Prospect Profile

NBA 2k League prospect profile: TimmiTHD

I want to start by saying thank you to the NBA 2k League community. The feedback I’m getting from you all is great and motivating me to produce better content. My second NBA 2k League prospect profile will feature TimmiTHD. He’s been a supporter of mine from the beginning, but that does not make him beyond my criticisms as a prospect.

TimmiTHD’s Profile

TimmiTHD (TT) has chosen to be a play-making slashing shooting guard and was matched up against a sharpshooting shot creator. Due to a technical difficulty in his stream, I wasn’t able to evaluate his first game in the combine. So, my possession-by-possession evaluation was based off of his first game of day three.

Overall, TT has incredible potential. He has some areas where he is particularly strong and has unique communication that goes beyond the norm. However, he also makes some philosophical choices on defense that frustrate me beyond belief. I don’t think any of my critiques of TT aren’t fixable, but, they will certainly hold him back from being the best player he can be.

Defense Evaluation

As I eluded in his profile, watching TT’s style of defense sends me on an emotional roller coaster where I’m applauding him one moment, and the next typing in all caps to communicate my frustration. Let’s start with the good. TT plays a style of defense that I love, aggressive hedging. He also makes flash defensive plays. In the game I watched, TT had multiple steals and even more tipped passes resulting stoppage of play, or someone else picking up the loose ball. You can see what I’m describing in the video below.

TT had several more plays just like this I did not include. As you can see, he can frustrate opposing offenses and create easy transition points and opportunities for his teammates. I am a huge fan of anyone who plays hedge defense. For those who don’t know, it means a player who’s man is not involved with the offense decides to play off with the intention of helping or making a big play. But, I have serious issues with how aggressively and frequently he plays hedge defense.

TT has to do a better job of staying out of the paint in an attempt to make plays on defense. His opponent was not confident in his jump shot, so it didn’t cost him or his team in this game. But, he repeatedly left his man open on multiple occasions and will get exposed if he faces a true sharp.

As a shooting guard, you should rarely fall below the elbows when playing hedge defense, unless executing a switch. That’s a general statement. In reference to TT, he should never fall below the elbow when hedging because he is so gifted at initiating transition offense. In order to ascend to the top of his position, he must adjust defensively.

Offense Evaluation

TT’s overall offensive approach is great. While his archetype is all about making plays, he wants to make plays for his teammates. His spacial awareness was great, with only a few instances of confusion. Overall, TT is a strong offensive player. He doesn’t take a lot of shots, but, that’s a trend I’ve seen across the combine because of the unpredictability of the shooting mechanic. What truly stands out about TT, is his gift to initiate transition offense.

As stated earlier, these are only a few clips of his incredibly strong transition game. He has a great feel for when and who to pass to on the break. But what makes him excel at this facet of the game, is his communication. “Circle gone.” I cannot tell you how impressed I was by this statement.

TT could have easily said, “I’m open” or “hit me”, but he chose to say “circle gone”. What that does is make his teammate’s job easier. By announcing the button that corresponds with his position, the outlet passer does not have to think. As the game went on, these transition passes were leaving his teammate’s hands before the camera even adjusted.

That is an elite level of communication because it doesn’t make his teammate think, just react. That is an incredible asset to have in this combine because he’s playing with teammates who are not familiar with him or his style.

Overall, his offensive game is solid. I couldn’t find any glaring holes. On several occasions, TT passed on open shots to get his teammates involved. In a game they are winning by double digits, that’s okay. In a close game where every possession is crucial, he can’t pass up on open looks.

I am attributing his, and most players’ hesitation to shoot, to the new mechanic. Players don’t want to miss a lot of shots, so they’d rather pass or drive. This is something I’d like to see improve throughout the combine, more confidence in their jump shot.

Communication and Attitude Evaluation

TimmiTHD has excellent communication on both sides of the ball. On defense he calls out screens, motions and anything else that could interrupt their defensive flow. His communication on offense is the best I’ve seen. Identifying his button for the outlet passer really puts him on another level.

TT’s personality is great as well. A shooting guard needs to know when to be aggressive and when to take a back seat. TT has demonstrated that he can do both. He also brings a fun, authentic style to the game, which his teammates feed off.

Overall Grade

It pains me to do this, but I have to give TimmiTHD a “B-” from what I’ve seen. TT can make some quick, simple adjustments to quickly catapult his stock. I also wanted to communicate that his defense, if no adjustments are made, could considerably hold him back from being the best player he can possibly be.

 

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NBA 2K League

NBA 2k League Series: An Interview with Anthony Muraco

December has been a whirlwind for the NBA 2k League. From Brendan Donahue’s AMA on Reddit, to the announcement of each franchises Esports “orgs”, there is something for everyone to get excited about. Chief among those excited for the 2k League, is Anthony Muraco, Director of Gaming Operations for Cavs Legion GC.

A New Dual Sport Athlete

Muraco didn’t know this at the time, but he was the first a new wave of dual sport athletes. No, I’m not talking about someone playing Football and Basketball. Rather, I’m talking about an elite athlete in sports and Esports.

“I was a professional World of Warcraft (WOW) player during college. I also played college football..It was a gut-check to say the least.”

I found just playing college football to be overwhelming at times. I couldn’t imagine being a professional gamer in addition to my athletic and collegiate responsibilities. However, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for Muraco during that time. It’s good to know that campus internet, as it is for most students, was the bane of his existence.

“Oh I would 100% rage quit because of the internet connection…I actually had a local AT&T crew come in and set up personal internet for me so I could compete consistently at a high level.”

I think we will see new dual sport athletes like Anthony Muraco in the coming years as Esports becomes more mainstream and professional.

Connecting The Dots

Muraco, like every director I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with, is incredibly well-versed in the Esports industry. Thankfully for Muraco, the Cleveland Cavaliers were similarly aware of the incredible potential of the emerging Esports industry.

“They were in the process of purchasing stake in the 100 Thieves Esports team…My job was to teach them how to activate the local market and show them what sponsors wanted to see.”

Muraco also went on to say that the Cavaliers’ experience in Esports prior to the NBA 2k League gives them an advantage. Not because they are undeniably more knowledgeable about the industry, but because everyone in their organization has bought in. No matter who it is, everyone within their organization is a believer in Esports and the NBA 2k League.

Addressing Communal Concerns

I was incredibly excited to hear Muraco’s commentary on the NBA 2k League qualification process. Specifically, we talked about the 50-win threshold, and the current meta.

“I understand people’s concerns about 50 being to low…but we want to make sure that the casual player has an opportunity to compete…I know there are casual players who are incredibly skilled.

-Anthony Muraco

That explanation makes perfect sense. They don’t want any “diamonds in the rough” to slip through the cracks and not be eligible for the upcoming draft. Overall, I would say the community is fine with the 50-win benchmark and are excited about January 1st.

Anthony and I also talked about the current 5-out meta and the problems with defensive mechanics.

“Full disclosure, there will be a new mode separate from NBA 2k 18. It will address some of those concerns and Take 2 has done a great job.”

Muraco goes on in more detail, but you’ll have to tune into the 2k Corner 3 Podcast to hear exactly how the league plans to address growing concerns about the current meta.

Silencing The NBA 2k League Doubters

I ask this question to everyone I interview, and it’s an important one. Usually, I’m told that at this Esport at its core, is just basketball. However, I got a different response from Muraco.

“It would be foolish to doubt the NBA…Their marketing power combined with all of the high level influencers that play and love NBA 2k will make this work.”

Of all the answers I’ve heard, that was the best one. Muraco presented a new perspective that I had never really thought about before. It’s clear that with his leadership and the commitment of the entire Cleveland Cavaliers franchise, the Cavs Legion will no doubt be formidable in the inaugural season of the NBA 2k League.

You can hear the full interview, including details about the national tryout and the qualification process to become part of the NBA 2k League in the 2K Corner 3 Podcast by clicking here.

To stay updated be sure to follow Anthony Muraco and Cavs Legion on Twitter!

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