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Ivan Curtiss, head coach and GM of NetsGC, reflects on season 1 with playoffs in sight

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Chris Milholen spoke with Ivan Curtiss, the Nets Gaming Crew Head Coach and General Manager to talk about his team’s playoff situation, their expectations if they reach the playoffs, if the team’s first season went as expected, and Curtiss’ biggest takeaways from Season 1. 

NetsGC

For the Nets Gaming Crew, it’s gonna be close.

The NBA2K League are entering Week 12 of their second season. There are currently only three teams that have clinched the upcoming playoffs while the 13 teams are competing for the final five spots. The NBA2K League Playoffs tip off Wednesday, July 24 with the best-of-three quarterfinals and semifinals taking place over three days of game play.

NetsGC stands at 7-7 and have two huge game Friday, July 19 playing Pacers Gaming at 6 p.m. and Maus Gaming at 9 p.m. Outside of those two vital games, NetsGC will need some help from other teams in the league in order to clinch a playoff berth in their first season.

“Right now, we are sitting at 7-7 so seven wins and seven losses,” Curtiss said. “We play Friday 6pm and 9pm but prior to that, we are going to need some help. We have to go 2-0 this week and as it stands to what was reported to me is that we need Grizz Gaming to lose, Pacers Gaming to lose both games, and we have to win the point differential with Cavs Legion. That is where we stand in playoff contention.”

It is clear, the NetsGC playoff situation will not be solved solely on their play. They will need the help from other teams in order to clinch a playoff berth in their first season. If they can slip into the playoffs, Curtiss acknowledges that every team’s expectation is to win the championship and same goes with his team. He expects that if his team reaches the playoffs, expect NetsGC to make a run and compete but the experience for both his second year players and the rookies is what is worth noting.

“Obviously every team’s goal is to win the championship if they make the playoffs,” Curtiss told NetsDaily. “In my eyes, with my team, basically throughout the season we’ve shown signs of greatness and at times we have shown times of inexperience and mediocre play. I would not say it has been up and down but it has been more of a learning experience for a lot of guys who are just playing in their first season and another experience for the guys that were just drafted in the expansion draft. To take on new leadership roles with a brand new organization and team as well. I would expect us to make a run at it [championship] and compete.”

Back at the NBA2K League Draft, held at the Barclays Center in March, Curtiss told me he wanted to build a competitive and strong team on and off the stage. Now, with NetsGC battling to make the playoffs, Curtiss gives his team an A+ when it comes to looking back on the expectations set prior to their first season. Despite giving an A+, Curtiss expressed that with his talented six player roster, inconsistency took a big toll during the regular season.

“I think for me one of the words we use consistently in building this team and the organization is culture,” Curtiss told NetsDaily. “I believe if I had to grade on a scale it would have to be an A+. Our comradery together as a brotherhood we created on the stage and off the stage is unmatched. I’ve seen guys that really got along and accepted each other. I would not say we did not have a couple bumps here and there but overall I have been extremely grateful to know these six players over this length of time and I just see friendships as possibly build from this point till the rest of their lives. As far as the competition side, I know that we would be talented and it would just be one of those things of just trying to get everyone together on the same page at a rapid pace and being able to compete with the best players in the world. Like I said, I think we have just been inconsistent. Everything we have achieved to this point, it has not been a surprise to me. If anything was a surprise, it was just the inconsistency. Like I said, the talent is clearly there but it is about being consistent.”

As the head coach and GM, Curtiss helped mesh six players, some second year players and others rookies into an established NBA2K League team. When asked what his biggest takeaways from season one were, Curtiss stressed adjusting to New York City was one of his and his players biggest takeaways. His other takeaway was maintaining consistency off bye weeks, which was one of the biggest struggles his team faced all season.

“For me, living in a brand new city and just networking and knowing how to get around and engaging in different areas to help grow the brand, especially from that side of it as far as working with different sponsors, getting our name out there, and making us attractive in the community and things of that nature,” Curtiss told NetsDaily. “As far as the 2K side of it, learning different players, seeing what worked this year and building on that. Also learning how to players acclimated out to New York City as fast as you can. Most of the players come from smaller cities and rural areas while New York is a fast paced city with a lot of things to do. Not saying it was a distraction, but it takes some getting use to. I think overtime it is going to be a great experience for me and also just knowing what it takes to compete at this level consistently on a night to night basis. The biggest struggle for us was coming off bye weeks, which was something that was incorporated this season and our record coming off a bye week is not strong and we always went into bye weeks strong but coming off of bye weeks have been rough. Basically, getting players to stay focused on it and play at a high level every week.”

With season one nearing an end if NetsGC fall short of making the playoffs, Curtiss strongly believes the season was a success. Curtiss expressed his gratitude for the consistent support all season long and he and NetsGC will continue to engage with their fans, make an impact in the community, and continue striving to make the people of New York City know who they are as a team and an organization.

“First and foremost, I want to thank them for their support night in and night out,” Curtiss told NetsDaily. “We have definitely appreciated that and hopefully we displayed what can be in the future and myself and the people associated with NetsGC have worked relentlessly to make this one of the top organizations in the NBA2K League. We will continue to reach out with fan engagements, getting out into the community and basically making people in New York City and beyond more aware of who Nets Gaming Crew is and who we are striving to be.”