Warriors Gaming Squad planted their flag as one of the elite teams in the NBA 2K League last season, winning 2 of the 3 midseason tournaments (THE TURN and THE TICKET) and making it to the Final 4 in the playoffs. They have a stacked roster, a fancy new 1st round pick, and one of the best front offices in the entire league. With all those things in hand, why did they go 7-9 in the regular season? Did they get to comfortable, or was it something else entirely? We’ll find out for sure this season, but don’t get it twisted: This Warriors Gaming Squad group is coming for a chip.
Coach: Mike Check
Tommy Abdenour moved on from the team this offseason and is leaving some massive shoes to fill. He helped turn this team around and was a season-long contender for the Coach of the Year award. With him gone, WGS is turning to Michael “Mike Check” Newton to take the reigns. He’s an assistant coach for the Santa Cruz Warriors, the Warriors G-League team, continuing to cement the relationship between our two affiliate leagues.
Season 2 Team MVP: Bsmoove
The list of elite sharpshooters in the NBA 2K League is a very short list. Bsmoove made it very clear last season that he is in that elite tier. Bsmoove shot 56% from 3 last season and 55% from the floor at an 18 PPG clip. He was the MVP of THE TICKET in Orlando and helped lead the Warriors’ comeback season. Another year with a consistent roster will only help him build off an incredible Season 2.
Best Stat From Season 2: 2 Tournament Banners
Sometimes you want to get really deep into the numbers and find that one stat that gives you a upper hand in a sports debate. “Well, this guy shot 50% from the field on Friday on the road when it’s 72 degrees inside the arena.” Sometimes you need that, but other times, just bring up the wins (keep it simple stupid). There were 3 tournaments last season and WGS won two of them in very convincing fashion. They beat 76ers GC in the Finals of THE TURN and beat a red-hot Ramo and Pacers Gaming team in the Finals of THE TICKET. Yes, they went 7-9 in the regular season. Yes, it was very weird to watch them lose games after winning THE TICKET with the level of dominance that they showed. But at the end of the day, they won the tournaments and finished as one of the final 4 teams in the league. Sometimes, that’s all that matters.
WGS made our job easy by not having a crazy offseason. No trades for the reigning TICKET champs as they brought back 4 of their 6 players from last season. One of the players they did lose was Type, one of the best defensive players in the league. It’s very difficult to replace a guy like that, especially when you only have the 20th overall pi…wait…sorry, we are getting word that the second-best center in the draft dropped all the way to #20 and the Warriors picked up a massive steal! In one of the biggest surprises of the night, Slaughter dropped into their lap and gave them the best possible replacement at center. Slaughter played with Utah Jazz Gaming in Season 1 and averaged a double-double the entire season. It remains a mystery to many as to why he didn’t get back into the league for Season 2, but he couldn’t have landed in a better spot this year. He’s a great 2-way big man who dominates in the pick-and-roll offensively. He’s a pretty loud guy as well, so he’ll be a great player to put on stage again. This isn’t a team that needs to mess around with rookies, as they are clearly gunning for a title this season, so Slaughter was a perfect fit. Matty is a fine 6th man. He primarily plays PG, but he’ll be huge for getting the team prepared week in and week out.
6th Man: Matty
On paper, this roster is laugh-out-loud good. This team won two tournaments last year with CB13, self-admittedly, having a pretty mediocre season by his standards. He’s one of the best PGs in all of 2K, so expect him to take a huge leap forward this season. We’ve already discussed how good Bsmoove is, and his numbers will likely get a small boost if CB13 improves as well. Jinsanity is without question the “best never-talked-about player in the league.” He’s not even underrated, he’s just barely mentioned with this team and it’s a huge shame. He might be one of the 4-5 best role players in the entire league. Slaughter will take over for Type in the pick-and-roll this season, so his chemistry with CB13 and Bsmoove will be vital. This team is so good, we haven’t even had the chance to mention maybe the best perimeter defender in the entire league. Gradient was widely regarded as one of the best defensive players in the SZN 2 rookie class and he quickly proved those people right. He and Type were a brutal defensive combo last season and turned WGS into a bonafide powerhouse. Nobody got more stops in huge moments than Gradient and if the offseason is any example, he should be right back to his destructive ways. This team is fun to talk about in individual pieces, but you put them together and it sort of feels like the Power Rangers turning into a giant, mechanical Dragon. This starting 5 is lethal.
Season 3 Breakout Candidate: CB13
CB13 is much better than he showed us last year. Maybe it was him acclimating to the league build or to the stage, but whatever it was, it was a watered-down version of the guy we’ve seen dominate the pro-am scene. This year, the league-meta leans directly into his skillset of getting to the hoop and finding open guys on the perimeter. He’s not a great 3-point shooter, but he excels way more in a slash-and-kick offense. Lucky for him, that’s likely what we are going to get this season. There have been a ton of rumors about him dominated so far in preseason including an 81-point game(!!!) a few weeks ago. Everything is lined up for CB13 to take a huge step this season.
Season Outlook: Go, Go, WGS
That’s the last Power Rangers joke, promise. This Warriors Gaming Squad roster has an immense amount of 2k knowledge and talent, it’s a struggle to find as complete a starting 5 anywhere else in the league. Despite their talent, there are a lot of questions to answer about this team, starting with their head-scratching 7-9 regular-season record. There is also a big difference between surprising the league and being good and entering a season as a title contender, which they are. Despite these questions, this Warriors team goes into Season 3 as one of the few with a legitimate title shot on paper. Their combination of offensive prowess and defensive chaos gives them as good a chance as anyone to make a run for the championship. If they can keep focused, they should make the playoffs. But, if they play with their food too much like they did last year, they might not like the outcome.