Welcome to the show, Charlotte! Head Coach BiggWest and Marketing and Team Operations Manager NachoTraynor take the reigns of the league’s newest NBA affiliated team as they hope to take their team of teal to the very top of the league. They picked up Type in the Expansion Draft, previously of Warriors Gaming Squad, to give them a defensive anchor and leader to build around. Based off this draft, this team plans on playing hard-nosed defense and shooting a TON of 3s. The team is very young and currently only has one league player with experience in their expected starting 5, but if this teams gels at the right time, they could be a serious force in Season 3.
BiggWest gets a crack at being the lead man after helping Hawks Talon GC with their drafting last season. He’s long in the tooth in his NBA 2K pro-am experience and it showed instantly during their drafting. The team he has put together so far has a couple members who have played together before, but most importantly, the team fits together very well on paper. Putting together an expansion team, especially in their first season, is one big puzzle. So far, BiggWest has all the pieces in the right places.
Expansion Draftee: Type
The MVP of THE TURN from Season 2, Type was the odd man out on a star-studded Warriors Gaming team that had to let someone go from their starting 5. Lucky for Hornets Venom GT, they were able to snatch up one of the best individual defensive players in the entire league. He finished 5th in the league in blocks despite playing in three fewer games than every other big man ranked in the top eight and finished 3rd in blocks per game. He’s a fantastic player to build around and allowed Hornets Venom GT to nab players that fit perfectly around him on both ends of the floor.
- Mavs Gaming
- Acquired: 2020 1st Round pick
- Traded Away: Mo
- Cavs Legion GC
- Acquired: 2020 1st Round pick + 2021 2nd Round pick
- Traded Away: Strainer + 2021 1st Round pick
- Heat Check Gaming
- Acquired: 2020 1st Round + 2020 2nd Round
- Traded Away: 2020 1st Round + 2020 3rd Round
BiggWest and Nacho made a flurry of trades this offseason and now famously have no trades left for this season. The good news is that they should feel secure in what they have. They drafted extremely well and picked five guys who are projected to fit well together. They tipped things off by taking one of the top PGs available in this year’s draft, Expose. To say his combine stats were ridiculous is an insult to how well Expose Him played. Here are the highlights: 87% win rate, 39.7 ppg, 12.6 apg, 84% true shooting and a PER of 33.9! Absolute insanity. The kid can flat-out play and it shouldn’t take him very long to figure out the league build.
They finished out the 1st round by selecting Snubby and Zae giving them two other Combine stars. Snubby might be the best shooter in the entire class, full stop. He put up some of the best shooting numbers in combine history at 91% true shooting and was top of the class in every other metric. Him and Expose are primed to get buckets from all over. Zae can score, but his talents lie in his immense two-way ability. Rebounding, stealing, passing, on-ball defense, this guy is an octopus on the floor and can really do anything asked of him at the wing or at the 4. Trap played with Expose on their pro-am team SelfTaught, so they are already familiar with each other. Trap is a formidable lock and should form an excellent defensive combination with Type. If they find they want a little more scoring down low, Gliz is a perfect 6th man for a team that needs a little experience off the bench. Also, pretty cool that every player on the team has a single word gamertag. Not important for on-court play, of course, but a fun note.
6th Man: Glizz
This is a really solid lineup for a team with only one Season 2 player in their starting 5. Don’t get it wrong, this is a pretty typical 1-5 lineup that will likely rely heavily on the pick and roll. It’s a safe option and one that proved to be exceedingly effective in Season 2, but we’ll see if that carries over to this season. Looking closer at the player mixes, the Expose/Snubby backcourt has endless scoring potential. If they hit their ceilings as rookies, they could be one of the best backcourt duos in the entire league. Same goes for Trap and Type on the defensive end. We saw those pick-and-roll combos define Season 2 and it separated the pretenders from the contenders very early on. Zae is an extremely talented player, so them keeping him in the corner might be a tough sell, but this team is solid 1-6.
Season 3 Breakout Candidate: Expose/Snubby
This is cheating, but choosing two players here! Expose and Snubby are tied to the hip. Snubby is going to rely on Expose to get him the ball in drive-and-kick situations and also coming off screens to get more room on the perimeter. Snubby should instantly be an excellent 3-point shooter and if Expose can finish at a high clip, that’ll just open up more space for Snubhub on the outside. There is a scenario where one does well without the other, but it’s more likely than not that this combo at the 1-2 is going to be neck and neck all season.
Season Outlook: Blinders On
This team needs to not care about expectations, predictions or scenarios. None of it. They are going to need a little time to gel and get used to the league build while also learning how to playing with each other. West, Nacho and Type are going to demand a lot of out this team and whether they can keep up is the biggest question of their year. The talent is there, the front office structure is there, the franchise player is there, but it will all come down to how the rest of the team fills in the blanks. Keep the blinders on, focus on improving every day, and good things will follow. A starting 5 full of mostly rookies may be tough to carry to the Playoffs, but this team has the talent to do it. You’re hoping this roster will get enough points outside the backcourt to keep up with opponents, but the defensive potential of this team is so high that it may not really matter. Does this team have true title contender possibilities? That remains to be seen. But for now, sit back, relax, and enjoy watching the young ones figure it out.