Season 3 Preview: It’s Good To Be Back

This has been some offseason for HEAT Check Gaming.

Famous Enough knew he needed to shake things up heading into Season 3, and had his eyes set on building a whole new team around his franchise player – All-NBA 2K League 2nd Team Center Hotshot – in an effort to get back to the postseason, and hopefully, the NBA 2K League Finals.

After trading Majes7ic to Blazer5 Gaming for a 2020 first round pick, MOAM to Celtics Crossover Gaming for a 2020 second round pick, and making one last minute trade the week of the Draft with Hornets Venom GT to move up in the first round, The Coach maximized his draft capital and put himself in the best position he could to come out of draft day with the guys he wanted.

Well, after a delay to Season 3 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re finally going to get to see a refreshed HEAT Check Gaming compete in regular season games for the first time Wednesday, May 6 against Pacers Gaming:

As usual, all our matches will be streamed on twitch.tv/HEATCheckGaming (and also on the league’s Twitch and Youtube accounts.)

Now, without further ado, here is our Season 3 squad:

 

The Brains Behind the Operation

Gamertag: Famous Enough

Name: Derric Franklin

Years: 3

Title: General Manager/Head Coach

Famous Enough has been around as long as HEAT Check Gaming has – the first big pickup for the organization prior to the Season 1 Draft. Since then, he’s led the team through the highs (a Finals berth in the inaugural NBA 2K League season) and lows (missing the playoffs altogether in Season 2.)

Personally, his offseason was a busy one – he signed with Unanimous Games to represent him professionally, created a website players in the Proam community could use to measure themselves against one another called Prestige Area, and even dusted off his content-creator skills with his ‘Love and 2K’ series on Youtube.

None of that measures up with how important Season 3 is to him, though:

“The first season, when we made the finals, that gave me that taste that I needed. So, last season hurt a lot. I need to get back, I have to.”

With remote gameplay beginning Wednesday against Pacers Gaming, The Coach will finally get to see how his newest group of guys gel together when the games really matter.

 

The Anchor

Gamertag: Hotshot

Name: JC Gonzalez

Years: 3

Projected Position: C

Hotshot has carved out his place as one of the elite centers in the NBA 2K League, earning the aforementioned All-NBA 2KL honors, as well as the 7th spot on the NBA 2K League’s first-ever #Glitchy25 list.

Famous Enough calls him “one of the best centers on this game”, and after averaging 15 PPG, 11.5 RPG, 5.6 APG and 2.4 SPG primarily as a front court player in Season 2 (he did slide over to PG for the season finale), it’s hard to argue with that kind of praise.

However, when it comes to accolades, Hotshot’s only got one goal – getting back to the Finals for a chance at some hardware.

“I feel I’ve accomplished a lot personally up to this point – I’ve been a scoring leader, I’ve been to the playoffs. Now, it’s all about winning a championship for me.”

 

A New Floor General

Gamertag: GlennRatty

Name: Glenn Wilkerson

Years: R

Projected Position: PG

Heading into Season 3, Famous Enough had made very clear, over and over, that the #1 priority was to come back from the draft with one of the top-tier point guards in the pool. When he was on the clock with the 8th pick, not a second passed before he called down to league officials and let them know he was selecting GlennRatty.

The rookie from New York was already well-known in the Proam scene, earning his way into the draft pool by winning the Hornets Venom GT team tournament in the Fall (and raising his profile even further in our very own HEAT Check Classic) with the team ‘Godtamed’.

Glenn is also one of the few NBA 2K League players (including his own teammate, TBShiftay) who can actually draw on real-life basketball experience when he’s on the sticks. Through high school, he played AAU basketball and had interest from multiple Division I programs until a knee injury in his senior year forced him to turn to dominating on the digital hardwood.

 

Put The Clamps On ‘Em

Gamertag: TBShiftay

Name: Abdafatah ‘Abud’ Noman

Years: R

Projected Position: SG/SF

One thing that hasn’t changed in the meta over the last couple years of league play has been the need for a top lockdown defender – a versatile player whose main priority is to be as much of a pest on the opposing ball handler as possible. That’s where TBShiftay comes in.

Just days before the draft, Famous Enough pulled the trigger on a trade that helped move the team into position to take a second lottery pick at #13 – a prime spot for one of the elite locks (a skillset he believed was in short supply) in the pool.

The Coach doesn’t hesitate to remind his rookie that he didn’t come cheap, either, but that only fuels him when it comes to the mindset that he plans to carry into his rookie season.

FUN FACT: As I mentioned above, TBShiftay also brings basketball experience with him from high school, where he competed on the Frontier International Academy varsity squad. Pairing that kind of knowledge and experience with his teammate GlennRatty is sure to be a boost once regular season play begins.

 

The New Hotness

Gamertag: Delusion

Name: Jon Roberts Jr. (not to be confused with Chief Justice John Roberts Jr.)

Years: R

Projected Position: SG/SF

When it comes to Delusion, I’m reminded of Disney’s animated classic, Aladdin – particularly, the reference at the ‘Cave of Wonders’ when Jafar is learning that he has, in fact, found his ‘diamond in the rough’.

It appears Famous Enough was already watching his future draft pick during the Combine:

Specifically, Delusion made his name known following a Proam playoff series against NBA 2K League Season 1 MVP candidate BooPainter (Follow the tweet below to Dirk’s Youtube and scrub it to 1:30):

From there, it was just a matter of making sure he was still on the board when HEAT Check Gaming was on the clock at #41. When the time came, the coach knew exactly what his team still needed – a scoring threat who could be trusted to handle the ball and put pressure on opposing defenses.

“I remember watching Delusion play early in the cycle of 2K20 and he was a great scoring guard,” Famous Enough recalls.

“Once I got his dossier in front of me, I saw he had the highest dribble count and tied for the highest green percentage in the combine. He was definitely on my radar.”

 

Experience and Versatility

Gamertag: King Peroxide

Name: Matt Hoffman

Years: 3

Projected Position: PF

With the first of two back-to-back picks in the thick of the third round, Famous Enough decided it was time to round out his roster with players who know what the grind of the NBA 2K League is all about. He needed a PF who also had the versatility to move around if needed, and only one stood out to him that he felt would fit right into the type of team he wanted to build in Miami.

“I know a couple of teams were interested in me,” King Peroxide told his new Coach in their first conversation following the pick. “I didn’t want to go there though, I wanted to come to you guys so bad.”

It’s safe to say the Peroxide family were all excited that he would be heading to the 305 in just a few days:

 

Closing Out The Draft With A Real ‘OG’

Gamertag: Deedz

Name: DeMar Butler

Years: 3

Projected Position: PF/C

It’s not often a GM has the luxury of selecting back-to-back in a draft – in this case, Famous Enough was able to pick two players to round out his roster at #48 and #49 that would best lay the foundation for a successful team.

According to The Coach, the goal at #49 was to bring someone in who can set the culture for his team while playing a number of positions well.

Deedz is an OG in the 2K Proam community, so he comes with a lot of leadership and wisdom,” Famous Enough says about his last selection in the Draft. “Not to mention, he’s still playing an extremely high level of 2K.”

Before coming to Miami, Deedz was two-year vet for Jazz Gaming, so he knows what the grind is all about.

“I bring a veteran presence and glue guy mentality to this team. My past experiences will help my rookie teammates stay locked in and not take the season, or any game for granted.”

Speaking of vets, it also helps that he brings four years of military experience in the Navy with him to Miami – a common bond he shares with his head coach, who is an Army Veteran.

 

HEAT Check Gaming’s regular season begins May 6th against Pacers Gaming.

For up-to-the-minute news, follow @HEATCheckGaming on Twitter.