NBA 2K League (SZN 3) TOP 10 ROOKIE Performers: Week 1 (written by TheReelPhilD)
Although many didn’t think it would happen until much later this summer, the NBA 2K League launched their third season this week but not the way the league is used to playing games. The launch was a virtual one where teams, who have been quarantined in their home markets for close to two months now, were able to connect and play games versus other teams out of the comfort of their homes (some out of their team facilities). This marked the first time in league history that any game in any season was played on a virtual platform instead of the the Long Island City studios.
Let’s get to the incoming rookie class. Every year the incoming class faces not only huge pressures when it comes to performing but they face the countless amount of other NBA 2K players who think they should have had their spot in the league. One bad game and these rookies are usually castrated on Twitter and called a “fake” “didn’t play his combine games” “overrated” and quite often “a bust”. This can be quite daunting for rookies, many of them only 18 or 19 years old and playing on the big stage for the first time, but I think the work-from-home atmosphere may have actually helped some of these guys. A lot of these rookies are used to playing PRIMETIME roles on their Pro-Am squads so the adjustment to playing a cone role in the league can be a big one and you won’t see too many cones make it onto these rankings.
In Week 1 of the season a total of 82 players took the virtual court in the NBA 2K League and 29 of them were rookies. That’s a pretty impressive number. If you take a look back at the TOP 10 Picks in the Season 3 Draft, 7 of those players were on the court this week and I can tell you right now not all of them made the TOP 10 Rankings.
Here is how it works. I’ve taken the official GMSC Ratings from the league Box Scores and put them in the GMSC Calculator which takes into considering the following: Points, Field Goals Made, Field Goals Attempted, Rebounds, Steals, Assists, Blocks, Personal Fouls and Turnovers. A score is generated for each player at the end of the game and then averaged out per games played. I’ve added a +1 for any player who played more than 4 games in Week 1 to make it fair on averages. THESE ARE NOT PERSONAL OPINIONS, THESE ARE TRUE GMSC Scores for each player and that is how they are ranked.
*Players are ranked by GMSC scores and not personal opinions
1. ShiftyKaii, PG, Gen. G Tigers (31.18 GMSC)
The #5 pick overall in the Season 3 NBA 2K League Draft did not disappoint and he arguable had the best debut of any rookie in league history. I was shocked to see the league had excluded Shifty from their PLAYER OF THE WEEK Voting because he definitely deserved to be up there but there is obviously a lack of respect for rookies early on in the season and Kaii wasn’t able to change that narrative despite his monster performances. The rookie PG had the best GMSC score in a single game in Week 1 of any player on the court when he scored a 43.9 last night in Game 2 versus Lakers Gaming. In that game he dropped 57 points on 23 of 40 shooting from the field while also recording 5 Steals, 4 Assists and turning the ball over only twice (for those who don’t know this is outstanding for a high volume Point Guard in this league). Overall the Gen G Tigers looked like a problem out West and many forget they managed to beat Blazer5 Gaming in the Spring 16 Tournament a few weeks prior to the start of the season. In six games played Shifty averaged a whopping 39.0 Points Per Game, 8.0 Assists Per Game and 3.0 Steals Per Game. This is incredible and I know it’s early but he emerges from Week 1 as my ROOKIE OF THE YEAR so far.
2. Bash, PG, Kings Guard Gaming (22.87 GMSC)
Early candidate for STEAL OF THE DRAFT or what? Bash, who by my own admission I knew absolutely nothing about coming into this season, shocked the entire NBA 2K League with his outstanding play at the point guard position in Week 1 of the Regular Season. The local California kid (great move to pick local players, I’ve always said it) was drafted in the 1st Round of the NBA 2K League Entry Draft a few months ago but was taken 17th overall and was the King Guard Gaming second pick after taking Crush with the #3 pick overall. Bash is a tremendous ball handling and playmaking guard who can also fill the bucket on a regular basis. The Kings Guard lost their opening game 2-0 against Warriors Gaming Squad but Bash was phenomenal and overall averaged 29.3 Points Per Game, 8.3 Assists Per Game, 3.0 Assists per game and shot 57% from 3-Point range going an impressive 16 for 28 from beyond the arc. Bash is essentially replacing former King Guard Superstar BP and if this is any indication as to how he is going to play in Season 3 you have to consider the King Guard Gaming a contender to make the playoffs.
3. Regg, PG, Bucks Gaming (22.60 GMSC)
“Regg continues to slip in this draft”. I would be shocked if Reg didn’t have those words tatted somewhere on his body or at the very least on his ceiling over his bed so he can look at it every single night before he goes to bed. Regg was a projected TOP 5 pick in the Season 3 NBA 2K League draft but as the first round went on he just kept dropping and dropping and dropping until the Bucks took a chance with him at #12. He was joining his good buddy ARooks and the Bucks were seeking a player who could finally run their point properly and take last year’s ROOKIE OF THE YEAR (in my books) and MVP Candidate Plondo’s game to the next level. Strangely enough Regg played on another level in Week 1 and showed he is going to be a star Point Guard in this league for years to come but Plondo had a terrible Week 1 and the two never engaged the way the team envisioned coming into the season. That’s a problem but it’s a problem they can fix. After the first round of games in Week 1 I had Regg as the #1 ranked GMSC player in the league but he was held in check by a strong defensive performance by T-Wolves Gaming on Friday and his numbers dipped. Doesn’t take away from the fact that he averaged 33.8 Points Per Game and 6.5 Assists Per Game in his first two (really four) games as an NBA 2K League professional player. Too bad Bucks Gaming went 0-4. Others need to step up.
4. Sav, SG, Lakers Gaming (18.38 GMSC)
I’m going to be the first to admit I did not expect to see a positional player other than Point Guard or Center sneak into the TOP 10 ROOKIES of the week let alone the TOP 10 PERFORMERS of the week but Sav did just that playing the Shooting Guard position and I’m impressed. The Canadian kid (although his Twitter page has an Estonian flag) continued the tradition of very good players joining this league from the Great White North. What shocked me a bit here is the fact that Sav was drafted as a Point Guard but the Lakers Gaming went with Dweq at PG and it kind of backfired despite Sav handling most of the ball handling duties in all their games. The Lakers looked awful in their opening series versus King Guard Gaming as their West Coast counterparts swept them in two games but they did show some fight in the series versus Gen. G Tigers and even took that one to three games. Sav had his best game of the week in Game 2 versus Kings Guard Gaming where he dropped 41 Points on 18 of 30 shooting from the field and 3 of 4 shooting from three point range. The only issue with Sav’s performances is that it didn’t exactly boost the rest of the team and don’t be shocked if we see Sav running the point next week when the Lakers Gaming take on Mavs Gaming and Blazer5 Gaming. I have a feeling this team starts the season 0-4 but Sav is living up to his 7th overall pick in the Season 3 NBA 2K League Draft.
5. Snubby, PG, Hornets Venom GT (15.35 GMSC)
This will arguably be the most controversial pick in the TOP 10 Rookies but again I don’t make up the numbers and this is where Snubby ranked among the new players in the league. Yes Hornets Venom went 4-0 total games and 2-0 in wins but they also have a tremendous roster from top to bottom where almost every position is productive. They reminds me a little of Warriors Gaming Squad last year where the team had a ton of success but their players never cracked the TOP 5 in any of my rankings because of their depth and how spreadout their scoring was. Snubby was originally picked as a Shooting Guard when the expansion Hornets Venom GT picked him 18th overall (their 2nd pick) in the Season 3 NBA 2K League Draft but the conversion was made sometime in the post-draft and it has worked for this team. The Hornets first pick was Expose at #6 and he was originally drafted as a Point Guard but a great management group found a way to place players in positions they could excel and where the team could win. Snubby’s best game in Week 1 was Game #2 in the team’s sweep of Cavs Legion GC where he scored 29 Points on 13 of 20 shooting and also had 3 Assists and 2 Steals. Snubby is not a high volume scorer so it will be tough for him to find his way into the TOP 3 but I doubt he or the team cares, they looked great this week.
6. Tactuk, C, Lakers Gaming (14.74 GMSC)
How is it possible that we have two Lakers Gaming rookies in the TOP 10 GMSC Rookies of the week yet the team went 1-4 in games and is now 0-2 overall on the season? It’s hard to believe but the Lakers, who were at times competitive in their games, don’t feel like a coordinated bunch and with the numbers that both Sav and Tactuk put up they should have won more than one game this week. Mootyy? Don’t ask, I have no idea where he was or why he wasn’t playing. I expected to see the big man at C and Lakers Gaming’s second pick (24th overall) playing on the lock. Didn’t happen. Everything about the Lakers lineup was weird and I’m sure we’ll have more clarity and see some changes in weeks to come. Tactuk is the former coach of Bucks Gaming and he will play a pivotal part in turning around this team’s fortunes as they head into a week of death playing against Mavs Gaming (PeteBeBallin) and Blazer5 Gaming (OneWildWalnut). Despite averaging 10.8 Points Per Game, 16.2 Rebounds Per Game and 2.2 Steals Per Game, I don’t project the Lakers rookie to be back in the TOP 10 next week. We shall see.
7. JBM, PG, Wizards District Gaming (14.24 GMSC)
Yikes! This is going to be one heck of a disappointing result and GMSC for JBM because as the #1 pick overall in any draft the expectations are high and this will no doubt bring all the haters out. The Wizards District Gaming’s prized rookie draft pick was ranked #1 overall in the recent Spring 16 pre-season scrimmage Tournament held by Hornets Venom GT but he was unable to parlay some incredible performances in that event into a top notch Week 1. Having said that, making the TOP 10 Rookies is an impressive feat no matter where you were drafted but I think the Wizards expected more. In his defense, JBM ran into the defensive juggernaut that is Raptors Uprising GC and in that series he turned the ball over 24 times in three games for an average of 8.0 turnovers per game. That will kill your GMSC score and it’s hard to recover from there. 24 turnovers in three games also won’t win you too many games but the Wizards looked good in their sweep of Magic Gaming in the PRIMETIME feature of Week 1 and in that series JBM averaged 18.0 Points Per Game, 8.5 Assists Per Game and turned the ball over only 5 times. His only downfall was his shooting where he went 1 for 7 from three point range. The Wizards are setup to win a lot of games this season with proper point guard play for the first time maybe ever and once JBM figures his shooting out they will be tough to stop. Still a good Week 1 for the superstar rookie.
8. Killeyy, C, Gen. G Tigers (13.30 GMSC)
Who drafted better than Gen G in the Season 3 NBA 2K League Draft? The answer is, and this is obviously arguable, the Gen G Tigers of Shanghai. Would you believe me if I told you that Killeyy was not the team’s first pick overall (we already know who that was) but that he was also not their second pick overall? Deadeye was picked 11 picks before Killeyy and it’s safe to say he is yet another STEAL in this draft class. The rookie big man has a lot to learn in this league and he’s going to be hit with reality pretty fast when he takes on Blazer5 Gaming and Mavs Gaming who have two of the best Centers in the world but I think Killeyy is up to the task. He was tremendous in both the series versus Warriors Gaming Squad and then versus Lakers Gaming where he had 40 total rebounds and was an efficient 13 of 15 from the field as he sat back and watched his star point guard and fellow rookie ball out as one of the best players of the league in Week 1. If the Tigers can find a way to get Killey more involved in the offense and play at a faster pace they are going to be tough to stop. I am calling Killeyy one of the most underrated Centers in this league and the fact that had made this list with the numbers Shift put up is impressive. Great matchup versus Kings Guard Gaming next week.
9. GlennRatty, PG, Heat Check Gaming (13.00 GMSC)
The Heat Check Gaming looked horrendous in every aspect of the game as they went 1-4 overall in games and started their season 0-2. Disappointing? Yes for sure. Shocking? Not at all. This is kind of a rebuild for the Heat Check Gaming and Head Coach/GM Famous has his hands full with so many rookies. That’s not an excuse by any means because Gen G have just as many rookies and are going to live and die by the rookies but if Famous can take anything away from this first week of the regular season it’s that he has a Point Guard. Glenn was taken 8th overall in the recent Season 3 NBA 2K League Draft and was one of the “elite” class of rookie point guards entering this draft. He has a lot to live up to because several analysts had guys like Regg before Glenn or at least right after. This was still the right pick. The only concern for me is how long can Hotshot take the losing and the process of teaching these rookies how to adjust to the league? He hasn’t said much so far but if Hotshot wants out, this team could fall apart in a heartbeat. The connection of Hotshot-GlennRatty is a vital one and one that did not really work in Week 1. Ratty had his best game of the season in Game 1 versus Mavs Gaming where he dropped 27 Points on 12 of 24 shooting and turned the ball over only 3 times. This will have to happen every game for things to turn around for Heat Check Gaming. Ratty has a meeting with fellow rookie TOP 10 PG pick JBM next week.
10. Gen, SF, Gen. G Tigers (12.97 GMSC)
I get this is confusing for many because the name “Gen” in there twice but for those who casually follow the league just know that it’s accurate and Gen G drafted a guy called Gen. How impressive is this that 3 of the TOP 10 GMSC Scoring rookies for Week 1 are from the expansion Gen. G Tigers? Gen came into the Season 3 NBA 2K League Draft touted as the best overall sharp shooter available in the draft. Did he live up to that in Week 1 of the Regular Season? I would say so. The #34 Pick overall in the draft averaged 15.2 Points Per Game and shot 32 of 59 from the field (54%) and hit a total of 26 three pointers in six games going 26 of 43 (60%) from beyond the arc. That’s some sharp shooting and thinking down the line how good can this team be with their super trio of rookies playing the three prime positions in this league (PG, C and Sharp)? Combine that with one of the best defenders and league veteran TURNUPDEFENSE and this team is not to be ignored. Gen is the only Small Forward sharp to make it into the TOP 10 Rookies and only ReeseDaGod of Wizards District Gaming had a better average GMSC score than Gen did of every player that played the position in Week 1. That includes guys like ARooks, NateKahl, ToXsik and Goddof2K. Impressive stuff.
*Since I listed 10 rookies instead of 5 there is no HONORABLE MENTIONS category this season. Instead I’ve opted to list players rankings by position in a separate article