Well, this is exciting! The first EVER NBA 2K League 3v3 Steal Open. We’ve obviously had the Ticket on the 5v5 side over the years, but there is just something electric about the first EVER version of something. No historical data, no previous winners. Blank slate.
Here is what we do know. Every series from start to finish will be a Best-of-5. The #6 seed in the Western conference will be playing against an international 3v3 squad, T-Wolves Gaming vs. Team Europe. Each conference will have a 3v3 Steal winner, similar to the Ticket, they will serve as the #6 seed in the NBA 2K League 3v3 Championships. That’s it, that’s all we got! Let’s go matchup-by matchup and break down the teams as we go.
#7 Hornets Venom GT vs. #12 Magic Gaming
Let’s start with Orlando. When they made the trade for Duck, it was a bit strange because he was never going to give them that true “elite scorer” that Orlando has been looking for since I Reizey lost his touch back in Season 3. When they moved him for Unguardable, it all fell into place. Unguardable is already one of the 5-10 best pure scorers in the league and his torrential run through seed weeks was just another example of that. A 4-1 record for Orlando sets them as one of the “favorites” in this tournament, if those even exist. An objectively hilarious thing to talk about when referring to the 12 seed. Now, we see them matched-up against a very solid Hornets Venom team. It’s a good team, talent is there and I’m excited to see what Glennratty has up his sleeve. This is a huge “prove it” chance as he looks to put a real stamp on what has been a decent redemption season for him. From a broader perspective, these two teams are closer than they appear. Their win% are almost identical (47.4% vs. 46.6%) and if we’re matching talent, Orlando may have the edge as well. I’ll side with the upset on this one, Magic Gaming has been just too hot to handle.
#8 Raptors Uprising GC vs. #11 Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai
This is probably the funkiest 3v3 series in the whole Steal Open. Let’s start with Toronto because Raptors Uprising GC has been a rollercoaster all year long. Just when you think they’ve figured 3v3 out, they fall again. Fanta was on a heater during 3v3 seed weeks and clawed the Raptors Uprising GC back to the 8 seed. They seem to have figured out a decently consistent lineup, but we’ll see if it stays that way. Their recent history shows that it could be a flash in the or the start of an epic run, it’s a 50/50 call with no inbetween. However, this whole series is really going to come down to whether or not Gen.G plays any defense in this series. They have been the worst defensive 3v3 team in the East both statistically and by eye test. Offensively, they’ve been good at 19.1. If the Gen.G Tigers defense shows up, they could easily ~steal~ this series, so let’s side with the Tigers and give the Raptors a little bulletin board material.
#9 Grizz Gaming vs. #10 Heat Check Gaming
Tricky matchup, Grizz Gaming has been in almost complete free fall since they made the Final 4 of the Slam Open. They finished the Slam with 5 points…they now have 8. It’s been tough sledding in Memphis since they dropped that pivotal Game 6 to Wizards DG, but they have a chance to rectify that against a Heat Check Gaming team that we’re unsure if they’ve entirely figured it out yet. They have the worst win% of any team in the East in 3v3 and if you dig into it, it’s not difficult to understand why. They are easily the most inconsistent 3v3 team in the league. They rarely stick to one lineup, even inside of a single series, and despite Sav’s better play as of late, they’ve had real difficulties turning it into points due to that lack of consistency. I lean towards Memphis in this matchup because Bp is likely the best player, but Sav has shown some really impressive stuff these past few months. Close, but Grizz take it in my book.
#6 T-Wolves Gaming vs. Team Europe
We’ve all been waiting for T-Wolves Gaming to take control of this game mode all season and for some reason, they just haven’t. What’s weirder is that they have all the tools and all the stats to be a playoff team, it just took them way too long to figure it out. A 4-1 record during seed weeks means that narrative is probably done. When they are firing on all cylinders, they play like a 3v3 Championship level team, so that’s how I’m going to think of them throughout this tournament. The West side of the Steal is still pretty good, but I think T-Wolves Gaming is likely the favorite. Good luck to Team Europe, but they are running into a buzzsaw.
#7 Cavs Legion vs. #12 Blazer5 Gaming
I’ll save my overall thoughts on Blazer5 Gaming for the offseason because it’s been…ugly, to say the least, so let’s focus on Cavs Legion instead because they are actually trying to win games! Cavs Legion made a bunch of trades and while they will likely help them more on the 5v5 side, they were able to snag Antoine and he has been a boon for them so far. They made a great run through the Switch Open and despite a slightly lackluster seed week set, they are set for a nice run through the Steal. Again, not going to really break down Blazer5 that much, they are going to need something close to a miracle to win. Cavs in 3 or 4.
#8 Warriors Gaming Squad vs. #11 Mavs Gaming
I have absolutely no idea what to make of this series. I don’t know who is going to play, what the lineups are going to be, who is going to show up and play defense, and frankly I don’t think these two teams know either. This is a true “Ticket-esque” matchup featuring 2 teams with a lot of talent but really no sense of execution. Both teams have shown flashes of greatness in the mode, but to be honest, this series is a total toss-up.
#9 Kings Guard Gaming vs. #10 Jazz Gaming
This is going to a fun, yet sort of under-the-radar matchup. These teams are remarkably even. They had near identical win% for the whole season and finished with the exact same amount of points, but there is just one problem. The bottom has completely fallen out of the Jazz gaming 3v3 bus in recent weeks. An 0-5 3v3 seed week run saw them plummet to the bottom of the Western Conference standings, including a 3-1 smacking by this very same Kings Guard Gaming team. Odds are stacked against Utah, I’ll take the new-look Kings Guard Gaming.