With the third season of playing having to go remote, Knicks Gaming split two matchups during Week 2 of the NBA 2K League this week.
The virtual Knicks have returned! The NBA 2K League has kicked off it’s season via remote play, bringing some sense of normalcy back into the world. Knicks Gaming had a Week 1 bye, and in Week 2 played against Heat Check Gaming and Bucks Gaming. The new remote-play format has each matchup a best-of-three series, which then counts for one win in the standings.
Remote play for the 2K League was a strange affair. So much of the intensity and excitement of the 2K League was from the in person atmosphere, and the aggressive trash talk mid-match. I found myself missing it, and it’s an element I’m looking forward to enjoying whenever games can continue in person at the 2K League’s new venue in Manhattan.
The season started off with a bang, as the Knicks crushed Heat Check Gaming in a 2-0 sweep, winning both games by double digits. The next night Knicks Gaming were humbled by Bucks Gaming, getting swept 2-0. Here are some takeaways as Knicks Gaming’s season gets underway:
Duck is the real deal
The objective of the offseason was to acquire a point guard who could orchestrate an offense, and the Knicks found that in their second overall pick, Duck.
He is dynamic with the ball, snaking around picks and shows comfort in scoring from inside the paint and confidence in hitting threes. Duck’s scoring ability charging at the rim is a huge part of his game, and the Knicks haven’t had a player who can utilize space the way Duck can. It will be important to monitor the chemistry building between Duck and new center CantGuardRob, a relationship that will have to be solid if the Knicks want to return to the playoffs.
The positives of their relationship were seen against the Heat, where Duck and Rob put up back to back superb games in securing both victories. Rob had a double-double in each tilt, and Duck put up 28 points and eight assists in the first game, and 17 points and 13 assists in the second.
Watch the highlights from his BIG night on the court! pic.twitter.com/xXbim3Yvmq
— NBA2KLeague (@NBA2KLeague) May 14, 2020
OriginalMalik Is Still The Most Important Knicks Gaming Player
Spot-up shooter Malik is back, now at the shooting guard position. He returns as the most valuable member of this Knicks squad, as his ability to hit shots from deep is a big deciding factor in Knicks Gaming’s matches. Against the Heat, he was solid as usual, hitting a combined 18-of-36 from the floor, keeping the Heat’s perimeter defenders on their toes.
Through Duck’s attacking style, Malik is going to be needed in hitting deep threes via drive and kick passes.
CantGuardRob and BigRiM Need To Be Defensive Stoppers
The first two rounds of matches gave us a glimpse into what the defensive future holds for Knicks Gaming. Drafting CantGuardRob and BigRiM meant adding two players known for their defensive prowess, and we saw glimpses of what they can bring. RiM is playing the lockdown role at the small forward position, and he brought tenacity in jumping over picks and doing his best to limit opposing point guards scoring chances.
Defense is a team effort though, and there were multiple times where both Duck and Malik were caught out of position on defense, especially in the matchup versus Bucks Gaming—too often going for steals and leaving their man wide open.
Communication is key and is something to monitor moving forward.
OH MY ?
— KnicksGaming (@KnicksGaming) May 13, 2020
Knicks Gaming play next week against Raptors Uprising and Blazers Gaming, both of which currently stand undefeated. Week 3 will be a huge test of this team’s ability.