With the retainment period over and the trade window closed, we’re officially onto Draft Season. In attempts to avoid mock drafts and everything that comes with them, I present to you ‘Draft Day Blueprints’. In this series, we’ll talk team-building strategies and discuss different paths each NBA 2K League team could go down with the remainder of their respective offseasons. We’ll start with Lakers Gaming at No. 1 overall and go from there. Let’s get into it.
**********Picks do not reflect player rankings by any means**********
Next up: Heat Check Gaming
Roster: TBShiftay (G/F), Hotshot (C), Deedz (F)
Draft Selections: No. 7. No. 29, No. 43
Heat Check Gaming’s 2020 performance was one to forget. After what was considered an impressive draft haul last February, many expected Miami to at least make the playoffs. Ultimately, the team went 5-11 and once again find themselves in the same situation they were in a year ago: looking for backcourt help, specifically their point guard of the future (no, it’s not Hotshot).
There was definitely a bright spot for Heat Check Gaming last season though. Shiftay is a legitimate NBA 2K League talent (selected No. 13 overall in 2020), putting together a solid rookie season despite Miami’s shortcomings on the court. Shiftay posted averages of 12.2 points (65%), 2.2 assists, and 2.8 steals per game.
In addition to Shiftay, Miami also rosters Hotshot (C) and Deedz (PF), with selections No. 7, No. 29, and No. 43 in hand. Let’s get started.
Pick No. 7:
After the GlennRatty (selected No. 8 in 2020) and Delusion (selected No 41 in 2020) experiments didn’t work out, Miami almost has to go point guard with their first pick. I don’t see Pacers Gaming or Pistons GT taking a chance on AntSZN (zero inside information on this), but I could absolutely see Heat Check going this direction.
Crucify me if you want, but we’re talking strictly 2K skills. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: AntSZN is the most talented point guard in this class and something drastic would have to happen to change my mind on that.
Of course, Famous might want to avoid the controversy, which is fair, and go with a different prospect. Who else could be there? Well, Pacers Gaming (No. 2) and Pistons GT (No. 4) are virtually guaranteed to select point guards. Both Gen.G and CLTX Gaming are candidates to take top shooting guards Rigby and 630. What I’m saying is, the backcourt options could run thin, even by the seventh overall selection.
Other choices could include AWalkingBucket, Greenlight, or HoodieDre, but everything comes down to preference and who’s left on the board. We’re hypothetically drafting AntSZN and moving forward.
Pick No. 29:
We went with our hopeful point guard of the future with the first pick of the night. Between Hotshot, Shiftay, and Ant, we have talented 2K players at all three of the most important positions in the game (Lock, PG, C). Our last couple of picks need to address a few needs. First and foremost, we need a starting shooting guard that compliments Ant and Hotshot in the pick-and-roll.
If you’ve watched Ant, you know his shooting guard plays an important role in the offense. Tunnel Vision sharpshooter, EG4HUNNID, took advantage of the attention opposing defenses gave his starting point guard, dexing his way to open looks often. We’re aiming to give Ant a similar backcourt mate in the league, and at the end of the day, we need an unconscious, quick-trigger shooter.
Caliraq couldn’t be a more perfect fit in my opinion. After Rigby and 630, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more talented rookie shooting guard prospect. He’s everything we mentioned above offensively (unconscious, quick-trigger shooter), as well as being a quality defender, making him a hypothetical steal at No. 29. I’d include other options, but the more I write about it, the more I love the idea of Caliraq to Miami, so that’s what we’re going with.
Pick No. 43:
With No. 43, there’s a few directions we can go. Depending on how comfortable Famous is with Deedz as his opening day power forward, we might want to take a frontcourt player. Then again, we just took a chance on a controversial point guard in the lottery, so maybe we use No. 43 as lead guard insurance instead.
Or, what if we just picked a player that can do it all? Based on how this ‘mock’ has went, RipRell feels like the perfect fit here. Rell, known for his versatility, just impressed during the FIBA Esports Open, recording 100 points in a single game for Team Canada.
Selecting a player with versatility and upside while simultaneously addressing multiple team needs is something I can get behind.
With the selections of Ant, Caliraq, and Rell, we’re left with a 2021-2022 Miami Heat Check Gaming roster of:
Point Guard: AntSZN
Secondary: Pick No. 29 (Caliraq)
Power Forward: Deedz
Sixth Man: Pick No. 43 (Rell)
Let me know what you think or if you’d do anything differently drafting for Heat Check Gaming. Likes, retweets, feedback, etc. always greatly appreciated. Twitter: @aarontfox. YouTube: SM3.