Cleveland Cavaliers NBA draft

Cleveland needs to keep the Brooklyn pick

It is safe to say that the Cleveland Cavaliers have silenced all their haters after tying a franchise record with 13 straight wins. That puts the Cavs at 18-7 and second place in the Eastern Conference.

It definitely took a while for the Cavs to get things figured out. Their struggles early in the season were linked to poor defense and chemistry. This should have been expected considering the Cavs are the oldest team in the NBA and have so many new faces.

Through the first 12 games of the season, Cleveland was allowing an atrocious 114.2 points per game. During this winning streak, they have allowed 101.5. Overall, the team is averaging 107.6 per game, which ranks 21st in the league. It is not the best, but it is an improvement from where they started.

Oh, and the Cavs have accomplished all this without Isaiah Thomas and Tristan Thompson. Imagine how good this team will be once they return to the court.

There is not much doubt that the Cavs will be back in the Finals for their fourth straight season. However, there is also not much doubt that they will be facing the Golden State Warriors for the fourth straight time, and losing to them once again.

The Cavs aren’t getting any younger either. There have also been trade talks about the Cavs bringing in DeMarcus Cousins or DeAndre Jordan. But in order to do that, the Cavs would most definitely have to part ways with their first round pick they acquired from the Brooklyn Nets. Cousins and Jordan also are both free agents next season with Cousins being unrestricted and Jordan with a player option.

Sending off a potential No. 1 pick and possibly players like Thompson and Iman Shumpert for a player they might not be able to keep is not a smart move for a team like the Cavs. They need to start preparing for the future. Players like Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade, Channing Frye, Jeff Green, Derrick Rose, Jose Calderon and Iman Shumpert all could be gone next season.

Now not all of those players are really considered losses, but this team needs to add some young talent for the future. That is why instead of using the Brooklyn pick as a trade asset, the Cavs need to actually use it.

NBA Draft lottery

The NBA will have a new lottery system in place for the 2018 NBA draft. The new system has leveled the playing field for the league’s worst teams.

Cleveland Cavaliers NBA draft

The Cavs are not getting any younger. (Photo by STACY REVERE/GETTY)

Previously, the worst team had the greatest odds at the first overall pick. Now the worst three teams have the same odds at receiving the first pick.

As it stands right now, there are nine teams worse than the Brooklyn Nets. However, a handful of those teams should finish ahead of the Nets by the end of the season. Even if the Nets don’t finish as one of the three worst teams, the Nets could still end up with a high pick. Even with the previous lottery system, there were always teams winning higher picks than teams that were worse than them. The new system makes it even easier for those teams to get higher picks.

This class of rookies is stacked with talent with names like Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell, Lauri Markkanen and Dennis Smith Jr. already looking great. This next class of rookies is going to be pretty good as well.

Top prospects

If you have not heard, Marvin Bagley is very good. The Duke freshman is the undisputed first overall pick for the 2018 NBA draft, and rightfully so. Bagley is averaging 21.9 points and 11.2 rebounds per game. He is first in the NCAA in total points, second in total rebounds, second in double-doubles and is showing range with a 3-point percentage of 35. Bagley is going to be a beast in the NBA.

Even if the Cavs cannot get Bagley, there is still plenty of other talent. Missouri freshman Michael Porter Jr. was going to be battling Bagley as the NCAA’s top player, but an injury in his first game this season has sidelined him for the season. We all know how good Porter can be based on his film. His injury has not hurt him much in the latest mock drafts either.

Arizona freshman big Deandre Ayton is also looking like a stud early on. Ayton is averaging 19.6 points and 11.2 rebounds per game. He has size at 7-foot-1 and 250 pounds and freakish offensive ability.

There is also Mohamed Bamba from Texas. He is not known for his offense yet, but his defense is amazing. The 7-footer has a 7-foot-9 wingspan and is averaging four blocks per game. He game is much like Tristan Thompson, also a former defensive stud at Texas.

Don’t forget about Miles Bridges either. Many expected the Michigan State sophomore to be in this year’s draft, but he returned to the Spartans instead for another big season. Bridges has been picking up where he left off so far. His season averages are not as high, but it is still early and from watching him you know he can be an NBA stud.

Keep the pick

The the current age of the Cavs, some may argue they should focus on winning now. However, with some of the team’s top players like Kevin Love, J.R. Smith, Jae Crowder, Tristan Thompson and most likely LeBron James returning to the team next season, why would they need to plan a massive rebuild?

The fact is, most of the Cavs’ stars are not that old. They can make the Finals in the next two seasons at least with their current roster. But if they don’t want to be left behind once all these players are finished, they need to start preparing for the future.

Yes, there is no guarantee Cleveland gets the top pick, or even a top three pick. But there is also no guarantee DeMarcus Cousins and DeAndre Jordan would stay either. What you can guarantee is that this next draft class is going to be loaded with talent, and the Cavs will have a top 10 pick to get one of those players.

This offseason, the Cavs need to focus on getting younger and keeping Isaiah Thomas on the roster. They can start by getting him anther great teammate to work with.

 

Featured image by Getty Images

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Josh.

“From Our Haus to Yours”

NBA 2K Series: Interview with Pistons’ NBA 2K League staff

This was the first time I was fortunate to speak with multiple members of a franchise’s esports program. Adam Rubin, manager of esports, and Mike Donnay, vice president of brand networks, are the backbone of the Detroit Pistons’ NBA 2K League program. It’s the perfect partnership. Rubin’s esports and content production expertise paired with Donnay’s background in digital marketing, will allow the Pistons to have one of the best esports programs in the league.

A Shared Love of Storytelling

Rubin’s love for telling stories was apparent in our conversation. He has spent his professional career excelling in the content creation space. He’s created Emmy award-winning content and served as creative director for an entire esports org. Rubin’s enthusiasm for esports combined with his expertise in production made him uniquely qualified for his current position. Thankfully, he’s had a partner in crime to help deliver his incredible ideas.

Enter Mike Donnay. Donnay has proven to be a digital marketing master in Detroit. After attending Michigan State University, Donnay climbed the marketing ranks in the Detroit area. In 2012, Donnay started with the Pistons. He created huge digital platforms in the form of social media accounts, mobile apps and the Pistons Program Network.

This dynamic duo has established themselves and their franchise as a leader in creating content. Rubin spoke specifically about how the Pistons made the best of a less than ideal situation.

“Our franchise made a decision to transition from perennial contender, to a young rebuilding team,” Rubin said. “We had to deliver more to our fans, and that came in the form of content.”

They were pleasantly surprised with how much the fans loved what they were producing. This not only demonstrates their talent and creativity, but also that they understood their fan base. Thus, Rubin and Donnay plan on taking a similar approach with their eventual 2K team.

Building from the Ground Up

It’s important to remember that with all this excitement and anticipation swirling around the NBA 2K League, there is no blueprint for what these franchises are trying to do. Rubin echoed this sentiment with a tweet Monday asking for patience and respect.

Donnay echoed Rubin about how new this concept is.

“We’re all in this together,” Donnay said. “We are essentially building the airplane in the air.”

I believe that there will be less frustration now that the NBA 2K League AMA with Brendan Donohue is complete. As a result, I see franchises getting the opportunity to focus on their individual programs and worry less about players inundating them with questions.

Preview as a Pistons’ Professional 2k player

I found this to be the most interesting and revealing portion of my conversation with Rubin and Donnay. Because the NBA 2K League had scheduled their AMA, I wanted to focus on the Pistons’ program specifically. Of course, like you, I wanted to ask about the tryout mode and draft process.

If you’re just an average sports fan, you’ve seen a piece about professional athletes getting involved in their community. Whether it’s hosting a charity event or remodeling a school library, it’s great to see professional athletes actively engage with their community. If you’re drafted to the Pistons’ team, it’s likely you’ll have a similar experience.

“We want to involve our professional 2K players in the community as much as possible…a professional video gamer will be more relatable to average child in the community.”

– Adam Rubin

Donnay added that access will be key and that the Pistons’ NBA 2K team will serve as an extension of the franchise. Both indicated that they would produce content about their 2K team in the same manner they have covered the Pistons. Rubin hinted at all the different content ideas he has for the team and allowing the community the access needed to connect with their newest professional athletes.

Silencing the Doubters

In every interview, I ask the same question for people who are skeptical about the NBA 2K League.

“If you enjoy watching basketball at all, you’re going to like the product we put on display…It’s just basketball”, Rubin said.

I love consistently getting that answer. It demonstrates that everyone involved understands their product and the distinct advantage they have over other popular esports.

Consistency and communication are critical to ensure the success of any venture, let alone the formation of a new league. It’s clear that the leadership of Adam Rubin and Mike Donnay exhibit these features in spades.

 

You can hear the full interview, including details about the national tryout and the qualification process to become a professional 2K player in the 2K Corner 3 Podcast by clicking here.

To stay updated be sure to follow Adam Rubin, Mike Donnay and the Detroit Pistons on Twitter!

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles written by other great TGH writers along with Braxton!

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

“From Our Haus to Yours”

change it up

“Alright change it up…Mendoza, Robinson” – Coach O’Ryan

There comes a time near the 20 some odd games into the season mark where we fans hit a lull. Games are not as intense as they were the first month. Points are either in the bank positively or not as much as other teams. Nevertheless, we like to talk hockey just because of the fact that it’s hockey season, and that’s what we do. Let’s maybe change it up.

An outlook on the rest of the season is almost clear. We have a good indication of who is going to be at the top of the standings as well as the cellar for the most part. There are teams that will be near the Wild Card spots who do not know their playoff fate. Regardless, most teams have something to play for more or less at this stage of the regular season.

Knowing that my team will almost certainly be in the playoffs, just having to improve every day in preparation for the postseason, my mind wonders. I brush up on the other leagues to see how they’re doing while keeping focus on my club’s game days.

82 games is a very large number. Two months of postseason play is a very long time period. If you don’t make the playoffs or lose in the first round, it’s an eternity without hockey. I have been in all areas of this spectrum. Every time I hear potential ideas to make leagues better and even more entertaining, I listen.

The Lebron argument

change it up

(Photo from NBA News Corner)

LeBron James plays in a conference in the NBA where he knows he has the superior team. His goal until mid-April is almost always to keep his team loose in knowing this, as well as create stories for the media. He likes to have fun now, then be all business later. The way the NBA is set up has the league’s most dominant player knowing for sure that he will be back in the NBA Finals again. This has happened the last seven seasons.

NBA fans that are “anti-LeBron” are bored of this situation. So, what does the NBA commissioner do? NBA analyst Jalen Rose has been vouching for ‘open seeding for years.’ Forget the conferences and simply have the best 16 teams.

The same teams have been in the finals the last three years. Increase the parity, where there is seemingly none, and maybe do this in the NHL as well. It is 2017 (soon to be 2018) where traveling is not an issue. The NHL has the most parity by far, therefore open seeding could create ultra competitive and even more entertaining hockey.

Arguments for who deserves to be at the dance in mid-April would go away. Superstars would be seen evenly throughout North America. The integrity of the game would be enhanced wholeheartedly. The two best and most deserving teams most likely would be competing for the Stanley Cup every year. For these reasons, all sports should do this.

Trust The Process??

change it up

(Photo from wn.com)

Sticking with the NBA evidence, the 76ers have tanked the last few seasons to ensure No. 1 picks. They are now a competitive basketball team and will be beaten before or after they play Cleveland in the playoffs. However, the league wants to end tanking even though most believe it is impossible. I on the other hand have some thoughts.

What if there was a losers’ bracket? It would be a bracket for all the non-playoff teams. The winner of this bracket would receive the first overall pick. The rest of the first half of the first round would follow based on how everyone would finish. It may not be seen as doable, but I would beg to differ.

TV runs the world as I have been told. TV rights generate the bulk of each of the major sports’ revenue. Every one of the national networks would kill for each playoff series to go seven games. So what if there was just an excess amount of playoff series going on? I don’t know if that’s possible. It’s just one of the thoughts I have at this point in the NHL season.

Herm Edwards told us “you play to win the game.” So, let’s make that cliche the truest saying in sports. In a long and unbearable season, teams will say “let’s just win one for the fans” or “let’s play for the draft” and lose. Take those sayings and throw them out the window, so Edmonton doesn’t have four tries to get it right at the draft. Everyone in pro sports are considered the best in the world at what they do, so let’s always play for something.

Back To Hockey

I have absolutely no problems with the game of hockey at this point. My team is at the top of the standings seemingly every year. Even if they weren’t, I’d still go see them play.

However, I feel for teams like Arizona who have young talent, but are a team simply playing for jobs. It sucks they are 28th in league attendance. As a fan, you care about your organization above all else, but if you are a hockey purist, you want to see every team at their best.

This creates rivalries, entertainment value and revenue for a league that is four out of four compared to the other leagues in that regard. I despise every hockey club that is not my own, but some teams are just harmless, and I don’t get up as much for certain games.

When the Arizona Coyotes come to my hometown on a Tuesday night, I’m not excruciatingly excited. Is this similar to why my team plays down to their level those nights? The last time we played the Yotes, we squeaked out a shootout win in a surprisingly intense game.

I’m ready to battle every single night, but I’m not sure about the league itself. Let’s battle.

 

Featured image from The Movie Scene

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Charlie!

“From Our Haus to Yours”

NBA 2K community

2K Corner Series: Interview with Pacers’ Cody Parrent

A critical component to any athlete’s success is their love for competition. In 2017, that competition is no longer exclusive to the hardwood or grass fields. Instead, the virtual world is home to some of the fiercest competitors in the world.

This is the belief that fuels Cody Parrent, the director of esports for the Indiana Pacers. He now channels his passion to compete into being a leader in the NBA 2K League community.

Driven By Competition and Friendship

Don’t mistake Parrent for being just a gamer. At his core, he’s a competitor.

It started as a teenager. He loved that AAU basketball and club soccer provided him with a time and place to hang out with his friends. However, Parrent never wanted the fun to stop.

“I had to be home at a certain time, and I wanted to keep hanging out with my friends. So we started playing video games online together,” he said.

NBA 2K community

Image Courtesy of Cody Parrent’s LinkedIn

That soon developed into a passion for Parrent. He would go on to compete in national tournaments in Halo 2 through his high school career. Sadly, he had to temper his competitive spirit in college.

“I wanted to buckle down on my studies,” Parrent said. “I didn’t compete much, but I kept up with the scene.”

It’s a good thing he did. Parrent earned his undergrad and MBA from University of Southern Indiana. After graduation, he and his friends started NBA 2k Lab. With this kind of experience and business acumen, he was no doubt among a short list of candidates for the director of esports position with the Pacers.

Focusing On The Community

One thing that was apparent in our conversation was his genuine understanding and love of the NBA 2K community. This kind of knowledge is critical to the success of the NBA 2K League. Parrent talked about a community event the Pacers hosted at the Game On Esports Center in Westfield, Indiana. He was hoping for an audience of 15 to 20 people to attend so he could educate them about the NBA 2K League. He had no idea what was going to transpire.

“We had over 100 people…people from Colorado, New York City, Orlando…some drove 15 hours to attend our event.”

– Cody Parrent

This kind of attendance does not only foreshadow the league’s success, but it also indicates how great the NBA 2K community is.

What does Parrent attribute to the success of this event? He knows where the community lives.

“The NBA 2K community lives on Twitter,” he said. “People are always talking and messaging with open spots in upcoming games.”

If you’re looking to get involved, search #2kfreeagent and you’ll understand how open and understanding the players in the community are.

Message for Aspiring Pros

We were able to speak at length about the draft process on the 2K Corner 3 Podcast, which you can listen to here. Parrent explained what an aspiring player needs to be doing in order to qualify for the NBA 2K League draft pool in 2018.

“If you’re listening take notes, if you are aspiring to be an NBA 2K League player, the tryout mode in February is what will allow you to get into the draft pool,” Parrent said.

Parrent went on to mention specific items and skills they will be evaluating during that tryout mode. While this isn’t an official announcement by the league, the NBA 2K community should take notice of any advice Parrent has to offer.

Silencing The Doubters

For those who continue to doubt this league’s credibility and success, Parrent has a message for you.

“2K17 sold 9 million copies and has 1.6 million active daily users and a growing Pro Am Scene,” he said.

The numbers clearly illustrate a demand for the game and an engaged consumer. The key will be converting those who don’t qualify for the draft pool and the casual player to tune in once the games start up.

With people like Cody Parrent at the helm, I have no doubt the NBA 2K League will find a way attract and sustain viewers.

 

You can hear the full interview including details about the national tryout and the qualification process to become a professional 2K player in the 2K Corner 3 Podcast by clicking here.

To stay updated be sure to follow Cody Parrent on Twitter @codyparrent and Kelly Krauskopf, President of the Indiana Fever and Senior Vice President of Pacers Sports & Entertainment @FeverPrez.

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles written by other great TGH writers along with Braxton!

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

“From Our Haus to Yours”

A look at the teams not in the NBA 2K League

17 teams are entering the NBA 2K League. That is more than half of the 30 teams in the NBA participating in the 2K League’s inaugural season. While a few teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers have deeper roots in esports than others, there are 13 teams waiting for their opportunity to enter the scene.

Eventually the NBA would want every team to join the NBA 2K League. I’m optimistic that it’s not a matter of if they’ll join, it’s a matter of when they’ll join. The NBA 2K League will thrive with more competition synonymous to the NBA. As a result it will present excellent opportunities for the community as well.

Who are these teams?

  1. Atlanta Hawks
  2. Brooklyn Nets
  3. Charlotte Hornets
  4. Chicago Bulls
  5. Denver Nuggets
  6. Houston Rockets
  7. LA Clippers
  8. Los Angeles Lakers
  9. Minnesota Timberwolves
  10. New Orleans Pelicans
  11. Oklahoma City Thunder
  12. Phoenix Suns
  13. San Antonio Spurs

Business as usual

While a number of teams don’t have any reported esports experience, they have the business experience to make the NBA 2K League a success. In a marriage between esports and traditional sports, it’s a transition that’ll help grow both industries for the world to see.

There are three teams that have their feet wet in the esports landscape and have created successful moves. But because these teams have esports experience doesn’t necessarily mean they’re locked in for season two nor does it mean that the other 10 teams are less likely to join either.

Denver Nuggets

One of the two Los Angeles teams in the Overwatch League. Courtesy of LA Gladiators via Twitter.

Josh Kroenke, Nuggets President, and his father Stan Kroenke co-own the Los Angeles Gladiators after securing a league spot in the Overwatch League. Blizzard set a $20 million fee to own a regional franchise in the Overwatch League and the Kroenke’s can pay the bill.

Kroenke Sports & Entertainment is a sports and entertainment holding company based in Denver with control over five professional sports franchises. The Kroenke’s own numerous Colorado sports franchises including the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids and the Colorado Mammoth.

With the Los Angeles Gladiators as their first venture into the esports landscape, the Denver Nuggets joining the NBA 2K League next season is a possibility.

Houston Rockets

Clutch Gaming has a spot in the NA LCS. Courtesy of Clutch Gaming via Twitter.

Tilman Fertitta, Rockets Owner, owns Clutch Gaming after securing a league spot in the North American League of Legends Championship Series. The Clutch Gaming brand coincidentally inspired from the nickname given to the Houston Rockets, Clutch City.

It also helps that Daryl Morey, Rockets General Manager, is an avid supporter of esports and joined the MLG Board of Directors back in 2013. In an interview with ESPN, he spoke esports as “[t]he 1950s basketball right now, where there’s that kind of opportunity.”

 

 

There’s enough esports involvement to believe the Houston Rockets will eventually make their way into the NBA 2K League sooner rather than later.

Los Angeles Lakers

Shaquille O’Neal and Magic Johnson. Courtesy of Fox Sports.

Magic Johnson, Lakers President of Basketball Operations, is an investor for aXiomatic which has an ownership in Team Liquid. Johnson is no stranger to business and Team Liquid may be his first stop among many in his esports career.

Other traditional sports figures include former Lakers, Rick Fox and Shaquille O’Neal, who are making waves of their own. Both Echo Fox and NRG are continuing to grow and recruit the best talent in their respected esports.

Meanwhile both Northern California teams, the Warriors and Kings, are in the NBA 2K League this year. There’s a lot of opportunity in a large market like Los Angeles and we hope to see the Lakers and Clippers soon.

 

Featured image courtesy of Tito Sar.

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Tito!

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

Find NBA 2K18 Players: Interview with DeShea Witcher of 2KFreeAgent

Playing NBA 2K18 by yourself at the park or in Pro-Am can be really frustrating. Many of us have experienced disappointment playing with strangers which elevate our stress levels. You want to play the game to have fun and win the game of basketball. Playing with HeroBallKyle2005 isn’t your idea of spending your free time at night.

Finding the right players to build your team is possible with the help of 2KFreeAgent.

What is 2KFreeAgent?

Search by position, rating, and even time zone. Courtesy of 2kfreeagentcom via Twitter.

DeShea Witcher, creator of 2KFreeAgent, offers the solution to the madness of strangers in NBA 2K18. Except the solution is finding strangers in NBA 2K18 to have fun and win.

2KFreeAgent is a database of players that are also looking for teammates like yourself to play with. With over 160 players to team up with there is a group of players that you can build team chemistry with easily.

You, along with other players, can find a team from the list by adding your MyPlayer to 2KFreeAgent. There’s a private messaging system that notifies a user via email and through their inbox. More features are always in the works.

“I use 2KFreeAgent myself. One time I used it and I was in a 25 game winning streak all because people want to play the right way. People want to play team ball,” Witcher told The Game Haus on his success from using his own website.

Why you started 2KFreeAgent?

The idea behind 2KFreeAgent didn’t happen overnight.

“I actually had the idea during 2K17. Every time I went to the park or at Pro-Am, me being an older player, I don’t have a lot of friends that play the game. Dealing with a lot of random players, ball hogs, and inexperienced players. Frankly when time is short you just want to play a good game,” Witcher said about his idea for 2KFreeAgent.

A lot of players voice their complaints on Reddit where people are getting the same experiences playing with bad teammates. Many comment how it’s hard just to have fun and play basketball right when they team up with randoms.

However players have too many platforms to find other players in. 2KFreeAgent is the solution to solve that.

“I decided to make a place where you could do all of them on one place rather than going on different forums on Reddit, Xbox Live looking for a group. I kind of want to bring it all into one place. There’s also people looking on social media as well on Twitter and Facebook looking for people to run with, looking for people to start a Pro-Am team.” said Witcher about creating a single platform for players.

Response to the support from the 2K Reddit community

Finding people to play with in MyCareer. Courtesy of Tito Sar.

During the idea for 2KFreeAgent, Witcher wanted to gauge the interest with the 2K Reddit community by speaking to the Moderators and everyone in the community.

“You know it kind of blew up and people were saying yeah we need this,” Witcher said on the initial response on Reddit. “The community was actually waiting for this and it was solving a problem.”

In its official launch there were over 500 signups on the website within the first seven days of release announced in its first Reddit thread. Due to issues the website recently relaunched with more features in its latest Reddit thread. 2KFreeAgent continues to grow and allows the community make the game more enjoyable to play.

“The whole reason why people are adding their players to the website is because they’re frustrated with playing with random people or playing with kids. They already are coming in with a mindset of finding a team not just for themselves. They’re ones who find the actual team to play on.” said Witcher on why the 2K Reddit community finds the website useful.

What to look for in the future

There are more features coming aside from the recent private messaging system implemented. The next website feature is going to be built around Pro-Am.

“I’m going to start working on creating a place for Pro-Am teams to recruit and to find players and make it a lot easier to fill their teams.” Witcher said in creating a resource for Pro-Am teams as well. “I’m also gonna be getting to the website is a blog that keeps the discussion about the NBA 2K League for any news and interviews.”

“All the feedback that I’ve gotten about the website has been excellent. The community has helped me grow the website to where it is right now. Adding features, fixing any issues, the response has been positive.” said Witcher on recieving feedback.

Witcher has gained the support from the community and help 2KFreeAgent flourish to create a fun environment for people to play basketball.

 

Visit www.2KFreeAgent.com to find NBA 2K18 players to team up!

Follow 2KFreeAgent.com on Twitter for updates and Twitch for live streaming NBA 2K.

Featured image courtesy of Tito Sar.

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Tito!

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

NBA 2K League

2K Corner Series: An Interview with Wizards’ Grant Paranjape

Imagine you’re back in middle school during the mid 2000’s. All of your friends are out of town or busy with their families, so you resort to playing computer games. You stumble upon World of Warcraft (WOW), and after a few hours, you’re instantly hooked.

This is how it all began for Grant Paranjape, the Director of Esports for the Washington Wizards. Paranjape fell in love with WOW and played professionally. Fast forward to 2017, and Paranjape is using his gaming experience and MBA from Tulane University to take part in building the NBA 2K E League from the ground up.

Breaking into the industry

While it sounds like a great career trajectory, things weren’t always so clear for Paranjape. Like most college students, his entire life plan changed during his tenure at Tulane.

“I was on track to be pre-med, but I missed the deadline to apply because I finished undergrad early”, Paranjape said. As a result, Paranjape pursued the new MBA program at Tulane because it would allow him to finish in one year instead of two.

So with his MBA in hand and professional gaming experience, Paranjape was fielding offers from everyone you can imagine, right? Not exactly.

“There wasn’t a clear path to get in the Esports industry.” It wasn’t until Paranjape reached out to Splyce’s co-founder that he landed his first job as their social media manager.

Bridging the Gap Between Sports and Esports

Paranjape gained great experience during his time with Splyce. He spoke at length about how that experience was tremendous and critical to success at his current position. In August of 2017, Paranjape was hired by Monumental Sports Entertainment. He is now officially known as the Washington Wizards’ Director of Esports. Specifically, he would be working help ensure the success of the highly anticipated NBA 2K E League. Paranjape’s experience in the industry and business acumen made him the perfect candidate for this task.

“The first thing I had to do was explain esports…how the industry works and how to activate interest in our market.”

– Grant Paranjape

People like Paranjape are the key to bridging the gap between sports and esports. A former professional esport player who has experience working in an org, as well as an MBA is a great to unlock the barriers between the two industries. They are capable of explaining not only the consumer and what they are looking for, but also translate their wants and needs into effective business strategies.

Goals for Season Zero

NBA 2k E League

Photo courtesy of the YouTube account: titansfreak28

“It’s early, but we want to win,” Paranjape said of his expectations for this season. Given his background as a professional player, he wants to compete for the championship. However, he’s not alone in that goal.

Over the weekend all of the franchise esport directors gathered in New York to brainstorm and talk about season zero, but they also squared off against each other.

“I can’t include myself in the conversation of best NBA 2K player. Of the directors I’d say Anthony Muraco (Cavaliers), Cody Parent (Pacers) and Adam Rubin (Pistons). I think that fact is substantial. It inspires confidence that they will strive to create the best teams possible.”

One of Paranjape’s goals for the NBA 2K E League as a whole was to viewed as a standalone league.

“I think the phrase propped up is the crux of the issue”, Paranjape said.

While co-branding with the NBA would be beneficial, they have to communicate that this is a standalone league and not one that simply being funneled money and infrastructure by the NBA.

Silencing the doubters

He also spoke to those who may be doubting the league and whether or not people will watch it by saying NBA 2K itself has a distinct advantage. Essentially, you’re still just watching basketball. Unlike other popular esports, there is very little keeping the average fan from watching. If they understand basketball, they will understand the games and be interested in the NBA 2K E League.

 

You can hear the full interview including details about the national tryout and the qualification process to become a professional 2k player in the 2k Corner 3 Podcast by clicking here.

To stay updated be sure to follow Grant Paranjape on Twitter @Keiranthil.

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles written by other great TGH writers along with Braxton!

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

“From Our Haus to Yours”

Is your brand important for NBA 2K League tryouts?

A lot of fuss has been going around the NBA 2K League tryout process. However at the end of the day there’s mystery behind the system of how it all works. Players speculate the expectations and responsibilities that come with being a prospect. A fact we do know for certain is that tryouts start in February and the best 85 players in the world will come out of it.

Just know that the NBA 2K League are looking to do things right and not fast. They’ll equip whatever it takes to find the best talent possible and Cody Parrent, Indiana Pacers Director of Esports Operations, tweeted his advice for any NBA 2K League hopefuls. Remember what matters is the skill set you bring to the table.

Is the NBA 2K League a popularity contest?

Some players wonder if being a live streamer or a YouTuber would have an advantage over players without the recognition. The best players isn’t synonymous with most popular players because the sample size representation on these platforms are only a minority of players who play NBA 2K18.

Many players are concerned that you’re at a disadvantage if you don’t have a presence in the 2K community. However it’s definitely not the case for players to be worried about because it has been a common question that gets answered by people who work in the league.

Anthony Muraco, Director of Gaming Operations for the Cleveland Cavaliers, confirmed on Twitter that being popular doesn’t have any value in the tryout process.

Here’s another response by Muraco on the subject of popularity.

Once again the only objectivity going into the NBA 2K League tryout process is your skills. Your talent and skills is the most important asset to the 17 NBA teams.

Creating your brand

While popularity doesn’t matter with the tryout process I wouldn’t necessarily discourage the process of creating your brand. It doesn’t hurt to create content for yourself because you’ll be building valuable skills that can translate to any professional career.

Whether your content is by live streaming, creating videos or editing pictures, you’re getting yourself involved with the community. You’re helping the 2K community grow by sharing your content that can help inspire other players as well.

Examples are creating a highlights video of your gameplay to NBA 2K memes on Instagram. Content doesn’t even have to be about NBA 2K and it can be about anything you want. Building a following is an essential skill to any business.

Building your own personal brand can be a fun and creative process. You’re developing your passion and commitment in what you believe in. Even if it doesn’t help you get drafted you should give it a shot.

Your brand is a representation of yourself

In a recent interview from The Ballgamer that included Josh Barney, Director of Esports & Tech for the Utah Jazz, spoke on branding in the draft process:

“Make sure you realize you are a brand, and how you interact in public space, whether that be social media or any video content you have out there, that reflects your brand,” Barney said. “And you need to make sure your brand is something that nationally recognized brands or global brands want to partner with.”

“Go in knowing that this is a business and you want to be professional as possible. If you get those two things nailed down, you’re sitting pretty.”

Whether or not you made it out past the tryout process in February, what Barney said holds true to becoming a professional when it comes to your own brand. It’s okay to have an opinion on subjects and have a voice on social media. Understand that what you put out to the world is a representation of you and your thoughts. Be mindful of your behavior and think about what you want others to know.

If it’s your aspiration to be among the best 85 players in NBA 2K18 then plan how you want to get there accordingly. The idea is to have goals. I encourage everyone to put themselves out there even if it doesn’t hold value in the tryout process. You never know what opportunities it leads you to.

 

Featured image courtesy of Tito Sar.

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Tito!

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

Al Horford: The Celtics’ most important piece right now

The Boston Celtics have now successfully rattled off 15 straight wins. They are without one of their best players in Gordon Hayward and have had injuries to many rotation guys along the way. They just held the NBA’s best offensive team to 88 points in a 92-88 win over the Golden State Warriors and seem to be meshing well as a team.

The Boston Celtics have the longest win streak after a 0-2 start and are looking to extend it with each passing game.

Balanced play

Al Horford

Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, (Thesource.com).

The Boston Celtics have had a balanced attack nearly every night. They have seven players averaging 9.1 points per game or above. They have only had one player score over 30 points in a game and that was Kyrie Irving against the Hawks on Saturday night. The Celtics continue to have a rotation of players who have all led the team in scoring this season.

The most important turn around for the Boston Celtics have been solving their rebounding woes. Last season the Celtics were one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA. This season they are tied for second in the NBA in rebounding and average nearly 48 per game. The difference is drastic.

Last season they were getting out-rebounded by 2.3 rebounds per game. This season they are +5.6 on the boards. They average 7.9 more rebounds than their opponents this season compared to last. They clean up the highest defensive rebound percentage in the NBA at nearly 82 percent of all shots. The difference this season hasn’t necessarily been Aron Baynes and Daniel Theis like many thought. The rebounding battle has been Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Al Horford’s battle to win every night.

The three of them combine for 44 percent of the Celtics rebounds on average. Horford has increased his rebounding from 6.8 a game to 8.8 a game from last season to this one. Jaylen Brown in his increased role has jumped from 2.8 rebounds a game to 6.6 this season. There has been a continuous effort to cut down on giving teams extra possessions on offense. The Celtics have capitalized and in turn it is helping the Celtics win games.

Al Horford: The glue guy

Al Horford has had a career season this season and he has done it efficiently. Horford is averaging 14.9 points and 8.8 rebounds. He is also chipping in 4.5 assists and has a 20.1 player efficiency rating. Horford is shooting 56 percent from the field and 42 percent from three. He is doing all this on just over 10 field goal attempts a game.

Every one of the statistics that was previously listed was either slightly or well above his career average. The most impressive statistic for to signify Horford’s importance is when he’s off the floor. The Boston Celtics are just a shade under 12 points per 100 possessions worse when Horford is off the floor. For comparison, when Kyrie Irving is off the floor the Celtics are three points worse when he is off the floor on average.

Al Horford is the most valuable Celtic on offense because he affects the game more than just scoring. Horford is involved more in the offense and is benefiting from touching the ball more on a possession to possession basis. Horford is one of the longest tenured Celtics and is both a vocal leader as well as a guy who can lead by example.

 

Featured Image from Sportingnews.com.

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Zach!

Follow Zach on Twitter: @ZGfor3

“From Our Haus to Yours”

Joel Embiid and the rising 76ers

It’s pretty early in the season, but the Philadelphia 76ers are off to a good start. They are 8-6 and have been led by young stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

Ben Simmons has been showing that being a point forward is very possible in the NBA. Joel Embiid is showing that he can play with just about anyone. In a league that is shifting away from traditional centers, Joel Embiid is showing just how complete his game is.

Joel Embiid’s Early Career

Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid, (Si.com).

I guess it would be fair to say that all of his career is also his early career due to him being in just his second playing year in the league. To be fair, Embiid has been a star for the 76ers in almost every game he’s played in.

Given he has only played 43 games in his NBA career Embiid notched a career high Thursday night against the Lakers. He had 46 points on 14/20 shooting, had 13 rebounds, seven assists and seven blocks. He dominated a weak interiored Laker team and was extremely efficient while doing it.

He is also continuing to prove he can hurt a team in more ways than one. This season he is shooting 58 percent from inside the arc. That statistic is over eight percent better than last season and shows that he can hurt you from inside as well as from outside. Embiid has struggled with his outside shot as of this season. Last year he shot 34 percent from three and this season he is sitting right at 24 percent. If he can get back to his consistent shooting ways then he is in for an even bigger impact.

The Last Few Games

Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid, (ESPN).

In his last two games, Embiid is averaging 39 points on 25-40 shooting which is good for 62.5 percent. He is 25-35 from the free throw line in that span and has grabbed 31 rebounds. He also has nine assists and eight blocks. Embiid has done a little bit of everything for his team and it has earned them wins in the last two games.

In wins this season Embiid has averaged 27 points and is shooting 59 percent. In losses this season, he has averaged 17 points and is shooting just 40 percent from the field. In translation, the versatile big man has been very important to this young teams success.

Team Outlook

As of right now, the 76ers only go as far as Embiid and Simmons take them. They have a lot of good role players to mix and match around them, but the NBA is all about star power. Until Markelle Fultz gets healthy and Dario Saric picks up his play a little, Simmons and Embiid have to carry most of the load.

One guy who does not get enough credit is Robert Covington. Covington is shooting 50 percent from three this season and he attempts seven a game. He’s averaged 17 points per game and he and J.J. Redick have helped open up the lane for both Simmons and Embiid to do their damage.

The 76ers are a very dangerous ball club. They have the ability to play with anyone and beat anyone on any given night. With Embiid and Simmons leading the way, the 76ers are in good position to make the playoffs. Barring any serious injuries, the 76ers should end up in the 5-7 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. With Embiid playing at borderline MVP quality, the 76ers could shake up the Eastern Conference playoffs.

 

Featured Image from Booshsports.com.

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Zach!

Follow Zach on Twitter: @ZGfor3

“From Our Haus to Yours”

Page 1 of 1912345...10...Last »