A year removed from their first postseason appearance in franchise history, Memphis Grizzlies NBA 2K League franchise Grizz Gaming has their sights set on a second-straight appearence in the 2K League postseason.
Grizz Gaming’s journey throughout their fifth season in Memphis has been well-documented. Before the season, Grizz Gaming was projected to be one of the bottom feeders in the 2K League in the 5v5 scene.
With the Grizz taking Micheal Diaz (BP) in the first round of the Season Five NBA 2K League Draft, their 3v3 projections jumped. Snagging one of the best point guards in the 3v3 scene, and building the rest of their roster focusing on versatility made Memphis an intriguing 3v3 team.
Once the season came, Grizz Gaming took off in both 5v5 and 3v3 — making it to Indianapolis in their first three tournaments. In their first 3v3 tournament, they reached the Conference Championship, only to be taken down by the defending champions in Wizards District Gaming.
Grizz Gaming sat right at 5th in the Eastern Conference Standings for the first quarter of Season Five. Just like any sport, there is always a team that starts hot, and slowly returns to earth after teams make adjustments to their tendencies.
For this Grizz Gaming team, the return to earth felt like it happened all at once. The team as a whole went from finding a rhythm, and gelling with one another, to being one of the worst teams in the 2K League over night it felt like.
It almost didn’t make sense from a distance. A torn cornea to point guard BP’s right eye didn’t help anything either. BP missed two weeks with that injury, and throughout his absence, the Grizz lost all six of those games — which led to a seven-game losing streak in the middle of a season that played a huge role in where Memphis sits this week.
Grizz Gaming will start their busy week hoping to land a 2K League Playoff spot in “The Steal,” starting Wednesday night. The best possible start to Memphis’ week in the 3v3 scene. Having a little over a week off, it will be interesting to see what lineup Grizz Gaming rolls out in their first round matchup with Heat Check Gaming on Wednesday.
The Grizz have rolled out numerous different lineups across both 5v5 and 3v3 scenes. The last time we saw the Grizz was in the 3v3 scene and didn’t include BP, the Grizz rolled out a lineup of JMoney, JRod and AuthenticAfrican.
If the Grizz find their groove on the stage against the Heat, and escape the first round, I don’t see a team on the Eastern Conference side of the spectrum that would just bounce them. Memphis is a really good 3v3 team when BP is their point guard. They go from good to great when BP takes over in those matchups.
However, the way teams take away BP’s movement with doubling will be something Memphis will look to navigate on Wednesday as well. Doubling the point guard in a 3v3 format is the ultimate respect. The other Grizz will have to knock down their shots and take what is there when those double teams come from opposing teams.
I expect the Grizz roll out a lineup of BP, JMoney and JRod in Indianapolis on Wednesday night.
The Ticket provides many variables for Grizz Gaming. Really, it’ll be a trickle down effect for how this team performs in the Ticket. The Ticket comes this weekend after the Grizz try to steal a spot in the 3v3 tournament for a playoff spot. Memphis’ engine this season has run off of their performances in the 3v3 scene.
That engine? Look no further than BP. The floor general for Grizz Gaming has to make an impact early in the week to set the tone for Memphis come the Ticket this weekend. BP’s game has grown so much in season five. However, can that game stay consistent in both 3v3 and 5v5 has yet to be seen given the time of the eye injury.
A lot of “if’s” heading into this week for Memphis. A lot of changes within the last month regarding a consistent starting core group of guys. Versatility has paid off for Grizz Gaming this season. However, there has to be some sort of consistency within a starting lineup in both 5v5 and 3v3.
Despite their hot start to season five, I still don’t think we’ve seen this Grizz Gaming roster at their peak — a team that can thrive in both settings. A lot of change can cause confusion. While the final opportunity to provide consistency comes in a “win or go home” setting, Memphis has had a week to prepare for this huge week.
A week that can define their season five, which makes Memphis a darkhorse in two tournaments full of underdog stories. Will Memphis answer the call?