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: Pacers Gaming
Roster: Wolf (F/C), Swizurk (G), Jomar (G/F/C)
Picks: No. 2, No. 26, No. 40
Pacers Gaming underwhelmed during the 2020 season, a common trait for these teams picking high in the draft. Everybody has their opinions on why or where things went wrong, but at the end of the day, the BOHIO experiment didn’t work out. After the team spent a high first-rounder on a point guard last season, they’ll most likely be looking to do the same with the No. 2 overall selection in the upcoming draft.
It’s not a bad year to be in the market for a point guard, as there’s really only a few starting positions available across the league (3 total; Pacers Gaming, Pistons GT, Heat Check Gaming). With Lakers Gaming expected to take Krazy at No. 1, Indiana will have the first choice of available point guards.
In addition to No. 2, Pacers Gaming has selections No. 26 and No. 40 in the upcoming draft, with a lineup of:
Lock: Wolf (?)
Power Forward: Jomar (?), Wolf (?)
Center: Wolf (?), Jomar (?)
A lot of question marks on that depth chart, except for Swizurk, who’s essentially assumed the starting shooting guard role for Pacers Gaming since coming into the league. Where will Jomar play? Where will Wolf play? We can assume they’re going with a point guard at No. 2, who’s available? Well, everybody.
Off-the-court issues aside, this draft has a clearcut No. 1 point guard prospect, but the problem is, that prospect might not fit with Pacers Gaming. If Indiana is drafting for talent and talent alone, AntSZN is the pick here. AntSZN has played the point guard position at the highest level, against the toughest competition for a few years straight now.
If Pacers Gaming opts to look at other options, there’s still plenty of talented point guards outside of AntSZN. Mock drafts have been all over the place with who they might select, including Greenlight, AWalkingBucket, and HoodieDre.
Harris aka Sportstein aka the person who set Twitter ablaze with his big board recently, mentioned Fanta could be a potential fit here. Pacers Gaming has always valued players that thrive in content but content isn’t the only thing Fanta thrives with; he’s a hell of a scoring guard and seems to possess the cool, calm demeanor needed to play 2K at the highest level. While others may see this pick as a reach, it actually makes a ton of sense when you dig deeper.
On to pick No. 26. Right now, we have our backcourt solidified with Swizurk and the No. 2 pick. With versatile players in Wolf and Jomar, Pacers Gaming can really go any direction with No. 26 and should take the best player available. Based on how their previous point guard selections went, I wouldn’t dismiss the idea of using back-to-back picks on ball-handlers, but let’s pretend Indiana is comfortable with their guards at this point (pick no. 2, Swizurk).
Time to make a few decisions. Let’s say Pacers Gaming declares Wolf as their starting lockdown. Now you have Jomar who can man either frontcourt position, even logging minutes at point guard to close out the 2020 regular season. With No. 26, all signs would seem to point towards Pacers Gaming selecting a big, whether it be a center or power forward.
While KayAus might not be available this late, he’s the prototypical prospect for Indiana at No. 26, a talented big man who’s proven his ability and worth at both frontcourt positions. Other names that might interest Pacers Gaming include Shuttles, oLarry, or BigReign. If you take previous Pacers Gaming rosters into account, the organization clearly values versatility, and rightfully so. Each of these players are capable of playing both the power forward and center positions.
Final pick, No. 40, is up next. With a team’s sixth-man selection, and this will be a recurring theme, versatility usually reigns supreme. However in this case we’ve already put together a versatile roster, with at least three starters capable of moving around the lineup (Wolf, Jomar, Pick No. 26).
I could see Indiana re-drafting NateKahl here. Selecting a professional with three years of NBA 2K League experience with your final pick is never a bad idea, and by all accounts, he enjoyed his time with the organization and vice versa. I’m going a different direction though.
Pacer Gaming’s struggles to find a franchise point guard are well-documented, and while we selected our starting point guard at No. 2, I’d select another one here. Maybe a prospect like Greenlight or HoodieDre fall due to the lack of need at the point guard position across the league. Maybe Indiana prefers a veteran in their sixth-man / backup point guard role, somebody like LykaPro or DemonJT could be available here. Either way, I’d double-up on the point guard position in the 2021 draft if I was Pacers Gaming. This leaves us with a lineup of:
Point Guard: Pick No. 2 (AntSZN, Fanta, AWalkingBucket, etc.)
Power Forward: Jomar or Pick No. 26 (Shuttles, oLarry, Reign, etc.)
Center: Jomar or Pick No. 26 (Shuttles, oLarry, Reign, etc.)
Sixth Man: Pick No. 40 (DemonJT, LykaPro, Greenlight, Dre, etc.)
Let me know what you think or if you’d do anything differently drafting for Pacers Gaming. Feedback is always greatly appreciated. Twitter: @aarontfox