While Bucks Gaming has missed the playoffs the last 2 seasons, they head into Season 3 with 2 of the best players in the entire league in Arooks and Plondo. While their difficulties at point guard hamstrung the team last season, they were handed a gift with Regg, one of the best PGs in the class, falling to them all the way at #12 overall. With 2 great players and a heck of a draft class in hand, Bucks Gaming enters season 3 as a true dark horse contender, but not one without a few question marks.
We mentioned their question marks a second ago and their first one is the coach! They haven’t publicly announced a new coach yet after Season 2 coach, Tactuk, was drafted by Lakers Gaming.
Season 2 Team MVP: Plondo
When Plondo was drafted last season, it was instantly questioned and picked apart. Looking back on it now, he was worth every bit of that pick and then some. Becoming arguably the best offensive big man in the league, Plondo led all PFs and Cs in scoring and did it across both positions regardless of the competition. Add on top of that his elite passing ability and his excellent instinct for blocking shots, Plondo dominated the league all the way to a spot on the All-NBA 2K League 2nd team. His combination with Arooks was fierce and should only improve with more time and talent around them.
Best Stat From Season 2: 50.7% 3-point shooting
One of the best 3-point shooting teams in the league led by arguably it’s best 3-point shooter. Arooks was fantastic behind the arch last season, shooting 52% from 3. Outside of him, only 1 player on the entire team shot under 50% from long range, that being Plondo who only attempted 28 3s for the whole season. This was a very good perimeter shooting team last season, one that should carry over into Season 3.
Bucks Gaming was one of the only teams to not make a trade during the offseason. With Arooks and Plondo being retained, the team opted to focus on surrounding them with talent in the draft and on paper, they did that and some. Getting Regg at 12 is an excellent pick. He’ll obviously play PG, but on this team, the THREAT of him may be more valuable than his actual ABILITY. Last season, Bucks Gaming’s problem was that teams would either key in on Plondo down low or Arooks on the perimeter, as we saw with Arooks’ production slowing down in the 2nd half of the season. Regg coming in changes how defenses approach this team entirely, not allowing them to double anyone on the floor at any time. Pulling that extra defender out of the paint or away from the 3-point line opens up their entire offense and should allow Regg to feast as well. Defensively, Squidris and TDJ should make for a great pair, regardless of their position. Both have experience playing multiple positions and their ability to switch and defend anyone at the 1-5 makes them two of the most valuable draftees this season. Add in the great attitude of ChaChingSingh and the Bucks have easily their most talented roster in franchise history heading into Season 3.
6th Man: ChaChingSingh
The best part of this lineup is how many high-quality combinations you can put together. Their “base” lineup is already very good, but it allows them to ebb and flow with whatever the meta becomes in Season 3. TDJ and Plondo can switch at the 4-5 without missing a beat and Idris can play either the 2-3 at a high level to let Arooks play on whatever build suits him the most. Regg likely won’t move off of PG at any point this season, if he does something has gone very wrong. ChaChing could also be brought in to add more shooting to the starting lineup if they find their play is a bit too defensive heavy.
Season 3 Breakout Candidate: Regg
We can talk about how good Arooks and Plondo are until we are blue in the face, but Bucks Gaming’s ceiling in Season 3 is entirely based on the play of Regg. Regg has a ton of talent and from a chemistry standpoint is a perfect fit for this team. His ability to get to the rim and finish is a huge part of his skillset and the drive-and-kick potential of this team is through the roof. Add in the pick-and-roll/pop concepts they can throw at teams with Plondo and you have a true potential for an offensive powerhouse. Having 3 guys on one team who have the potential to score 20 points a game is truly something we haven’t seen in the 2K League yet, so we’ll see if Bucks Gaming is able to pull it off. However, rookie point guards are still rookie point guards and it may take Regg some time to figure out the league build and the stage. How long it takes him to get acclimated could decide their entire season.
Season Outlook: Season 3 Dark Horse..er….Buck
Being optimistic is healthy, but keeping expectations managed while hoping for more should be the way to go for every team. Bucks Gaming has a ton of talent, nobody will deny that, however, their goals this season should start in the middle and get bigger as the season goes on. For now, their goal should be to reach the playoffs for the first time in team history. You always want to aspire for more, but making the playoffs and getting your foot in the door is imperative. Our first 2 championship teams made the playoffs in wild ways and rode that all the way to the Finals. The Bucks have the talent to get to the title, but getting a top 4 seed should be the priority. Reach for the stars, so if you fall, you land on the clouds.