In what proved to be one of the most fun and chaotic weeks in league history, the first ever Slam Open/Ticket combo week completely lived up to the hype. Insane games, breakout performances, award race shake-ups and much more, this week is cemented on the yearly calendar as one to look forward to from here on out. We had four great days of games, so let’s go through the top 4 storylines to come out from this week.
1. Magic Gaming Has (Finally) Arrived
It might be a bit weird to say about an original 17 franchise, but it’s 100% true. Magic Gaming is officially a contender. Turns out, acquiring players who are really good at scoring does wonders for an offense. Even better is realizing that and trading for 2 of the best that the league has right now. The Unguardable trade should go down as one of the best in history for Orlando. Not just season-altering, but franchise-altering. Unguardable is the present and future of Orlando and if we’re being honest, maybe the PG position as a whole. Look across the league, would you say there is a definitive “best” PG in the league this year? Unguardable may not be there yet, but if Coach Jonah can push the right buttons, he could be there by next year. We’ll save the rookie of the year stuff for another article, let’s revel in the great victory that is Magic Gaming making the playoffs for the first time. Winning the Steal Open and getting out of the East in the Ticket is a truly incredible accomplishment.
2. Mavs Gaming’s Signature Moment
NBA 2K League history has not been very kind to Mavs Gaming. It’s loaded with a lot of pain, a lot of bad losses and missed opportunities, but most importantly, it is empty. No banners, no playoff wins, no individual awards, nada. But finally, they have their moment. A fitting one too, The Ticket is an outrageous tournament to win. The best of 1 format leads to a lot of weird and unfortunate circumstances, but it’s without question the most satisfying tournament to win for any time. That feeling of your season not quite being over yet is unparalleled. So, they finally have their banner. Maybe now, they’ll get their first playoff win!
3. The Curious Case of Sick One
I wanted to devote an individual section to one of the most underrated players ever, Sick One. He’s very likely not underrated for everyone, but the general consensus has never had him up there with the Ria/Walnut/Dayfri crew and maybe we should. He, along with his brother Legit, became the first player to complete the banner chain, doing it as the MVP of the Ticket to finish it off. He won the Tipoff and Turn with Raptors Uprising GC in Season 3 as a part of the greatest regular season team in league history. Even outside of that, his fingerprints are all over this league. From his 1st round pick snub in Season 1 leading to an incredible season in Cleveland as the first pick of the 2nd round, to his infamous trade to Toronto in the middle of the Turn tournament in Season 2. His career totals at center put him top 5 at almost every major positional category and he’s now won the most banners of any center in league history. Is he the best center ever? Maybe not, but does he deserve some conversation to be on the Mount Rushmore? Absolutely.
4. Championship Time
We’ve played over 1300 games in the NBA 2K League this season. Crazy right? Upsets, comebacks, reverse sweeps, record breaking performances, Season 5 has been a very special one, but it’s finally time to crown a real winner. On the 3v3 side, I have absolutely no idea what to expect. Does stage experience matter if no one has ever competed for this kind of money in this game mode before? Are we technically starting everything from scratch? It’s hard to say. 3v3 has thrown us around this year, but it’s about time we officially give the title to a team and have them be the official “team to beat” going forward. On the 5v5 side, I have an official take: This is the most wide open NBA 2K League 5v5 Championship in league history. No one is safe, there really isn’t one favorite to point at and say “they are likely going to win.” It really is going to be pure chaos. You could make 5 reasons why each team is going to win or lose and I would likely agree with you. We’ll do a full preview for each championship, but if you’re looking for a very, very, very early prediction, I say Bucks Gaming wins the 3v3 title and 76ers GC wins the 5v5 title. I hereby announce my right to change those picks as we get closer to gametime, but that is where my head is currently at. Either way, I can’t wait for next week. For now, I’m going to go to sleep because that was a crazy week.