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Grizz Gaming Gazette: Risking it all to win it all

Grizz Gaming continues to be an intriguing story heading into tonight’s 2K Slam Open..

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2022 Grizz Gaming Media Day Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

You never know until you try, right?

At least, that is how I was raised. Take all the risks while you’re young, or risk staying stagnant for a long time. It can be in any profession, trying to better yourself internally involves risks. Some risks aren’t as severe as other risks, but they are all scary.

Leaving a company or job that you’ve worked within for a long period of time is frightening. Betting on yourself is nerve-racking, but only you can control how that bet plays out. For Grizz Gaming, internal growth is taking place right before our very eyes. Internal growth that isn’t amplified on a major scale, quite yet, but it will be.

Grizz Gaming is tracking along on their way to a really solid regular season. This is true in both the 5v5 and in the 3v3 scene, in part because of the risks taken by Grizz Gaming General Manager and Head Coach Lang Whitaker this offseason, which has trickled into his players not even a quarter of the way through the season.

2022 Grizz Gaming Media Day Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

It started out in the offseason with an early trade to acquire JMoney from the Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai. JMoney, whom had won a 2K League Championship with T-Wolves Gaming in 2019 playing Shooting Guard, was coming off of a solid season as Gen.G Point Guard and provided versatility for Memphis at the time.

2021 NBA 2K League Playoffs - Grizz Gaming v Knicks Gaming Photo by Jim Cowsert/NBAE via Getty Images

Then, Whitaker initiated a trade that sent cornerstone Point Guard Vandi to Pacers Gaming. Part of the return was acquiring an early first round pick in the Season Five NBA 2K League Draft. Approaching a season with so much unknown given the new 3v3 element of the 2K League season, Whitaker attacked versatility.

Then the team snagged Micheal Diaz (@BPTHEGOD_) with the 12th overall pick in the Draft. Then, it continued with taking a “controversial” pick with their 38th pick in Justin Rodriguez (@JRODTHEGOAT). Rounding out a team full of “misfits” and guys that other teams had given up on, Whitaker leaned on versatility and veteran leadership.

Even with JRod, AuthenticAfrican, and Spartan returning in Beale Street Blue, you couldn’t help but think this is risky. However, Whitaker knew what he was doing all along. Lang continues to enforce a winning and family culture in the 901. Of course, none of that is possible without his cornerstone guys.

Now, this Grizz Gaming team makes their second appearance on the stage in Indianapolis, Indiana. Before it was escaping pool play in the NBA 2K League Tip-Off Tournament in the 5v5 format. Tonight, the Grizz Gaming makes their 3v3 debut on the stage tonight against CLTX Gaming.

After an offseason of, at the time, risky moves to improve future success things are improving. Grizz Gaming was given post draft grades of “F” meaning that they had swung and missed. However, it’s now more clear than ever that this Grizz Gaming team doesn’t care about what anyone thinks.

This Grizz Gaming team is focused on one another, because majority of this roster was in situations where they were given up on, and blamed for things on other teams that were out of there control.

Now, with Whitaker taking that “risk” on them to build on a historically successful season four last season, this roster is all in on each other. Roster changes, lineup changes - “they hold each other accountable, and are self-aware,” Whitaker said about his roster.

2022 Grizz Gaming Media Day Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Now, as the Grizz approach a pretty substantial prize pool in the NBA 2K League 3v3 Coinbase Tournament tonight, Memphis has an opportunity to make great money. According to ESGN2K, Grizz Gaming ranks 21st in the 2K League in Prize Pool winning since season one.

Grizz Gaming is in prime position to make some noise in season five starting tonight in the Coinbase 3v3 tournament. However, it won’t be easy. CLTX Gaming went 5-1 in Pool Play the last two weeks, with their only loss coming in a five game series against the defending champion Wizards District Gaming team.

Growth in all areas is nice, but growth that doesn’t come without risks that had to be made. It’s early in season five, but Memphis’ trajectory is upwards from here, and as they sit eighth in the Eastern Conference this early. This will be yet another opportunity for Grizz Gaming to value not only their versatility, but their veteran experiences as they return to in person play again.

Grizz Gaming will debut in the 2K Slam Open tonight against CLTX Gaming at 8:00 P.M. on the NBA 2K League Twitch and Youtube Channels.

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