Jazz Gaming had the #1 overall pick last season but finished the season at 8-8 and missed the playoffs. Along the way, they picked up Compete’s good friend and former pro-am teammate, Lotty, to add to their core heading into Season 3. Ria, the Season 2 #1 overall pick, started off the season slowly but finished as the top pick in every draft should. He dominated down the stretch and planted his flag as one of the top players to watch heading into Season 3. They picked up an electric player in Splashy during the draft to play at PG and topped it off with a talented rookie in GetOnMyLevel and a grizzled veteran in Lord Beezus. With 4 1st round picks now in their starting 5, Jazz Gaming enters the season as one of the deepest teams talent-wise in the league. But, with no playoff appearances to speak of yet, will this be the year they finally make it to the big dance?
Coach: 2kCompGames (Comp)
Comp spent his first season as coach playing catch-up. Jazz Gaming found their starting 5 early in the season, but there always seemed to be a leak that he was trying to cover up like a cartoon character on a sinking ship. Once he figured out one thing, something else would pop up. The defense finally working? The team can’t score. Ria finally gets going? The team is already out of the playoffs. He enters Season 3 with a fresh perspective and a star-studded starting 5. He and Compete made the decision to have him move off of PG and give the keys over the Splashy, a very bold move from two very smart 2K minds. One that may very well decide Utah’s entire season.
Season 2 Team MVP: Ria
Did he have a slow start to his rookie year? Yes. He was still good, but not #1 overall pick good. Once we hit mid-season though, he became a man possessed. Ria finished as one of the best 2-way big men in the game, leading the entire league in blocks while becoming one of only 2 players to average at least 15 points and 10 rebounds a game. He almost single-handily clawed Jazz Gaming back into the playoff race alongside their new addition of Lotty. With an experienced big man in Lord Beezus projected to play next to him down low and an electrifying new PG in town, Ria is looking at a huge year.
Best Stat From Season 2: 145 Total Forced Turnovers
This is the reason they are moving Compete to lock to play next to Lotty. They were last in the league this past season in forced turnovers, and for a team with a point differential of only -19, that could’ve been the difference between making the playoffs and missing it. A lack of steals from their wings and guards made it tougher for them to get out in transition and score easy points. Expect that number to flip this season with a new defensive structure.
57. Lord Beezus
Their “offseason trade” was acquiring Lotty at the deadline last season for MOAM, so they were set from a veteran standpoint going into the draft. Coming out of the draft though, they are in a really interesting spot. Splashy was a fantastic pick, one of the best energy guys in the entire class with an awesome skill set makes him a perfect addition to a roster that needed a jolt. He’s an excellent shooter, knocking down 67% of his 3s during the combine and putting up and unfathomable 94% true shooting percentage. Filthy. His steal numbers were off the charts and he also had one of the lowest AST:TO ratios of any player in the draft. Elsewhere, GetOnMyLevel might not have a clear path to a starting spot, but wherever he plays he’s going to score like crazy. A 33 ppg scorer during the combine, he and Splashy could be one of the most fun rookie combos in the entire league this season. To cap off a fascinating draft, they picked up Season 2 vet Lord Beezus from Pacers Gaming. Beezus spent most of last season switching back and forth with Ramo at PF and C, but he’ll likely man the PF spot this season or be a high IQ 6th man who can come off the bench and deliver some shutdown defense. All in all, it was the kind of draft you’d expect Comp to have.
SF: Yeah I Compete
PF: Lord Beezus
6th Man: GetOnMyLevel
Quick disclaimer, this team could put out about 15 different lineups this season. Last year, that may have been a cause for concern, however, this season that could work in their favor. They have a great mix of defensive-minded veterans and offensive young guns to match up with just about any team in the league. If a team has a strong 4-5 combo, they can throw Beezus in there to give them problems with Ria. If they match-up with a team that is weaker on the wings defensively, they can move Comp or Lotty to PF and have GetOnMyLevel slide in at the 2 or 3 to deliver some essential perimeter scoring. The key this season is going to be the wing combination of Lotty and Yeah I Compete. Ria and Splashy are going to be able to get buckets this season, there are few who are questioning that. However, wing defense was an issue for Jazz Gaming last season and they are throwing two guys with great chemistry and experience playing together at that problem. It will be Compete’s first season not playing PG in the league and how quickly/well he acclimates will determine a lot for Utah. Lotty was fantastic at lock last season, but he doesn’t seem to want to head back there. He’s much more comfortable at the SF or PF position, so it’s up to Compete to lead the defensive charge for Jazz Gaming.
Season 3 Breakout Candidate: Ria
How can an elite big get even better? Do it for a full season. Ria was a bit upset to not be included in the Rookie of the Year race last season, so he is coming into this season with a chip on his shoulder. We saw him get a taste of his potential in the league last season, but the door is wide open for him to step into the upper echelon of big men in the league. The league meta seems to be trending towards Centers and Ria is going to be right there waiting.
Most Likely scenario: Tough out, Cinderella Story?
Without making a horrible skiing joke involving mountains, this Jazz Gaming team could be on a gondola heading straight to the top of the league. The talent is there, the coaching is there, the star power is…powerful, and they have some of the most talented rookies around. The farthest they made it in any competition last season was the Final Four of THE TURN in Vegas, but they should be able to make a couple of deep runs this season, including one into the playoffs for the first time in team history. If Splashy gets hot towards the end of the season, we could see a potential run to the title out of this team. This team is going to be a grind in every single matchup this season. There are just too many elite facets on this team to keep track of. Backcourt scoring, wing defense, down low dominance from Ria, and Splashy getting hyped on stage should define a really fun and innovative Jazz Gaming team. If Splashy gets hot to start the year and stays that way, the sky is the limit.