Let’s get funky er…goofy! Grizz Gaming enters Season 3 with a new star in town after acquiring G O O F Y 7 5 7 from Knicks Gaming in one of the biggest trades in league history. This sets them up with an incredibly talented and formidable trio with him being added to the already-strong AuthenticAfrican/Vandi combo. Toss in the momentum gained from the end of last season, plus the continued improvement of Head Coach Lang Whitaker, and you’ve got yourself a true sleeper playoff team with enough upside to carry them deep into tournaments and possibly all the way to the Finals.
Coach: Lang Whitaker
Lang is heading into his third season as Head Coach of Grizz Gaming and turned a corner in the second half of last season as a coach. This is not an easy esport to wrangle, especially with such a distinct basketball and content background that Lang is bringing to the table. His improvement as a coach coinciding with a talent spike on this team could lead to huge things in Season 3.
Season 2 Team MVP: AuthenticAfrican
Vandi made a very convincing argument to be their Season 2 MVP, but AuthenticAfrican isn’t getting dethroned quite yet. A position change to center didn’t slow down the talented Canadian. He dropped 14.8 PPG, 11.8 RPG, and almost 4 APG, transforming into one of the league’s best bigs. His leadership was a huge reason for their late-season surge and while they fell just short of the playoffs, AA is primed for another great season and hopefully his first playoff appearance.
Best Stat From Season 2: 899 Total Points Allowed
They certainly aren’t thought of this way, but Grizz Gaming was an elite defensive team last year by the simplest of metrics: Points Allowed. They finished 3rd in the league in that category and their defense was a huge part of their late-season turnaround. Adding Goofy should hopefully improve that number ever more, which is a bit crazy to think about.
- Knicks Gaming
- Acquired: G O O F Y 7 5 7 and Knicks Gaming’s 2020 3rd Round pick & 2021 2nd Round pick
- Traded Away: 2020 1st & 2nd Round picks and their 2021 1st Round pick
2 1st round picks and a 2nd for Goofy is a massive package, the most ever dealt for a single 2K League player, but it’s not like he isn’t worth the price tag. Goofy is a tier 1 big man and has proven to be a force down low on both ends of the floor. Arguably the best rebounder in the entire league, Goofy is 2nd all-time in rebounds per game and led the league in rebounding last season despite playing 2 less games than the #2 and #3 ranked players. He is a through-and-through center so while you don’t gain any positional versatility, you are gaining a defensive anchor and an incredibly passionate player at the 5. Grizz Gaming is gaining a former champion who is hungry for more, plain and simple. Jrod and Lav are great additions as well. Jrod was the team’s sharp last season and is coming off a great offseason playing with his pro-am team RDG. Lav gives them another perimeter shooting option who can play 1-3 and also gives them a good 3-point shooter who can sub in during games.
C: G O O F Y 7 5 7
6th Man: Lav
Talking about the Grizz Gaming lineup for Season 3 gets the creative juices flowing. This team is incredibly flexible, able to swap out players at any position and keeping 5 very talented players on the floor at all times. Their projected lineup will serve as their base for this season, but wherever the meta goes, this team will be at the forefront of it. Vandi and Goofy are likely locked in at the 1 and 5 for the most part, but 2-4 can be changed 20 different ways and it all revolves around AuthenticAfrican. They can run dual ball-handlers with Lav and keep him at the 4, go heavy offense by moving AA to the 2 or 3, prioritize corner shooting by having Jrod play the 3 and maybe AA shifts over to a shooting build at the 4. The possibilities are endless. Add onto that the great season Vandi had last year! Vandi + Goofy + AA with his insane positional versatility + 3 very talented role players = a high ceiling.
Season 3 Breakout Candidate: DDouble
DDouble was a sneaky elite lockdown defender already last season and before you @ us on Twitter, take into account that he was also the highest-scoring lockdown defender during Season 2. With DDouble, it’s all about the situation. Last year, he was on a bit of an island defensively. This year? Him and Goofy get to bring the heat on stage and in their pick-and-roll defense. Not to say that AA isn’t a great defender, but… AA + Goofy is on a whole other level. Take all of those incremental changes and add them to a carved out role for him this season (compared to Season 2) and you have a player who is ready to take a leap. If there is one thing we know for sure about DDouble, it’s that he’s going to be in front of every camera and every opponent SCREAMING that he’s taking that leap!
Best Case Scenario:
This Grizz Gaming team is primed for a big run this season and the upside on them is extremely high. Trading 2 1st round draft picks for one player is risky, mostly because it’s only ever been done once in the 2K League, but when you trade for a player of Goofy’s caliber, you’re making your intentions clear: You’re going for a title. We’re not in the business of making official predictions, but if there is one thing we are sure about, it’s that nobody should want to play this team. Defensively, they are rock solid. Goofy and AA down low could be the best frontcourt combo in league history and DDouble should only keep improving at lock. Offensively, Vandi is going to be running the show and likely will bypass the slow start he had last year while he was acclimating to the stage. Is this team a true title contender? We can’t make that call until we see them play together. Are they really good on paper and match up well with most teams? Unequivocally. Their ceiling is high, but it’s up to them to hit it.