The inaugural season for Lakers Gaming didn’t go as planned. Lack of consistency saw them trail in the standings and finish with the 2nd-worst record in the league. They went into the draft with 3 retained players, hoping that the franchise PG they needed would be there for them after they unluckily fell to #7 overall in the draft lottery. The good news? They seem to have found their guy. Two great picks to fill out their starting 5 instantly turned Lakers Gaming into one of the more hopeful squads in the league and one that could surprise people in Season 3.
The first-ever player-turned-coach in league history, Insanity comes over to Lakers Gaming after playing for Pistons GT last season. In terms of a hire, it’s a very good decision. His pre-existing relationship with multiple members of the team goes a long way and his 2K IQ was at the top of the league even as a player last season. There isn’t a precedent for what he’s doing, so his initial performance will be the scale for players-turned-coaches in the future. For now, it’ll be a fun experiment to watch play out in real-time.
Season 2 Team MVP: Kev
Kev, Mootyy, and Vert are all returning for another shot with Lakers Gaming and are hoping for a turnaround from last season. Kev is in that same boat. He came into last season as a hot prospect as a sharpshooter and while he didn’t start strong, he definitely finished that way. Week 11, he thrived. He scored 24, 27, 41 points in their last three games while shooting 63% from the floor at the PF position and finished strong enough for Lakers Gaming to bring him back for Season 3. He’ll return to his natural sharp position this season, and he’ll be looking to carry over his hot finish into this year.
Best Stat From Season 2: 37.7% 3-point%
In a season where perimeter shooting was all the rage, finishing last in 3-point percentage didn’t help things for Lakers Gaming. The lack of a true PG kept them from being a legitimate perimeter team and ultimately, dampened their offense. With Sav now in the mix, that 3-point percentage should get a big boost.
Finally, the point guard that Lakers Gaming was dreaming about last season is here. SAV was arguably the best west-coast player on the board and while he hasn’t been the most active player in 2K20, he is still an extremely talented point guard and should be their guy at the 1 spot for seasons to come. His adjustment to the stage will be the top focus for him in his rookie season. Playing a lot of 2K is one thing; helping the team with the 2nd-worst record in the league last season mature into relevancy is entirely different. He’ll have plenty of help though, especially on defense. Tactuk comes over to LA after coaching Bucks Gaming last season and he’s exactly what this team needed. He’ll be their defensive anchor at the lock position and be the on-court coach this team needs to keep them focused during huge moments. He’s a pretty good shooter too, and he’ll help with them on the perimeter in a huge way. Dweq is a fine 6th man and should be a good locker room guy for this team.
6th Man: Dweq
This Lakers Gaming team got the facelift it needed. The new editions in the starting 5 with Sav and Tactuk give them two elite talents to build around and reinforce their current core of Mootyy, Kev, and Vert. From a gameplay perspective, it’s an interesting fit. Sav is a through-and-through scorer with plenty of experience playing in a pick-and-roll offense, so Mootyy should definitely see a bump in his stats. Almost overnight, this team is set up as a very good perimeter shooting team. Kev, Tactuk, and Vert manning the 3-point arch means that Sav is going to have to evolve into more of a floor general to get those guys going throughout the season. There are few guys who can be a true one-man show in the league and while SAV has that potential, this team will likely only get to their ceiling if everyone gets to shoot. It’ll be up to him to make sure everyone on the starting 5 stays engaged and involved. Defensively, it’ll be a work in progress. Tactuk will take the lead on the perimeter and, on paper, Mootyy should take the lead in the paint. Mootyy, Kev, and Vert all struggled defensively last season and PG is likely going to be a non-factor again this season. The 3 of them are going to have to take a step forward as individual league defenders if this team is going to add more W’s in the win column. They have the talent to do it, but it’s easier said than done.
Season 3 Breakout Candidate: Mootyy
This is the year. Mootyy has yet to be on a team with a winning record or make the playoffs. We’ve seen plenty of talented Centers dominate in the league, but not many have been dealt the hand that Mootyy has the first 2 seasons. If there was ever a year to expect elite production from him, this is the year. Elite PG prospect, excellent perimeter shooters, a coach he’s played with for years, a clear leadership role, and a league build that seems to favor big men all amount to a season with no excuses for Mootyy. He’s got the talent and the situation. Now we’ll see if the production will follow.
Season Outlook: Can Only Go Up From Here
Lakers Gaming had a tough first season in the NBA 2K League, but things are looking up. A new coach, a new PG and lock can flip any team in a matter of a single season. This team should be a really fun one offensively and if they can find their rhythm on defense, they should be a really solid team. Their ceiling is a bit unclear, but SAV’s performance in the Bucks’ 3v3 offseason tournament shows that he is every bit the elite player the Lakers picked up at #7 overall. Mootyy, Kev, and Vert are going to have to step up this season. Regardless of what happened last year, they need to put it behind them and look ahead towards Season 3. Insanity is the perfect coach to help keep them focused. All in all, this team should be fun to watch to see if they can make deep tournament runs. Playoffs are not out of the question, but getting this team to a place where they are consistently playing well should be the initial focus.