Unknown teams can be so much fun.
Look no further than your 2021-22 Memphis Grizzlies for example. They finished second in the Western Conference this season with 56 wins, but their youth scared a lot of analyst when picking them in the first and second round.
The unknown is fun because there is no pressure. More pressure on the players and coaches themselves to become known. Known for what they do, and becoming less of a risk. For the Memphis Grizzlies E-Sports Franchise Grizz Gaming, they’re known for cracking when the pressure is at it’s highest.
However, with their performance in Indianapolis, Indiana this past week, the narrative of “unknown” is changing in Memphis to “they have arrived.”
A 3v3 team that pushed the two-time defending champions in the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday. Grizz Gaming was never supposed to make it this far this early. Everyone had this roster on their “late bloomer” list of NBA 2K League teams... if that. All it takes is a jolt of momentum to boost a franchises success.
The Grizz took down a CLTX Gaming team that had only lost one game in Pool Play in a confident 3-1 series win. Then, they took on a very talented Hawks Talon GC team that many had them losing to. With the series win against the Hawks, that was the furthest the Grizz had ever been in any tournament ever in franchise history.
Then, awaited the two-time defending NBA 2K League Champion Wizards District Gaming. A series that many analyst across the 2K League, while admiring their ride to this point, had no chance for Grizz Gaming to win. Understandably so, as the Wizards are just a super talented team led by Ryan Conger (DayFri). With no point guard in their lineup, it forced their opponents to play a different defense.
Grizz Gaming was ready for it. That’s the beautiful thing about this Grizz Gaming team this season - they don’t care what you think. This team is focused on one another, showing that in their series against Washington. Grizz Gaming led their best of seven series at 2-1 and one point.
However, that championship brand in Washington led to the Wizards winning three straight close games to end Memphis run in the 3v3 Coinbase tournament.
Several things were unknown coming into this season, and one of those was Memphis bringing back JRod. JRod has performed well all season, providing as a consistent shooter out of the corner, and a weak side crasher for rebounds. JRod’s performance during the 3v3 setting was sensational. It felt like he didn’t miss a shot at times, a steady hand that knew where to be during winning time.
The guy that set JMoney and JRod up for their open shots - BP played sensational in Indy. He transformed from being a chirpy competitor in the 5v5 Tournament a few weeks ago, to being in controlled and locked in on over possession for Memphis this past week. BP’s growth as a leader has been quite the storyline over the last couple of weeks for Grizz Gaming.
From being kicked to the curb in Atlanta after years of carrying the franchise, to asking Grizz Gaming and Head Coach Lang Whitaker for an “opportunity to come in and help,” BP has done that and so much more for this Memphis team.
Now, we looked ahead to a second half of the season that now provides so much unknown for the right reasons. The ceiling for this Grizz Gaming team is now unknown in the 5v5 setting. If Memphis can provide this same progression on the 5v5 scene, they are a top five team in the 2K League. However, that is unknown, and what makes season five so much fun in the 901.