It has been quite the turnaround for Grizz Gaming...
Season four has been quite the story for Grizz Gaming up to this point. A 9-1 start in their first 10 regular season games, sweeping four of their first five regular season series, and shocking the 2K national media around the league.
Having one of the biggest point differential’s in their first 10 games in the entire 2K League has been shocking (scoring 74.7 ppg, and giving up 61.4 ppg). The amount of points this team is scoring a game, based off of defensive numbers alone - is remarkable. Grizz Gaming has been adjusting to each opponent, each series, possession by possession, and that is what makes the Grizz dangerous.
New Format, Same Mindset..
This season the NBA 2K League implemented an Eastern and Western Conference, which took away the Best of Three Regular season matchups. It was easier to analyze to those best of three series’ on which team was the better team. Grizz Gaming was an average team last season which led to a lot of game three series, but also a lot of game three losses.
The team just wasn’t good enough to compete for a full series. The 2K League isn’t much different than the NBA. 99% of the time, the more talented team is favored in a seven game series based on weapons, and overall coaching (adjustments) from game to game.
This season, Grizz Gaming , along with every other 2K League team are playing back-to-back games against one another. Sweeping four out of the five matchups this season, would be a 4-1 start with last seasons format. Either way you look at it, the Grizz are a dangerous squad that isn’t scared of any opponent.
Progression and Coaching...
Listen, this team didn’t just show up in Memphis and immediately become good at the game. While I covered Vandi and Authentic African’s very successful offseason with Bright Lights, the other three Grizz were grinding as well. “I think what makes this team, is that we have a group of guys that just grind this game, retail or league build,” Grizz Gaming Sixth Man JRod told me.
While the team has been grinding, Grizz Gaming General Manager and Head Coach Lang Whitaker has grown in several areas as well. “Learning to adapt, and adjust to things is something I learned last season (COVID season),” Whitaker told me before the season. He has also kept the message consistent no matter the opponent, “We have to go out there and do our jobs no matter who the opponent may be.”
The identity of this team is more complex that point differential and defensive numbers. Their offense can run with the best of them, like Blazer5 Gaming where game one was defensive at 66-61. Then, realizing their advantage was more up-tempo in game two, and dropping 78 points to get the sweep on one of the better veteran teams out there.
Whitaker, along with his two cornerstone guys, have injected confidence into the newcomers in Memphis. Spartan, FollowTheGod, and Chess2K have been crucial to the Grizz early success, as it seems like it’s a different guy stepping up to the fight each game. As the Grizz embark on arguably their biggest series of the season against the defending champion Wizards District Gaming it is cool to reflect, acknowledge the early success, and realize just how far they have to go in season four.