Season 3 of the NBA 2K League came to an epic conclusion with Wizards DG taking down Warriors Gaming Squad 3-1 in the NBA 2K League Finals, which means it’s time for everyone’s favorite offseason tradition, Team Recaps! This time around we are sorting through the playoff teams. Again, small disclaimer, the offseason needs are based off Season 3 performance. We obviously don’t know how 2K21 is going to affect the league meta yet, so we’ll keep it easy on ourselves for now. Let’s continue our Season 4 prep! Check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
(14-2, 2nd seed)
We came into the season saying this was a make-or-break season for Jazz Gaming and well…they made it! A 14-2 record, one of the best starting 5s in league history, and a few quality tournament runs cemented this as the best season in franchise history. The only issue is that they came away from this season empty handed. We never got the proper Raptors Uprising vs. Jazz Gaming matchup we deserved, but that mostly came from Jazz Gaming not being able to get past the Final 4 this season. They just couldn’t get over the hump, but that was the only issue this season. They won a ton, but came up just short. For many teams, that would be a great problem to have. For this Jazz Gaming team, it defined their season.
Most Important Player: Ria
There have been a ton of arguments over the past couple of seasons as to who the best Center in the NBA 2K League is. That argument persists, but if Ria isn’t No. 1 or No. 2 on your list, you’re going to get a lot of funny looks. He was easily the most dominant Center this season in the regular season, slicing through defenses with relative ease and rebounding like at an incredible clip. He was 2nd in the entire league in PIE at 31.1 and averaged 14.9/13.9 on 81.4 TS%! He was a menace this season and should keep playing like a former No. 1 overall pick for years to come. What a year for the Jazz Gaming big man.
Offseason Needs: Run it back.
This team should do whatever they can to bring everyone back. The whole starting 5 should return and heck, bring back GetOnMyLevel too! This team had great leadership, chemistry, and coaching. The only thing they need is for Splashy to develop a true killer instinct. He is an extremely talented and valuable player, but if there is one area he needs improvement, he could benefit from being a better closer. Again, that would be a blessing for most teams. For Jazz Gaming, it could be the difference between a title or falling short.
Retained Players: Ria, Yeah I Compete, Splashy
A great core 3 to build around heading into Season 4, but the possible loss of Lotty looms large. He won’t be easy to replace if he gets taken in the Expansion Draft, but we could also see them spend the 1st round pick price to bring him back. The 14-2 Jazz Gaming should be just fine this offseason.
Raptors Uprising GC
(16-0, 1st seed)
Undefeated regular season. 2 tournament wins. MVP. DPOY. 2 members of the All-2KL 1st team, 1 in the 2nd. Best regular-season team ever constructed. Look, I know they lost in the playoffs, but that shouldn’t take away from how good this team is and the precedent they set. What they did was show that it is POSSIBLE to even go undefeated. We’ve never even see another team come close. Blazer5 in Season 2 were 14-2 but they lost the 1st game of the season. On the player side, Kenny Got Work just had the best individual season of any player ever and it may never be beaten. TimelyCook played a basically perfect season for a lock. It’s hard to imagine having a better season than the one he had. Reecemode was arguably the best 3-point shooter the league has ever seen at sharp. Legit 973 is one of the best draft stories in league history. Sick One had maybe the best 2-way center season in the history of the league as well. All five of them were incredible from Day 1 and to go out in the semifinal is a shame, but nothing to be ashamed of. This team was incredible and should be the bar that every team strives to hit for moving forward.
Best Player: Kenny Got Work
It’s time to unveil truly how good Kenny was this season. Here’s a few advanced stats with explanations. Kenny set the 2KL record for Total Value (709.98), Total VORP (191.58), PER (41.76), Simple PER (978.64), EFF (38.89), and PIE (36.10). All of those are primary advanced stats used for the NBA. Those would all be NBA single-season records. Truly, a special season for a special player.
Offseason Needs: Run it back
I mean, how can you not? Maybe they lose one player to the Expansion Draft, but I don’t see a reason why they wouldn’t want to bring back the entire undefeated team for another shot at the title.
Retained Players: Kenny Got Work, TimelyCook, Sick One
No surprises at all. Maybe the best trio the league has ever seen in one season, all three of these guys finished top 10 in PIE and PER. Possibly losing Legit 973 and ReeceMode would hurt, but this core is going to drive Raptors Uprising in whatever direction they end up going. Don’t be surprised if the Raptors try to get their entire starting 5 back from last season.
Warriors Gaming Squad
(13-3, 3rd seed)
So. Close. Sustained success in the NBA 2K League is incredibly difficult — we’ve never even seen the same team make the Finals twice — let alone multiple teams still not even having a single playoff appearance. For Warriors Gaming Squad, losing in the Finals with this team hurts. This team had a ton of talent, but just ran into the wrong team at the wrong time. Wizards DG were the hotter team and made more adjustments in the playoffs. The slight advantage in adjustments resulted in a 3-1 loss in the Finals and that was that. The best news for Warriors Gaming Squad is that they can return most of this team back next season and have the chance to add Shuttles to this starting 5 as well thanks to a handy trade a couple weeks ago. Warriors Gaming Squad isn’t going anywhere, but historically we have seen that it’s very difficult getting back to the Finals.
Most Important Player: CB13
What a monster year from CB13. Some may have been a little worried last year after a disappointing regular season saw him average only 11 PPG. Well, how about raising that to 31.4 PPG and 8.7 APG on 70.9 TS%. It also came with a well-deserved spot on the MVP ballot. Charlie is a phenomenal player and an even better leader. I’d expect him to come back and have an even better season next year, likely raising his efficiency numbers even more. This is one of the best five to seven guys in the entire league.
Offseason Needs: What is the next step?
Look, this team could bring back 4 of the starting 5, but we just saw that it wasn’t enough. What’s the next big move for this team? What player are they going to slot in for Jin at PF to help take them to the next level? Their core 4 of CB13, Gradient, BSmoove, and likely Slaughter already makes them one of the best teams in the league, but they need to figure out how to get better going into next season. They’ve won tournaments, they’ve had a great regular-season record, and they even made made it all the way to the Finals. But what move are they going to make to give them the edge the next time they are in that situation? That might be the hardest question to answer for any team in Season 4.
Retained Players: CB13, Bsmoove, Gradient
New year, same problem. Warriors Gaming Squad decided to keep their main core 3, but this allows Slaughter to be exposed to the Expansion Draft like Type last season. It’s fair to wonder if the Warriors are going to be able to find a Center as good as Slaughter with the assets they have. Shuttles is a fine replacement strategy, but for a team trying to return to the Finals, we’ll see if they have enough firepower. Warriors are definitely a team to watch this offseason.
Wizards District Gaming
(13-3, 4th seed)
CHAMPIONS! What a ride for Wizards District Gaming. We could go through each individual player and go through all their skills and ups and downs through Season 3, but that doesn’t really feel right with this team. They lived and died by each other. The intensity, the passion, the love, and care that these guys had for each other was palpable. They held each other accountable, but it was always presented behind this incredible veil of respect and honesty. They picked each other up after mistakes, they pointed out how to be a better player in real-time and then congratulated each other when they successfully made an adjustment on the fly. It was a special thing to witness. I don’t think the fans of this league will ever truly understand what it means to win a championship given the circumstances that all these teams were presented with. It wasn’t even being the best 2K team, it was all about mental toughness and teamwork. These guys never quit and all season long they proved to be the toughest team mentally and got better every single week. It obviously starts with Dayfri, but even down to a relatively unknown guy in Just_Awkward who became a massive name in the league due to his incredible play down the stretch for Wizards DG. Add in JBM, who embodied the concept of getting better with every single game, and mix in two seasoned vets in Newdini and ReeseDaGod and you are left with a champion as deserving as any we will ever have. Can’t forget about coach Patrick Crossen either who kept this team on track and focused, even during some truly brutal summer months locked inside like the rest of us. This is a special championship team and I hope the 2KL community understands the depth of what they accomplished. Now, another question persists. How do they defend their title?
Most Important Player: Dayfri
Such a vindicating season for Dayfri. Here’s his journey: 2nd round pick in Season 1, traded for the No. 14 overall pick in Season 2, his team wins the No. 1 overall pick Season 3. This guy has truly seen it all coming into the year. This time around, though, he dominated. His stats following THE TURN tournament through the Finals are insane. 13.2 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 4.9 apg, 2.3 spg, 3.2 bpg, 69.9 FG% during the most intense games of the year against the best players in the league. He was rewarded with a well-deserved Finals MVP and the respect he probably always should’ve been given. His drive in Season 4 will definitely be something to watch as he begins his Finals MVP defense.
Offseason Needs: How do you repeat?
As we learned with Knicks Gaming and T-Wolves Gaming, repeating is even harder than winning the original championship. They will have the potential to bring back at least 4 of their starting 5 from the championship team, but repeating isn’t about having the right players, it’s all about how you adjust season over season. I thought T-Wolves Gaming had the potential to do it this season, but conjuring up that same mental toughness two years in a row is incredibly difficult. Can Wizards DG become the first champion to even make the playoffs next season? We’ll find out in a couple of months. Heavy is the head that wears the crown.
Retained Players: JBM, Newdini, Dayfri
A bit of a surprise to not see Just_Awkward get retained after an incredible postseason run, but the team valuing Newdini that high is impressive. We’re splitting hairs between two very good players, but as long as the JBM/Dayfri core is in place, this team will be able to fill in the gaps. It’s fair to wonder if ReeseDaGod or Awkward will get brought back if they make it through the Expansion Draft, but Wizards DG will have some work to do this offseason as their title defense begins.