think an Antoine-Killeyy backcourt can take down maybe the best team of all time. What a moment that would be though.


  1. NetsGC (8-8)


I won’t spend too much time on NetsGC since we just watched them a ton during the Ticket, but we should all take this time to appreciate the glory that is OneWildWalnut. A “down” year for him was leading all Centers in PPG, APG, and Usage. He’s the only player in the league this year to average 19-10-5 and did it all on 90.3 TS%. Round of applause for the best offensive Center of all time. For the playoffs, the real question is how long will it take for the Nets inconsistency to rear its ugly head. They have a good matchup vs. Boston in round 1, a winnable matchup too if you lay it out on paper, but this Nets team has barely been able to string back-to-back good games together all year long. If there was ever a time for it, it’s now, but they are going to need Greens to go on a crazy heater to keep them hot.


Can they beat the Dubs? : No…just…no.

Western Conference: 


  1. Warriors Gaming Squad (22-3)


They won last year’s title, losing one game in the playoffs. They won the Tip Off without losing a game in person. They won the Turn losing just one game in person and closed on a 6-game win streak. Best point differential, best net rating, best team 3P%, most forced turnovers, 3rd in PPG, 2nd in APG, 1st in RPG. They have the likely MVP, 3 DPOY candidates, and a COY candidate. It’s the best team in the league, and with a championship, it’s the best 2KL team of all time. It’s really that simple.


Can they beat the Dubs? : Somehow…yes. I don’t even know how that would work, but I think this team would beat them.  


  1. T-Wolves Gaming (11-6)


This team remains an enigma to me, but in the best of ways. I think this might be my favorite team to go back and watch film on. It’s an entire team that’s not really aware of how good they actually are, but is constantly doing cool and new stuff to make up for it. I think it has a lot to do with them having 3 rookies who all individually play in very weird ways. Igymo plays 5v5 defense like he is still playing 3s. Polo plays popper unlike really any other big in the league with his weird off-ball style. Tutak is like the quiet guy in the back of a bar who, if you turn the right song on, suddenly starts breakdancing on the table. All of this led by the master of chaos himself, BearDaBeast, who is having a much better season than I think we’ve sold people this year. He’s an MVP finalist for a reason. He’s averaging 22.5-12.5 on 87.5 TS%. No one else is even close to that kind of output on that kind of efficiency. Even a guy like Ant is only 80% TS because what Bear is doing is extremely rare. Heck, he’s not even top 5 among PGs in Usage! He’s doing all of this on manageable usage, crazy efficiency, and just internal dog.  I think this team has a run in them if the pieces match up correctly. Oh…and they are the only team this year to get multiple games off the Warriors.


Can they beat the Dubs? : Yes. They are 2-2 vs. them this year and I think they have what it takes to push them to the limit.


  1. Pistons GT (10-9)


Truly, the worst defensive team in the league paired with one of the better offenses we’ve ever seen. A fascinating combination, one that is setting game-to-game total possession records and forcing us to ask the question, how much does being able to stop your opponent truly matter if they can’t stop you? All I know is that Ant is incredible, Connor and Monah are terrifying, Stick is still the best lock in the league, and this team will make the WCF allowing 80 PPG. I don’t know how they will pull it off, but I just know it’s going to happen. They were allowing 82 ppg before acquiring Stick…they have allowed 78 ppg. It’s hilarious, I can’t get enough of this team.


Can they beat the Dubs? : After all this time…I say no. SO many losses that look the exact same. Dubs have their number.


  1. Bucks Gaming (9-7)


I have been waiting all year for this team to be good and they just…kind of aren’t? They don’t have an elite offense or defense, there isn’t one thing they do especially well or better than other teams. The only thing they really do better is win playoff games. As long as they have had JohnnyRed and Dawsix, this team simply wins on stage. Add Dimez to it and it’s still a very formidable team, but it just doesn’t have the same fear factor to it that they usually do. CP has been fine this year in his limited Usage role, even Retro as a rookie PF ranks pretty high in individual defensive metrics, but they don’t play great team ball and it’s caused them to fall apart late in a lot of games. I’m keeping my eyes open on this team, a 1st round matchup with Cooks is a pretty funny outcome, but do they have the gas to make another WCF or even Finals run? I’m not sure.


Can they beat the Dubs? : No…this version of Bucks Gaming doesn’t have the cohesion of old. 


  1. Pacers Gaming (8-7)


After 3 mid-season trades, the Pacers finally found one that worked by acquiring Ceez from NBL Oz and letting him run the offense. They went 5-1 and with a record like that, you’d probably think they’d make a huge run once we got in-person…right? Wrong! They got slapped around by Pistons GT and saw their hopes crushed on-stage in a blowout Game 3 loss. Now, we are left in a weird pickle with this team. On one hand, Ceez is on an all-time heater this year and JaySnags is still one of the best individual defensive players in the league. On the other hand, this team doesn’t have a ton of big-game experience this year and we head into the playoffs with them playing one single game on stage. Very strange predicament. 


Can they beat the Dubs? : No. They’d be lucky to get a game off them with how both teams are playing.


  1. Lakers Gaming (6-10)


Got to love the Ticket right? From going 2-10 to winning 3 straight games and getting a playoff spot, the Lakers, somehow, are here. The real irony being they should’ve been here in the first place, but all’s well that ends well right? Like Nets GC, you don’t need to spend too much time here, but they have a much bigger challenge than Brooklyn. Pistons GT is going to give them everything they can handle offensively, and their turnover-happy defense is a pretty terrible matchup for this Lakers team that turns it over at a pretty intense rate themselves. If the Lakers can beat Pistons GT, it’s Warriors Gaming Squad after that…yikes.


Can they beat the Dubs? : No…just…no.


CLTX Gaming over Nets GC
Wizards DG over Cavs Legion

Raptors Uprising over CLTX Gaming
Wizards DG over Heat Check Gaming

Wizards DG over Raptors Uprising

Pistons GT over Lakers Gaming
Bucks Gaming over Pacers Gaming

Warriors Gaming Squad over Bucks Gaming
Pistons GT over T-Wolves Gaming

Warriors Gaming Squad over Pistons GT

Warriors Gaming Squad over Wizards District Gaming 3-1