Season 2 of the NBA 2K League is upon us, kicking off with a giant draft night event at Brooklyn's Barclays Centers on Wednesday. For those of you that don't remember, the Blazers 2K team, known as Blazer5 Gaming, was one of the best teams in the league last season.
Blazer5 made it to the finals of The Tipoff tournament to kick off the season, but fell just short of winning. However, they bounced back later in the year winning The Turn championship and continued a run of dominance that netted them the No.1 overall seed in the playoffs.
With league MVP Dayne Downey (OneWildWalnut) and team captain Nidal Nasser (Mama Im Dat Man) running the show Blazer5 looked to bring home the inaugural league championship. However, Knicks Gaming pulled off the biggest upset in the history of the young league when they knocked out the No.1 seed in the first round of the playoffs.
But that was last season. This is now. Three players from last season's roster were retained by Blazer5: OneWildWalnut, Mama Im Dat Man, and Andron Thomas (Lavish_Phenom). Added to that trio this offseason was Matthew Hofmann (KinG PeroXide) via an early October trade with Bucks Gaming.
In Wednesday's draft, the team added two more pieces to fill out its roster: one league rookie and one familiar face. Blazer5 used the 36th pick in the draft to select David Urena (Too Cool), a talented power forward. They later used the 71st pick to select Jomar Varela-Escapa (Jomar12_PR). If Jomar12_PR sounds familiar, it's because he was a member of Blazers5 gaming last season. He was not retained at seasons end, thus re-entered the draft pool.
Tool Cool will likely fill the void of the departed Connor Rodrigues (Dat Boy Shots), who was selected by Hawks Talon GC with the first pick in the expansion draft in September. Too Cool has big shoes to fill. Dat Boy Shots was a key contributor for Blazer5 last season, averaging 19.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game.
Last year's starting shooting guard Grant Barker (GRANT MONSTER) was not retained at season's end and was selected by Mavs Gaming in the draft. His starting role will likely go to the newly acquired KinG PeroXide. King PeroXide averaged 13.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 3.1 assists last season; a 6.6ppg, 2.5rpg, and 2.1apg improvement over GRANT MONSTER.
With Tool Cool and KinG PeroXide added to a solid group of Blazer5 vets, the squad hopes to bounce back from last year's disappointing showing in the playoffs and build off the success of the inaugural season. Can Blazer5 bring home a championship? We will find out when Season 2 tips off on April 2.