Playoff Preview: Examining The Eight Contenders - NBA 2K League

Playoff Preview: Examining The Eight Contenders

The bracket is set and it goes without saying that this year’s playoffs are loaded with talented squads from top to bottom.

Two teams (Blazer5 Gaming, 76ers GC) are making return trips to the postseason, while one expansion team (T-Wolves Gaming) joins five newcomers in the field.

With first-round action starting on Wednesday, here’s an overview of each of the eight teams as they head into the playoffs.

No. 1 seed: Blazer5 Gaming (14-2)

How they got here: They lost their season opener. They lost their season finale. In between, B5 rattled off 14 straight wins to finish with the league’s best regular-season record for a second straight year.

Key players: Mama Im Dat Man (23.1 PPG, 11.6 APG), OneWildWalnut (15.9 PPG, 12.6 RPG)

Playoff outlook: They’ve had a built-in motivation the entire season after being one-and-done in last year’s playoffs as the top seed. How will things be different this go-around? For one, a three-game series will prevent a possible fluky play (See: Walnut’s backboard blocked shot) from deciding their postseason fate. While it’s true they’ve struggled in tournament play this season, they won 14 games for a reason. If Blazer5 Gaming are to go the distance, it will be the play of MVP finalist Mama Im Dat Man that takes them there.


No. 2 seed: Mavs Gaming (12-4)

How they got here: The best start in league history belongs to this crew, which rattled off 10 consecutive wins before suffering their first loss. Despite finishing 2-4 down the stretch, their hot start was good enough to hold on to the second seed.

Key players: Dimez (16.7 PPG, 8.7 APG), PeteBeBallin (14.3 PPG 11.2 RPG) 

Playoff outlook: Welcome to the postseason, Dimez. Last year’s top overall pick gets his first taste of the playoffs after guiding a retooled Mavs Gaming squad to this point. He received plenty of help along the way from a trio of high-impact rookies — PeteBeBallin, Mo and Sherm — each of whom have perfected their roles. The naysayers have discounted this team despite their record start, so now’s the chance for Mavs Gaming to prove them wrong.


No. 3 seed: 76ers GC (11-5)

How they got here: Their season-opening tournament win gave them back-to-back TIPOFF titles. A midseason lull had them sitting at just 7-5, but order was restored as they enter the postseason riding four straight wins.

Key players: Radiant (20.0 PPG, 11.1 APG), ZDS (17.5 PPG)

Playoff outlook: If their final game of the regular season is any indication, 76ers GC will be a force to be reckoned with. ZDS set this season scoring record (52) and Radiant matched the league assists record (26) in the win. The duo is going to be counted on to continue that torrid play as Philly returns to the postseason after a semifinals appearance last year. This experienced group has won multiple times with money on the line, so another deep run wouldn’t be a surprise.

No. 4 seed: T-Wolves Gaming (10-6)

How they got here: Meet the squad riding the longest active winning streak. T-Wolves Gaming, who once languished near the bottom of the standings and fired their head coach, found the right mix of chemistry following the midseason acquisition of JMoneyRep817 to win their final seven games.

Key players: BearDaBeast (15.6 PPG, 9.1 APG), JMoneyRep817 (18.2 PPG, 4.2 APG)

Playoff outlook: Would it really be the playoffs without the biggest personality in the league involved? BearDaBeast does a lot of talking, but the rookie point guard has more than backed it up with his play during their winning streak. He’s found the perfect running mate in JMoneyRep87, who has blossomed at small forward since joining the team. T-Wolves Gaming play with an infectious carefree swag, so expect to see a loose bunch during the playoffs.


No. 5 seed: Kings Guard Gaming (10-6)

How they got here: After finishing tied for the league’s worst record last season, Kings Guard Gaming had quite the turnaround in making the playoffs. They’ve been steady throughout the campaign, despite losing their last two games.

Key players: Bp (19.3 PPG, 7.9 APG), worthingcolt (11.6 PPG, 11.8 RPG)

Playoff outlook: Bp entered the league with arguably the most hype of any rookie. All he’s done since being drafted third overall is solidify his unofficial title as the league’s “Dribble God” while playing his way into being an MVP finalist and one of the frontrunners for Rookie of the Year. He has a strong supporting cast that includes three veterans — BallLikeSeem, Yusuf_Scarbz and worthingcolt — who have teamed to form a well-balanced starting unit.


No. 6 seed: Pacers Gaming (10-6)

How they got here: A pair of wins in Week 12 officially got them into the playoffs after teetering near the cut line. Still, they’ve been a strong tournament team this season, including a finals appearance at THE TICKET.

Key players: Ramo (14.8 PPG, 5.4 APG), Swizurk (16.6 PPG)

Playoff outlook: Ever since swinging a trade to acquire Ramo in the offseason, the goal has been simple: compete for a championship. He has delivered since his arrival, teaming with WoLF 74 on one of the league’s toughest defensive units. Toss in the sharpshooting of Swizurk, a deadly shooter who nailed 16 3-pointers over two Week 12 games, and the makings are there for Pacers Gaming to make noise over the next two weeks.

No. 7 seed: Celtics Crossover Gaming (10-6)

How they got here: They might take the crown as the unlikeliest playoff-bound team solely based on early season results. Yet, here they are after putting the slow start behind them to go on a nine-game winning streak over the stretch run.

Key players: oFAB (22.3 PPG, 12.5 APG), ProFusion (16.6 PPG)

Playoff outlook: After coming just shy of making the playoffs last season, they got over the hump thanks to their midseason surge. Leading the charge is Fab, who elevated his play since that juncture to make himself a legit contender for the MVP Award. This team brings energy to the stage and has enjoyed some tournament success. Don’t expect them to back down to any opponent despite their lower seeding.  


No. 8 seed: Warriors Gaming Squad (7-9)

How they got here: They are the first team to win multiple tournaments in the same season, including capturing THE TICKET for an automatic playoff berth. Yet, they just so happen to have lost their last six games. 

Key players: Bsmoove (18.1 PPG, 3.3 APG), Type (12.3 PPG, 11.1 RPG) 

Playoff outlook: How one views this squad depends on how much you believe momentum is a factor in performance. WGS enter the postseason with the least amount of momentum of any of the eight teams. On the flipside, they’ve been the best team this season in tournament play, so bet against them if you so please. This is a well-coached, disciplined squad that will grind teams down with their defense. Might we see an eighth seed make a Cinderella run in consecutive seasons?