The first weekend of the NBA 2K League Combine is in the books. How did it go? Well, that depends on who you ask.
The combine has brought a mixed bag of reactions from those attempting to make it as one of 102 players drafted for the inaugural season. As with anything, there were highs and lows.
Some praised the inclusivity of the combine, which has allowed players both well-known and unknown in the community to share the same stage and prove what they’re capable of.
Others voiced concerns online about lack of communication on the floor, selfish teammates and difficult-to-master shooting mechanics.
“I have mixed feelings about it,” said league hopeful Worthingcolt. “Some games, people are on the mic and everything is jelling. Other games, no one is on the mic and everything goes wrong.”
It’s clear that the combine is achieving what it was intended to — level the playing field and get players out of their comfort zone.
“It’s a struggle to play with people you’ve never played with and develop the chemistry needed to win games, but so far we are seeing good results,” said Adam Rubin, manager of Pistons GT. “The combine is meant to test your mental toughness, communication skills and 2K abilities.
“As we get deeper into the month of February, I expect to see more people really understanding the flow and I think that’s when we will see the best gameplay.”
The 72,000 players who qualified for the combine had the opportunity to participate in three of the 12 playing windows this past weekend. Nine more windows remain through February 21, with the next one coming Wednesday, as players attempt to meet the minimum requirement of 40 games played at one position to be in consideration for the draft pool.
The combine got off to somewhat of a false start on Friday, with technical issues delaying games by roughly 30 minutes. Players have experienced other tech issues as well, namely related to unrecorded wins/loss and game statistics.
On the court itself, players were focusing on what they could control — showcasing their 2K talent, and trying to have fun doing it.
“I love the combine so far, I think it’s the most fun I’ve had playing 2K all year long,” said league hopeful SlayIsland9xx. “Obviously you’re going to have some games with bad teammates but you’re also going to have games with great teammates that you’d never have played with if there wasn’t a combine.”
SlayIsland9xx logged 20 games at shooting guard over the weekend, averaging 27 PPG and 7.3 APG in the process. He sees the combine as a fair evaluation period, to this point.
“I think the combine is going to do a decent job of finding the best players,” SlayIsland9xx said. “Based on what I’ve seen so far, a lot of the players you’d expect to have great numbers have been dominating and there are also sleeper players that are proving why they belong.”
Combine players are being scouted on baseline statistics such as points, rebounds and assists, as well as shot release time, pass to assist and block efficiency. Teams are also looking for players to display intangibles such as proper basketball IQ and communication with teammates.
Worthingcolt hasn’t let the uncertain playing nature from game-to-game affect his ability to contribute where he can. He’s averaging 25 PPG, 15.3 RPG and 4.5 APG at center through 23 games.
“I like the way I’ve adjusted to different play styles,” Worthingcolt said. “Some games I’ll get 30-plus points, others I’ll have all rebounds and assists contributing to the ‘W.'”
Worthincolt still believes the combine process will allow players to be evenly evaluated and for the top 102 to rise to the top.
“They had the right idea with the combine, though,” he said. “This was the most fair way.”