Brandon "Hood" Caicedo's NBA 2K League career certainly has had its ups and downs.
Hood was a first-round pick by Cavs Legion in the inaugural 2k league draft, and he wasted no time lighting the league on fire. By the end of Season 1, he was one of the top scorers on the virtual hardwood.
If you were going up against Hood, you knew your defense was going to have to be ready. Scoring nearly 30 points per game, Hood was a force to be reckoned with.
Yet, despite his success, Cavs Legion went in a different direction at the end of the season.
Prior to Season 2, Cavs Legion traded Hood to T'Wolves Gaming.
Hood was poised to impress with his hew squad, but they, too, would end up trading the prolific scorer. This time to Heat Check Gaming midway through Season 2.
Heat Check didn't protect Hood going into the Season 3 draft, and the former first-round pick found himself in limbo.
But as the old saying goes, "One man's trash is another man's treasure."
Blazer5 Gaming, one of the most successful teams in the NBA 2K League, was in need of a scorer and quickly swooped up Hood.
I can’t explain what I feel. Been dreaming about this since SZN 1 and we finally made it happen, I appreciate all of you at @blazer5gaming for believing in me. Now LETS WORK MY BROTHERS pic.twitter.com/tF4MmBPYbO— Brandon Caicedo (@HoodBC_) February 23, 2020
Why has Hood bounced around? He is as good as they come on the court, so it had to be off-the-court issues, right?
Here Hood sits, on his fourth team in three seasons, with possible questions about his character. But I wouldn't be so quick to judge.
“He’s been on the short end of the stick a lot. I would just say there were a lot of rumors, a lot of B.S that went with his name, that wasn’t true," said Blazer5 Gaming star Nidal “Mama Im Dat Man” Nasser. "When you don’t understand somebody, you’re quick to just throw some B.S on ‘em and everyone’s gonna believe you. That’s just how it is. It’s always just a misconception, that’s what it is.”
The story on Hood reminds me of the story on Trail Blazers starting center Jusuf Nurkic just a few seasons ago.
Back in 2017, the Trail Blazers pulled off a trade with the Denver Nuggets that landed Nurkic in Rip City. At the time, there were plenty of questions about Nurkic's character. Reports we were hearing from Denver and on social media were that he was a poor teammate, he didn't give full effort, he had a bad attitude, etc.
However, the chapter he wrote in Rip City has been nothing but stellar. Nurkic has been praised for the effort, has been nothing but a perfect teammate, has put up career-best numbers, and has quickly become a fan favorite in Portland.
Hood has the chance to do the same thing with Blazer5.
That’s all it is. It’s about fit, culture, personality, all that good stuff. Hood found his home. This is where he was supposed to be since Season 1. - Mama Im Dat Man on Hood
In Portland, Hood doesn't have to be anything but himself. He doesn't have to press the issue. He doesn't have to do too much. He just has to play his role.
"(Against the Lakers) I was struggling a little bit towards the end of a game and he took it home for us." said Mama Im Dat Man. "I’ve never had that. That’s huge for me. If me and him and keep getting that chemistry, we’re gonna be really scary. "
That player that can take over when Blazer5 needs them the most is something this team hasn't had through its first two seasons. Hood gives Mama Im Dat Man the best shooting threat the team has ever had. Mama Im Dat Man runs an efficient pick and roll with starting center Dayne "OneWildWalnut" Downey, but now he finally has a deadeye shooter he can kick out to. The threat of Hood on the perimeter adds an entirely new dimension to the Blazer5 offense.
Everything happens for a reason and he’s in the perfect situation now. He has no excuses. He knows that. We know that. He’s been nothing short of excellent. - Mama Im Dat Man on Hood
Mt. Hood. Rodney Hood. Brandon "Hood" Caicedo. Hoods and Portland go hand in hand. As Mama Im Dat Man said, "Hood found his home."
Blazer5 returns to action on May 20 when they take on Knicks Gaming.
Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Fry and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.