Barclays Center hosted the 2019 NBA 2K League Draft Tuesday night and NetsGC, the Nets NBA2K League affiliate, used the event —their first big one since the team was formed— to give gaming fans a look at what to expect from Brooklyn’s newest pro team.
The Brooklynites are one of four new teams that joined the league back in August, after 17 teams competed for the NBA2K’s first championship last year, won by the Knicks. Brooklyn’s new professional gaming team liked the idea that the draft was held in their city and in the arena where they’re likely to have their studio space. For the NBA, it was an opportunity to show off their newest venue in their newest venture, esports.
“It is great,” Ivan Curtiss, the NetsGC GM and Head coach told NetsDaily. “My first year being in the league, as a GM and Head coach, the organization that I am with, having the draft right here in Brooklyn, it means a lot to us and ultimately, it’s going to mean a lot to the city once they recognize they have a pro NBA2K League team here now.”
oShockey, who was selected in the expansion draft back in September by NetsGC, was not only excited about the draft being held in Brooklyn but said he and the franchise are ready for the journey ahead. The NetsGC will tip off its season on April 2
“It feels good,” said oShockey whose real name Moshood Balogun Jr.
“Just knowing that Brooklyn has a new expansion team and having the first draft in Brooklyn, it big. Just excited for new things to come here and looking forward to establishing a culture and building that Nets championship team here in Brooklyn.”
Nate Kahl, who won the NBA2K League Championship with Knicks Gaming last year, knows what a boost it is to a team to host the draft. Last year, the draft was held in Madison Square Garden.
“I think it’s really cool cause last year it was at Madison Square Garden so this year, being in Barclays, and work out the hometown heroes, its cool,” Kahl told NetsDaily.
With NetsGC one of the new teams in the league, expectations should not be too high right? Well, the NetsGC team are aiming for the top but it will be a process.
“For me, its to build a competitive and strong team on and off the stage,” Curtiss said. “I want relationships built more than anything. I want guys who are ready to take pride playing for NetsGC, building relationships necessary to build chemistry when it’s time to come.”
Kahl has a similar approach as his GM and Head coach Curtiss.
“We want to establish a culture here more so than anything,” Kalh added. “When I mean that, I mean being brought on and off the court and we want to win as well.”
oShockey on the other hand, says there’s one expectation; and that is winning a championship.
“Expectations is championship,” oShockey said. “We selected Nate (Kahl) with our first pick bringing a champion over from Knicks Gaming. Just having that, setting the tone for the rest of us, to inspire to get to his level so I think that huge for us to establish that expectation.”
“Just knowing that coming into the season, we take each step at a time. Knowing that our first short term goal is to win a tournament and build from there and getting to our long term goal of winning a championship. It good for us to build that culture and chemistry early and keep on building and getting better as a team each day.”
Since the season is less than a month away, the four new players selected in the Draft will not have too much time to get situated. To NetsGC, that should not be a problem.
“The majority of the players that are in the pool, they have played 2K for a nice amount of time,” Curtiss said. “I think they pretty much have an idea what goes along with being a pro 2K player. Also, my reputation in the community, I think it will transfer over to incoming prospects that are coming to NetsGC. I think that, along with Nate and Shockey being veterans, I think that will help us move us a lot farther along than most teams having high character guys such as them.”
oShockey is on the same page as his GM and head coach. He believes once the chemistry and relationships are built, there should be no problems.
“Like Curt said, all of us have been playing 2K for a number of years now so that’s out of par,” Shockey said. “Its just now gelling as a team on and off the court and just establishing and building those relationships with each other. Once we get our chemistry down, we will be fine.”
“I want to establish that we respect each other and bring a culture. Indiana, from my experience, was very family oriented, I felt that definitely bringing that over to Brooklyn will help alot and competing for each other everyday. When we have our scrimmages, dab each other up, and building that brotherhood.”
Kahl who is coming off a championship, believes his experience along with oShockey’s will be a valuable tool when incorporating the new players to their team.
“Me and Shockey both have experience when it comes to going through an entire season; in Shockey’s case half a season, but we will be able to bring experience to them and teach them the ropes.”
“First and foremost, leading by example and setting a president.” Kahl said. “I also bring a strong defensive mindset on the court, that’s something I always pride myself in and I know that’s how I am as a player. Those two things make out to be a good recipe.”
When Curtiss selected Shockey in the expansion draft, it came as a surprise to many.
“Most definitely,” Curtiss said. “I want to think that over the years, I’ve created a unique mind to seek out talent and to take that talent and blend it with chemistry and being able to work along with other players and achieve team goals.”
“Ultimately, we built this team around defense. Looking for defensive minded players that can score as well. We want “we” over “me” players and i think that is huge when you talk about anything team. Get players that are all about team.”
Going into the draft, Curtiss, with the help of Nick Gartrelle, a draft consultant for NetsGC, wanted to build his team around defense and make sure he drafts team players, not ‘me’ players.
“Ultimately, we built this team around defense,” Curtiss told NetsDaily. “Looking for defensive minded players that can score as well. We want “we” over “me” players and i think that is huge when you talk about anything team. Get players that are all about team.”
Well, it did not take long for Curtiss to fulfil his surprises. With the 12th pick in the first round, he selected Wavy, real name: Isaiah Hancock. At the time of the selection, the draft crowd burst into excitement. Wavy is local, a native of the Bronx.
Here is the full list of NetsGC players selected in the draft..
12th Overall- Isaiah Hancock, known as Wavy, who plays Guard (From Bronx, NY)
31st Overall- Aziz Salem, known as Shuttles, who plays Center (From Orlando, FL)
46th Overall- Joel Lazu, known as Lavish, who plays Guard (From Milwaukee, WI)
65th Overall- Charles Newell, known as iiTzChas, who plays Forward (From Naples, FL)
All players will be signed to a six-month contract, with first-round draft picks to be paid a base salary of $35,000 and all other players being paid a $32,000 base salary. Beyond the base, which is equal to what a G League player makes, there’s prize money.
Now that the NetsGC team has filled their six player roster, they can prepare for their first NBA2K League season. Curtiss explained his role prior to the draft.
“My role is basically to manage the players from day-to-day on the GM side of things, make sure a lot of things are covered from the business aspect,” Curtiss told NetsDaily.
“As for as coaching, I am more of a players coach. I take a lot of input from my players and I am looking forward to do that with the players. I want to be as transparent as possible, an open door relationship, and want to be more than just a GM and coach for my players; I want them to know that I am here for them and know that they have someone that supports them on and off the video.”
The NetsGC team had a message for the readers of NetsDaily on why they should watch and tune into their new gaming team.
“NetsGC, you are going to see that we play hard, each and every game, it’s going to be fun, exciting, and see a new style of basketball,” oShockey told NetsDaily. “If you like defense, like harassing the opposing team, you definitely are going to want to tune in. Lot of fast break highlights.”
“Its something fun and it’s extremely relatable,” Kahl told NetsDaily. “Its 2K but it’s also basketball so there’s that cross connection between the two and it’s very easy to watch and get into. And it’s only season two so it’s going to bring bigger and better things.”
Brendan Donohue, who is the NBA2K League Managing Director, told reporters why fans of the NBA should follow this league and get interested in esports.
“I would say come to the studio,” Donohue told reporters. “Come to the studio space and experience that energy, passion, that competition. It’s the elite playing, It’s the best in the world playing a game, and that’s really interesting to watch. No different than any other traditional sport.”
And where will the NetGC studio be located? Nothing firm, but the rumor is that the small practice court off the main entrance is a good bet.