Q: Going into this tournament the starting five for your team was Spam, Johnny, Zay, Peroxide, and Dtrick. They had been successful while competing in the online leagues leading up to this event. Did you ever get a sense that this team was nervous playing in front of a crowd at any point during their championship run? If not, what do you think helped them stay calm from the start of the tournament through the end of the tournament?
A: “There’s always some speculation when your PG, SG, SF are all 17 or 18 years old, but Spam, Johnny, and Zay have all competed and won at the highest possible level pre-UPA. I didn’t think UPA would be any different, because each and every one of them are extremely mature for their age. I know a couple of people in the community were convinced they were going to fold on the big stage, but I’ll say it time and time again. Age is just a number, some guys are just built with a killer instinct, and all these boys 100% are.”
Q: You are the only head coach in this community who comes up with strategies and gameplans based on analytics. In your mind, what makes analytics such a success for you and your team?
A: “What analytics does for us is afford us the opportunity to never make the same mistake twice, and keep utilizing the plays that work for us. We’ve got a phenomenally talented team, and often the only way that we can really lose is if we beat ourselves through some ‘negative variable’. My job is to find that negative variable, make our players aware of it, and then eliminate it. If our players are playing their game, at their pace, with our playbook, mathematically it’s really impossible for them to lose.“
Q: In game two of the championship series versus GNA, you guys took a sizable loss. What was said in between games to help the guys focus up for the winner-take-all game three (which you guys eventually won)?
A: “Three things: Spam needed to get more aggressive down the stretch. We gave up too many transition points. And, we wanted to go to an offensive set that we knew could better isolate certain parts of the floor and consolidate the ball in the hands of our two best scorers. We did all those things game three, thats why we were able to keep GNA under 65 points”
Q: Outside of gameplay, what was your favorite part of the UPA event?
A: “Outside of gameplay, just putting faces to names that I never personally knew before Dallas. It was really good to meet some of the community in person.”
Q: In your opinion, what makes the backcourt of Spam and Johnny so successful?
A: “The backcourt of Spam and Johnny is so successful because they play well off of each other, and also give each other the ability to score the ball by freezing out a lock. We’re very lucky to have two primary ball-handlers that have the ability to go get a bucket at any given point in time, and that takes pressure off of each other.
They’re human beings. If one gets stuck, it’s possible for the other one to go get a bucket, and that’s a luxury for a Coach but also virtually guarantees our offense production in some aspect. In terms of freezing out a lock, if we have the ability to go to a secondary ball-handler who’s just as talented as our primary, imagine the problem that creates when your lock is on the other side of the floor. Now you have a subpar defensive build, and often player, on JohnnyRed or Spam.”
Q: You’ve said in the past that you only started running this team 6-7 months ago. What has been the most difficult part for you with this team? Did you ever feel you were struggling to come up with a game plan against anyone competing this weekend?
A: “The most difficult part was going from a good team to a great team. The key was Peroxide, who’s a phenomenal leader on the court. Once we got him, our defense and offense ran so smoothly it was unbelievable. A guy who has that effect on any offense needs to be in the 2KL. He really was the difference in having these young guys learn certain coverages, defenses, plays, and reads.”
Q: Who was your favorite team to watch this weekend when Liquid Pro-Am wasn’t playing?
A: “Favorite team to watch: GNA, they really have some special guards in Glizzy and Claude.”
Q: What was your favorite spot to eat during the weekend?
A: “Favorite spot to eat: Lab’s house with his celebrity chef @gourmetchefjay1.”
Q: What can we expect in the future from Liquid Pro-Am as pre-draft approaches?
A: “What can you expect from Liquid in predraft is the same consistency we’ve had now. Hopefully with league players and the same team we have right now. The goal is to continually build to the point where we’re achieving the same excellence with multiple teams. I want every finals on both Xbox and Playstation to be Liquid vs. Liquid.”
Q: Do you have any final thoughts as we wrap up this Q&A?
A: “Final thoughts: I’m excited to see what the future holds. I’m really, really appreciative and grateful to be in the position we are right now. A special shoutout to all of my team at Liquid Biomechanics, who put in tireless hours creating comprehensive models and extensive algorithms that allow me to best isolate the pros and cons with our gameplay. They’ve worked really hard, working overtime and really narrowing it down to a point where I really think we’ve got some revolutionary stuff going and the ability to forever change the way that pro-am is played.”
As always, thank you very much for reading. Likes, retweets, and comments are appreciated. Find Khris on Twitter: @2K_Khris. Follow me on Twitter @TrentonReed33 for more NBA 2K League and NBA 2K Pro-Am content.